Brightwork, the varnished woodwork on a boat. All the beautiful teak was one part of what attracted Alex and I to Goblin in the first place. No teak decking which requires so much work to maintain, but just enough in the rubrails, grabrails, and companionway to make her glow in the sun. We bought her knowing that we had a lot of refinishing in the near future to keep the wood healthy. A summer on the water followed by winter under shrinkwrap put a lot of UV into the already aged finish. As the wrap came off this spring it was clear that the someday of refinishing was now.

First priority went to the two areas with wood damage, the companionway hatch leading to the back cabin and the cockpit wing boards which hold many of the winches and cleats. Both were showing signs of water intrusion which needed to stop right away. From there I’ve moved onto the toerail around the boat. Quick math problem, it took me an hour to scrape 6 feet of rail. Goblin is 42 feet long, on each side, plus the stern. How long will it take before I throw the scraper overboard?

I’m working one section at a time. The scraping and sanding takes time and my wrists are only so strong. I’d love to be able to prep more at a time but once the old varnish is off, the new finish needs to be applied quickly so the untreated wood does’t crack in the dry or swell in the wet. Also, working on the rail means shifting our docklines around so they don’t ruin my work in progress and there are only so many lines I can shift at once without leaving Goblin unsecured.

Fortunately, applying the finish is quick, maybe ten minutes each section, one coat every day for four days if the weather cooperates. And in the end, watching the water bead up on the refinished surface is so very, very satisfying.

It will take me most of the summer, a little bit at a time. That seems to be my project speed though. I’ll just keep plugging away and one day, all of Goblin will shine again.