Saturday, December 6, 2014

Has it been a month already?

21:00 Saturday, 29 Nov 2014 Still on the hard

Stifling yawns at 21:00 and Fran asking me to get my ass to bed. This is the cruising lifestyle when lights out is a few hours after sunset (3 hours in our case) and the entire boatyard population is quiet and, all are most likely, already asleep. Just a few lines and I will follow suit.

Whoever coined the phrase ”One step fwd, 2 steps back” must have been a sailor. It has been a week of stepping back and forth with projects hitting glitches because of a variety of reasons, and now it is Saturday. Gabriel only allows workers to be in the yard a half day on Saturdays. To top it all off it is dense fog out there, with lots of dew. That means that the masking and primer work for our upper deck touch-up work isn’t going to be done this morning. Francisco (our painter) needs the humidity level below 30% and, although, the weather has been ideal all week, he was occupied on other projects. So, now we are hoping for a dry sunny beginning to next week.

We have accomplished a few things this week. The mast is down and resting on my homemade saw horses and the parts needed to rewire the mast have been ordered or purchased. The wire alone for the masthead light set, 52 ft of AWG 12 in 4 colours and a 30 ft piece of 3 lead AWG 12 for the steaming and deck light added up to well over $300 at the only source in San Carlos. The VHF wire is still outstanding and it will be available on Tuesday. The problem we had passing the new lead for the wind indicator was very obvious once we had the mast opened up. Most masts have an inner tube where such wires are passed to protect them from chaffing by the lines that run in the mast core and to stop them from rattling. Kemp masts of Southampton (UK) had a unique solution for this. The inside of the mast has a track, similar to the track for the sail on the outer side. Initially the one inch aluminum tube had a series of slugs attached and these slid up the track and, voila, a solid, non-moving protective shield through which the wires had been passed, only our tube had become detached and had slid down to the mast base. When we removed the mast we found shorted wires and evidence that the lightning damage had affected the tube, its fasteners and its contents.
OK, Fran try to look like you are enjoying waxing the mast!!
20:00 Sunday, Same place

The replacement tube is finished. Spent most of the day on the 56 ft of 1 ½ in PVC tubing. The slugs are attached, sections glued and riveted and it is ready to be inserted into the mast. Tomorrow we get the wiring bundled and ready to send up the tube. The mast has been waxed and polished, the standing rigging has been cleaned, blocks serviced and all corroded fasteners on a variety of fittings replaced. Curious passers-by have been satisfied by my BS and all is well with the world; and we actually took some time off this weekend. Yesterday we spent much of the afternoon with Bill, Linda, Ellen and Ian at the Soggy Peso, a beach bar at Algadones Beach where Catch 22 was filmed. We finished the afternoon off with a sundowner at our patio; a 12x12 outdoor carpet from Walmart, folding chairs and table, froo-froo lights above, cocktails and nibblies, all this while they are digging out from the first snowfall back home. Life is grand….

New PVC tube

Old aluminum tube (with gravel...)
Slide and slug arrangement

With sunset at 17:45 nights are long. Good thing we have lots of movies and TV series to watch. Just finished the first season of Hell on Wheels. Great series!!

21:30, 2 December, haven’t moved….

A frustrating few days but tomorrow should be better. The painting was begun yesterday with most of the upper-deck large surfaces. The colour is off slightly due to the aging of the initial coat but the remainder will be adjusted to match. Francisco is being run off his feet with all of the projects he has and today the humidity was too high for him to continue our job. We’d rather wait for ideal conditions than to have him rush the job. Tomorrow we should have the mast all ready to re-install but the painting schedule will dictate when that will happen. We made some progress today obtaining bottom paint and prepping the prop for its annual treatment. This year we will try non-ablative bottom paint. Another technique gaining popularity is to heat up the prop and apply Lanacote to the hot surfaces but Lanacoat is a scarce item here. Maybe next season.

Ready for paint
Francisco mixing paint. Notice his high-tech equipment!
Somehow it all comes together.
19:30, Saturday, 6 December 2014, same, same

PROGRESS!! Yes, indeed, the last few days have seen some definite progress. The mast is ready and will be re-rigged next Wednesday. Jesus and Salvador were impressed with my tube and even more so when it went in without a hiccup. Passing the wires through was an easy process after that. Meanwhile Francisco was finally able to paint the trim surfaces and the hull. All that remains is the non-skid fixes and he hopes to do that on Monday or Tuesday, weather permitting.
Jesus (rigger) and Salvador (electrician) Mast is ready!!

Last night was the annual Christmas parade in Guaymas. These are nothing like what you’d expect up north. It seems like every children organization; kindergartens, schools, clubs, etc. dress up their wards in some Christmas theme, put them in the back of a truck or a trailer towed by a truck (with a massive sound system in the back blaring out some form of Christmas carols) and parades them down the main street of town. There are the odd school band, a few floats (with more kids), ambulances, fire trucks and police cars, driven by the lucky ones who weren’t required for crowd control (supervisors probably) and an occasional glimpse of Santas (with really lousy beards). The street is packed with crowds milling around for a good view while masses of policeman try to push the crowds back to the sidewalks. Interspersed in the milling throngs are food carts, carts full of cheap Chinese light-up crap, balloon clowns, candy apple and candy floss sellers and a handful of local entrepreneurs selling baked goods out of Tupperware containers. For reasons unknown, it takes forever for the parade to wind its way down the street. By the end of the first hour we had had enough and squeezed our way through the crowd to our favourite taco stand. Then we had to do the trek back through the crowds on the Malecon to the car. The food carts here are bigger and have churros, fried bananas, corn (plastered with sour cream, cheese and whatever fire-pepper juice you want to apply, bags of chips and cheezies that you also spice up with fire juice and wonderful hot dogs that have to be sampled to be appreciated. We settled for the churros, essentially a straight piece of donut with your choice of cream, goat milk caramel, chocolate sauce or strawberry puree. Ain’t Mexico grande….

Big day in San Carlos today; swap meet at 8AM followed by the annual Christmas bazaar on the waterfront at the marina. Essentially more junk, but nicer and most of it hand-made instead of coming out of a shipping container from China. Fran just loves this event while I am much happier at the swap meet.

Tomorrow, something entirely different. We are off on a bus tour to Los Alamos, a small town about 3 hours north-west of here. The tour is organized by Mike Mulligan, a local (and well known in the US) balladeer in the style of Jimmy Buffet. It was a good opportunity to get bonus points from Fran when the offer came up, especially with her birthday coming up on Wednesday. It will be good to get away from the boat for a few days and sample more culture. No more Christmas parades, please!

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