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After our fruitless whale-watching attempts two months ago(!), we finally found the time to try, try again.

Lately, Uh Clem’s been getting an increasing portion of wet cat food, but when we’re away for a few days, it’s kibble for the old guy. Stock up the dish with Purina, slather onto another dish as much 9 Lives Meaty Pate (with real chicken and tuna. Nummy.) as we think he’ll eat until it no longer appeals to him, fill the water dishes and hit the road.

Jeez, we dote on that cat.


Once again, Gilligan surprised us by keeping his breakfast down the entire trip to Rocky Point. Kudos, little buddy!

There have been recent rains down here, so the boat wasn’t completely covered in dirt, thank goodness. Splash, rinse, load up the various and sundry personal effects and go claim my cheap slip at Marina Fonatur.

Hey, there’s Oscar, getting ready to put out with a load of folks aboard Tempo,


…so I quick ask him “Do you know where it is a whale?”
“About 13 miles out at a heading around 220, 230 degrees”, he informs me. Well, that would mean a 26 nautical mile day for us, and at an average speed of 3 to 4 knots, about an 8 hour-plus daysail. Our usual morning routine will need to be hurried up a bit in order to be back at the docks by zero-dark-thirty. Whatever.

Off he goes with his passengers, and I busied myself with rigging the mainsail and reefing lines. In the meantime, Pam got in a good walk with the dogs.


That evening, we enjoyed dinner at La Curva.

What is this “Facebook” thing?

Day 2-

This trip I did not forget the coffee. Morning ablutions performed, jazzed on caffeine, full of breakfast, we set out on what was supposed to be a light-breeze of a day.


Glad I installed the reefing lines! The winds got progressively bigger, and the swells did the same. But the real problem was the period between the swells, about 2-3 seconds, making for an uncomfortable ride in my little boat.
The tiller pilot was having a tough time anticipating which way the swells were going to toss us, so I put him on standby and took the helm. The pressure on my rudder was considerable and made for a bit of a workout, and a little voice in the back of my mind was asking “Can the rudder handle this kind of torque?”

I’m glad to say it did handle the stresses. We saw no whales that day, chalking it up to the deteriorating conditions which pretty much forced us back to the harbor. I’m such a wimp.

Dinner that night was at Tacos Marcos.

Day 3-

Do it again. But this time we’ll get out a little earlier.


And we’ll use the outboard on the leg out. I ran it until we were about 8 miles from port, where I shut it down and raised my sails in the light winds.

I do prefer the quiet over the noise, and that’s how we’ve usually found our whales, listening for their surfacing breaths. Not long after that, I saw what appeared to be jets of dark stuff being blasted into the air quite a long way off. Grabbing the binoculars, I looked North toward Cholla Bay to see multiple plumes of spray. Captain, there be whales!

Coming about and heading NNW, we were able to intercept at least two humpbacks.


That was as close as we were able to get, around 50-75 yards. As it was getting on towards mid-afternoon, we started heading back to port. After turning downwind, the 150% genoa was having difficulties staying filled with the light breeze.

Ayup, it’s spinnaker time!


I broke my previous distance record for flying the sail, too. 8.9 nautical miles of downwind sailing. We made good time and the sunset was pretty darned purdy.


All in all, a good day!

We dined at Fortuna China that night.

Day 4-

It’s a Thursday, and getting time to clear out of this town. The place gets happening around the weekends, more than I care to experience. We enjoy the quiet nights during the weekdays, and leave the noise and traffic to the revelers who start showing up about now. It also makes for short waits at the border. πŸ˜‰

Pam’s already asking about a return trip. I’m game.


During a lull in work, Pam and I found the opportunity to drive down to San Carlos, the gringo-fied town just outside of Guaymas.

I’ve been researching boats for sale down there for a couple of years now, but rarely make the time available. It’s about a six hour-plus drive, and when you include all the brief stops the dogs seem to need, well, it just adds up.


Strangely enough, Gilligan didn’t puke during the entire time on the road.

Approaching Hermosillo, we stopped on a side road off the freeway to let the dogs relieve themselves. As we were buttoning up, a local policia municipal rolled up alongside, checking on us.

“We’re fine, just a banos break for los perros.”

“Okay”, and they drove away, turning around to head back out to the freeway. Just as we were making the turn ourselves, they pulled us over.

“License, por favor.”

We had done nothing wrong that I could think of, but the cops were insisting that we had.

They started yammering about our needing to pay 4,400+ pesos at their headquarters, about $220.00, and memories of the interaction we’d had with Sonoyta’s Finest almost three years ago came flooding back. “We’ll pay the full amount at the department headquarters. We will follow you there”, but they kept insisting that we pay there, on the spot. Every time I refuted one of their spurious charges, they’d come up with another bullshit one.

Unfortunately, we still had about 2+ hours of driving to go, and I’d prefer not to arrive after dark.

Well, the friggin’ bullies stole our lunch money, $25.00. It angers me how they abused their authority like that, and I was seething for the next 24 hours. Actually, I’m still seething. Those bastiges…

Rolling into San Carlos, we needed to locate our accommodations, an RV park called “Totonaka”. When I researched it a few days before the drive, the owner said he had a room with a king-sized bed for $50.00/night, dogs okay.

We’re not used to paying for a place to sleep in Mexico, besides the very reasonable slip fees at Marina Fonatur in Rocky Point. Checking in, the attendant quoted me slightly less than the $150.00 I was expecting to pay, as long as I paid with a credit card. Well, that partially makes up for the event back in Hermosillo.

