Thursday, October 13, 2016

Still here... proper repairs take time.

We are still here on dry dock, now about 5 days delayed from our original plan.  The outlook is not definite but thinking we might splash the middle of next week, approximately 2 weeks longer than we thought.  However, when effecting repairs it is always easier to do things right the first time instead of applying a band aid and then having to deal with it later.

The area is now about 4-5' long and we still find glass that is not sound.

Our holdup here is the hull repair.  While prep sanding for new bottom paint we found a small crack near the bow, well under the waterline, where the keel connects to the hull.  Not the actual hull joint but above it.  We ground into the glass and followed the crack back on the starboard side about 4'.  The open area seems to be revealing better, more sound glass but we are not there yet.  It appears that there was an old repair done improperly that allowed moisture to enter and then over the years it moved along the stress line and caused some delamination of the fiberglass layers.  In order for the repair to be done right and allow for maximum adhesion of the new glass, the damaged area must be void of any moisture.  As we apply thinner to the area a few times a day we are waiting for the drying process to happen.  The moisture levels are coming down but it will most likely be 2-5 more days before we can begin to lay glass back in.  Once that is complete we can then throw a coat of bottom paint on and head for the water!

As we wait for the hull repair area to dry we are keeping busy with several other projects.  Here is a quick look at the other tasks.

 The new washdown pump is installed under the starboard salon cushion using the through hull that was left behind from the keel cooler that we no longer have.  Hoses run from here to the bow and also to the stern.

 The new flat screen installed on the forward bulkhead in the pullman berth with Pierre the Poodler looking on.

 Patching a very slow leak on the dinghy.  Two layers in, one to go and hoping we will have an air tight dink.

 We had to remove all the bottom paint down to the gelcoat in this area because the dinghy outboard motor that was mounted on the rail for the summer dripped oil and contaminated the paint.

 While at home this summer we cut out new starboard steps for the swing down ladder off the stern pulpit.

 New prop shaft installed with the PSS dripless system rebuilt as well.  New zincs, painted shaft and prop with Pettit prop paint...all ready to go.

New bearings installed top and bottom on the old Facnor in-mast furling.

 New Vesper Marine AIS installed with VHF antenna splitter/booster.  We are pretty excited to have this new piece of safety equipment onboard.

Remote switch (black, rectangular) for Xantrex inverter installed in companionway for ease of control.  The inverter is in the aft cabin closet.  The circular switch next to it is the controller for the two underwater LED lights, one on the stern and the other on the starboard side.

Main and genoa up and furled but here we sit waiting for the SLOW fiberglass repair to be completed.

Waiting for the fiberglass repairs has been very frustrating.  A mix between waiting for things do dry out and having patience with the Mexican labor force that may or may not get to it when they should.  Our desires to get in the water and start the more relaxed part of our cruising season feed emotions that range from being patient, and happy to be here in Mexico, to thoroughly discouraged wondering if this is ever going to get taken care of.  As many of the cruisers remind is all part of the adventure.  So the adventure continues.

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne

Sunday, October 9, 2016

New chain or regalvanize?

The new chain vs. regalvanize issue is one of those topics that never really gets decidedly answered.  This is mostly because the answer comes down to personal circumstances.  I have talked to many cruisers about my chain, which is 5/16th HT and have gotten a variety of responses.  Some of them just shooting the bull and some of them quite authoritative, at least in their own minds.  Some told me to never regalvanize because it weakens the chain while others, including a VERY experienced circumnavigator that told me that regalvanizing would make the chain stronger and he would never consider buying new.  I don't necessarily agree with his assessment but then again, I don't buy into the thought that it weakens it either.

 I am not sure the age of our chain but we bought the boat about 4 years ago and there is nothing in the log books that indicate when the chain was purchased.  A completely uneducated guess would be about 10-15 years, but that is a stab in the dark.  Our problem is that it had gotten so rusty that it created a huge mess every time we deployed or retrieved the anchor.  By the looks of the chain there was not a huge amount of scaling or pitting, it appeared to be mostly just surface rust.

 The Rocna 55 on the scale at Fetasa.  You can see how rusty it looks going in.

 The boys at Fetasa getting the chain out of White Lightning.

Talking with Jose Carlos about the cost and timing of delivery

The cost of new 5/16th HT chain is about $5.50/foot, we have 300' so that would be about $1,650.00 not including shipping.  The cost to regalvanize, in our case, was $243, and that included the $80 to ship it back to our dry dock in San Carlos Mexico.  Because we were not concerned with the integrity of our chain only tying to clean it up a bit, it was an easy choice.  Heck, even if we only got one season of rust free anchor deployment out of the process, it will be worth the $243.

Being in Mexico we had limited options.  However, after researching, the options in the USA are not that much better, just a LOT more expensive.  Our two closest options were Guadalajara or Mexicali.  We read several blog posts and forum threads on both facilities and by far the vote went to Mexicali.  That worked great for us because it was on our way home for the summer so we packed the 300' of chain onto the floorboards of our trusty "White Lightning" (our 1991 Honda Civic), along with the anchor and headed to the Fetasa plant in Mexicali Mexico.

