Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gosling's back in her element!!!

Singlar Guaymas; 20:45, Tuesday, 29 Dec 2009
Finally we are there! We are suspended about 6 inches off the ground by the travel-lift bridles in preparation for launching in the morning. The boat is covered with gear waiting to be shoe-horned somewhere on board. Today was a blur of taking all of our stuff onboard from the car, the area around the boat where we had shed lots of loose gear to get it out of the way while working and from a small lock-up where we had the more valuable items stored. It was also the time to complete any watertight integrity related projects. That meant that the speed sensor that we had purchased and delivered to our Palm Springs friends had to be installed. Now all the holes below the waterline are accounted for. I had delayed this project until I had heard back from the manufacturer of the sensor to make sure it would be compatible with the existing system. Finally we will have a hull speed reading and not just speed calculated by the GPS. Meanwhile, Fran escaped with Elke (Winds of Change) and Kim (Salty) for margaritas in San Carlos leaving Rosie and me to fend for ourselves.
This week we also had the welding done. It isn’t as nice a job as we would have liked and the welder was working on Mexican time. When he showed up he did a fair job which will stand up but it won’t be as pretty as we hoped.
Another project for us will be polishing the welds. Another item that had been overlooked was improving the propane feed from the bottles to the regulator. With the potential hazards associated with propane you don’t want to take any chances. We have an excellent control system with an integrated sniffer and shut-off system in case of leaks but the feed lines needed attention. It was quite an accomplishment to finally find a dealer with all of the specific fittings we needed for under $2.50.
Sunday splashed today. Gil and Lexi’s big tri is at the end dock in the marina where we plan to join them tomorrow.
This week’s preparation brought this whole cruising lifestyle into perspective. This is our third and largest boat. Granted, the last 2 were not live-aboards but imagine trying to fit all the comforts of home on a 42 X 12 ft space where much of the space is already taken up by other more important stuff like the engine, electronics, tools, galley equipment with its all-important fridge( with a small, very small, freezer compartment that produces ice for drinks and keeps a few other items frozen). There is surprisingly little storage space in a 42 ft boat after all of the essentials are packed in. Ironically that includes the case of Girl Guide cookies, 5 months worth of dry dog food and the 4 cases of wine we bought in Palm Springs at $2/btl. (Don’t laugh its good stuff. Fran’s discerning wine palate says so). After you put away your clothes and food there are a myriad of items that have to find a home in a few cupboards and storage areas under the benches and bunks (Christmas decorations). We still have sails and lines stored in the V-berth. Once they are brought to the upper deck and installed, their places below will be taken up by stuff on deck waiting to be stored. We also have to clear up the sleeping quarters up there in case we have guests. Needless to say we will be giving all spaces a once over before we leave and all non-essentials will be stored in the van to await our return or taken to the monthly marine swap meet on Saturday. Wonder what I’ll find that I absolutely can’t do without this time....
21:00, Wednesday, 30 Dec, 09
We have made it!! Gosling is back in her element. It was a successful launch. Once the travel-lift had us lowered us into the water we did thru-hull rounds and found and fixed a minor leak in a valve. The engine started right up (thanks Omar the mechanic from last year) and Fran drove us around the marina to our berth. Now comes the real work of getting everything ship shape and all gear stowed. The problem is getting to those tasks without other distractions. As soon as we got alongside Fran announced that neither of the heads were working. That took a few hours to fix. One was easy the other required some repair to an overly large vaccuum break port in the salt water feed line. Naturally it took about 1/2 hour to access it. A more permanent repair will be an item on next year's wishlist. Shore power started to cut out; found the problem in a defective plug in the same cord we had been using for the past month.
Still hadn’t received a part back from the welder; he’s 3 days late. After 3 calls from 3 different people in the yard he finally showed up. The part is repaired and will work but it isn’t pretty.
Tomorrow will be a full day with no distractions, I hope, and tomorrow evening we will celebrate the beginning of a new decade.
Happy New Year everyone from Jean-Guy, Fran and Rosie aboard Gosling, in the water in Guaymas, Mexico