We hit the marina for dinner that evening, a place called Hammerhead’s. Struck up a conversation with a gentleman named Virgil Bridgewater, who was looking forward to splashing his Camper & Nicholson Halcyon Days the next morning. He’d been on the hard for quite awhile dealing with life’s issues, so we congratulated him, got a boat card from him and said we’d check in with him tomorrow at Marina Real.

Day 2-

Some things never change, like following after the dogs with a plastic bag during their morning ablutions, and good coffee. I had brewed 3 pots the morning we left for San Carlos, and put them in the freezer to chill while stocking the cooler.
Well, I forgot to pack them, and a frenzied internet search was on for a close-by coffee shop. D’oh! So much for the savings on the room!

Pakal Kin Coffee Shop has some excellent espressos, just not quite strong enough for my taste. I like my coffee strong enough to dissolve the enamel off your teeth, so to speak.

Back at the RV park, I broke out the old Coleman Dual Fuel and whomped up a mess of fried potatoes, onions and eggs. There’s something else that rarely seems to change, our breakfast habits.

After clean-up, we made our way on over to Marina Real, pier 13, slip 5, and no Camper Nicholson. No Virgil Bridgewater, either. I walked on over to the office, and the lady there knew what had happened. As Halcyon Days was being splashed she started taking on water, so was immediately hauled right back out. Crikey!

We drove over to the dry facility and asked around about Virgil, and one man was able to point out the boat to us. Knocking on the hull, still no Virgil, so I gave up for the time being.

Since we’re over thisaways, let’s check out Bahia Algodones, a beautiful crescent of beachfront.


The dogs loved it, and we made the short hike over to that rock feature in the upper left of the photo, climbing part way up.


That person you can barely see mid-left in the photo above is Pam.




I had set up a meeting that afternoon with a gentleman named Bob who’s selling a Valiant 40, and we met at his favorite haunt, the Club de Capitanes.

Great little bar/restaurant, and I hear Bob dances up a storm there in the evenings. So I bought him a beer while Pam waited with the dogs out on the patio. The boat’s out on a mooring in Bahia San Carlos, and tomorrow morning Bob will row his dinghy to shore to pick me up for an inspection of the Valiant.


While finishing up my beer with Bob, I noticed Virgil seated at the bar nursing a cold one. That was when I found out how the relaunching of Halcyon Days went kerflooie. Something near the stern tube or packing gland.
I commiserated with him briefly, until Pam announced she was ready to git. I guess the evening’s entertainers had started to trundle in their sound equipment, and Gilligan was starting to freak out a little with all the hubbub.
That dog’s special.
But before I left, Bob mentioned another boat coming up for sale, a Tayana 37 named Rebecca. He asked me if I’d like to arrange a look-see through a broker friend of his, and of course I said yes, giving him my cellphone number.

That night we enjoyed a dinner of tacos made from leftovers back at the RV park, heated in the room’s microwave.

Day 3-

After the usual, we ambled over to San Carlos marina and I used the office’s VHF radio to hail ‘ol Bob out in the bay. While I was checking out the Valiant, Pam was off trying to “rescue” a dog we’d encountered the day before. The dog was/is pitifully undernourished, so Pam to the rescue. Unfortunately, she was met with about eleven dogs, all demanding whatever food she’d brought with her. Overwhelmed, she got the heck outta there, but not before getting nipped by one member of the pack. As of Sunday the 12th, she hasn’t demonstrated any symptoms of rabies.

Some photos of the Valiant:







The rigging appeared to be in great shape even though it’s original. A lot of the deck trim plates were without goop, who knows for how long.


And finally, one of Captain Bob:


Nice fellow!

The Valiant is a well-designed racer/cruiser, but during their production run a number of the hulls were treated with an admixture of a type of fire retardant in the fiberglass resin, causing blisters. She’s one of the blister boats. I think this one would be more work than I’d want to undertake. Sorry, Bob.

I copied all the photos I took of her onto Bob’s laptop, hoping they might help him to sell her.

Later that day, I thought Pam and I should visit Guaymas and see how the marina there had fared during the recent hurricane that roared through, and on our way there I got a call from the broker that Virgil had talked about yesterday. Sure, we’ll head on back to San Carlos.

Some photos of the 37 Tayana Rebecca.





I’ve done a little research into her past. Back in 2012 her wooden mast was pulled and repaired due to some “dry rot”. It looked as if they’d done a fine repair job.


That’s a manual windlass.

She looks pretty good. Good enough for a deeper inspection.

Dinner that night was at a hole-in-the-wall taco joint named Tacos Don Lalo, where we had some delicious tripes de leche. Very tender cow milk gland meat with all the fixings.

Day 4-

We had to check out of the park by ten, and then it was off to Guaymas for a brief look at Marina Fonatur and its dry storage. Karin and Joe’s Columbia Flyin Sideways is there on the hard, and she looks good.

Update: As of early May, she’s for sale.


I can’t say the same for a few other boats there, undergoing repairs from Hurricane Newton’s ravages.

The Tayana I’d looked at back in May of 2016 had been sold recently. Zorra’s new owner is a man named John from Colorado. He posed for this picture with his granddaughter Clover in front of his new boat.


After Guaymas, we headed on back to Tucson, stopping at a chicken stand in Hermosillo for some great pollo al carbon.

I’ll be back.

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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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


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.



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.


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!


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.



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.”


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?


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.



The rail’s almost finished.


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.


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.


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


The door was glued and clamped by 10 AM.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.



Then, cut away the rot.


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.


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


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.



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


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.


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


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.


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


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


then the table saw will finish the other edge.


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.


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.



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.


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.


How the heck did they paint that up there?


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.




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


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.





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.


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.




Then we headed back towards San Carlos.


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.


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.




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.


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.


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.