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
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Comforts are like a ratchet in my life.
Friday, October 29, 2010
He installed the unit in 3 hours, which he said was at the lower end of the rang, which was quite true because his quotation stated 6-7 hours of labor. At $55 per hour I think that my preliminary hack work was worth the effort.
Roger decided that it was best to mount the compressor cross-wise so that the output from the cooling fan would be directed to the corner with the exhaust fan. Unfortunately I discovered later that the compressor cooling fan pushes instead of pulls, that is it sucks air out of the corner where the exhaust fan is doing its work and pushes it back over the unit. I visited Roger and told him about my finding and he replied that he had made the wrong assumption about the fan. Then he surprised me with the question of whether I minded the fan pushing instead of pulling. Yes, I replied, because the cooling and exhaust fans are fighting each other. With this setup I'd be better off having no exhaust fan at all. He could see the logic of this but was reluctant to rotate the compressor 180 degrees because I would lose access to the connection junction box (which can be seen in the second photo). He suggested a 90 degree rotation to align it the same as the previous compressor. This sounded OK to me, so he will visit in the morning to do that. Unfortunately it means that I have to spend another night with the cabin full of the items that are normally stored in the starboard quarter berth.
The second photo shows the current setup: a vent shown at the front, the compressor lined up athwart ship, the dome of the exhaust fan in the corner. I'm storing only my copious supply of diesel motor oil next to the unit because I do not want to clutter up the space around the compressor.
The final photo shows the position of the thermostat inside of the refrigerator compartment.
After the installation I rode the bicycle to CCC and purchased 400 pesos worth of fish, fruit, and vegetables as badly needed provisions and thermal ballast for the new refrigerator unit.
For the record the unit is an Italian-made "Vitrifrigo", model ND50 ORV GR with a Danfoss BD50F compressor, input 12 & 24 volts, input current 4.9 amps @ 12V and 2.45 amps @ 24V, refrigerant charge 0.050 Kg of R134A, Serial Number 0190835. It has a 3-year warranty but should give 20 years of service.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
As you can see in the first photo I've laid carpet along the starboard side of the cabin. The second photo shows the square piece in the middle to match the floor board that I must lift up to manage the raw water cooling valve.
Shortly after finishing the job the thought crossed my mind that spending hard weeks restoring floors then covering up the result with carpet could quite reasonably be deemed as bordering on lunacy. I'm glad that I don't have to explain myself to an inquisitive 6 year old.
This morning Ken told me that the apartment that he had been trying to get had been rented to somebody else and he wanted to look at the apartment building that I had just vacated. Just after lunch he came to the boat then we walked to the building. While I was showing Ken the court yard and laundry I gave the lady next door a wave then we saw Teresa looking down from the third floor. I told her that Ken was interested in the apartment and waved us to come up. Teresa showed Ken the apartment that I had just vacated. Ken liked what he saw and agreed to take it starting on Monday morning. As a bonus Teresa got the OK from the lady next door, who seems to be the owner, for Ken to park his truck inside the courtyard behind the locked gate. During the walk back Ken expressed great satisfaction with the arrangement and said that finding a suitable place has taken a big load off his mind.
I am looking forward to Roger's visit tomorrow. With luck I'll have a working refrigerator before the afternoon. (YES!)
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
On my second trip I made sure that the apartment was clean and tidy (even the bed was made up) then walked out, leaving the note and three sets of keys on the table. Downstairs I saw Teresa at the laundry, told her about the note and the keys, thanked her for everything, and extended my hand, but instead of shaking it I kissed it. She looked surprised and very pleased. I had told Brenda that a hug like she had given Teresa might trample on cultural sensitivities, and a handshake seemed too formal and frosty. Maybe my time in Mexico has activated a caballero gene. She asked a question with the word "regresso" in it, which meant something about coming back. I told her that Brenda and I would visit in January to say hello, so this was not adios but hasta luego. She smiled at that.
During our encounter Roger said that he would install the new refrigerator on Friday morning (day after tomorrow), which suits me just fine. For today I've kept the fish, fruit, and vegetables in a chiller bag with two Sprite containers of frozen water at the bottom. Tomorrow I may bring in a block of ice.
Tonight will be my first sleep on board Pachuca in three months.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
He looked at the refrigerator compartment and said that the insulation seemed to be nice and thick. I told him about the gaps that I had filled with foam and sealed with fiberglass and he replied that it was a good move. He suggested that I put a rubber gasket on the refrigerator lid.
We agreed that the evaporator will be placed on the same wall as the old one was and the thermostat control will be inside the compartment next to the evaporator. For me this will be a vast improvement over the old system where the thermostat control was next to the compressor, meaning that to make a change I had to remove half of the cargo in the starboard quarter berth.
