Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Evils of Cockpit Flooring

There are many things I love about my boat.  It is a comfortable home. It sails beautifully in heavy weather. It is very pretty.  But even Papillon has its flaws.

The girls and I were playing a game in the cockpit. Stylish rolled, and the die skittered off the table. All of us shrieked and grabbed for it, but it was too late. It fell through the cockpit floor.

What, you might wonder, is the big deal? Our floor is painted aluminum with a teak grid overlay. It is a good concept: when water gets into the cockpit, it falls through the grate and disappears down the drains in the corners. Meanwhile, you have something non-slippery to stand on. Simple and practical - two of my favourite things.

But let's think this through a little. More than water can fall through those holes. Noodles, Lego people, beads, coins, shells - down it goes. Now add some dust and hair, and you've got a thick mat of yuckiness coating the floor.

I made a face at the die nestled in one of the squares. The squares are too small to allow you to extract anything from the top. Instead, I had to put a finger in each of the adjacent squares and nudge the die up from underneath.

"Catch it!" I cried as it toppled out of my fingers and fell into another hole.

I washed the dust off my fingers and the die. "That's it," I said. "Time to clean the floor."

Which is no big deal... as long as you have a few hours to kill.

Step one: get the floor boards out. Sounds easy, right? The floor comes in three pieces. Just lift and go and quit whining.

Not exactly.

The back boards are okay. Unscrew the removable benches, remove the upright pieces, wiggle the boards out around the hose and the throttle, and you're done.

The main piece is a little more finicky. I sat on the port bench, lifted the table on its hinge, put my feet on the starboard bench,and rested the table on my knees.  I hooked my fingers into the grate, ignoring the dirt driving itself under my fingernails, and started to lift.  Man, that thing is heavy.  I eased the board up, inch by inch, dragging one end away from the binnacle and raising the other against the companionway.

"Stylish! Indy, I'm stuck, someone help me out."

Stylish grabbed the end of the board as I shuffled along the bench and got a new grip. Slowly, slowly I got the board upright, and then onto the dock.  And this is what was left underneath:
Dusty, dusty dust.
It looks like there is a still a floorboard there, doesn't it?  Nope.  Just lint and bits of paper.

Next stop: Shopvac.  There is no point washing until you have scraped off everything you can.  A broom won't do it, because everything is glued to the floor.  I was delighted to find very little food hiding under there - a miracle, since we eat almost all of our meals in the cockpit.  My girls are growing up.
As I shut down the vacuum, Indy appeared in her bathing suit. She is keen on any activity that involves the hose, and it isn't often we do a job that needs so much water. She sprayed down the cockpit, squirted out some soap, and was off to the races.
Indy is a fan of the scrub brush.
She pushed the sludge into the corners, and then I got to do what moms do: pick it up and get rid of it.
Sometimes I am sorry we have so much hair.
As Indy rinsed the floor again, I saw some movement by the drain. I moved closer to get a better look, ready to kill whatever bug was trying to escape.
But it was a lizard.
Where did all of this soap come from?
As soon as I said the "L" word, Stylish materialized in the cockpit. She isn't much for cleaning, but when it comes to animal rescue, she's all over it. She gently scooped up the lizard and marched off down the dock to find him a better home.

We scrubbed and rinsed, scrubbed and rinsed, and finally the floor was clean.
I wrestled the boards and removable benches back in place, and we were done.
So cleeeeeaaaaan!
Just the way I like it.

A few hours later, the girls and I sat down for some brie and baguette. As she gabbled about scrubbing boards on the dock, Indy casually swept some crumbs off the table and onto the floor.

I watched sadly as they drifted through the grate and settled on the aluminum below.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good job!

Love kate