Skip navigation

Unseasonably warm weather here in Tucson, with highs in the upper 70s to 80 degrees, so let’s do this.

We show up in Rocky Point at just about low tide, and it’s a fairly extreme one, with the Moon and Sun exerting their influence. Another MacGregor, a 26er, was lining up for haul out, but seemed to be having some engine trouble. Turns out, he’d stumbled across the remnants of a polyethylene tarp that was floating in the harbor, and wrapped up his outboard’s propeller.
A few lines were tossed, and his boat was successfully dragged onto his waiting trailer.

My turn. Grateful for the 24-inch draft of my little sailboat, I put in and began the process of hosing off the dust and sand that had collected in my absence, then headed over to Marina Fonatur to claim my slip. It was nigh on 1700 hours, so a little tidying up of the cabin was done before we made our way to Amor de Pizza for some carbohydrate-heavy dinner.
At least that’s how Pam described it the next day, poor thing.

Day 2-

Winds are forecast to be light, and I’m in no hurry to get out there, so I did a bit of spot maintenance on my bow eye. During haul outs, the boys at Safe Marina crank the boat tightly to the V block on the trailer, and as the boat settles onto the trailer, the angles change, and some pretty good stresses are imparted to the bow eye.

I asked Pam to help me move the boat around in the slip to make it easier to reach the big U-bolt. Tossing her a line, she bent down to cleat it off, and that’s when her sunglasses fell into the drink. Immediately she lay down onto the docks, grasping in vain at her quickly-sinking shades. When she stood back up, she realized that she was fairly well-smeared with pelican poop! Yuck!

Good thing we’re at a sort of full-service marina, and we made use of the place’s laundry facilities.
Anyway, while she was dealing with that mess, I was excavating the forepeak of Styrofoam flotation to access the nuts and bolts of the bow eye.

dsc04146

dsc04145

After loosening the nuts, I cleaned the old exterior washers and gooped liberally with 4200, then installed new, big ‘ol fender washers inside to help distribute the loads. Tighten up the nuts, and I’ll clean off the excess in the future.

dsc04148

For now, that’ll help to keep seawater out of the boat.

So it’s getting on to early afternoon, and there’s a slight breeze enticing me to get a little sailing in today. With freshly-laundered clothes, Pam and I put out onto the Sea of Cortez.
The boys on EcoFun 1 had seen a mother humpback whale and her calf the day before, about three miles out South of the harbor. This seems very early in the season for them to be showing up around here, but armed with this knowledge, we set off on a course of 190 degrees in very light winds. Unfortunately, this is akin to the proverbial needle in a haystack, and we saw no cetaceans. Still, it was nice getting becalmed about four miles out.

img_1543

Something happened halfway through that day’s sail, and my Bad Elf GPS quit on me. Whatever. We did see few sea lions lounging around.

dsc04154

Dinner that night was at Tacos Marcos. For less than $10.00, we ate nine chicken tacos, slathered with all sorts of good stuff.

Day 3-

Up way early, walk the dogs and get the coffee on. the winds today are supposed to be about the same as yesterday, but Irving from EcoFun 1 says they’ll be about 8-10 kilometers/hour. Lessee, that comes to about 5-6 miles/hour, somewhat better than yesterday’s waning puffs. Cool.

After breakfast, I noticed the breezes were coming from a direction that would allow me to sail right off the docks, without the use of my outboard motor. All I had to do was deploy my headsail, and we should be able to clear the dock finger immediately to our North.
Well, I waited too long, and the breeze slowly moved more onto my starboard beam. But I still went for it anyway. πŸ™‚
So what if I bonked lightly off the neighboring dock? There’s a small mark on my hull to remind me of my hubris.

After letting the light wind push us around the outer end of the docks we turned into the breeze, I handed Pam the tiller, raised the mainsail and we began the slow procession towards the mouth of the harbor. Then, there was the gauntlet of fishing boats to pass through. I counted at least 11 boats anchored outside the mouth, which limited our choice of heading to about 280-290 degrees until we cleared the fleet. I don’t want to mess with these guys and their business.

From there we headed South, looking for whales.

img_1544

After a couple hours of sailing, we decided to turn around. Ain’t no whales out here! About two miles out from port, Eco Fun was on the radio, asking for a report of any sightings. I could only say “Nada, nada.”

Then, a lone dolphin breached the surface to our North, but I didn’t feel that one dolphin was newsworthy enough to warrant a radio alert. Not long after that, Eco Fun was on the horn, advising us about a pod of dolphins between us and them. Yay!

