The Enemy of Good

Categories Maintenance Log

Dans ses écrits, un sage Italien
Dit que le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.

– Voltaire, “La Bégueule”

Seemingly out of nowhere, warm temperatures and an uncharacteristically early start to our morning helped us complete a lot of spring maintenance.

The first step was to get the cover off. Gravity has its advantages, and taking it off is a lot easier than putting it on. We untied the trucker’s hitches that connect it to the cradle and I climbed up to undo the lacing and zippers that allow it to fit around our stanchions and standing rigging. Jen stayed on the ground and collected the pieces of the cover as I fed them over the lifelines. We still feel like our cover is an unwieldy beast compared to the 22’s, but we watched the crew of a Freedom 35 wrestle with theirs, which they said weighs over 200 pounds, and were thankful that ours fits comfortably in the back seat of a Subaru with no attempt at folding it properly.

With the tiedowns out of the way, we could start prepping for bottom paint. We spread out drop cloths and weighted them with rocks, then scuff-sanded with 80 grit sandpaper to give the remaining paint some “tooth” and allow the new paint to adhere. The sanding was honestly a somewhat half-assed affair, but we gave it a shot in some of the most troublesome areas and still wound up getting kind of blue in the process. We foolishly washed up, and commenced with wiping down the whole boat with naphtha to get rid of the dust, which turned us blue again. Jen told me to stop rubbing my eyes because it looked like I had on blue eyeshadow (knowing that I only wear metallic earth tones).


I taped off the line where the bottom paint stops and we proceeded with the actual painting. I rolled on fresh bottom paint while Jen kept the paint tray full and moved it and the drop cloths around as I completed areas. The paining part isn’t that difficult, and would be trivial if the boat were able to float in space without the cradle—the supports block easy access to some of the more finicky areas, like where the keel meets the hull. This is probably too personal, but I really love my extension pole for this. It’s a Shur-Line Easy Reach, which extends from 30 to 60 inches, but doesn’t have one of those twist locks that’s constantly untwisting and collapsing without warning. It has several stops along its travel where a pin clicks it into place, allowing for quick and precise changes as I move from kneeling on rocks in pain to hunching over in pain to standing almost like a human in pain, trying to access the various parts of the hull. It went relatively quickly, and the thick bottom paint is pretty forgiving.

Artistic Shot

With one coat on, we went for a drive. We drove along the back roads by the bay, through Toms River, and eventually over the bridge to Seaside, because I’ve heard that watching paint dry is tedious.

The second coat went even more quickly.

Painting Completed

It’s not perfect, but especially when it comes to bottom paint, perfect is the enemy of good.

Shadows of my Legs, Walking Back to the Car

The shadows were getting long by the time we cleaned up and had everything safely stashed for transport, but we completed everything that we intended to, and are technically ready for launch. It was a relief to only be kind of blue, given that in previous years, we’ve been quite blue. The boat log may suffer when things don’t break down into calamity, but sometimes I’m left thinking that we might be getting better at this.


"Prepare to fend off the bridge abutment."