Night 3 onboard at the Shelter Island Boatyard, San Diego.
Thursday, 14 Feb: After a tiring day of flying around Mexico, courtesy of Orbitz (one of those web based el cheapo travel companies) where I was routed from Puerto Vallarta, through Guadalajara, Mexico City and Cabo San Lucas, I finally arrived in San Diego. The ticket was cheap so I guess I got what I paid for.
The last 2 days have been a blur. Thanks to the generosity of the broker I have been able to get in contact with all of the experts needed to do the work on the boat. Unfortunately many of them can’t start for a few days or weeks but as of this afternoon it looks like our target date of 12 March might be achievable. The companies I had counted on to start the work early all bailed on me, including the engineer who was supposed to be finished by now. I can’t blame him too much as he blew a knee in a skiing accident in January. He is supposed to be coming tomorrow to start his bit. I now have an electrician lined up for next Wednesday and a rigger to do the mast work at the end of the month. The electrician, Doctor Electron, was highly recommended by a cruiser in Puerto Vallarta. His initial inspection today was reassuring. I may not have to get as much work done as I expected and he recommended some changes to my battery system that will significantly improve my power availability. The batteries that had previously boiled off will most likely have to be replaced but I will be able to improve my house bank while reducing my starter set.
I have come to the realization that it is impossible to do any project of this type without a reliable source of communication. Everyone I speak to needs a phone number to reach me and I can’t always rely on the good graces of the broker, particularly on the weekend. My search for a cheap cell phone was rewarding today. I found a pay-as-u-go system today with 200 anytime minutes for under $50.00. Can’t beat that! I got my first wrong number at 5:30 the next morning….
Meanwhile, between shopping trips to Target, West Marine, Home Depot, Goodwill, groceries and other bits I have been able to get some of the onboard projects started. It is a steep learning curve, figuring out the systems. I now appreciate the requirement we had as new members of a ship’s company when we were tasked to trace the systems onboard our new ships. I wish it was as easy on this boat but much of the wiring and plumbing is inaccessible, however, by lifting bilge boards and settee cushions I have been able to trace the important circuits, valves and fittings.
Yes, that was Goodwill in the last paragraph. There were no pots, pans, cutlery or crockery onboard when we bought this boat. One of the boxes I unpacked contained a set of dishes Fran had ordered from Target. The remainder of the equipment I needed came from Goodwill and the Salvation Army stores. They have big ones here and they are very popular stores with lots of dedicated shoppers. I even got a 10% discount for being over 55!
Saturday 16 Feb: More running around today. Some of the plumbing items I need require specialist stores. You can’t find plumbing bits for a 34-year old boat built in the UK at Home Depot so a trip out of town to a specialist-plumbing store was needed. That took most of the day as I had to do 4 stores to find the right part.
I spent most of this evening going through the 5 binders that the former owner left with the boat. They contain most of the technical literature for the equipment on the boat. The former owner was a techie and wanted lots of shiny electronic gizmos so I have some pretty fancy equipment onboard. After purchasing the boat in 2003 he had approx $45K of improvements done. This included rewiring the boat to 12V from 24V, refrigeration, new sails and running rigging and replacing all of the electronics. There is even a weather-fax here somewhere but I haven’t found it yet. There is also a 2 meter rig! The learning curve has steepened!
Until today the weather here has been horrid. Yesterday we had rainsqualls on and off all day but today we had a change for the better and it was warm until the sun set. Nights have been quite cold. I’ve had to use sail bags as extra blankets!
Sunday: Bought a nice wool blanket at Goodwill and shopped at Home depot again. I should have bought shares! Good progress today in the warm sunshine, finally. Also found a free internet spot but I have to drive about 6 blocks to the parking lot of the Holiday Inn to use their service. Beggars can’t be choosers…..
More next week.