I tried to get some photos, but ended up with shots of the surface of the Sea of Cortez.

By then, the light breeze had turned straight out of the West, and I was hoping to sail back into the harbor. We approached the harbor mouth, and as I dropped the mainsail and made the turn easterly, the breeze pretty much quit on us. Well, can’t be tying up the channel like this, so I fired up the outboard. We probably used about a half pint of gasoline that day, if that.

We went to China Fortuna for our dinner that night. Pam needs all the vegetables she can get.

Day 4-

We needed to wait out a very low tide for haul out, and there was the process of giving away/eating all the stuff that wasn’t allowed back into the states. This makes for some interesting breakfasts, sometimes.

Everything was buttoned up by 12:30, and it was an uneventful drive back to Tucson. Let’s hope that more whales will be here the next time we visit.

Advertisements

I wasted no time in getting back down to Puerto Penasco after trailering my little boat down last week. The duct tape on the wheels’ hubs was replaced with simple axle dust caps, and we had her splashed by 1600.

dsc04080

Over at Fonatur, SV Imagine was getting some boat love from her owners.

dsc04084

It’s a Friday afternoon in Rocky Point, somewhat warmish, and Pam wants to take the dogs to the beach. I want to get the boat rigged for sailing tomorrow, so off she went to Las Conchas on her own. She won’t be long, as dinner time is fast approaching. πŸ˜‰

I’m also kind of excited to try out my new navigational capabilities, since Karin and Joe from SV Flyin Sideways had gifted me copies of the electronic charts they had of the Sea of Cortez (and beyond). Been looking for these for about two years now, so, thanks guys!
I’ll be testing OpenCPN, the open-sourced marine navigation program, using a laptop computer and a GPS receiver.

Dinner that evening was at La Curva, while the dogs languished in the car.

Day 2-

Up before dawn, coffee and dog-duty. It seems that Pam was right, there are no garbage receptacles to be seen around the area. What am I supposed to do with this small plastic bag full of poop? Oh yeah, there are dumpsters behind Fonatur’s offices.

A little later on, breakfast on the docks, followed by final prep for the day’s sail.

I needed a radio check, but never got around to it before heading out. Oscar, Tempo’s captain, said he would accommodate me while we’re out there. Okay, so we put out, only to find that the usual hailing frequency, channel 16, is “busy”. Someone’s got a radio with a stuck transmit function, obliterating any and all communication on a very important channel!

This issue put the local maritime authorities on alert, and while we were out, I saw a power boat coming straight for us. Having no idea if the boat’s pilot was aware that we were on a collision course, I changed my course for him. When he got close enough so I could see he was the local Coastie and he wanted to talk to me, I hove to.
He spoke some Spanish to me, but my Spanish is not too good? He then raised his hand-held VHF and pointed to it, which I took to mean there was a radio problem. Ah yes, there is a radio problem.

So I switched off my VHF, he checked the status of channel 16 (no change), thanked me and then sped off towards the next boat.

Here’s our course for the day, as depicted on the iPad and the laptop.

img_1509

opencpn-pp-anomaly

The laptop’s rendering of our track that day is to the right in the photo, stunted due to worries about the laptop’s battery life.
OpenCPN seems to put us a little North of our position relative to the chart. This may be because there really aren’t any up-to-date electronic charts of this area available with verified GPS coordinates.

Or something.

Adding in the fact that the laptop needs at least 18.5 volts to charge its battery, there may be a change in power systems needed for the boat.
Not this boat, however. The next boat.

We enjoyed dinner at the Blue Marlin that evening, and a nice walk with the dogs from the marina and back.

Day 3-

Same-old same-old routine, but the VHF problem had gone away. I had hoped the locals figured out who the culprit was, but later on the problem returned. But this time, it covered ALL CHANNELS!

Okay, then.

With reckless abandon, we still put out for a daysail, this time heading WNW towards Cholla bay.

img_1510

Delightful sail, culminating is being becalmed about five miles from port just before dusk. I waited too long to break out the spinnaker for the return trip, and the sun began to set on us. Stow it, fire up the outboard, turn on the navigation and steaming lights and head back in.

Hey, there’s another cruiser docked at Fonatur!

dsc04100

That there’s SV Coastal Drifter, a David Folkes designed steel-hulled behemoth of a boat. She’s owned by Phil and Debra Perfitt, a couple of Canadians from Canada. πŸ™‚

Debra’s the stunning blonde on the left.

