Monday, December 13, 2010

Afloat again - Refit week 3

We're off to the "splash zone". Fran is taking the ride.

Reworked shaft. Notice the machined taper.

Concentrate now! Thou shall not sew fingers...

Bottom paint - again...

Doug and Trish hard at it.

Happy 60th, Fran!!

20:30, Monday, 13 Dec 2010

Gosling is afloat!!! We launched late this morning. The engine started up on the first push after a six month rest and we moved over to the marina side to complete the preps for sailing. There is a weather advisory for later this week so we are now expecting to sail on Friday for Mazatlan where many of our cruising buddies are heading.
Needless to say we have had a very busy week. With the help of Trish and Doug (Ka-Em-Te) I doubt that we would have completed in time. Trish did some stellar work on the boat’s ground and bonding system. She also ran a ground from the inverter to the engine, a detail that was omitted by the original installer regardless of the highlighted notes in the installation instructions. Today she was connecting the new solar panels. Doug spent a few days cleaning and greasing the through-hull fittings while Fran sewed up a storm with her new (used) sewing machine making covers for winches and the jerry cans. Francisco and his son Alejandro filled the mounting holes for the old wind vane and repainted the transom. While all of this was happening, Omar, the mechanic, was replacing the cutlass bearing. He was able to remove the prop with a crude but very effective home-made puller when 2 other commercially made ones failed. With the shaft off the boat and at a machine shop to be cleaned and trued J-G set to the dirtiest job of the refit.
He had done some of the bilge under the engine a few years ago when we replaced the engine mounts but last season we noticed that the drain from the engine bilge to the sump was partially blocked. With a pressure washer borrowed from Francisco (painter) and our small wet/dry shop vac he thoroughly cleaned both bilges and cleared the plugged passage. Somehow the wet/dry vac survived the ordeal with the help of lots of degreaser and the pressure washer.
J-G had been concerned about the lack of enough sacrificial zincs on the hull. After looking at home at all the local and internet suppliers he had given up and hoped to get something adequate locally here. He mentioned it to the owner of the machine shop and within 2 days they were cast, machined and installed for a fraction of the price up north, another testament of Mexican ingenuity.
The last item before launching was to apply the bottom paint. This time we used a Sherwin Williams product, Proline, 55% copper, to which we added a kg of copper dust to the 5 gal pail. J-G applied 2 coats using up 3 gals. The remainder is going to San Blas with us in early Jan for Kirk’s boat (Freedom Kirkland).
The headliner panels were finally installed. What a difference! The pure white reflects the light from the new LED lights we have installed (Source LED). Although the lights still give RF interference on the VHF their brightness is amazing, much better than the old halogen lights and at a fraction of the electrical consumption.
The launching is always a production number. This time the travel lift couldn’t fit between the 2 boats beside us so Horacio, the yard manager, had to move one to make room. When the straps were applied we had lots of cardboard sheets available to protect the new paint job. Once lowered in the water and all of the thru-hull valves checked for leaks the engine was stared and we were free once again.
We have removed all of the gear we won’t need for this season off the boat and into the van for storage. It is almost as full as it was when we drove down with sail bags, covers and various things we will need when we get back next May.
Since we arrived at the dock we have had Trish onboard connecting up the new solar panels. J-G has set up the mainsail and tomorrow when the wind is light we’ll put up the genoa. There are still lots of small jobs to get done, stuff we have been piling up in various locations has to be stowed, fishing equipment set up, flags hoisted, engine oil, oil and fuel filters changed, water tanks filled, fuel topped up for the boat, generator and dingy, last minute provisioning, some minor caulking and teak oil applied to the toe-rail, plan the passage to Mazatlan, and, finally, getting everything secured and stowed for sea. When we start rocking and rolling it is often too late to lash things down.
Two days ago we bid farewell to Relax, heading for the Baja and this morning to Rio Nimpkish on their way to Mazatlan. We also learned a few days ago that Steve on Full Quiver came down with a serious case of the flu during their stopover in Topolobambo. John and Barb (Naida) decided to wait until he recovered and they left yesterday morning for Mazatlan after a 3-day delay.
On Thursday we celebrated Fran’s 60th birthday with friends at a restaurant in San Carlos. Bill and Linda (Tanque de Tiburon) had just arrived the previous day so this was our first contact with them. They had a lot of items for us and other boats we will see in the coming weeks. The most important item for J-G was a new cordless drill/driver. He won’t have to borrow anymore. They also brought down Fran’s new waterproof camera that J-G had purchased online. Looks like Tanque will be sailing south with us. Hope things go better this time; last year we had to tow them into Mazatlan.
We are hoping to catch up with Reno and Nina in Mazatlan when their cruise ship comes in for the day on the 28th. We really want them to see what cruising on a budget is. After the opulence of the cruise ship it should be interesting to see their reaction.
Many thanks to Doug and Trish for their tireless efforts to get us ready and to Bill and Linda for volunteering to be the shipping agents for many of the Canadian boats.
The rink on the town square is up and running. It is covered during the day and doesn't open till 2100. Skate rentals, helmets and ice time all for the equivalent of about $4.50. No hockey sticks or pucks. It will be here for a month. Kids and adults line up for hours to get a chance to try something rare to this country. How they make it work with the daytime heat is a wonder. It opened up the night of the Christmas parade and the night of Fran's birthday.

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