Roger said that the old Danfoss 25 compressor was of no use and I took it to the dumpster later. He estimated that it was 20 years old. However, he will take the evaporator, which was installed new in Port Townsend.
Anyway, I told Roger that I was thinking of painting the compressor area while I had the chance and he thought that it was a good idea. After he left I spent a couple of hours strengthening the support framework with two thru-bolts and sawing a piece of ply board to fit over the two supports because I think that a flat surface will be a better platform for the compressor. After that it was back to the sanding, painting and varnishing. Fortunately all of the material was within easy reach in the main cabin. I put a thick double sheet on the companion way landing, then a large plastic garbage bag on top of that and used that as my work area for preparing the paint. The varnish was for the piece of ply that I had cut.
At this point I have moved about 75% of my possessions from the apartment to the boat. My webtop computer is now on the boat and I am sending this blog entry from Pachuca. I will spend one more night in the apartment and in the morning complete my exit.
Monday, October 25, 2010
After returning to the apartment with fresh fish, fruit, and vegetables I loaded up my backpack with books and other items and headed for the marina. At Club Cruseros Roger Wise spotted me while I was dropping off some books and told me that he would like to see the site for the new refrigerator compressor when I had it ready. I told that I would have it ready in about 2 days. He mentioned that he already had the new unit on hand.
At the jetty gate I found my two favorite people in La Paz having a chat. Bob Carrol had visited Pachuca hoping to have a look at my Maxwell windlass. I invited him and Ib to come on board and have a look at the results of my weeks of labor. The timing was perfect because that part of the boat was in good order after my photography session for the blog. Pachuca was looking her best. Hey, I'm only human: it was nice to show off the fruits of my labor to peers whose opinions I hold in high regard. We then started talking engines. Ib had not seen my new engine so I proudly slid back the cover (still human with all its flaws). The ensuing scene could be compared to three women clucking over the characteristics of a new baby.
After lunch and a nap at the apartment I began serious work at 1.30 PM. My plan was modest: start clearing out the starboard quarter berth, wiping dust off everything that came out, with the aim of taking out the Danfoss DS 2.5 compressor out the following day. By 3.30 PM the area was clear. After a 30 minute break over a cup of English Breakfast tea I started on the removal of the compressor. I got lucky because the four bolts holding the unit down were of stainless steel (a pat on the back for my predecessor for a change) and with a little patience I had the compressor out and the area cleaned at 5 PM. I then paid a short visit to Roger and Jean on Avalon to tell him the news. He was pleased and will visit Pachuca in the morning.
The most important step of any job is to get started.
It will be a sad day when I have to leave this place La Paz.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
And here are some photos of the head, where I varnished the woodwork and painted the compartments. Unfortunately I had not dusted the place before I took the photos.
Now photos of the navigation station, settee area, and galley. Included is a photo of the refrigerator compartment, painted and ready for the installation of the new unit. The ice box to its left got the same treatment.
Note that the companion way landing (i.e. the top of the engine cover) has been sanded but not varnished because I needed passage for the other work. Once things settle down I'll varnish it over a period of 3 days and use the forward hatch for entry and exit.
The last photo shows the clean white bulkhead at the back, instead of the moldy fabric of before.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
I began the work on 7 September and worked at least 5 hours a day for 47 consecutive days with no days off. Excluding time off for lunch and including trips for supplies a conservative estimate is that I worked an average of 6 hours per day, yielding a total of 282 hours. I am into my 5th liter of varnish and 7th liter of Imron paint. I've lost track of the number of disposable gloves, sheets of sandpaper, and paint brushes that I used.
Tomorrow I will set up the V berth with mattresses and bedding, which will see the forward part of the boat clean and ready. I will then turn my attention to bringing order and cleanliness to the main cabin. Everything in that area must be brushed and wiped of dust - "everything" means all cutlery, dishes, food packaging, books, etc.
I hope to begin transferring my possessions from the apartment to the boat on Monday. That is the day in which my Telcel internet service expires and I am loath to pay another 500 pesos for another month. So as of that day I must have my computer on Pachuca's navigation table and plugged in to the marina's internet service.
This is a photo of the sail lockers without their lids.
The port side holds the two spare genoas at the bottom and the asymmetric spinnaker, storm jib, staysail, storm trysail, and storm jib higher up for easier reach.
The small section next to the port sail locker contains a Danforth anchor with rode, the important Volvo spares in the plastic container, some floats, and various other items.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The technician behind the counter remembered me. "Quatro litros mas de Imron, gracias" I told him. I passed over the can of Dulux paint from Australia and asked "Recuerdo?" He smiled and nodded that he remembered. Watching him match the color was fascinating. He laid out a blob of Dulux on the counter about the size of a 50 cent piece, had a look at the color, them fetched three tints. He got to work mixing, putting a drop of the intermediate results next to the Dulux until he was satisfied. He the wiped the paint off the counter, laid down another blob of the Dulux then put a drop of the Imron on top of the Dulux. It was a perfect match. This man is a virtuoso.
