Sunday, March 7, 2010

Monte, meet Yannie

After Carnaval, focus was again shifted towards Tao and her engine. In order to avoid a rather large marina bill, Chris decided to sail Tao engineless out of the Mazatlan Marina district down to the Old Harbor where anchoring is free. Adam from s/v Estrella offered to help crew the boat through the narrow and sometimes dangerous marina channel. With assistance (push) from two outboard motors on a very light offshore breeze, the morning of February 16th, Tao was finally free of her docklines once again. As usual during calm weather periods, afternoon onshore sea breezes picked up, and a couple hours later, Tao maneuvered nimbly to her new home anchored next to Estrella and several other sail boats in the Puerto Viejo (Old Harbor).

Chris still had hopes to get the engine fixed and Tao ready for sailing before his good friend Monte was due to visit February 19th-23rd. No dice. Apparently, parts shipped from the US using a preferred mail courier first get held up with customs paperwork, and then the courier drivers want a cut before they deliver the item to its intended destination. This occurs with DHL and UPS alike and, according to Total Yacht Works, could take up to 3 weeks depending on the demeanor of the person who was in charge when the package arrived. So, with a well timed visit from Monte on the horizon, Chris opted to 2nd Day Air the gaskets he needed from Florida to Monte’s house in Golden, Colorado.

Monte arrived safe and sound and hand delivered the ordered engine parts on Friday, February 19th. Monte’s first full day was spent with Chris and Adam putting Yannie’s head back on by reversing the steps Chris and his Dad went through to get the head off. Once finished, Yannie had received a new head gasket, exhaust manifold gaskets, and a new mixing elbow (Total Yacht Works manufactured from scratch at a local machine shop). Valves were adjusted, the correct torque was applied to both the studs and nuts with a borrowed torque wrench, and all hoses were connected. The time had come to turn the engine over, and… Wait for it… She fired right up! Thanks for the support from all the folks on the Sonrisa Net who jumped in to give some good help and advice during the early stages of the blowout, those who lent a hand in Marina Mazatlan and the Old Harbor, and especially to Adam and Kris from s/v Estrella and Monte Lunacek for their hands on support aboard Tao during this ordeal.

After enjoying a lovely dinner and a few tasty margaritas with Estrella in the main square of old town Mazatlan, Chris and Monte hit the hay tired from a long, productive day of work. They spent half the following day changing the oil in Yannie and preparing Tao for her first outing with Monte, avid outdoorsman but not so much a sailor (yet). In the afternoon, Tao sailed off her anchor in Old Harbor towards Isla Venados (Deer Island), the most prominent island located in the middle of a chain of 3 directly off the Gold Coast of Mazatlan.

It wasn’t far, but Monte had a flight to catch and time was short. They spent the night on the hook off the southeast corner of Isla Venados, and apart from a slight roll and steady NW breeze, they both slept well. Morning of February 22nd dawned bright and beautiful over Mazatlan. Chris and Monte went ashore and hiked to the highest peak of the island which entailed a moderate bush whack through the last few 100 yards. Views of Mazatlan to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west were the welcome reward.

They enjoyed a pleasant sail back to the Old Harbor, and then spent the rest of the afternoon researching Monte’s options for a trip down to Puerto Vallarta where his flight was scheduled to depart the next day. Chris and Monte had a dinner in town and then visited new cruising friends Ryan and Kristina on their sailboat, Caramelo, on the Singlar dock in the marina that evening. They said their goodbyes at around 9PM so Monte could catch his red-eye bus from Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta. The trip was fast by cruising standards, but Chris much appreciated a visit from his long time friend from grad school. Thank you, Monte (aka Tao-buddy)!

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