They had been splashed from Cabrales’ yard just recently, and are in the process of provisioning for their next adventure. And they’re cleaning Coastal Drifter from top to bottom, after the boat sat in the work yard for the Summer.
I certainly know about that little problem.

We traded pleasantries, then headed out to Tacos Marcos for our final dinner in Rocky Point.

Day 4-

Today, we were given the nickel tour of both Coastal Drifter and Imagine by their respective owners. Two very different boats. Drifter is built like a tank in some respects: just look at those railings. Plus, a steel hull can be repaired almost everywhere in the world, compared to fiberglass. Beamy, with a displacement of around 38,000 pounds, she’s more than twice the weight of Imagine.

Alex (or Radu, as I’ve come to learn) and Katja have spared no expense in the outfitting of Imagine. She has state-of-the-art electronics, and a Carl Alberg pedigree. A superbly designed dodger and bimini enclosure keeps the sun, spray and bugs at bay, and she’s way fast, I hear. Below decks, she’s just as gorgeous. There’s a whole lot more of her to be seen on their website.

Thanking our hosts for the tours, I had to get busy striking the mainsail on Sovereign, and packing up for the trip home.

There’s some kind of election going on in the states tomorrow, and I wanted to get across the border before anything crazy happened.

In the run-up to this season’s sailing adventures, I checked out the trailer axle bearings. Both sides looked and felt good after disassembly and a re-greasing.
The Bearing Buddies were looking a mite rusted, but I just shrugged it off, hammering them back in place over the axle nuts, and pumping in some more grease.

This was a mistake.

As I made the last turn to enter the freeway proper, I noticed in my rear-view mirror what appeared to be a tin can skittering away from my trailer. Hmm. On the freeway for only a short time, I then exit onto highway 86 Westbound towards the bustling town of Why, Arizona, about 120 miles.

Trailering protocols, however, demand that I stop and physically check the temperature of the trailer’s hubs, in case of an imminent bearing failure. So, about 20 miles down the highway, I pull over to check ’em.

Yep, that was my portside Bearing Buddy I’d seen back there. Checking the other side, its mate was gone, too! Crap! Can’t be lettin’ dust and debris contaminate those bearings.

A few miles further up the road is an Ace hardware store in Three Points. I pull in, and the proprietor asks me what I’m looking for, only to shake his head in dismay.

All is not lost, however: duct tape to the rescue! Climb aboard the boat, delve into the tool kit and fish out the roll. Minutes later, I’m back on the road.

dsc04078

The rest of the drive was uneventful, and I arrived in Rocky Point during the warmth of the afternoon.
Set-up of the boat took awhile, mostly because I hardly do that stuff but twice a year, nowadays. Mast-up storage is a great time saver, but you don’t stay as familiar with rigging and de-rigging.

Arturo helped me park the boat in her spot, and I shared a sandwich with him. Afterwards, I mosied on over to Marina Fonatur to say hello to the folks there. Slipped at the end of the docks is this beautiful 37 foot Alberg.

dsc04065

She’s owned by a couple named Katja and Alex, whom I briefly met the next day. They had no troubles with me posting a photo of their boat, Imagine.

That evening, I dined on crackers and cheese aboard Sovereign, and the mosquitoes dined on me as I slept. I still need to install netting over the companionway and pop-top, but so far, I’ve lacked the impetus. Well, this was my impetus. The Zika virus scare has hardware stores everywhere unable to keep decent netting in stock, it seems. Boo!

Day 2-

Not much to tell, except intersecting with Katja and Alex at Fonatur. I also stopped by the storage facility across from Cabrales’, and saw Rick, finishing up some repairs on his Spencer.

dsc04075

dsc04073

She’s looking good.

He and Mary plan on splashing later in the week, and then head down South towards San Carlos, where they’ll hop across to the Baja peninsula.

The Challenger ketch is still dry-docked there, and I now hear she’s been sold for $25,000.00. I hope her new owners sail her often.

dsc04074

By 10:00 I was headed back towards Tucson. We’ve been experiencing record heat, but things are just starting to cool off around here, and I suspect my tenants will be clamoring for their furnaces soon. I hope to fit in a sailing visit to Puerto Penasco before then. I miss the food and the people down there, too!

To do- new Bearing Buddies and mosquito netting. Priority on the netting.