I asked him for a box and he produced one, put in the paints, reducer and thinner, then taped it up for my bicycle ride to the marina. While I was paying words were exchanged and cashier asked me if I wanted a ride. My initial response was No, but when she asked again I said OK, and that I was going to Marina de La Paz. I thanked her very much and she told me in slow and very direct Spanish that it was part of the service. A few seconds later there was a pickup truck in front of the shop and one man put my paint and bicycle in the back and the other one drove me to the marina and unloaded the bike while I unloaded the paint. I wondered later where in Australia or the USA I would get this kind of service over a purchase of 4 liters of paint.
Even Comex is treating me well. For the last few weeks I've been running around the marina wearing my Comex cap. Last week the local Comex rang around to see what other outlet could supply me with a small can of filler and fortunately the Comex store near CCC had one. I showed up there soon afterward and the senorita behind the counter must have seen my Comex cap and thought that she was not going to be outdone because she produced a very handy paint can opener which is so useful that I wonder why I have spent all of these years opening lids with screw drivers.
I'm starting to feel at home in La Paz. I'd better watch myself. This weekend I went to the boating trash 'n treasure at the Abaroa boat yard next door and spoke with a man who was selling all sorts of great yacht fittings. "They look new" I said. He said that the were. He had stocked his boat with all sorts of gear for a world cruise and had not gotten any farther than La Paz. "I keep hearing that story" I told him.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
I am booked with Alaska Airlines to fly out of La Paz on Thursday 18 November and return to La Paz on Wednesday 5 January.
And of course it will be great to visit Port Townsend and its wonderful people again.
I could easily countenance a life of sailing the triangle between the Sea of Cortez, Hawaii, Port Townsend, then down the West Coast back to the Sea of Cortez in an endless loop, over and over and over again. I would throw in variations such as Hawaii via the Tuamotus and Tahiti, and sashays from Port Townsend through the San Juan and Gulf islands, to Vancouver, then up the Inside Passage to Alaska.
Wow. I'm tempted ... but maybe next lifetime.
Yesterday morning I trimmed off the excess foam that had dried overnight then decided to fiberglass the gaps for good measure, so I then went to Lopez Marine and picked up a roll of 2" wide fiberglass cloth. That turned out to be perfect for the job. I cut four pieces to the required length, laid them in order, then mixed a batch of West System 105 epoxy resin which again I had on hand from my Hawaii days. The job went remarkably well, given that I was working upside down in a confined space. Today I sanded the fiberglass work and primed it for painting.
I expect to begin the painting effort tomorrow (Monday) and expect to have the V-berth work completed by Friday at the latest. That will give me 5 days in which to prepare Pachuca for occupancy and move from the apartment on the following Wednesday.
This demonstrates one of the big advantages of removing that carpeting material and exposing the actual hull: I can now directly see every bolt passing from the deck into that area, be it toe rails, stanchions Samson posts, or whatever. I'll be able to quickly spot problems such as loose nuts, leaks, or as in today's case substandard construction.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I let him go an hour early today and to my surprise he asked if he was coming back tomorrow. I told him no because his job was finished and "La pintura es de trabajar para una", trying to tell him that the next phase was painting, a one man job. I told him "Trabajo mas tarde", trying he tell him that there would be work later. He seemed to understand. In fact both Ib and I are thinking of engaging him to polish our hulls. The first photo shows Joel at the work site.
Unfortunately there is still quite a bit of preparation work to be done in the V-berth area. The lining material had been used to hide all sorts of irregularities in the surface so I will dedicate a day to fairing and filling in holes. The accompanying photos show the situation.
Have a look at the photo looking down the length of the V berth area. The dark square is the patch that I put in (a double patch actually because it is a double bulkhead with a 5mm cavity). Notice that the patch is set in what appears to be a larger patch, as though the boat was originally built with a rather large access to the chain locker. Without a strong watertight door this would have been a disaster (as I found out) because in a rough seaway the chain locker can fill to the top with water. It looks like someone may have walked the same path that I did.
