Projects

This week has been dedicated to getting ready to toss the dock lines and get back to our sailing way of life. Being tied to a dock is not really what we had in mind when we started our cruising adventure, so we are eager to see the last hurricane of the season wind its way out to sea and to sail off into the sunset as we head back to Baja.

One of the things we’ve been wanting to redo is a corner of the v-berth, aka garage / guest room that had a vanity table with a small settee.  For us it was mainly wasted space so we wanted to turn it into a storage area that we could use for small projects too.  One day I got it into my pea brain that it would be an easy thing to take out the vanity table, and build a couple of shelves, so Marty said have at it (I think he had evil motives..)!  Easy, eh?  Somehow it slipped my mind that I was talking about a boat project, and everyone knows that you can’t say easy and boat project in the same sentence, it just doesn’t happen.

I really should have taken pictures as I was dismantling the vanity table, because you probably wouldn’t believe how hard it was to remove that sucker!  This boat is built like a giant jigsaw puzzle and it’s always a challenge to figure out which part of the puzzle you have to remove first in order to get all the other pieces out.  Suffice it to say that after a few hours of sawing and pounding and a few sailor-esque quotes, I finally had the table out.

The next step was to get the necessary supplies from Home Depot in Guaymas.  Everything is a trade-off when you live on a boat and one of those tradeoffs is that we have no wheels (the ones on the dinghy don’t count here).  Off to the bus stop we walked, list in hand and bags ready for filling up with treasures.  With very few options we finally had some lumber selected, but getting 10′ boards on the bus was going to be a bit cumbersome.  After some lengthy and confusing Spanglish negotiations and a few extra pesos we were able to get the boards cut into 5′ lengths that Marty could carry a bit more easily!  We loaded up all the rest of our treasures and headed back to el bus stoppo…argh!  Our early morning trip to Home Depot had taken over 3 hours and it was now high noon…did I mention it’s really hot here?

After another long day of cutting, sanding, drilling, and head scratching, I finally had it all put together and ready to varnish.  Unfortunately I discovered the hard way that varnish does not like 100 degree heat!  The only way to get it to spread at all was to do it inside our air-conditioned cave, so I had to put on each coat very quickly and then vacate the premises so as not to asphyxiate us!  No doubt there will be more improvements made as we start using our new storage area / work bench, but for now it looks pretty darn good to me!

Marty volunteered for all the heavy lifting jobs (duh..!).  He pulled all 300′ of chain out of the anchor locker to re-mark the measurements so that we know how many feet of rode is out when we anchor.  Then he pulled 600′ of floating line off the spool on the stern and replaced it with 200′ of anchor line for our new stern anchor.  We’ve found that we haven’t had the need or opportunity to stern tie to shore as we had to do in the deeper anchorages of Alaska and the NW (it’s not much fun to tie to a cactus).   One of the easiest heavy lifting jobs was to install the new helm seat.  We can now sit in comfort as we sail along, without having to tie our folding chair on top of the fenders to make it high enough to see forward…whoohooo!  His next volunteer job will be putting the storm sail back on the furler, setting the jack lines and various other sweaty jobs!

We wimped out and hired someone to do the solar panel installation.  We wanted to make sure the electrical was set up properly and since neither of us like working with heavy objects above our heads and over water, it was a small price to pay!  We now have four shiny 95-watt panels in place of the two 85-watt panels we started out with.  Our hope is that the additional panels will provide enough power to keep the batteries charged for a couple of days on the hook before we have to run the generator.  We were finding that the two panels couldn’t keep up when we were using the extra amps required to run the freezer and fridge in this hot weather.

Along with some line splices, a few re-org projects in our clothes lockers, and getting additional provisions, we’re nearly ready to go.  We’re very antsy to be back out at sea, feeling the breezes and enjoying a peaceful anchorage.  When the weather window presents itself we’ll be heading back to the Baja side of the Sea to play in the islands for a few weeks, then we’ll make the crossing again to Mazatlan as we work our way down the coast to Banderas Bay for Christmas.