In the ongoing saga of rental maintenance, I found the need to tear out a bathroom wall or three, plus the bathtub.

dsc04030

A mold issue was the primary motivator, due to leaks that went unreported by our previous tenant. I can understand why the tenant didn’t want to have me over to do a bit of preventive maintenance. It was because he lived like a pig.

dsc03926

dsc03930

Anyway, this wall happens to be a load-bearer, so I had to support the engineered trusses that make up the ceiling/roof structure with those 2x10s I had laying around from another bit of rental work. I lifted up the trusses about an eighth of an inch, allowing me to cut away the old studs, sill and top plates.

This ain’t cabinet making, this is rough carpentry. It required some effort on my part to just let go of precise measuring and joinery.
“The cabinet maker measures to the nearest 1/32 of an inch, the house builder to the nearest 1/8th of an inch, and the boat builder to the nearest boat.”

dsc04037

Today, I’ll finish the plumbing for the tub and shower, and install the approximately 4 sheets of drywall needed to finish the living room and half of the bathroom. The rest of the bathroom will need green board behind the tub and tile areas. Then, rebuild the trashed bath vanity and install a new tub and tile.

Here’s to good tenants!

Update- Difficulties soldering the tub fixture has put off drywalling for one day.

Up early, I’m quaffing coffee down in the shop, prepping the planer for the final thicknessing of the new door rail. I don’t think 0530 is too early to fire up this screamer, eh?

DSC03973

A few passes through, and it’s good to go. The next step is cross-cutting the piece to final length and cutting the slots for the biscuits. It’d be nice to use mortise and tenon joinery again, but this glue is pretty good, claiming to be stronger than the wood itself. And I’m in a bit of a hurry.

These were the only practice cuts I could make on scraps, the cut-offs from the new rail.

DSC03978

DSC03982

The rail’s almost finished.

DSC03983

Now to cut the corresponding slots on the stiles. These two small cuts took longer to set up, and lots of contortions to eyeball the cutter to the centerline of the stiles.

The Beast is back.

DSC03984

As my new rail was a still a bit over-thick (with a fudge-factor of 1/16th of an inch), the dry-fit looked good. I can sand the joints down fairly quickly with some 60 grit.

DSC03987

The last cut before final assembly is the rabbet to receive the glass.

DSC03989

The door was glued and clamped by 10 AM.

DSC03992

Now I’ve got a refrigerator defroster cycle acting up. Defrosted the evaporator, cleaned the condenser coils and put it back together. What next!?!

My circular saw will be going out for repairs tomorrow. Hopefully all it needs is a couple of new brushes and a bit of cleaning/lubrication. I like that saw.

In the meantime, sand and prime the door, while hoping I don’t need to deal with that danged refrigerator again. Ay-yi-yi.

After-dinner update: did the last bit of routing out of the interior side. I’ll probably be the only one who notices this terrible profile match.

DSC03994

DSC03995

Just prime it.

Tonight or tomorrow I’ll clean up the filthy glass and install it. Most likely tomorrow.

First off, don’t assume everything’s fine if one of your tenants never calls you with the usual little problems. And if the neighbor next door gives you a call regarding said tenant, make that neighbor happy, ASAP. Turns out, we’ve got a rock band annoying the neighborhood.

DSC03931

Poor photo, I know. That tenant is now in the process of moving out, and we hope all the skeevy rock fans that showed up for the band’s night-time rehearsals go elsewhere as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy music, even music that most folks might call “bad music”. But we can’t have the police visiting on a regular basis because of the noise going too late into the evening, can we?

The subject of this post is behind the drum set in the living room.

About ten years ago, I replaced four double door systems in one of our rentals. The original multi-pane doors that came with the place had given up the ghost, and bits of those old doors are still in my burn pile. Here’s one of the new double doors I built, then neglected for too long.

DSC03927

The paint just gave out, allowing rainwater to enter and rot away a good portion of the lower rail of the door. Here’s a closer look at the same rental unit’s other door with the same problem, albeit slightly less rotted.

DSC03929

I’ve already repaired and replaced the worst of the two (what fun), but I thought I’d document the repair of the second, less-damaged one.

Step one: get the door down to my wood shop and remove the tempered glass pane.

DSC03933

DSC03936

Then, cut away the rot.

DSC03937

I had originally hoped to use my circular saw to make the cuts, but the white smoke escaped the motor on the old Milwaukee, so I went old school on it.

Leaving a healthy margin to prevent any tear-out from the still-good stile, the saw cut well.

