One of the maintenance tasks of owning a steel boat is the never-ending battle against rust. When we bought Orontes II there were quite a few places that needed treatment and two areas that were serious enough to require cutting out plates and rewelding in new ones. We have owned her six years now, and each year we have had a major boatyard bill to repair and paint rusted areas.
This year we did it differently. First, we had 40-50 places where we were developing rust. All were small, anywhere from one to three inches in diameter. This was surface rust and only needed removal by wire brushing before painting with an epoxy paint. I did the rust removal and epoxy painting here in the marina over a period of two months. This left us rust free, but with a lot of areas of primer showing.
This was when we called the pros. Chavos Yacht Service is a local firm that does boat repair and painting. They worked almost a month filling the areas I had painted and sanding them smooth before finish painting the areas to match. They did a great job and the final buffing and waxing makes Orontes II shine!
We also removed the long wooden toe rails to give us better access to the rusted areas. These had weathered to a natural gray and Laura had been trying to talk me into letting her varnish them for a long time. I resisted, feeling I had other things with higher priority, but now that they were removed and sitting on the dock, there was no reason not to work on them. We had them sanded to get down to fresh teak, and then Laura applied a three step sealing process by Semco to clean, brighten, and seal the teak. They now look GOOD. Laura is justly proud of the toe rails and I have to tell her she was right. It really does add to the boat appearance. In the photo below, the newly finished toe rail is just above Laura’s head.
The final step was to add the new boat lettering decal to the bow. Our good friends in Baton Rouge, Randy and Cecile Geauthreax, have a business making signs. They have a commercial-duty machine to cut vinyl lettering of practically any size. Cecile said they have actually done lettering and graphics for a semi trailer, but that was an unusual order. While we were visiting them in December, she and Laura went to her shop for an hour and looked at all of the options that were available. They finally agreed on a font, color, and size, and made two very good looking decals ready to apply.
Here is a short video showing off the port side…