At mid morning I had finished the latest round of work in the head and used my time to once again take the windlass foot switch apart. It had given trouble when Brenda and I were at the islands and the symptoms pointed to the recurring problem of corrosion. I cleaned the contacts and stripped away the silicone sealant that I had used in an attempt to keep the sea water at bay. The switch is fairly new - installed in New Zealand - and is in good condition, so I see little to be gained from replacing it. The problem seems to be invasion of salt water from the chain locker below. So my plan is to keep the chain locker empty at all costs. For long legs of blue water cruising I'll take the anchor off the roller and move it and the spare anchor aft - possibly lashing the 50 lb Swarbrick to the deck just in front of the mast, and storing the 45 lb plow anchor below. I discussed the problem with Bob who paid a quick visit today and he suggested storing the 38 meters of chain down below in a milk crate. Great idea. I'll put the milk crate between the V-berths directly below the front hatch, which will make the job of shifting the chain back and forth much easier. It means that I'll have to find a new home for the large rope bag of the 18 ft sea anchor which currently sits in that area. That would leave only the 80 meters of rope and 14 meters of chain rode for deep anchorages in the chain locker. Even with a lighter bow I'll be very vigilant and if need be I'll either shorten sail or heave to. The days of pounding to weather in gale conditions watching the bow bury itself like a destroyer are over for me (except in an emergency).
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Bob asked why I didn't employ a local to do the work and I growled back that I wasn't prepared to pay the $10 per hour that I had been hearing around the marina. Bob replied that it would be much cheaper than that and soon we were visiting yet another Robert (They're everywhere - I met the guy in the adjacent boat this week and he's another Robert.) at his boat who said that he had three young men at his disposal. The cost would be 250 pesos (about $20) per day, plus lunch.
I returned to Robert's boat at 7 AM and met young Joel, who appears to be about 18 years old, is quiet and very serious. The "quiet" I can understand because he speaks no English which is a challenge to my pidgin Spanish. I took him to the work site which was prepared: clean and laid out with tools and materials such as gloves, safety glasses, scrapers, and varnish thinner. He worked steadily until 11 AM which was the agreed lunch time. As we were about to leave for The Dock Cafe he asked if I had a "cepillo de alambre". (Gulp, say what?) Demonstrating with the dust brush he let me know that he needed a wire brush, which I didn't have.
At the cafe I let him order, left him to it to eat in peace, paid for the lunch, then set out to find Seamar then Comex where I got two wire brushes and the fourth liter of thinner for the day. (The thinner costs only 22 pesos per liter.) When he resumed work he started using the wire brush with great satisfaction saying "mas rapido".
At 3 PM, the end of the working day, Joel had completed the port side of the area. That left the starboard side and then the ceiling. Manana? I asked. Si, Manana. It will take Joel two, maybe three days to finish the job
The cost structure is interesting. Lunch for Joel costs 120 pesos per day and yet his services for an entire working day costs only 250 pesos. Before we think exploitation let's remember that the highest minimum wage in Mexico in 2010 is 57.46 pesos (about $5) per day. I found out from others that Robert acts as a sort of mentor to young people getting started in their working life. He finds menial day work for them and over time trains them up to higher skills. Two of his young men have "graduated" to real jobs in permanent positions elsewhere because of their experience around the marina. As for the 250 pesos per day, it goes directly to Joel, not through Robert.
This help released me to attend to painting and varnishing of the head. The walls, ceiling, and floor were OK because I had repainted them in Fremantle. However, the wooden cabinet doors needed sanding and varnishing, and the interiors of the shelf compartments needed repainting. Yesterday I laid down the first coat and I hope to finish that job today.
Oh, and my work pattern has changed. I now set the alarm for 5.30 AM to be at the jetty gate at 7 AM. Retirement is great - isn't it?
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I've gone back to my earlier plan of working my way down the S. America coast. I know that I will be beating against the prevaling winds and current, but Pachuca is a good upwind boat and I may as well exploit that advantage.
My next step is to get good cruising guides of Peru and Chile.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
The first photo shows the area after it had been cleared and striped of fittings.
The second photo was taken after the removal of the mold-prone fabric lining (shown at the bottom). I have a big task ahead of me to remove every bit of the remaining contact glue with Comex varnish thinner.
At the front you see the rectangular patch that I installed in Hawaii with lots of guidance from Wally. Previously there had been a plastic door giving access to the chain locker which I foolishly installed in Fremantle. Above is the electric motor and gear of the anchor windlass.
The whole area looks rather rough as would be expected on the inside of the hull and deck of a fiberglass boat. I'll fill and sand as much as I can.
It's great to be able to walk around on a solid sole again instead of risking a twisted ankle by walking on the floor supports.
- ► 2012 (344)
- ► 2011 (288)
- Compressor Repositioned
- Refrigerator Installed
- Carpet Laying and Hola Teresa
- Yet More Painting
- Next Phase
- Boat is Ready for Occupancy
- V Berth and Church
- More Paint
- Going Walkabout
- Home Stretch
- Joel Finished and Refrigerator Ordered
- With A Little Help From My Friends
- Puerto Montt Back On Itinerary
- Beginning of The Main Event
- Floor is Down
- Port Side Finished
- Port Side Status
- Start of Port Side
- ▼ October (20)
- ► 2009 (376)
- ► 2008 (269)
- ► 2007 (43)