Archive for the ‘pessimism’ Category

“It’s a new boat!” said Ricardo, and he should know since he manufactures the Access dinghies

The Green Machine

The Green Machine

used in Shake-A-Leg Miami’s beginner sailing program. Together, Ricardo, Melissa, and I took The Green Machine’s interior from faded and jaded to sparkling new again, applying a series of Star brite products and elbow grease. What fantastic results!

I’ve got to say, that was the high point of my weekend, which had been fraught with false starts and aggravations.

Once we saw how sharp Green Machine looked, including its newly painted hull (color: Interlux Matterhorn White), I sent Ricardo and Melissa off to find more dinghies for our anticipated large crew of  Sept. 26 volunteers to clean. Alas. Little Green was the only one that did not need additional work in the form of removing old paint. So back to “Go” on that idea.

We had some other course corrections this week, too. Remember how much I liked the photo of the kids in the hangar as they flowed past the newly painted boats? I loved how that image showed multiple aspects of Shake-A-Leg Miami co-existing, but it also made it clear that we needed a better way to organize our workspace to minimize exposure. No small fingerprints on fresh paint, no sanding dust under small feet.

Consequently, we are switching to a divide-and-conquer space arrangement with the addition of an enclosed space outside, in close proximity to an approved water-containment tank; and, inside, we are taking new measures to contain dust, primarily through wet sanding, hauling water, and other evidence of the Ship Shape Team’s ingenuity for solving any problem that we throw its way.

One more course correction: Our first coats of “Fighting Lady Yellow” and “Royal Blue” were thrilling, even though we knew we needed better coverage.  Our second coats applied last Wednesday gave us the coverage we wanted, but also left slight ridging from the primer, and left me feeling a little discouraged when I saw them Friday afternoon.

We had planned to go on to paint another brace of Freedoms on Saturday, but we still needed to finish boot striping the first two, and none of us were ecstatic about the gloss or the smoothness, so we set to work preparing for yet another coat for each boat.

Ray Talks Tape

Ray Talks Tape

The best part of the day was listening to SALM staffer Ray Rautenberg explain how to lay down tape for the boot stripe. He is a gifted teacher with great attention to details. I wish I could have him working on the Ship Shape project all the time, but he’s needed for other duties, too.

Ray then got us started on the familiar roll-and-tip painting method once again, following all the same steps we’d already done twice. We were out of Royal Blue, so I put in a call to Interlux’s Joe Purtell for more, and we’ll apply that Wednesday or Saturday, depending on availability of team members.

The “Fighting Lady Yellow” looked great by the end of the day, but on Sunday morning, I saw to my great disappointment that beneath the gloss we had microscopic bubbles, perhaps not even visible to many eyes.  Now the question is, do it again in our quest for perfection? Or call it a training exercise and move on?  I’ll wait to hear from the paint experts, but I suspect most of the crew wants to do it again.

So, Sunday was not a great day. Several expected volunteers called to say they needed a break, or just did not show up. Still we had enough to push ahead with prepping three more dinghy hulls, and then there was the triumph of The Green Machine!

I think I’ll be glad when this week is over. I have a lot of projects to complete in my “real” job, getting ready for an online event for Professional BoatBuilder magazine, and prepping for the upcoming IBEX show.

I’m finding out that scheduling boats for repair is an ongoing nightmare. Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but it’s an incredible balancing act to provide boats for all the SALM activities, and still pull out ones that need repair and painting, knowing they may be out of service for several days or weeks at a time.

That may be easier in the near future, though. Ship Shape Team Member Emma Wicks has picked up where I left off on learning about “BackTrack” software, offered to us by Norman Katz of www.katzscan.com. Emma and Norm have already come up with a plan for implementing this software that will – eventually – make life easier for everyone at SALM by letting us track just about what ever needs tracking, i.e. small children, boats, supplies, and equipment.

At the same time, our surveyor Pat Kearns and her associate Janine Skula are wrapping up their assessment of the fleet and facilities. Pat says it won’t be a pretty picture, but it will be a serious system-restore point for the work that needs to be done to bring SALM to the forefront of “Best Practices” for community boating centers.

We now have just about 2 1/2 weeks left before our reception for the marine industry on October 11. We’re expecting bout 200 boatbuilders, marine educators, yard managers, and vendors to visit SALM. Again, our goal is to convince them that this is a place that deserves the industry’s support and warrants their continued interest.

If you want to help with the Ship Shape Project, click on the Volunteer tab above.


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