This blog is about planning and preparation for a circumnavigation of the world in a 39-foot sail boat followed, hopefully, by a diary of the actual circumnavigation. You can track the progress of Pachuca by visiting http://www.pangolin.co.nz/xtras/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=VNW5980
Thursday, September 30, 2010
The accompanying photo shows the result around the seating area. Note that I did no work beyond the oval opening to the wet weather locker and beyond. I find time to do this section before leaving Fremantle and it is in remarkably good shape.
During my lunch break I visited the office to discuss my slip rent status. The outcome was that I paid for six more months taking me to 21 Feb 2011. I have accepted the likelihood that I'll keep Pachuca continuously at the marina until my departure for the South in April 2011. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy living at anchor and I would certainly like to avoid paying the slip rental money. However, I want to keep the boat at the marina through the hurricane season which ends in November; and besides, I've having a very productive time with sprucing up the boat. I expect to be away from early December to early January visiting Arnold and Sandra in the Seattle area for Christmas, which means that the boat must be left in the marina for security reasons. Then we expect Brenda to arrive in mid January and we expect to be away touring during much of her three-month visit, which brings up the boat security issue again.
There were two advantages to paying for six more months rental up front: a 5% discount and the fact that the humble Aussie dollar is flying high these days, close to parity with the Gringo dollar. I was charged 37,393.65 pesos which at today's exchange rate translated to $3072 AUD, or $512 AUD per month. Happily, this is largely offset by the $450 AUD per month that I get for renting out my pen in Fremantle.
Monday, September 27, 2010
On the boat decoration front I am poised to apply the white paint tomorrow morning. I was hoping to do the job today but the masking tape work took about 4 hours. The photos give an idea of what was involved but show only a fraction of the tape that I laid down. I've learned the hard way that particularly with 2-part paint it pays to invest the time to set up a fast and clear run without trying to free hand edges and, worse, cleaning up smudges as I go.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I asked if they could supply two liters and they said that they could, but it would be provided in some flimsy-looking plastic containers. I elected to keep it simple and purchase a regular 4-liter can. The manager said that (as in Australia and everywhere else probably) buying a 4 liter can was a much better buy.
They asked if I wanted gloss paint as was the Dulux and I replied that I preferred semigloss. No problem. The technician removed about 10% of the paint from the can and mixed in some honey colored goo which according to him turned it into semigloss.
He then proceeded to match the color. Forget the carousel of tints and working from a book of color formulas. This man came back with 3 tints and hand squirted a bit of each into the white paint. The result looked pretty good to me, but he wasn't satisfied. "Mas amarillo" he said, and put in another squirt of yellow and teeny amounts of the other two pigments. Still he wasn't happy. After the third iteration he was happy and to me it looked like a perfect match.
|Genesis of Despair|
At the boat I had to weather an attack of despair. The boat was a shambles with furnishings and painting equipment heaped in stacks wherever I could find the room. Everything was dusty. There were no floor boards in place so that walking had to be done on the narrow fiberglass supports. Ahead of me was more hours of sanding before I made the decision of whether to apply the varnish or the paint first. After two hard weeks with the floor boards I felt that I was going deeper into the mine, so to speak. Maybe I should have taken a day off. But I took a few deep breaths and told myself to get it together, hold steady, and keep concentrating.
|Sanding completed, Varnishing started|
I decided to do the varnishing first. I used satin varnish for the pots & pans cupboard then switched to high gloss for the rest. At the end of the day I was happy with the result and felt better about the situation. Ib came by while I was cleaning the paint brush and that cheered me up a lot. I loaned him my cable so that he can try the marina's hard wired internet and see how it compares to the wireless facility. I won't need that cable until I move back into the boat in 4 weeks time.
It will be 3 or 4 days before I begin with the white paint. That will be a tricky one because I'll have to ladle the paint out of the big can into a measuring cup and mix the correct amount of accelerant. I'll have to assemble plenty of rags, paper towels, paper cups, newspaper,etc; and somehow I'll have to clear the cabin table to minimize the chance of an accidental spill.