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Refit Report #5

Refit Report #4
2145, Sunday, 20 Dec, 2009, Guaymas
Happy Birthday Mike, our youngest son....
We are still on the hard but the end is in sight. We have re-installed most of the gear that was removed for the painting and today the bottom was sanded in preparation for the anti-fouling, Hope to do that tomorrow. Some of the windows still need to be re-installed but the fitting of the frames has been completed. We have given up on getting the welding done by Hernandez so we have contacted one of his competitors. Hope the quality of the work is up to par.
Another accomplishment today: for the past week we have had an annoying fresh-water leak into the bilge and it was getting worse – so much so that the water tanks were almost dry. Finally found the culprit; a broken clamp on the fresh water supply tubing under the galley sink, an excellent reason to check all clamps on a regular basis.
Fran has been busy making up wind scoops for the hatches from a design she saw on the web. They are turning out quite well. Maybe this will be a sideline. She has also found some other cruisers interested in morning yoga.
There are lots of boats leaving the area for points south. Manasea, Full Quiver, Tanque de Tiburon and Relax have left over the past few days and today War and Peace headed out for Mazatlan. Optical Illusion and Precious Metal are leaving La Cruz and headed towards Barra. Looks like we won’t be following for another week or so. Hope the weather cooperates. Those leaving are taking advantage of a weather window that will last a few more days before a strong northerly system takes over.
2244, Thursday, 24 Dec 09, Guaymas
We are still on the hard but there is a light at the end of this tunnel. The bottom paint has been applied and the railing is almost completed with just 1 or 2 hours more work to complete it. We have modified the original design slightly to provide more space between guardrail and rigging by bending the middle stanchion outwards and having the rails follow the new line. Thanks to Phil on Salty for the suggestion and direction. The windows are all back in and only 3 frames are left to be installed. There are still lots of checks and adjustments to do as is the re-install of lines and sails that will be done once we are afloat. That is expected to be on Wednesday or Thrusday next week.
We have just had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner onboard with Trish, Doug, Gil and Lexi. As always it was a coordinated effort with Fran making the main course, Pollo Navidad, a special Christmas chicken marinated in fruit juices which Fran stuffs with citrus fruit. Very juicy and only one (of the 2 cooked) was enough to feed the 6 of us. Trish brought candied carrots and Gil brought his signature mashed potatoes, laced with lots of garlic. We get to do it all over again tomorrow for Christmas dinner at the San Carlos Yacht Club.
It is blowing hard outside with temps hovering around 62F but much cooler with wind chill. Still a lot nicer than a cold Ontario winter night. It has been like this for the past 3 nights but the associated system is expected to pass through in a day or so, Another mass exodus of boats headed south is expected when that happens. Funny how most sailors wait until the wind dies to zip before heading out....
It isn’t even close to a white Christmas here but there are fireworks close by. The Malecon is strangely quiet for a Christmas Eve. It has been quite loud for the past few days with Christmas music playing but tonight it is quiet, as is the nightclub at the marina. Maybe we’ll get a good night’s sleep.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Jean-Guy, Fran and Rosie send their best wishes

