Antifouling off in the Norsand boatyard

4 weeks of hard work in the Norsand boatyard in Whangarei

After home visit and visiting New Zealand it is about time that we do something for our boat again.

On Monday, the 23rd of March Kevin and David of the Norsand boatyard put our She San onto their trailer and carefully take her out of the water.

Trailer Norsand Boatyard
She San on the trailer in the Norsand Boatyard
Traktor Norsand Boatyard
then the truck just tows us out of the basin.
Barnacle growth townbasin Whangarei
Oh my god – after a bit more than 4 months in the town basin the barnacles are all over…
Barnacle growth townbasin Whangarei
Most of it is off, it gives a few loads of push carts…

It is really about time we realize, since the propellers were already quite grown over, the propulsion wasn’t great any more and the poor underwater ship is completely covered with a thick layer of town basin barnacles.

More than 4 months sitting continuously in the rather brown water of the town basin give the result. We scrape the worst off and Murray carries away several carts of barnacles.

After the pressure washing we realize that the part with the 15 years full of antifouling layers is not in the best condition any more.
Antifouling cracks
After the pressure washing we have our first surprise…
…the antifouling is cracking everywhere, even on the thickest layers above the waterline
Antifouling removal
With the chisel Reto takes off centimeter by centimeter
Personal Protective Equipment in the boatyard
The two “easter bunnies” Reto and Berry in their personal protective equipment for sanding and painting

We purchase a sanding machine and start to work. While Reto is sanding or taking the loose stuff off with the chisel I use the same to take the 1000nds of barnacle rests off that haven’t gone off after pressure washing.

It both takes an awefull lot of time but after a few days we see progress and think we can soon start to paint. It is then when our friend Hannes from the Blue Lilly tells us “ just take the rest of it off as well and you can start and have a new basis on a layer of Epoxy. It will only be 2-3 more days..”

We also like the idea to get finally the 15 years old paint off and consider his advice. For another week Reto is taking off centimeter by centimeter of the antifouling, either with the chisel, by sanding or the very thick layers at the waterline even with the paint stripper (chemicals). In this  process he has to paint a small part of the antifouling with the stripper, cover it with plastic foil so it doesn’t dry out before it reacts with the antifouling and then scrape off the loosened paste of antifouling/stripper mixture with a spatula. All in all a really nasty procedure.


In the meantime I clean the algae and rust off the gelcoat, a job that rewards me with lot more visual result per working time…

Often we don’t take time to have a proper lunch, but our dear neighbor Carole from the Grey Goose is always there to cheer us up and give us some goodies, chocolate and fudge for Reto and fruits for myself 😉

Easter eggs
Happy Eastern! The eggs painted with edding are a bit improvised, as is the self made mayonaise

On Easter Sunday we do take time and enjoy our Edding coloured Easter eggs with self made mayonnaise (my first time, and it took me 3 egg yolks until I understood the trick…

The boatyard is full with other yachties of which many we already had met before. Jadean, our neighbors for example we already have met in Huahine, French Polynesia for the first time.

Ukulele Jadean
Reto playing on Jade’s Ukulele

Everybody helps each other out, either with know how tips and tricks, or with borrowing equipment or giving us a lift to the supermarkets or hardware store. Thanks to Robusta we don’t have to buy a vacuum cleaner and thanks to Jadean, Anna Caroline, Grey Goose and Blue Lilly we get many rides across town to get the stuff that is too difficult with the bicycles.

David and band
David (playing the drums) with his band is animating the sailors to danse
BBQ party in the boatyard
Maya and Carapitanga visiting us in the Boatyard

In the evenings everybody meets around the BBQ, a great place to end a working day chatting to the other sailors. Apart from the fact that we love BBQ, the cool thing is that we don’t have to clean up the boat every evening, so every single space is filled with tools and material…

In addition to the daily BBQ evenings we also celebrate a few parties: David is playing with his band, Luci celebrates her 25th birthday and on two other nights our friends from Maya and Carapitanga visit.

The weather forecast gives us a good weather until the weekend, we would like to use that and paint before on Monday a storm is coming.
She San stripped and cleaned
Finally we can start to build up again
Antifouling off
Several kilogramm of old antifouling wander into the garbage
Preparation for painting
The critical day: another layer of epoxy, then right afterwards the antifouling has to be applied
Epoxy and antifouling
…half is done…

We sand and clean and degrease and finally on Saturday we are ready to apply the first layer of Epoxy.

On Sunday morning we wait for the humidity to be ok, then we paint the second layer of Epoxy and directly afterwards the first layer of antifouling.