Monday, September 20, 2010
|Removing the lining. Note black mold.|
Anyway, I peeled off the material and tomorrow I will sand off the contact glue. My plan is to paint the area (which is the fiberglass hull) good honest 2-part marine paint. I'll sand and repaint the non-fiberglass white areas with ordinary enamel paint, and re varnish most of the wood. I'll do similar work in the galley area, but have no immediate plans for the ceiling, to which I want to make extensive changes when I return to Oz.
After I've done the starboard side I'll clear the port side and give it a similar treatment. Instead of the galley there will be the navigation station.
That being done I'll go into the V-berth and go berserk ripping out the moldy lining. My manic laugh will reverberate throughout the marina.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
So I communicate with Teresa via a web-based translator. When Teresa came by to deliver four US quarters for the washing machine I asked "Tiene un momento?" I sat her down next to me and entered in English: "I would like to stay in this apartment for another month." I was then able to read out "Me gustaría estar en este apartamento por un mes más." She nodded and replied "Entiendo". Then I entered: "I have much more work to do on the boat and it is better that I sleep here" and read out "Tengo mucho trabajo que hacer en el barco y es mejor que dormir aquí." For me this works very well because my reading and pronunciation is surprisingly good after more than a half century since I spoke Spanish. Anyway, Teresa told me that she also was happy that I was staying and on that felicitous note I went down and started the load of washing.
As I told Ib a few days ago, I have been getting more ambitious with the boat maintenance work and would like to do as much painting, varnishing, and polishing as possible in the next few months. But this isn't practical if I try to cook and sleep on the boat because of both the lack of room and the need to avoid breathing paint fumes while I am sleeping.
Besides, like I told Teresa, Me gusta vivir aquí.
The apartment is hardly an extravegance: furnished, serviced, electricity & gas supplied, for 3500 pesos per month which equates to $288.50 AUD at the current exchange rate, or about $9.60 AUD ($10.23 USD) per day. Cripes, the air conditioner alone is worth that.
Feathering props are not exactly given away and I became concerned about the fit of a new propeller on my existing shaft made to the same specifications as the original one built in Australia in 1983. Although one of the members of the Palapa of Knowledge was emphatic that shafts were standard and fitting would not be an issue I wasn't so sure. There are issues of taper, key width, etc. One of the big issues that emerged was the length of the hub of the new propeller. My current propeller has a hub only 83mm long and some of the new props have much longer hubs - the point being that if the hub is too long there won't be enough tapered shaft to accommodate the propeller.
Mark suggested that I contact Fred Hutchison at PYI and he as turned out to be very responsive and helpful. He made the important statement that PYI can fit their props to any shaft, as long as they know the specifications. From the measurements of the existing propeller that I sent to Fred, he suspected that the shaft was made to SAE standard, because that is the one generally used in Australia. But he needed to know if the thread on the shaft was coarse or fine.
In the meantime I explained propeller problem to Ib of Aeolus and he told me about his propeller size problems after repowering his boat with a 30 HP Yanmar in Mazatlan, mentioning that he had a spare feathering prop that was too big for his engine. A day or two later I asked him for the specifications and the fit seemed very promising: it was a Luke 1814R feathering prop for a 1.25" shaft and a 40 HP engine, and yes, he would like to sell it. I visited the Luke web site and almost immediately spotted a likely problem: the hub was 120mm long vs my existing hub length of 83mm.
Mark soon suggested that I cut off the propeller end of the old shaft and take the stub with me to Port Townsend so that they could use it to train me on fitting the new propeller. That made sense to me.
I soon visited Ib with the shaft and he dug out his Luke feathering prop. It is a beautiful piece of gear: solid, well made, and nearly new. Unfortunately though not surprisingly we ran into the problem of the long hub. The only solutions that we could see involved the removal of the new propeller shaft which was out of the question because I would have to either lift up the engine to draw out the shaft through the cabin, or risk bending the shaft by forcing it past the rudder.