DSC03938

Next, how to clean up these cuts down to the stile’s original edge? I thought about a hand plane…

DSC03941

But there’s more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak. Out came the Beast, a DeWalt 2-horse plunge router with a two-inch piloted pattern bit.

DSC03947

DSC03948

Carefully clamping a straightedge to the stile, the pilot bit made short work of the excess.
And lots of poplar dust.

DSC03954

The other side required a deeper cut into the stile, due to some rot. I set the straightedge deeper, and tacked on a stop to limit the router’s cut from going any higher on the stile than necessary.

DSC03958

Then, just square up the extra with a sharp chisel.

DSC03968

The Beast did an excellent job of preparing the door for its new bottom rail. So here’s the process to make that new rail.

Some 8/4 rough poplar I bought at my local lumberyard was cut down to two pieces. I need to make a flat surface on my stock, and that’s the raison d’Γͺtre of my long bed 8-inch jointer.

newjointer1

Once one side is face-jointed, you set the face onto the 90 degree fence to square up an edge.

DSC03960

After that, a few passes through the planer will machine the other face parallel to the first,

jointerplaner

then the table saw will finish the other edge.

DSC03962

I machined them slightly oversized prior to glue-up, then when the glue has completely dried, I’ll run the piece through the planer again to get it down to just above final thickness, that being one and 3/4 inches, and cut to final length on the table saw.

DSC03965

That’s enough for today. I should be able to finish this project tomorrow. Maybe even get it primed and re-installed, eh?

I made the run down to Puerto Penasco on a Sunday, when everybody else was heading the other way.

DSC03922

DSC03923

Been there, done that. Once.

My boat was sorta buried in amongst the other sailboats, but there was still enough room to start tearing her down. The outboard motor and rudder assembly were removed and I gave the trailer’s wheels’ lug nuts a spritz of WD40, just in case I had to do any roadside repairs on the trip back North. I prepped the gin pole for the next day’s mast drop, then hit Tacos Marcos for dinner.

The mosquitoes were hell that night, and I barely slept a wink. I’ve already got the forward hatch bug-proofed, but I’ve been pondering how to screen the companionway. Flyin Sideways’ owners have a pretty good system, it appears. A sturdy screening material with weights sewn in around the perimeter, which is attached to the deck forward of the sliding hatch. Then the material is just draped over the open companionway, and Bob’s your uncle. How it might be designed to work with the pop-top up is another consideration.

Day 2-

Damned mosquitoes. Anyway, before the sun came up, I had the mast down and secured for travel. Then the rudder assembly was hoisted into the cockpit (after draining it of seawater all night, another bit of work to do), and the big ratcheting strap installed to keep the boat from jumping off the trailer.

Miguel moved the surrounding boats, then dragged Sovereign out of her slot and over to the yard’s compressor to top off the trailer’s tires. I’m just about ready to hit the road.

Pay off the remaining rent that’s due for storage and tip Miguel well, make a final check of everything I could think of, and I’m out of the gate by 0845.

Those first 10-20 miles, you want to take it easy. Stop and check the trailer’s hubs for any abnormal heat development, indicating a wheel bearing problem. While pulling over on the dusty shoulder, I mistook the dust that was kicked up for smoke. It didn’t help that there was also the smell of smoke in the air as I exited the cab.

I checked both hubs, but they were okay. Somebody upwind was burning something, so thank goodness it wasn’t me. Still, I made a couple more checks along the way northward.

This time, the agent at the border wasn’t interested in inspecting Sovereign for contraband, saying “Welcome”, and I thanked him.

I arrived in Tucson around 1400, parked the boat in her usual spot and headed inside to the air-conditioned comfort of the Ranch. Since returning, I’ve pulled off her running rigging and given it all a much-needed bath. The boat’s still awaiting her bath, but Clem doesn’t seem to mind. He’s glad to have his perch back in town.

DSC03924

Me too.

As Flyin Sideways moved North to escape the heat of Southern Mexico, they found a great price on a slip in the country’s second-largest port city of Guaymas (pronounced “why-mas”).

The city lies approximately 300 miles due South of my place, and the trip down took about six hours. Driving down alone, I had to stop at immigracion and pick up a free permit to travel in the “hassle-free zone” which extends from the border to Guaymas along highway 15, but no further East or South of my destination. For that, I’d need extra Mexican governmental clearance.

For now, I prefer it hassle-free.

003

How the heck did they paint that up there?