We have nothing but praise for the people at Fetasa.  When we arrived at the plant we were amazed at how huge this place is.  Acres and acres of buildings.  Our little $163.10 job was like a kernel of corn in a Kansas grain silo.  However, they treated us like we were their most prized customer from the time we first called them to the time our chain and anchor was put on a truck headed back to the boat.  Mexicali is a huge city and needless to say we got lost trying to find the plant.  After a few phone calls trying to guide us to the plant they finally sent a young man to find us and then personally escorted us to the Fetasa property.  After we dropped off the chain and anchor they assigned someone to drive us out to the border crossing so we didn't get lost in the many busy streets of the huge city. That is great service and WAY beyond just being friendly or helpful.

Our friendly guide who piloted us to the border crossing.  Service with a smile!

After 3 months back home in Oregon we drove back down to the boat in Mexico and found our chain and anchor waiting for us in a crated box at Marina Seca San Carlos.  They look great!  We are extremely happy with the job they did and look forward to our newly galvanized ground tackle.  Thank you Fetasa for providing such amazing service!

 The captain inspecting the goods...almost like new!

 New shackle safety wired to the shank.

Marne helping to mark the chain.

We mark the chain with brightly colored zip ties.  Each zip tie represents 25'.

 Getting ready to haul it all aboard.

A quick splice from rode to chain at the bitter end.  The rode is a short piece, maybe 20' long, that is tied to the chain locker so we don't lose the whole kit and kaboodle if we go beyond our 300'.

The finished project secure on the bow.

If you don't want to spend 2-3 boat bucks on new chain, look up the Fetasa crew in Mexicali, you won't regret it.  The number to Fetasa is 686-555-9196. Our contact was Jose Carlos and his business cell number is 686-216-4079.

Until next time.

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne

Friday, October 7, 2016

The dry dock grind.

After 3 days of driving our trusty 1991 Honda Civic (amorously named White Lightning) we arrived in San Carlos to start the work filled process of preparing the boat to move from dry dock to the water.  As you can see White Lightning carried more than her share of the load.  Many called the trip "The Clamplets go to Mexico" and indeed we did receive a fair amount of attention as we motored the length of California  on I-5 to SoCal then east through Phoenix and Tucson before making the last leg down through Sonora Mexico to San Carlos.  An added benefit of looking like homeless people living out of our car was that we had no "ass riders" following too close in the crazy southern California traffic, probably out of fear that something was surely to fly off the car and strike their "keep up with the Jone's" new Beemer or Cedes.  There were many who blew past us then hit the brakes, slid back next to us and either were taking pictures or videos, laughing hysterically and giving us the thumbs up.  We are probably the newest You Tube sensation.  

After 3 days we arrived safely in San Carlos, White Lightning performing flawlessly with no issues whatsoever, using not a drop of oil and all the while getting about 28 mpg while packing that massive load.  She is like a magic carpet, carrying us to our dreamland.  Arriving in SC we wore perma-grins for hours just so happy to be back home and ready to start the adventures of this season.

We arrived in SC on Sept. 30th and here we are on Friday the 7th of Oct., now 7 days into our dry dock experience.  Originally we had planned to be in the water tomorrow but with boat karma that turns one project into 4, that is not going to happen.  We have rescheduled our launch date for Tuesday.  We will see if that is attainable in the next few days.  Hopefully so, but we have 9 months down here this season and there is no need to rush, we want things done right.  When your home is supposed to float, you don't mess around with half assing it.  Do it once, do it right.  And with that here is a pictorial view of a few of the things we are digging no particular order...

 Newly galvanized chain and anchor. (More on this later)

 Jesus working on the through hull for the new wash down pump.

 Living in this mess requires patience and faith that it WILL get better, hopefully soon.

 The nav of the many collection spots.

 Putting up the genoa, one item off the deck, MANY more to go.

 Robert and the lovely Miss Virginia from S/V Harmony next to us on dry dock.

 Harmony heading out of Marina Seca.  Splash time for them.

 The captain prep sanding the bottom.

 ...and more sanding...hours and hours of sanding.

 Cappy and Jesus discussing the through hull.

 Not having a usable bathroom in the middle of the night has it's disadvantages.

 This started out as what I thought was a small project after seeing a small a small crack in the paint on the forward side of the keel. Moisture had gotten inside and delaminated the fiberglass.  So you chase it back until you find clean glass, then build it back up again.  During the process I got a piece of fiberglass dust in my eye and have been struggling with that.  Grrrr.

 Sealing up the keel joint is finally done and you can see some small areas of repair where the paint began to flake due to moisture. The lower, aft part of the keel shows the final part of the repairs to the lead keel that was damaged last season when I haplessly guided us onto the Swanee Rocks just outside of La Paz.  

 The work mess below the water line.

 We had to pull the boom and the lower part of the main furler in order install new Torlon bearings.

Putting new bearings in the masthead furler for the main furling system.

The new wash down pump that will supply us with pressurized sea water to the bow and stern.  On the bow it will be helpful to clean off debris from the chain when we are in anchorages with nasty, muddy bottoms, mostly in commercial harbors. The stern wash down will mostly be used for fish cleaning.

We will try to keep you up on the progress as we go along.

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne