Old Mack’s Tales

July 18, 2011

It’s Time to Scrub the Moss of Her Hull.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ron McKinney aka "OldMack" @ 5:46 pm

It’s Time to Scrub the Moss of Her Hull.


With an offer to buy OldMack’s sailboat pending I decided to put a new tarp over her.  With Allison’s help I pulled off the flaking, tattered white tarp and discovered that the white deck and hull were green with moss.


Allison came over Sunday morning to do the remainder of her laundry—her washing machine is broken.  After loading the washer, I asked her to help me uncover the boat.


“It’s going to take a gallon of bleach and a good scrubbing to get that gunk off,” she said.


I handed her thirty-five bucks and asked her to buy a five-pound bag of baking spuds and a large jug of bleach; I wanted “Klaused potatoes” and eggs for breakfast to fuel me up for the day’s work ahead.


“I’ll have to go home and change into old clothes for this job.  I’ll be back in an hour.”


“Bring some buckets with you.  The dogs have chewed up all of mine.”


She returned wearing faded shorts and one of her husband’s oversized Tees and a fisherman’s hat.  The bag of spuds was in her bucket.  I put the bag of spuds on top of the fridge and took her bucket out to the boat.


While Allison loaded the washer and drier, I hosed down the boat, inside and out.  The plastic dust from the old tarp collected in the bilge, so I removed two of the planks from the cockpit sole on either side of the centerboard trunk so the gunk and water could be siphoned or vacuumed out.


Allison came out with a pair of scrub brushes and a brush with a long handle.  She got into the boat and scrubbed the foredeck while I poured water with bleach and soap over it.  We worked together and soon had the boat’s topsides glaring brightly in the sunshine.  I brought out my small, 1.5 gallon wet or dry Shop-vac.  Allison used it to clean the debris from under the cockpit sole planks and to open the scuppers in the hull floors. We must have removed five pounds of rotten leaves along with fifteen gallons of water with the Shop-vac.  I discovered that the leathers in my old Navy Bilge Pump had dried out and it wouldn’t suck to start a siphon.  That’s something I plan to remedy later today, if the spirit so moves me.


It took us less than an hour of scrubbing to clean the rest of the hull and to put a new tarp over the boat.  We finished shortly before the first rain shower began.


Cleaning the drains and cementing them to the hull is on the top of my to-do list for today…  The boat was designed with a system of tubes and a hose connection to which my old Navy bilge pump attaches.  It used to work fine when sailing in heavy seas, but time and neglect have taken their toll.  And then I’ll have to break loose the rusty bolts on the trailer which attach the bunks on which the boat will rest while being towed.  If I owned an oxy-acetylene torch, I’d simply burn the bolts off and install new ones, but we go with what we have on hand.  I hope to have the work finished by the time my buyer gets here with the cash.


As it turned out, we didn’t eat breakfast until after our work was done.  By then I was ravenous and ate too much.


Allison, who ate less than half of her baked potato said: “No wonder you’re so fat, Dad.  You ought to lose twenty pounds for the sake of your beat-up old heart.”  I agreed with her, thanked her for all of her help and kissed her good-bye.


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