005

Guaymas and neighboring San Carlos are both great cruiser destinations, kind of a Northern-most point for sailors hauling out for hurricane season, or selling it all and “swallowing the anchor”. And there are lots of boats for sale, a few of which I was able to briefly inspect.

Most of the boats slipped at our local marina were very salty-looking.

015

017

022

The winds here seem pretty reliable, and there are a lot of anchorages, too.

043

The only real constraint imposed on most of these keelboats are the relatively shallow areas upon which you could run aground, if you weren’t keeping a close eye out. My little swing-keeled MacGregor 25 might be quite happy down here.

Day 2-

We headed towards San Carlos and breakfasted at Rosie’s, then made our way to the marina where local broker Don Brame is situated. He runs San Carlos Yacht Sales, and some of his offerings seemed to be worth a look-see. Working around each others schedules (his, mostly), I got to look at one boat that day, a Cape Dory 30.

040

Trailerable!

034

036

Not a bad-looking boat, but it was only the first I’d seen during my stay. Thanking Don for his time, we headed back to Guaymas, where the yard there held another boat that piqued interest, Zorra.

She’s a 1975 Tayana 37. Add the bowsprit, make that 42 feet.

4576910_20140421133119615_1_XLARGE

Getting back in contact with Don’s office, I set up an appointment for the next day at 0900 to check her out.
In the meantime, Joe was taking a long look at her hull and noticed an anomaly on Zorra’s cutwater. It looked as if there was an impression of the wire rope bobstay stamped on it, leading us to take a harder look at the bowsprit.

Zorra 020

Under that white paint(!) is a laminated teak and mahogany hunk of wood, with what appears to be a crack at the apparent fulcrum. This will bear further inspection.
Good eyes, Joe!

Dinner that evening was at the taco stand “Safari”, right across the street from the marina. Every bit as good as any I’ve had in Mexico.

Day 3-

Met with Brisa, Don’s cohort at San Carlos Yacht Sales, and she brought the keys to allow access to Zorra.

A tiller instead of a wheel in the smallish cockpit, with mucho storage space below decks. Lots and lots of wood, which is something that really doesn’t encourage me. It was a short inspection, as Brisa had some appointment to attend.

Since then, I’ve been delving into the particulars of these Tayanas, and will want a second look at her to confirm what I’ve learned about their build specifications. Things like the spreaders, mast and boom, which may be made of wood.

A bit later we took off for the San Carlos area to enjoy Playa Algodones, a beautiful crescent-shaped strip of beach.

051

048

049

Then we headed back towards San Carlos.

052

Really beautiful coastline around here, huh?

Karin had set up an emergency dental appointment in San Carlos, so we dropped her off at the dentist’s office, and Joe and I made our way to the nearby Captain’s Club for a bit of lunch. No sooner had we been served our delicious crab tostadas we got the call from Karin for her pick-up.

The cost of her exam, x-ray and consultation? Free. Just the few dollars for a course of antibiotics the dentist had prescribed.

Karin, I hope you’re feeling better by now!

The rest of the day was spent huddled aboard in Flyin Sideways’ air-conditioned saloon, where my Jeopardy skills were shown to be sorely lacking.

032

Day 4- There was a contingent of skydivers/scuba divers showing up in San Carlos to make a few dives, and Joe got the chance to dive with them that day. I’ve never taken the time to get certified for scuba. Perhaps someday.
Anyway, while Joe was off blowing bubbles, Karin and I did some laundry, and she put the boat to rights for that evening’s soiree.

Later that day the owners of another boat for sale, Coaster, got into town. In the heat and humidity of the afternoon, I was allowed to inspect her.

Coaster3

Coaster7

DSC03888

Odd galley arrangement, with the stove at 90 degrees to conventional wisdom. She’s got a deck-stepped mast, and peering down into the bilge, I checked the mast compression post base. It was starting to go soft.

Looking up the mast, it’s got quite an “S” curve.

DSC03892

The owner and I tried to pull on the shrouds to see if the mast would straighten up some, to no avail.

Later, the scuba divers showed up, and we partied.

DSC03897

Day 5-

Guests, like fish, start to smell after about three days, and I think I was positively reeking by that morning.
Thanking my hosts, I hit the road around 0830 and drove the 300 plus miles without incident. A bit of a wait at the Nogales border, quite different than the usually sleepy Lukeville border I’m so accustomed to.

Another trip down there with Pam and the dogs is in the works, but for that trip I’ll be looking into renting a nearby casita.

