Wednesday, January 12, 2011

San Carlos Work Zone

Shawn has continued to move forward with food and supply provisioning. Chris' focus, however, has little been deterred from the last weeks main goal: the stern arch and solar panels. Long ago ideas for building a stern arch were born, and since, Chris has been taking steps to make them a reality. First, buying a new-to-us 80-watt panel to more than double our solar input. Most importantly though, Chris found 1-inch stainless steel tubing and fittings from the rails of a 40-ft boat at Minnie's and purchased it all. He then found a metal worker that would straighten the lengths and then bend them appropriately. Another couple additional specific stainless fittings later, we strapped all of it (and a ton of other stuff) onto Pepe's roof and drove it to Mexico. Since we've gotten back here, Chris has carefully measured and cut and measured and cut and connected two arches together, tapped, and set all the screws to create our new, beautiful, double stern arch out of nearly all reused material. The panels are now pumping power into our batteries (and we even turned on the refrigerator when our cruising friends from Circe showed up with a delicious cut of Mahi for us, thanks!!). Getting both solar panels attached atop the arches in a secure and yet efficient manner has taken several days of playing, has led to reworking of our "engine lift," and still the ideas are brewing. Projects never really end.
(notice Chris' relative non-comfort below while hooking up the electrical component of the solar panels as viewed from our sternmost lazarette.)

We enjoyed our special inner anchorage and used it well- getting up the mast nearly every day. Shawn even went up a few days and painted around our new steaming light which Chris installed (including creating a flat epoxy base as opposed to the round face of the mast). Also completed aloft this past week was the mast top project. This included installation of a newly made stainless steel plate with another "crane" which is an external stainless eye allowing us to haul an additional line external of the mast just to port of the spinnaker halyard. Most importantly, however, it created a spot to install the radar reflector, now epoxied to stainless tubing and mounted atop the mast. Not only did this installation require MacGyver skills to get the backing nuts and washers on the bolts inside the mast top (fighting constant boat wakes, only one washer ended up in the water and one nut fell to the bottom inside the mast), but this is a project that has been in the works for a long time. Finally, it's up! We've tested the VHF and so far it appears our signal is not hampered. Unfortunately, however, at anchor as the wind blows, our much loved and sensitive wind indicator is doing circles telling us about all the eddies below the newly mounted reflector... Shawn figures that when sailing our wind indicator will not be hampered because we can't sail that far up into the wind and Chris already has ideas for lowering the reflector and raising the indicator. Projects never really end.

Because we wanted to use the car to purchase materials from Guaymas, bumped to the top of the list was building the dinghy frame so we can row Eeyore much more effectively and not worry about flimsy 5-ft aluminum oars or their plastic oar locks breaking. As we write, the frame (made out of PVC with a pine seat and stainless oar locks) is drying from its sparkly red paint job. Although the job is not quite complete, the flimsy oars have been relegated to the bottom of the lazarette and the new-to-us varnished 7-ft wooden oars are coming with us in all of our dinghy excursions. Also, FYI, though we have not been able to find the source in our quick checks, Eeyore has sustained some damage in the floor that leaks water into the boat. Every time we get in, we have to pump out more than normal amounts of water. We'll patch what we find when we get to it. Projects never really end.

We have been juggling getting projects done on the boat, taking care of business on-line in preparation for Chris and Pepe's trip north for storage next week (i.e. taking care of Chris' return travel plans, ordering any "final" gear from the States to bring back, etc.), and the busy social life that the San Carlos cruising community contains. Although we have admitted that we consider San Carlos a designated "Work Zone", Grizzly gets to be "on watch" a lot as we visit other boats. This week we shared stories with longtime cruisers Karen and Mike aboard Beau Soleil, enjoyed an impromptu gathering of 12 adults and 2 kids aboard Whiskey Charlie (a boat that is shorter than ours) marveling at the space provided in a catamaran, we're excited to see fun young sailor/surfers aboard Gadfly out of the yard, on the water and preparing to set sailing this week, and even had a fun wine tasting and story time aboard Aurora with Ziggy (the rescuer, but that's another story...) and Mystic. Another norther is bearing down on us for the next few days, so we have moved back out to the anchorage where we feel comfortable letting out as much scope as we want without worry of hanging into the marina entrance channel. Although we've got it that projects never really end, we are motivated to get as much done as possible here, while still enjoying ourselves and are pushing to set sail by the end of this month. We trust that along the way, projects will indeed (slowly) get done...

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