Monday, August 30, 2010

An incredible short film

Amazing visuals, fantastic narration, interesting story. Do watch...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hurricane Surf Begins

Ah my favorite time of year....hurricane season! Don't get me wrong, I don't like the destruction and all of the bad things that happen when hurricanes come to land. However, I do love it when they stay offshore and send powerful swells to the East coast. Any dedicated surfer on the right coast gets giddy this time of year, always on the lookout for those deep red blogs coming off Cape Verde in Africa.

I have surfed many hurricane swells in my day and each created a unique experience. I remember surfing perfect a-frame barrels in Crescent Beach for hurricane Floyd with debris floating all around me. Or the long and reeling right hand point break that only breaks with the perfect combination of swell size, angle and tide in North Matanzas Inlet that lit up for me on a freak day by some distant hurricane. Each storm has the potential to give me a memory that will last a lifetime and the thrill of that can't be beat.

So here I am, having surfed most of my life and I am finally living within a minutes walk of the water's edge. I can finally surf all the swells thrown our way from the great Atlantic storms without much constraint. Not only can I surf them all, but I can experience many different conditions throughout a swell or even a single day. My entire surfing life has been spent (except for vacations and whatnot) about 45 minutes away from the coast. Not so far that you can't drive to the beach frequently, but far enough for you to have to budget about 2 hours of travel...and that gets to be a big pain. No more of that for me, the only place I absolutely must go to is work on weekdays. But I could still surf before, during lunch, and all evening after; an impossible feat before I moved here.

Current forecast for the region from

"Aug 27 (Fri 5 PM) - Big surf is inbound! - The charts still indicate Danielle swell will begin to show early Sat morning (probably before daybreak). The swell will build thru the day and peak Sunday. On shore winds are coming with it, but maybe only 10 to 15 knots or so. A second major swell will arrive Wed. How big will it get? Plenty big enough for sure. Just watch for 15 to 16 second swell to show at the 20 mile buoy and head beachside soon thereafter. "

As of right now, 9:15 on Friday, the bouy's read 17 second dominant swell period 20 miles away. Can't wait till morning, the rest of the week, and all the way until the end of the season.

For reference, here is some surf from last year's hurricane Bill...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Deconstruction leads to more fun

Slowly....slowly the deconstruction continues. This past week I've begun to disassemble everything that can be unscrewed in the head and have continued to remove hardware from the deck. In the process of preparing the hardware thru-deck holes to be potted with epoxy, I've discovered a bit of wet core in the cabin top where the handrails were. To investigate, I cut out a piece of the inner skin to see what the core was like around one of the more wet holes and it looks like this:

Zoomed out for size reference:

The core material is some sort of dense foam, not balsa. The dry core I've found elsewhere on the deck is a much lighter color, the core in the picture is wet and darker. The core itself is solid and not rotted away, its just damp. There is no delamination on the top or bottom that I have found.

I am trying to figure out what steps I should take now. Since the foam is solid but damp, do I leave it alone and just pot/epoxy the holes? I fear that the wet core might be bad for the epoxy to cure in the holes or even worse for structural integrity. Should I cut out the inner skin wherever the core is wet so it can dry out, then I guess patch it up with a few layers of new glass?

Any advice would be helpful. If the core was rotting away I would not hesitate to just replace it, but since the core is solid but just damp I'm not sure how to proceed.

That is the main issue holding me up right now. For all the pictures of the deconstruction feel free to check out this gallery:

Disassembling Windsong

You can also see that I've been tooling around with the blog template. Sometime in the near future I plan on completely re-doing this blog and turning it into a dedicated website with its own domain name. I want to arrange the site to tell my story a bit better and so people can access the earlier parts of this story and read in chronological order with ease. Some people may not care about all of this rebuild business and are just interested in the old stories, so I want to cater to them while the long rebuild is going on.

In addition, I plan on posting quite a bit more and include other things occupying my time such as surfing, fishing and other fun things here in beautiful Saint Augustine. In other words, a lot more content! Hopefully I can make it entertaining enough to bring in some new readers and keep the current ones happy. So be on the lookout for changes and more frequent posting.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Nothing too exciting has been going on these past couple of weeks. Since reaching the finishing point on the hull below the waterline, I've turned my attention to the deck and interior. I've been working my way from bow to stern disassembling everything in my path.

So far I've completely gutted the v-berth in the cabin. Before Windsong was even out of the water I had began to remove teak trim and cabinetry and have started the refurbishing of those pieces. These past few weeks I spent time removing the remaining trim, tearing out headliner and the old strips of wood it was attached to, chipping off old formica, ripping out foam insulation in lockers, and generally clearing the space out.

Aside from interior destruction, I've begun to remove all deck hardware. Once old hardware is removed, I will pot all holes with epoxy to seal leaks and prevent core rot in the future. Removing the old hardware is difficult in some areas, particularly the teak handrails. The bolts used to hold them in are very stuck and it took a good amount of effort to get them out. Eventually a boat yard friend showed me the wonder of an impact driver and I ordered one immediately to help speed up this process. Looks like those teak handrails will need to be replaced due to lack of upkeep and accidental damage trying to remove them.

There aren't many interesting pictures of this process. But I've been trying to take pictures of whatever I take apart so I can have a guide while putting the puzzle back together. If you are interested in the pictures of dissassembling Windsong, feel free to browse this gallery:
My new West System epoxy kit should arrive this week and I will begin to pot the hardware holes soon after. I plan on following the process shown here (click link). I'll try to do some good photo documenting of the process for the blog.