Come Autumn, I might drag the MacGregor on down to Guaymas. It’ll be quite the change from Puerto Penasco.

After making sure all of our important responsibilities were, at least, not going to bite us in the proverbial buttocks, I was finally able to justify a bit of time spent down in Rocky Point.
Having not been in the car since his adventure, poor Gilligan wasn’t too keen on hopping into it at all, but we loaded him up anyway along with Ziggy and made the drive down on a Sunday morning.
On the plus side, he didn’t puke this time.

It being Mother’s Day, I gave mom a call, left a message, then tried some other family members, leaving more messages. Then, my phone rings back. Turns out she was enjoying the traditional brunch at my niece’s new place in Hamtramck. I’m far from up-to-date on family traditions.

A few days of pretty good winds had been whipping up the Sea of Cortez, and their aftereffects would figure into our sailing days during this trip. But, I’m getting ahead of myself here.

The boat wasn’t too filthy, and I put in without much sweeping out of the cockpit, heading over to Marina Fonatur against a fair breeze from the South. Hey, there’s a panga in my usual slip!
No worries, as the guys on Eco Fun saw me coming, and proceeded to make room. I just needed to turn around and make room for the panga to exit. Putting the tiller hard over in the tight fairway and starting to come about, I quickly realized that I was going to bash into the booze-cruiser Baja Adventure!

DSC03715

Slamming the outboard into reverse and gunning it slowed me down just enough to whack her stern with a fairly loud bonk, causing the band members on her aft deck to peer through the railings down at me. This is what happens when I’m too long away from my boat. How embarrassing.

No real damage, but a bit of blue paint on my prow to remind me of my piloting skills, or lack thereof.

Pam let me use the dock hose to rinse off the last of the dirt, and in no time Sovereign was looking much better. I bent on the mainsail and threaded the reefing lines. According to the forecast, I shouldn’t need them, but what the heck?

After a bit of ribbing from the folks on Eco Fun, I believe a beer is in order.

We’ve been getting stuck in our ways when it comes to dining down here, so we tried out a different place this trip. On Sunday night, we stopped at a place called Taqueria los Poblanos. Not knowing just how big their portions were, I ordered three pork “quesillas”, and so did Pam. Two would have been plenty for me. Delicious, and we had mucho leftovers to take back to the boat for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Day 2-

After a huge pork quesilla omelette and coffee, it was finally time to put out for a day-sail. The winds pushing the harbor flags looked reasonable, and as we exited the harbor mouth, I put up the sails. That lasted for all of about two minutes, when I reefed out of fear.

The swells a bit further out were about 4-5 feet, with a period of three seconds between crests, making my little boat hobby-horse something fierce. Every few moments the boat would crash down onto the next swell, stopping my forward progress quite effectively. We endured this for maybe twenty minutes before turning around and heading right back in, tails between our legs.
The entire excursion lasted about 45 minutes.

IMG_1387

The docks were a hotbed of activity, what with Quino el Guardian getting a bit of re-fit and paint before she heads back out next Sunday.

DSC03770

Oscar and his mate were busy re-habbing his dock stairs, grinding off the rust and spraying on some battleship-grey primer.

DSC03767

DSC03774

Thankfully, the breeze was blowing in the proper direction. πŸ˜‰

Most of the work on my boat consists of cleaning up dog fur, but my outboard motor wasn’t peeing out quite the water stream it usually does, so I wanted to have a look at the impeller.

DSC03759

DSC03760

The impeller looked fine, so I guess there’s a bit of salt clogging up the cooling tubes, somewhere. There’s still enough water passing through, so it’s not an emergency as of yet. I put the lower unit back together and re-hung the motor back onto the transom.

A photo shoot was also going on, with a pretty girl all dolled up. Maybe it was for her quinceanera.

DSC03746

That evening we enjoyed the carne asada at La Curva.

Day 3-

Pam invited Ivan, a homeless guy, down to the boat for breakfast. On her many dog walks, she’s been getting to know the locals pretty well, and they her. Word spreads quickly when you give one of them a twenty dollar bill. I guess the guy that got the twenty had a dental problem, and Pam hoped he would put the money towards that. We don’t yet know how that was resolved.

Ivan speaks English very well, and helped us a bit with our halting Spanish. It being Mother’s Day in Mexico, he mentioned that he hadn’t spoken with his mom in a long time. We offered up our cell phones so he could do so, but he said he just needed a couple bucks to use a pay phone.
Okay, then.