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Refit report# 3

Tuesday, 15 Dec, 09, Marina Singlar, Guaymas
We are finally back aboard Gosling. She looks like a new boat from the upper decks. The paint job turned out very well considering the environment of the boat yard, the heat and the dust churned up by the ever present breeze. It’s not a show-room car quality but it certainly makes a difference from what we had. The few days we had expected turned into 10 days. Much of the problem was translation difficulties between us and Pancho (Francisco) the painter. The prep work was extensive with lots of dings, old screw holes and blemishes to be filled and sanded then filled and sanded again. Masking and covering the parts not being painted took a day then primer coats, finish coats for the vertical surfaces, wait a day, re-mask for the non-skid, more primer and then finish coats, wait another few days and, voila! The job was done. Now the gruelling task of putting everything back together. The windows will take a lot of time. Three have to be completely re-installed because they sprung when the chrome framing was removed and all surfaces where the frames fit must be thoroughly cleaned and prepped for the final fitting. I just hope I have enough caulking. After going through the tubes I had left since last year I found about half had hardened and are unusable. When all is said and done the paint job will have set us back about $4000. For comparison sake, a similar job on Antares, the 34 ft Peterson we sold last summer cost us over $5000 back home, however, Gosling required much more prep work and after seeing the two, I much prefer this sprayed on finish and non-skid.
Fran picked up the re-upholstered cushions today. I must admit they look good and the price was right. Labour and material came out to just over $300, a fraction of the price back home.
Our time in the condo was very pleasant. Rosie loved the beach and could have been out walking back and forth on the sand chasing seabirds all day but we had other chores to do. The outboard was rebuilt and the door hatches received 6 coats of varnish and we did relax between trips back to the yard to check on progress and trips to San Carlos to visit friends and to prepare for the Silent Auction that was held on Sunday, another benefit for Doug.
Fran took the lead on the search for donations and was very successful. By the end of the drive she had accumulated several hundred dollars worth of gift certificates from restaurants, gift shops, spas and even a $75 gift basket from the kennel where Rosie had stayed last spring. With a host of other articles donated by individuals we had quite a variety for people to bid on. After the auction there was a puppet show and music by a few cruisers to finish off the evening. All in all we were able to raise another $2000 for the fund. The local community again showed its support. The next event will most likely be a bachelor auction sometime in February.
Meanwhile, back to the boat, it is 10 pm, it is blowing 30-35 kts and the boat is shaking on its stands. This is the second night of strong NE winds that are preventing many cruisers from leaving the area. This is the high time for the migration south to warmer waters. Phil (Manasea), Bill and Linda (Tanque de Tiburon), Steve and Linda (Warren Peace) are all leaving by the weekend. Gil and Lexi (Sunday) who are in the condo for a few days while their boat is fumigated will be launching soon but staying around till after Christmas and possibly the New Year.
Phil and Kim (Salty), who we have not seen since Barra 2007 while aboard Royal Exchange have arrived to get their boat ready. They are facing quite a challenge repairing the damage done to their boat when it was dropped while being lifted last spring. All of the damage is to the stainless aft and the rudder and mounting gear. Phil brought all of the materials needed to do the repairs and will be doing much of the stainless welding himself. Probably a good idea since we have been trying to get Hernandez, the welder, to come to the boat to do our railings. Promises to pay us a call have not been fulfilled 4 times now. It will be awkward to sail without the solar panels mounted.
The following text was written by Fran after the haircut event a few weeks ago:
8 AM, 5 Dec , 09, Marina San Carlos, Mexico
Who would have thought that 2 years after meeting such a nice couple as Doug and Trish, I would have volunteered to have my hair shaved off for a fund raiser to help pay for his medical treatments. But to know them is to love them. We met them in a bay, while sailing our new boat down from San Diego to Mexico, 2 years ago. We were out of bread, and Trish kindly volunteered a fresh-baked loaf. With talents like those of plumber Doug, and electrician/baker Trish, they were great to have as buddy boaters.
With all the plans, dreams and adventures to come, one would never think that cancer would rear its ugly head. But it did and now I stand here with shoulder length hair to be sheared at high noon, to a head I have not seen since I was 3. The event is to take place at the annual Christmas Bazaar at the San Carlos Marina. Wonderful, talented people will display and sell their crafts and goodies. The owner of the first raffle ticket to be drawn at noon will have first go with the clippers.
3p.m. It is all over, the planning, the work and the schmoozing with the crowds and we raised nearly $1000 with one nut case (Mike on Tazmo) buying over $300 worth of tickets just so that he would have a chance to shave my head, which he did several times. After finally seeing myself in a mirror, I realize that I am not defined by my hair but what I do in life. The day has been fun, and we have found a very supportive community down here that has either had or has been touched by cancer. I’m glad I did it. It was not about me: I did it for Doug! Fran Nadeau on S/V Gosling
More next week, Adios

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Refit report #2

Saturday, 5 Dec 09 - Condominiums Pilar, San Carlos We are in the “Cruiser’s Condo” for a few days while the boat is getting painted. This is the same condo we stayed in with Bill and Janet on our arrival. They left last week and have now sailed off to the Baja coast. It is a studio style but very comfortable and reasonable since Trish and Doug manage the place for a relative. The ocean is steps away and Rosie has miles of beach for her walks. J-G brought a few projects that could be done here while we wile away the hours, refinishing the door hatches, re-building a head pump and refitting the outboard. The neighbours will love us.... It has been another busy week getting the boat ready for the painters by removing as much as we could from the cockpit and upper-decks. Ideally everything should have been removed as we had done with Antares but we couldn’t afford the extra time needed to remove and re-install if we want to be in the water before the new year. We have briefly seen the work over the past few days and it looks good so far. We now hope to be back to the boat by mid-week. We expect to have the stainless railing work and the new upholstery done next week. Fran had it done to match the colour of the new counter top – anything to make the Admiral happy. The funding drive for Doug was held today at the San Carlos Christmas bazaar and was a resounding success. The support shown by the local gringo community was fantastic. Gil, Lexi and Fran manned the booth, selling tickets and cajoling all passersby that they should contribute and they did a sterling job. By noon, over $1000 US had been raised and much of that came from one individual, Mike from S/V Tazmo. He really wanted to cut Fran’s hair and bought enough tickets to ensure that his number would be drawn, and it was, several times. It was quite amazing to see the support we received from cancer survivors or those who have been touched by cancer one way or another. Once Fran was done she, in turn, cut Doug’s hair. Fran doesn’t look quite as bad as we had expected but under all that lush brown hair was the organic grandmother colour that she will now let grow out. The next event will be next Sunday, a puppet show and silent auction at the Captain’s Club in San Carlos. Doug received some good news on Thursday. His oncologist informed him that the results of the tumour biopsy indicated that it is a very treatable type but will require a different series of chemo that will specifically target the tumour cells, something they weren’t able to do last year. He starts the new series on Monday. More when we get back to Gosling next week.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Refit for 2009-2010 season