I took photographs of the propeller end of the old shaft along with some measurements which I will document here for the record:
Shaft Diameter: 32mm (1.25")
Shaft LOA: 1.61m (63.5")
Taper: 6.1mm over a length of 92mm
Keyway: 65mm long, 7.5mm wide
I passed this information to Fred who replied that it is consistent with SAE standard.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Note the persistent great weather. I haven't seen any recordable rain (i.e. more than a few drops) since I arrived in May. Also, don't forget that you can enlarge the photos with the left mouse button.
|Close Scrutiny From A Local|
|We're Getting Serious Now|
Monday, September 13, 2010
The photo at the right shows one of the boards in profile.
I started the day by visiting Comex and purchasing another can of varnish, sandpaper, and disposable gloves. The roughest sandpaper that I could find was 60 grit but that turned out to be fine. (Comex, by the way, is a large Mexican company that I have found excellent for paints, painting supplies, anti fouling, etc. They sell good stuff and it is about 2/3 the price of imported material.)
As Ib had suggested the sanding technique worked well, though it took hours of effort to prepare the next four panels. I will put the first coat of varnish on those panels with the fear at the back of my mind that these four panels are going to make the six panels that I have already done look terrible by comparison.
Notice how dry the bilge is. (YES!) This is in spite of the fact that I ran the engine at 1200-1500 rpm for 1.2 hours with the propeller engaged in order to put some hours on it. With the old prop shaft and packing I would have gotten an annoying gallon or so of water in the bilge.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I removed six panels from my cockpit sole, washed them, let them dry overnight, then started the laborious job of sanding. The panels are veneer over 12mm marine ply, in strips separated by black caulking. In character with the rest of the boat, the panels are scarred and mottled but are tough as nails and have taken a lot of punishment from overflowing oily bilge water and exhibit no hint of delamination or deterioration.
I had never worked with this material before and without advice at hand (too lazy to seek advice, actually) I started to prepare the surfaces. I got good results using a narrow paint scraper, managing to take whole strips of the old varnish at a time. However, I found that working the scraper too hard damaged the wood so I had to be satisfied with scraping off whatever I could and then sanding with 240 grit paper using a block.
The photos show the six panels after two coats of varnish. Tomorrow I'll brush on a third and last coat.
The are a total of 15 sole panels of various jigsaw sizes and shapes. Today I took out four more and washed them so that they will be dry when I am ready to start working on them.
I figure that if I keep the pressure on I will finish this project in a week or 8 days. I need to keep a cracking pace because I expect to vacate the apartment and move back into the boat on 27 Sept.
There must be some sort of fishing tournament going on this weekend because at about 6 PM recreational fishing boats began to arrive with happy and contented people of all ages. If that was the Mexican middle class that I was seeing they were doing very well, with their well equipped boats, top quality fishing gear, and 4WD's to for pulling their boats out of the water. Many of the boats are panga-style and they are kept on my jetty with their bows in V-sections along the side of the jetty. I wouldn't keep my boat like that because it could result in hull damage at the bow, but it seems to work for most of them.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Yesterday I had a quiet day messing around in the boat that will probably be the prototype for my next few months.
I left the apartment with two modest goals for the day: have another go at fixing the bicycle and replacing a plug on the heavy cable that supplies dock power to the boat.
The problem with the bicycle is that the nut holding the left pedal keeps coming loose. This time I cleaned the area with soapy water then used a lot of loctite in an attempt to keep the pedal and the nut holding it from coming loose.
I went to Arco and got a 15-amp plug for what I thought was a very reasonable price of 29 pesos. Back at the boat I took my time about putting it on the cable but in the end it was a good job and Pachuca once again had shore power.
I then spent several easy and relaxing hours doing preparatory work for the varnishing and returned to the apartment at about 4 PM.