A little while later, we again put out onto the Sea of Cortez, running into almost the same swelly conditions, only with less wind. This time we lasted a whole half-hour longer.

IMG_1388

So, for the second day in a row, we’re back on the docks before noon. What’s there to do? Beach!

Apparently, the progress on the cruise ship pier has halted, so Sandy Beach is an easy decision to make. Our other beach, out near CEDO along Las Conchas beach, has a lot of coral outcroppings. It’s no fun stubbing your toe on that stuff.

Later, getting back to our predictable ways, we had dinner at China Fortune.

Day 4-

While taking the dogs up for their morning ablutions, I found Ivan had given Pam’s car a good washing, so I gave him whatever pesos I had in my pockets. The car was filthy, so, thanks Ivan!

I walked the dogs down to the public boat ramp, and found my first evidence that there are actually sharks out there, albeit small ones.

DSC03758

DSC03754

Seeing as how my sailing efforts had been pretty much stymied over the past two days, I wanted to give it one more try. Our only remaining cat, Uh Clem, was all alone back at the Ranch with plenty of food, water and cat litter to tide him over.

Third time’s a charm.

IMG_1389

The swells had subsided. According to iSailor, we traveled about 16 nautical miles that day, compared to the previous two-days’ total of 7 nautical miles.

As we were making our way back into port, there was a big ‘ol sailboat anchored outside.

DSC03784

That’s a 53-foot Spencer, AKA the SV Que Sera. She was waiting out there until high tide would allow all of her 8 foot draft an easier time in the harbor fairway.

I’ve seen this boat in Cabrales’ boat yard, with her huge pilot house being the giveaway. We met her owners back on Fonatur’s docks, as they were looking for a place to tie up for a bit. If they’re lucky, the big “T” where el Guardian’s getting her paint job will be open this Sunday. In the meantime, they’ll take a more expensive slip over at Safe Marina.

We made one more foray over to Sandy Beach later that day, then cooked our own damn dinner back at Fonatur. We’re really going off-script during this trip. πŸ˜‰

An unprecedented day 5-

Skipped breakfast (but not the coffee, of course), folded, rolled and stowed the mainsail, and made my way over to Safe Marina for haul-out. Paid another month’s worth of rent on the hard, then took some time to visit Que Sera. Mary and Rick were just about to haul up this huge foresail for folding as Pam and I walked down.

DSC03790

I offered my help, and Mary offered to show Pam the boat in the meantime. Sounds good, so Rick and I pushed and pulled the dock cart up the gangway, setting the massive sail aside his minivan, then headed back down to the Spencer.

I didn’t take any photos of her interior, but “cavernous” is a pretty good word to describe it, I think.

DSC03791

After a brief tour, we moseyed back on up to the yard to fold up Que Sera’s foresail.
Trust me, there are at least some advantages to having a small sailboat.

We got out of town by 10:30, and made record time returning to the Ranch, waking up Clem with his first taste of moist cat food in 5 days. He hasn’t shut up since.

I am beat!

As the heat of Spring comes on, I’ve been getting our tenants’ evaporative coolers online. This year came with a few needing replacement, so I’m grateful for the moderate temperatures we’ve been experiencing.

So far, I’ve replaced five coolers this year, the last one being an unexpected job. Seems that a few vanes in the squirrel-cage blower decided to rust away, and the resulting unbalanced condition wasn’t very quiet at all. This happened the day before I wanted to run down to Mexico and sail for a couple days, so, no Mexico for me. Gawd I miss my boat!

Add those to the two or three I had laying around in my scrap metal heap, and you have about 580 pounds of sheet steel needing recycling.

DSC03743

It took about three hours with a sawzall to break down all the old coolers so they would fit into/on my POS little trailer, and this afternoon I hauled the stuff to our local metal recycler, netting a cool $29.00. Cha-ching!

Lessee, $29.00 divided by four hours labor equals $7.25/hour (exactly the federal minimum wage at the moment), and that doesn’t include my labor to haul the scrap back to the Ranch to store until I have a load worth dragging to the yard. I suppose I could have just left the old coolers by the side of the road and let some other scrapper have them, if they’d have them. The price of scrap steel at the moment is five cents/pound, and copper, brass and aluminum are pretty low right now, too. Plus, there’s the labor of separating all that stuff into the mysterious categories demanded by the place you’d sell it to. As of now, my stocks of the more profitable metals are just laying around, waiting for some metal-market miracle to occur.

It’s getting more and more costly to “do the right thing”, huh?