Marina Singlar, Guaymas, MX, Sun, 29 Nov, 09
Day 5 of our refit period. It seems only weeks ago I was writing the same words in the marina Seca across the bay. It has been a very busy few days since our arrival on Wednesday. We have been trying to get some sense of order in Gosling but we don’t seem to have achieved much. We are working around our painter Francisco’s schedule and has been doing the prep work for the upper-deck paint job. Not being able to get some of the gear that we stowed below up on deck and out of the way adds to the sense of frustration but we have seen some of Francisco’s work in the yard and the wait will be worth it.
The last entry had us in Albany, Oregon, being chased down the coast by winter storms. We left Albany in bright sunshine and had a good drive to Sacramento. The news that night predicted that more storms were on the way and that the mountain passes in Oregon had received a 2-1/2 ft snowfall. We don’t know if that included any of the high passes along our route but we were glad to have avoided any of the winter weather. We left Sacramento the following morning to more threats of wind and rain and managed to get into Palm Springs unscathed except for frazzled nerves from driving in LA traffic for a few hours.
In Palm Springs we enjoyed the warm hospitality of very good friends who have welcomed us each time we passed through. We were able to relax, recharge batteries and load up on 2-Buck Chuck. How we were able to fit another 4 boxes in the van I have no idea but Rosie must have noticed her seat was getting smaller and smaller with each stop. We left on the Monday morning, intending on reaching Tucson that night and meet up with Gil and Lexi Ballatore (SV Sunday) who were there for a few days of shopping. On our way through Phoenix we bought the stainless tubing we will need for the railing aft where we plan on mounting the new solar panels. More weight on the car! This is where we noticed that the roof rack brackets had broken but everything up there was double tied and still secure.
We had a good evening with Gil and Lexi catching up on all the latest news and gossip. Before departing the next morning we had to make one last shopping stop at Walmart to get a turkey for the US Thanksgiving. We had received an e-mail while in Palm Springs inviting us to Thanksgiving dinner with Doug and Trish (Ka-Em-Te), Gil and Lexi and Bill and Janet (Optical Illusion) and asking us to bring the turkey. We’ll do anything for that kind of party!
Our next and biggest concern was whether we would make it through the border without a thorough search being made. A tidal wave of relief washed over us when we got the green light and were waved through. Welcome to Mexico! We arrived in San Carlos before nightfall and bunked in with Bill and Janet who were in a condo for the week while their boat was on the hard getting some last minute repairs, how convenient was that! We were also able to deliver the turkey where it would be consumed a few days later. Rosie got to play and make nice with their new kitten Amber.
The following morning we drove the last few miles to Guaymas and Gosling. There was evidence everywhere that Singlar has been a very busy location this season. We would like to think that we had contributed to that fact with all the recommendations we passed on at the end of the season.
Opening a boat after a six month absence is always done with a degree of anticipation. We had been assured that Gosling was dry after the hurricane but we found our bilges full with filthy water with a thick scum. That took the better part of the morning to clean up. So far we haven’t noticed any associated problems. Fran was also busy for the better part of the afternoon cleaning out cupboards where some of the water had seeped in. She also had to deal with mini-bugs that had permeated storage jars containing flour and a few spice jars. So far there has been no evidence of cucarachas that others have experienced this year. Maybe Fran’s Bay leaves have had their desired effect.
Plans for the benefit for Doug are in high gear. Several events have been organised to raise money for his chemo treatments and already donations have started coming in. There is even a website called www.payforward where donations can be made under “Friends of Doug”. Doug is actually looking quite well and is looking forward to restarting his treatments this week. Last year when he started them it was almost too late. We are hoping to get a big response from the local cruising community. An article on the benefit drive is being submitted to Latitude 36 for the next issue.
This weekend has been a very “LOUD” one where we are. For the past 2 nights it has been very hard to sleep. There have been 3 venues close by vying with each other to see who can be loudest. They must rest on Sundays because there is only the nightclub at the marina making noise tonight and the karaoke they are playing is God-awful!!
It now appears that the prep work on the boat will be completed by Thursday and painting will be done on the following 4 days so we will be occupying the condo (same one that Jan and Bill had) for the weekend. This will be handy as we will be attending the Christmas Bazaar and the benefit events for Doug that weekend in San Carlos and we’ll be spared the daily drive back and forth. This is where Fran will have her head shaved at high noon on the completion of the days raffle which will determine who will wield the clippers..
More next week. Adios.