Boatyard Ramblings                                              
January 2014

 Happy New Year from everyone at Pelican's Perch Marina.

  Have you stopped by the marina and seen the new 50 Ton Travel Lift yet? It's certainly an impressive piece of boat lifting technology. With two speed lift winches, remote control technology and rapid ground transit operation, it has significantly reduced our haul out and launch cycle times and made us far more efficient. 


Is this important?

You bet it is during periods of tropical activity in the Gulf. The ability to quickly haul, move and block boats becomes of utmost importance during potential storm events. Have you reserved your place in the 2014 Hurricane Club yet? Don't put it off as space is filling up quickly and with our protected location, ground elevation and the new Travel Lift our Club is one of the most desirable.


As always, thank you for your business.




Captain Shirley Brown Dedication Ceremony 


On December 6th marina supporters gathered for the Marine Travel Lift Dedication Ceremony. The new lift was christened in the memory of the marina founder and patriarch, Captain Shirley Brown. To view photos from the ceremony click here.



Surf & Turf


As a co-owner of Pelicans Perch Marina, a licensed Yacht Broker, and a Pensacola RealtorŪ, I see the two topics of boats and real estate to be very similar. The big difference is, of course, that boats float and houses don't, at least not usually, although there are some large house boats that you can plant trees on.


The similarities are numerous. Either will lose value if not properly maintained. Small matters, such as termites, wood rot, and peeling paint do not get better with age. Boat bottoms, teak, and engines also do not get better with age and neglect.


They both even can leak, and a boat can leak from top & bottom whereas a house usually only leaks from the roof (the house doesn't sink usually, at least not in our part of Florida).


I've been in the Yacht business for over 40 years and seen needless expensive repairs because a small problem was allowed to grow. It's just like cancer. Get it early and it's much easier and cheaper. I'm a licensed Florida Yacht Broker as well as a licensed Florida RealtorŪ and can advise on both. We also have great advisors in David, Bill, and Scott Burt's team.


We love to make money as does everyone, and we do make more on small problems that have become large ones, but we also care about the health of boats and of houses and commercial property too. I feel that one of my responsibilities as an owner of Pelicans Perch Marina and as a RealtorŪ is to help you properly maintain your asset, whether it be a boat or property, in a manner that when you do decide to sell, it has a maximum value, and your ownership costs have been as low as possible.


One of the most disappointing events in my life as a Yacht Broker was finding a reasonably priced rare sailboat on the east coast for a client in Pensacola. He was so happy. We hired a surveyor and the finding was that the hull was so waterlogged that the boat actually had negative value! Had they properly maintained the hull over the years that they owned it they would have sold it for a handsome price. Now nothing!


I'm not going to say that Pelicans Perch is the best place (although I think so, and so do our customers). I am going to say that at Pelicans Perch, as at Real Estate Counselors, Inc., where I am affiliated, you will get people who genuinely care about you and your boat or home. The crew at Pelicans Perch has many years of experience serving the boaters of Pensacola and Northwest Florida and South Alabama. We've even had boats come from international locations that were told in a Caribbean port to come to us as we were the best!


We work hard for those accolades and will work hard for you.


The Marina, which was known as Brown's Marina, was founded in the early 1950s by my Father, Capt. Shirley J. Brown who knew how important it was to do a good job at anything you do and to treat people honestly and fairly. That is still the course at Pelicans Perch Marina & Boatyard and will remain so as long as the Brown Family owns it.


By the time this newsletter comes out we should have taken delivery of the new 50 ton Travel Lift which will reinvigorate our boatyard with a modern, high speed, machine. If you haven't been to see us in a while please come visit and see the new Travel Lift and what we've done since Capt. Brown's passing in 2005.


And remember, the winter months are a great time to do the repairs that take a while, like bottom peels and renovations. Ask Bill Guttmann about the winter storage specials that the Marina has available this winter.


The Brown Family would like to wish a very prosperous 2014 and beyond for you and your family.


- W. Ted Brown

Loyalty Defined


Patsy Stokes recently celebrated her thirty-third year of service at the marina. She's seen just about everything possible in the marina business during those years and still shows up bright and early each day ready to face new challenges and opportunities. We appreciate her dedication and service which has outlasted a lot of businesses in today's world. Patsy is a valuable part of what makes Pelican's Perch Marina the special place it is. 


Next time you see her, please congratulate her on her thirty-third year with us.


Thank you Patsy!

Applying Bottom Paint 
Don Casey,


We recently found this excellent article by Don Casey regarding bottom painting in BoatUS and thought it warranted reprinting here. 

Preparation required for a successful bottom job begins as soon as the hull clears the water.



Slime and growth are relatively easy to remove while the bottom is still wet, but let the stuff dry and you will have to chisel it off. Fortunately most boatyards pressure wash the bottom as soon as they haul the boat, and many will also knock off hard growth with a long-handled scraper. If bits of bottom paint flake off under the pressure of the washer nozzle, ask the yard worker to make another pass to remove as much loose paint as possible.



Remember that the adhesion of the new paint is only as good as that of the paint under it, so watch for signs of adhesion failure. Anywhere the old paint is flaking or lifting, worry exposed edges with a knife or small chisel. If the paint zips off, the bottom needs to be stripped.

