maintenance progressions

mast work: sanding and painting!

By now I have spent a LOT of time with my dear Coconut’s mast. Because of this, I have named her Stella. She is getting her groove back, yo! There was SO. MUCH. WORK. to be done, so I’ll publish the posts in the order the work occurred.


Stella is a six year old, 41′ tall Sitka spruce mast. As far as I understand it, wooden masts need to be pulled for inspection semi-regularly. The paint was flaking off on the rounded corners as you can see in the image above, not to mention the standing rigging was original (40 years old!). If there were any boat work I dreamt about doing when I was out of commission for 2 years, it was mast work.

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First things first, I marked the rigging before the mast came down. This simply means loosening the turnbuckles and placing white electrical tape on top and bottom of the turnbuckle. This lets the riggers know how long to cut the wire. Then the magic happened. I put on a hard hat and just like that, the mast came down!

The standing rigging was rushed off to the riggers den. Everything would be remade exactly was it was, with the exception of the lower shrouds. A couple of riggers had mentioned how they appeared to be undersized, so up a gage they went.

I quickly got to work scraping all the paint off the mast. I’d point the heat gun at a small area, wait for the paint to bubble up, and then scrape scrape scrape with a paint scraper. Heat gun, bubble up, scrape scrape scrape. I could only manage two hour shifts because it was just too much for my flimsy arms to bear. I was making too much of a mess with the paint scrapes flying all over the place in the mast area, so the yard moved Stella into a shed where it would eventually be spray-painted. We were blocked from the wind, and the sun! #blessed

Once I had scraped all the paint off (all 4 sides) I then sanded… all 4 sides.



After I got the mast down to bare wood, Arturo, who was going to be painting the mast, sprayed on a primer coat. I took a two part epoxy and filled in all the cracks and holes in the mast. That’s the green stuff in the photo below. After, Arturo sprayed a thin layer of black stuff which showed all the imperfections. I sanded it down again (yay) but this time with a #240 grit sand paper until it was nice and smooth.

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I have no idea how many hours I spent scraping, sanding, and filling in the mast but by the end of the sanding my arms were as strong as noodles. It probably took a month all in all. It didn’t help I was in school full time (5 classes!), so time and energy was precious. The good news is I only found a pea sized area of dry rot. The wires were also confirmed to be easy to replace, as they were in a PVC pipe and were moving which was a good sign. So far, none of the wires had actually been connected to anything… 🙂


After I got it as perfect as I could. Arturo sprayed Stella with three coats of Eggshell White. Oh Stella was shining! I shouldn’t forget to mention the boom as well as two spreaders were in this shed with us. I used the fancy kind of paint which should last 7-10 years provided I buff it once a year. I haven’t buffed it yet but keep telling myself that I will one day. I’m terrified of heights. I probably won’t do this and will pay someone else to do it.

Now that this is completed, I will show everything else mast related in my next post. I added a spare halyard, had new shivs made, etc.



adventures maintenance progressions

coconuts’ sister

I can’t tell the story about how Coconut found me without mentioning my friend Joel. I’d met him through friends in the Bay, and he was just getting ready to sail down from SF to LA. I was green with envy and wanted to join, but… work and stuff got in the way.

When I’d planned to visit LA to see an old friend, I stopped by his boat to check it out as I hadn’t seen it yet. It was SO cool! I remember thinking how big it was for a 35’er. We went for a quick sail and that was that.

A few days later I was at my marina’s potluck that I never went to anymore, just to say goodbye to a friend who was leaving. There were a few of us talking about our next boat, I was completely over my little Columbia and needed something bigger. Again, that was that.

The next morning I got a text from an unknown number offering me a 35′ boat for sale. I looked at the Craigslist ad and thought “harumph, beautiful but it’s too big for me.” I posted it to Facebook, as I was posting potential boats every day asking for feedback. This boat got LOTS of interest. People were seriously considering buying it. I went back to look at the ad again. Was I passing up a good deal??

I read the description rather than just looking at the pictures and noticed the boat was a double ender center cockpit, which as far as I’m aware is not really a thing except for Joel’s boat that I had just seen. I forwarded the ad to him and asked if it was his boat. It was, and he said if I didn’t buy it, he would. This boat was half the price he got his for and was in better shape, sort of, and he raved about his boat.

