I've reached the first major milestone in the restoration of Windsong!! wooooo! I finished grinding off countless layers of antifouling paint, the entire gelcoat, and blisters a-plenty. With everything ground down to bare glass, the hull can now dry out for the remainder of time we are on the hard. I'll come back whenever I am done with all other boat work to fill the blister depressions and other areas in need of repair, fair the entire hull, apply the epoxy barrier coat, and paint. I ended up opening around 80-90 significant blisters on the entire hull, and countless little ones. You can see in the pictures all of the blister holes.
It was evident that this boat was in PRIME conditions for blisters and water damage in the hull: warm, fresh water and the paint had not been renewed in over 10 years. The paint blistered first, trapping water between the paint and gelcoat; then over time the water absorbed into the gel coat and into voids between the first two layers of glass. I might elaborate on this eventually, but right now I'm just happy all of the nasty grinding and sanding is finished.
You can see in the pictures how good the gelcoat is on the rudder. If only the rest of the boat was like that, I would have a lot less work to deal with. But from the looks of it, whoever made the boat did not do a good job laying up the glass on the hull, causing voids and blister problems.
Now I will turn my attention to the decks and interior work. My primary goal in this next phase is to remove all hardware from the deck and seal all holes with epoxy, eliminating all deck leaks and preventing core rot. I'm sure I'll find all sorts of surprises in this process, including some bad areas on the deck that may need re-coring. In between doing that work I'll continue to disassemble the interior. Yesterday I decided I wanted to start pulling all of the old bilge pumps out of the deep keel bilge and attempt to get it dry. I opened up a can of worms finding old hoses that led to nowhere and all sorts of junk in the bottom of the bilge.
I can be happy that the most grueling portion of work is done with though. Grinding the bottom for two months straight in the Florida heat was not fun, but it needed to get done.