You may also have to strip the bottom if you are changing the type of paint. For example, the aggressive solvents in vinyl paints lift other types of bottom paints, so if you are applying vinyl, any non-vinyl paint has to come off. And soft, sloughing paints are a poor undercoat for anything other than a fresh coat of the same.

Using a 2-inch hook scraper is the stripping method least injurious to both you and the planet, and this is often the easiest method as well. If you decide to use a chemical stripper, be sure it is one formulated for fiberglass; regular strippers will attack the gelcoat.


When the old paint is in good condition, in general you need only sand it, wash it, tape the waterline, and roll on a fresh coat or two. A grinder loaded with 80-grit disks on a foam pad can quickly prepare a hull for recoating, but it can also chew through the paint and into the laminate in an instant. If you lack experience with this powerful tool, 80-grit paper in a random orbit sander or a finishing sander will do the same job somewhat less quickly but with much less risk to the hull. Do not use a belt sander; it is designed to make things flat and that is the effect it will have on your hull.

Many boatyards now prohibit normal power sanding because of the dust it generates. The solution is a shop-vac and a random-orbit sander with a vacuum hose connection. If you don't want to buy a new sander, slip a length of plastic hose over the dust bag mount on your old palm sander and tape the other end into the shop-vac hose. Either rig will capture most of the toxic dust sanding generates, but not all of it. Be sure to wear a tight-fitting respirator--not a paper mask--while sanding. Also wear earplugs to shut out the din of the sander and the vac. You'll save your hearing and find the work much less tiring.

Even if you aren't stripping the bottom, it is good practice to sand away most of the previous application. This avoids a thick build-up that will eventually turn brittle and cause new paint to flake. A different color first coat provides a flag that signals when you have sanded enough.


Bare Fiberglass

A hull that has not been previously painted has mold release wax on the fiberglass that will interfere with paint adhesion unless you remove it. Clean the hull surface thoroughly with dewaxing solvent and plenty of clean rags before you sand; otherwise sanding drags the wax into the scratches and it will be that much harder to remove.

Sand the de-waxed hull lightly with 80-grit paper before applying the first coat of paint--the flag coat--which should be a different color from the top coat(s).



If the boatyard has a paint shaker, run it for at least 5 minutes to get the copper and the pigment evenly distributed throughout the paint. A drill-powered mixing paddle can also do a good job. In the absence of a either, pour half the paint into a mixing bucket so you can mix the remaining half vigorously without sloshing paint onto the ground. Keep dredging up the copper off the bottom of the can until the bottom feels clean to the touch of your paddle. Slowly stir in what you poured off until the paint is uniform in color and consistency. If the paint has been on the shelf awhile, getting it mixed thoroughly can take 10 or 15 minutes, but don't skimp; if the copper isn't evenly distributed, some areas of your hull won't be protected.



Roll the paint onto the hull using a short-nap roller cover. An extension for the handle will make painting the keel easier and keep you clear of the inevitable droplets the roller will sling. Wear sleeves and gloves to keep the paint off your skin.

Don't add any thinner to bottom paint unless the manufacturer specifies otherwise. (There are exceptions to every rule: thinner may be required if the day is hot and windy.)

Fill the basin of your paint tray with paint. Dip your roller, unload it on the tray slope, and roll it up and down on the hull, i.e. from waterline to keel. Work fast as many bottom paints dry quickly. Each time you refill the paint tray, first stir the paint in the can to keep the copper in suspension.

By the time you work all the way around the hull, many bottom paints will be dry enough to overcoat. Check the specifications on the paint you are using. A second coat lengthens the life of almost any bottom paint; copolymers benefit from 3 or 4 coats. No sanding or other prep is needed between coats. Save some paint for the areas under the stand or cradle pads.

Get the yard manager to move the stands as soon as the rest of the hull is dry (never move stands yourself!), and put rags or sheet plastic on the pads to protect your new paint. Prep the bare spots and apply the appropriate number of coats. Save a little paint to slap on the areas on the bottom of the keel you can't get to until the boat is lifted.


Prop and Shaft

You can paint the prop if you like, but copper-based paint won't stay on a bronze prop (nor bronze rudders and struts) for long. Prop paints are available, but demanding prep--up to four prime coats--discourages their use. A heavy coat of wax on the prop will keep it clean for a time.

Don't paint the shaft, and be sure you leave all anodes unpainted. If you are installing new anodes--a good idea--make certain you don't paint over their mounting locations. Good electrical contact is essential for anodes to do their job.

Let bottom paint dry at least overnight before you put masking tape on it to paint the bootstripe. Get hard bottom paint into the water within the time specified on the label.

2014 Hurricane Club
The 2014 hurricane season will be on us before we know it, so reserve your spot now in case "that storm" decides to pay us a visit. Our new 50-ton Marine Travel Lift will be the fastest and most rapid lifting Travel Lift in the area, and because of its mechanical condition, should provide the most reliable, trouble-free service as well. Our Hurricane Plan is limited to the first 25 boats to register, so don't delay. For details, prices and agreement please visit our website.
Don't miss an informative "Repowering Your Sailboat" article in the next edition of Boatyard Ramblings.
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