My friend Steve came with me to check out the boat that same day, and several other people (who I’d alerted this boats’ availability to) came as well. (I made sure I had first dibs!)

When I heard the boats name was Coconut that was it for me, my heart melted into the bildge and we became one. That was May of 2014. Side note, people always ask what the name was prior to Coconut, but I’ve looked through the documents and it has always been named Coconut. Further proof this boat has always been awesome, perhaps not always allowed to show her true colors from being neglected for so long.

I left the Bay (as in sailed away!) exactly a month ago and had the opportunity to see Joel and his boat Valkyrie. He doesn’t live on the boat anymore, but he was in town working on it. So many people have helped me with Coconut since we left the dock, so sanding, scrubbing, bondo’ing, and painting Val for a couple of days was my way of paying it forward.

It was really trippy being on another twin boat. There were so many similarities, yet enough differences to let you know it’s not your baby. I learned more about the boat, why things are the way they are, and what important pieces I’m probably missing (because he was too). It was a lot of fun rowing across the harbor to give some love to another Fantasia.

Just a few days prior to this I’d been approached by a gentleman who used to own a Fantasia for 20 years. It turns out he also was a long time friend of a former dock neighbor, it is such a small world. He also had lots of advice and fond memories of the boat. I love talking shop with salty sailors!

Hi Val!
Hey Coconut!


Val’s cockpit is pretty similar, except it is fully enclosed and Coconut’s have cutouts on the port and starboard side. There used to be a folding step there apparently, and whoever had my boat just tore them out and whoever had Joel’s boat decided to enclose them. Coconut’s cutout is better for when water enters the cockpit, it at least has somewhere to escape. Val also has mechanical steering and Coco has hydraulic, so our steering columns are different.



I was going to ask how Joel’s kept the portholes from leaking, but his are totally different. I’ve replaced the gaskets on mine and they’re leaking again. Grr.



There was a bunch of water damage in the aft cabin of Coconut and I’ve mentioned to several woodworkers I want it rebuilt eventually. They always ask me how, and now at least I have an image of what it should look like! One day, in Mejico, this will be done.



I remembered Joel telling me his chainplates were put on the exterior of the boat. When I was redoing my rigging, I mentioned this but the yard wasn’t interested in re-doing the design and getting a naval architect involved. The picture of Coconut’s chainplates are the old ones, as you can see they were pretty crusty. They’re new now, so have no fear!




Coconut’s hatch has plexiglass to let light in, which I prefer. But I also prefer Val’s style of non-skid.
Storm sails! We don’t have any.
The universal ball joint that hooks a steel rod to an emergency tiller to use if you loose steering. I do not have this piece! In Mejico….
Val’s got an electric motor, hence all the batteries. Also recently got a water maker, hence the 1 cylinder engine.


The shelving area where the fridge is on Coconut was torn up. The photo below is from when I first bought the boat, so I immediately tore out all of the old electrical stuff. I eventually filled in the hole in the shelf with epoxy so I could at least use it as a shelf, but being that there’s no railing things fall off fairly easily. Also, on Val a previous owner attempted maybe to replace the insulation on the fridge, something I will need to do at some point. I’m not sure I’d go about it the same way they did…

Val’s area under the refer
SO MUCH SPACE AFT!!! Joel removed the propane box, both dorade boxes, as well as the traveller track. It looks slick! Not sure I’ll get into those projects anytime soon, although it looks so roomy.


When it comes to the shop… I’m not sure I can work this but I really like the doors on the cabinetry, along with the upper shelf (white). I currently have to reach my hand around the corner to feel my way to the correct tool I’m looking for. It never works, and I end up removing everything which is annoying. I’ve got a 2nd shelf but it’s kinda sorta falling down and there’s only maybe 2″ of space to store stuff. I like Val’s solution better.  I also realized after the fact that Val’s hull number is inside the shop! When I had a survey done, we couldn’t find the hull number anywhere and honestly I’ve never seen it. I now know where it should be. (Anyone know if I can just inscribe it on a piece of wood and slap it in there? Or does it have to be more official?)