I have tenure in this apartment for about 2 more weeks, and it is likely that I will move back into the boat after that. I want to use these two weeks to do some work inside of the cabin, namely a lot of varnishing and an attempt to replace the four burners on the stove. For the stove job I'll have to remove one of the burners in my quest for parts, and it makes sense to do it now while I am doing my cooking in the apartment.
Later will come the outside work such as cleaning and polishing the hull and stainless steel and cleaning yet once again the anchor windlass foot switch which gave me trouble during our last outing.
Fortunately there are no serious repair jobs. Everything except that foot switch survived engine replacement intact.
The volume and content of this blog will reflect the slower pace of the next few months, but that's the way it goes: lazy days at the marina one month and battling heavy seas the next.
Monday, September 6, 2010
About a month ago Brenda got a notice of a change of itinerary of her travel to LA. I was later to find out later that this was when Mexicana Airlines filed for bankruptcy (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/04/business/la-fi-mexicana-bankruptcy-20100804) and ceased many of its flights, stranding many passengers.
On Friday night we got urgent news of drastic change of plans from the travel agent in Australia. Brenda take a different route to Mexico City, arriving too late to make her connection to LA. Money was paid to Qantas to postpone her flight from LA by one day, and more money was paid to book a hotel in LA.
Sunday morning we arrived at the airport and were told that the entire Mexicana Airlines operation had shut down on 28 August, more than a week earlier.
Naturally we were upset but we eventually recognized three things in our favor: the apartment to go back to, good Skype internet connectivity, and another full day in which to meet the Qantas flight out of LA.
The at the Mexicana counter was very helpful and offered the possibility of a flight that day with another airline, if they had space. I asked about Alaska airlines. I could see their counter but nobody was there. He checked and told us that Alaska had a flight to LA the next day (today) and that there was likely to be plenty of space.
We came back to the apartment and had 6 or 7 conversations with Lisa at Flight Centre's international help desk, who was very helpful. She booked the flight to LA and agreed to leave a message with the Flight Centre branch that Brenda was dealing with to cancel the room booking.
The bad news is that Brenda's travel insurance does not cover failing airlines. Insurance or no insurance, my opinion Flight Centre should accept responsibility for issuing that invalid itinerary. I don't know how such a mistake could have been made because the progress of the bankruptcy was easy to track on the internet. The article at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38895875/ns/world_news-americas/ dated 28 August could not be clearer, yet the itineary issued by Flight Centre dated 4 September specified Mexicana Airlines. Oh and by the way, the hotel responded that the cancellation was too late to avoid forfeiture of the entire amount that Brenda had paid.
But the important thing is that Brenda got out OK and without having to postpone once again her Qantas flight. And the itinerary was so much better. The invalid itinerary called for Brenda to fly to Mexico City where she would have a 7 hour layover. She would then arrive in LA shortly before midnight, have to get to her hotel, then probably have to leave the hotel at noon the next day and have to do a lot of waiting for her 10.30 PM flight out of LA.
The new plan was so much better. We had another night in the apartment, this morning we visited the Museum of Natural History, and after a leisurely lunch and nap boarded a taxi for the airport at 2 PM. Brenda will arrive at LA International Airport at 7.15 PM, perfectly time for her Qantas connection.
For her return to Mexico Brenda will specify a direct flight from LA to La Paz with Alaska Airlines instead of hopping around Mexico like before, where she went from LA to Guadalajara to Mexico City then to La Paz.
Sometimes you have to be your own travel agent.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Pachuca and Bob Carroll's Adios are anchored on the other (western) side of the spits.
- ► 2012 (344)
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- Starboard Side Finished and Another Six Months
- Progress Report
- Next Phase
- Un Mes Mas
- Got The Shaft
- 16 September Photos - 4
- 16 September Photos - 3
- 16 September Photos - 2
- 16 September Photos - 1
- Help with Sanding
- Sole Project
- Change of Pace
- Brenda off to Oz
- Panoramic Photo of Calita Partida
- Sunrise at Calita Partida
- Survival on the Islands
- Dusk at Ensenada Grande
- Back in La Paz
- Second Day at Calita Partida
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