maintenance progressions

sprucing up the stanchions: part 1

I had a friend with the same boat as Coconut. He wanted to sell his boat, and offered me the handrails to switch out my lifelines. Being that hard handrails are so much sturdier, I quickly said yes and took off my stanchions. It took two weeks! Those bolts are not easy to get to. He said he’d come down with everything before I left for Antarctica, but realized his passport was expired and we’d do it when I came back. But when I came back, after ignoring me for several days he finally sent me a message saying that he’d sold the boat and didn’t take off any of the handrails (besides the aft portion that I already picked up). This put me in a bind for heading south. I didn’t want to do the 1,000 mile leg with no lifelines. The dogs need to go to the bathroom up there. I’m not sure why ¬†he even asked if I wanted them. Flake all you want but leave me out of it please and thank you.


I was already freshening up the wooden blocks that go between the deck and stanchion base, so I decided to continue with that and figure out a plan. His stanchion bases were much nicer than mine, as some of mine were completely cracked and all of them were so rusty no amount of metal polish could clean them up. I’d seen you could get new bases for $15 a pop at a chandlery in San Diego, so all I needed to order were a couple of t-bar connectors and end caps to fit onto an imaginary stainless steel handrail to go forward one day in the future. I can’t afford those right now, so I am fine putting the forward lifelines back on. Those are in good condition, with new bases it’ll be just like new. Thankfully I was able to purchase exactly what I needed from calendar sales as well as a very kind donation from a dear friend. Thank you!!! <3

While I was gone, I had the toe rail worked on because there was nothing in it’s way and it would be the only shot to clean that baby up. Basically, this has turned into one of those projects that just snowballs into a million other things when you’re already tight on cash. I’m glad I’m doing it though, because I’ve stopped a couple of leaks and will be a helluva lot safer out at sea with new bases. And the teak looking nice and fresh doesn’t hurt. But I decided to paint it because I loathe brightwork and don’t have the patience for ¬†maintaining it.

Besides the pain of getting the nuts and bolts off, what takes the longest is prepping the wood bases. Sanding the old paint off, getting the gunky caulking off the bottoms, drilling out the holes, filling them and other cracks with thickened epoxy, filling them again because air bubbles, sanding them down, putting two coats of epoxy on, and three coats of paint before they are ready to be caulked on and drilled through.

Because my original stanchion bases were welded on, I had the yard break the welds. The “newer” stanchion bases were easy to remove and put onto my stanchions with set screws instead of welding. After that, all I had to do was saw off the eye at the top and the handrail connector could go right over that. This way I wouldn’t have to completely change the location of some of the bases. The aft handrail was much longer for some reason, extending way past the pulpit, but I didn’t want to cut that down until I had the stanchions back in place so I could tell where to cut it to get the correct curvature of the boat.

So far, this is a work in progress and not complete yet….