Ingredients for success.

Circles in the sand.

9th January 2021

Portimão Marina, Portugal

Whenever embarking on a boat job it’s important you have all the stores to complete it, time should be on your side, the right attire should be worn and the weather should be right for glue to set, paint to dry or resins to cure. If a single one of these ingredients is missing then you’ll be knocking on the door to a world of failure.

With the decks all scraped, sanded, and cleaned the painting could finally begin. The right volumes of specialist paint had been procured, paintbrushes of the right size sourced and attire of the painting variety donned*. Iain was then all ready to crack on with the job, suddenly he found a problem. There was nothing to mix the paint in.

Rifling through the cupboards he hoped beyond hope to find a nearly empty jar. He’d then be able to empty the yummy remnants and start his mixing. Amazingly a jar of exactly the right size was found and in the bottom was a thin layer of tahini. Tahini is a key ingredient of houmous and Iain likes houmous, so out came a teaspoon to hoover up the yumminess. As the tahini touched Iain’s tongue he realised that individual components of a yummy dish are not yummy and although Fiona said Iain ‘could’ eat it, she didn’t say he ‘should’ eat it.

Everything was now set and decks that were once covered in tired old patchy treadmaster, which had then been converted into smooth gelcoat finally matched the rest of Ruffians slick modern grey decks. The only worry now was that as Iain was fighting the clock and the temperature was plummeting, would the quality of the job be sufficient or would he be resolved to sanding off the paint he’d just added?

As dawn broke we could finally survey the hard work. Fiona’s exacting eye was happy. No sanding was going to happen, a day of fun could commence and that fun was going to happen on Calista a brand new Amel 50.

Calista was not just going for a sail for the joy of the sail, unspoken tanks had to be emptied of unspoken contents. Effortlessly slipping out of the dock the first surprise greeting us, the bow thruster pushed the boat through turns Ruffian would find impossible and then, with the simple push of a couple of buttons, sails were rolled out, sails were trimmed and we were slipping along silently and effortlessly.

We marvelled at the setup from the halyards with sacrificial tails terminated on tracks, to the stern seats giving the most spectacular sailing view. Calista is an amazing boat, but Ruffian is the boat for us.

Back of Ruffian the painting was about to get serious. Not only did we have jars the right size to hold the mixed paint Fiona felt compelled to don her fashionably fitted overalls with matching woolly hat. While Fiona worked her magic on the aft deck Iain would toil on the coach roof. Slowly Ruffian was restored to her gleaming greyness, scuff marks were removed, wear patches unworn and she started to look and feel like a very loved boat.

After days of painting Ruffian is looking amazing, but she only looks amazing thanks to having the right equipment, not fighting the clock and having the weather on our side.

* In Iain’s case this just means his usual clothes which are pre torn, pre paint splattered and some would consider worn out.

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Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

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