We learn from Hannes that is is very important to find the right moment because otherwise the Antifouling wouldn’t stay on the Epoxy layer.

…and uff, the first layer is on without a drop of rain!

After painting 6 hours in a row we are happy, the critical layers are on without rain and we finally have time to work on other things…

Pitting corrosion rudder shaft
Also the rudder shafts are not in the best condition…

The next priority is the rudder shafts, they have quite a few holes due to pitting corrosion and water is dripping out when we put them upside down. Reto drills out the corrosion holes like a born dentist and makes a few holes into the rudders, to judge the situation. Luckily the stainless steel is only damaged by a little depth and the general structure of the rudders seams to be still alright.

The following surprise are the rudder bearings. While we already brought the inner exchange parts from Germany, we find also the outer housings to show wear resulting in a play that is too much to be ok. We order the parts from Muriel at Fountaine Pajot on Thursday evening, 10 days before our launch date.
We are quite unsure to make that date, as another parcel from the US was stuck in Auckland customs for 3 weeks…
Removal of Rudder bearing housing
Taking out the old rudder bearing housings
Mounting of Rudder bearing housing
A few hours later the new ones are back in again

One week later on Friday morning David comes with a white envelope and tells me “I think you are waiting for this one” – we cannot believe it, our bearing housings have made it in 7 days from ordering in France to the boatyard in Whangarei! Chapeau to Muriel, Fountaine Pajot and FEDEX!!!

A few hours later both old bearings are cut out (thanks the Bosch Multitool) and firmly put back in (thanks to Reto’s skills and the 3 M 5200).

Myself on the other hand, I am struggling with a stubburn polishing product and even though I vigorously try to rub it into the gelcoat (the machine doesn’t manage…) it doesn’t look great.

Gelcoat polish
Witht he right polishing paste I smile again working 😉

I change over to another product, the 3 M restorer and wax and I find myself doing the whole gelcoat again, but this time with pleasure and a lot more success…

Inflating the life raft
Only a strong tow will make the life raft inflate itself
Inflating the life raft
a minute later it is inflated
Inflating the life raft
and gives a nice distraction for everyone in the boatyard..

On Saturday afternoon we all take a break and inflate our 15 year old life raft.

It does inflate quite nicely (see link to the video from the Anna Caroline on Facebook), we test to sit with 8 people inside and find it is not anything to be recommended.

24 hours later it is almost flat, so our chances of survival after that would have decreased rapidly. We are happy to have a new life raft on board but nevertheless pray that we never need to use it!

Next priority, the guest toilet.

on board holding tank
Geniusses at work! The outlet of the tank is glued in with silikone and can only be removed by being cut out…
Cleaning the toilet parts
Beautiful work on a sunny Sunday – the toilet parts have to be cleaned…
Eno oven repair
The door of the oven is corroded, therefore the whole oven needs to be dismantled…
Here the before…
…and 3 weeks later
and again before…
… and 3 weeks later 🙂
Farewell party with Carapitanga and Maya – we have to say goodbye to Vivi, Felipe and Moana – when and where will we meet again?
and afterwards a spontaneous music session with Herbert, Lucy and friends

Already taking the tank out we find that we must be the first ones to do so. The outlet is heavily glued in with silicone and is only possible to be demounted by cutting the outlet off.

Following are a few days of cleaning and removing lime stonish brownish stuff…

Our boat neighbor from the Andiamo walks past me when I am cleaning the toilet parts on Sunday morning and just says “ Welcome in Paradise…”

We almost regret to put her back into the water..
…but there she goes…
…and after 4 weeks of hard work we are happy and proud of the result 😉

2 days later we have done what was on our priority list for the boatyard and it is time to get back into the water.

Without any stress, no problem and no leakage our She San is floating again and we engine back up to the town basin to get some shopping and the next bits on the priority list done…

6 thoughts on “4 weeks of hard work in the Norsand boatyard in Whangarei”

  1. You have done a wonderful job. It looks like new. I love the before and after photos and reminds me of my previous working life. Regards Shiona

    1. Dear Shiona, thanks for you feedback! Yes, the before and after pictures very well remind me too. And how all the cleaning is good to see the defects and understand the way the systems work ;-]

  2. Hi Reto,
    Look like you guys are really enjoying traveling the world. Awesome. Are you planning to go down towards South Africa again.
    Keep well and all the best.
    Greetings from Stuttgart

    1. Hi Damain,
      great to hear from you! Hope you re doing fine in good old Germany 🙂

      Yes, somewhen we plan to be in South Africa. Come back to you the for some tips.

      All the best to you and your family

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