What do you call the remote office?

Working from home? Virtual desk? We’ve realized it also means working on your boat at your house but your boat’s in LA. The final pre-Mexico punch list includes time on the sewing machine. Recall last month leaving the Golden Gate, the Pacific ripped away our Lifesling bag. Too stubborn to spend $100 for another bag that will just degrade in the sun, we watched the Sailrite how-to video. Came out pretty good. At least making it custom allowed for a better attachment technique. It will now be secured over a stern lifeline.

The forward V-berth has a nice foam mattress but it’s been a total pain to try making it up with normal bedsheets. Step one is a set of proper cushion covers. The co-owner had earmarked a roll of upholstery fabric for giveaway. It was the perfect amount!

The pile of stuff to take to Ravenswing grows. Doing our darndest to cancel anything truly unnecessary. But things like the water filter, dinghy lock, smoke detector, new solar panels and the Iridium satellite comms fixed antenna gotta come along.

The prior post left you wondering how the upgraded solar panel mounting would turn out. That went well, although it did take a couple more days. Here’s that “trough” of glass/carbon cloth put to use:

That’s 24 little feet, 6 per panel. It all seems quite secure now.

That work session also included marking the entire 340′ anchor rode in 20′ increments with bright yellow spray paint, and setting up the anchor bridle semi-permanently for easy, frequent deployment. Quite happy with all that now.

The cut, fair, paint job to remove the old steering bracket got finished. Looks like it was never there. The cockpit sole got a sanding and repaint. That was really bugging me. Happy now. Also finally painted the emergency escape hatch, and added more neoprene rubber to stop the little bit of super-annoying leak.

Also in that photo note the solar shower heating up. Thank you Drew for the tip on a better, bigger one. Hung from the boom and with an extended supply line, this provides an excellent hot water flow thru the ventilation hatch overhead of our shower stall. I actually had to wait until the evening to use it because it got warm. Around 105F, like almost too hot to bear hot tub. This will do just fine until the boat goes to cold weather places.

An earlier sewing job had been a cover for the Bimini. That fit fine and looks much better than the beach towel we used on the Cal coast sail. 

Here’s one for Dan, who valiantly tried to reboard the boat from the water in Catalina. That’s when we realized a proper ladder was urgent. That came out less than a pound, and it’s not going to rust / corrode.

And we finally got to hoisting the tiny (storm) jib. Although it was only with zip ties as hanks, I think this thing could work well above 30kts, so we’ll make up the needed 8 soft shackles and keep it aboard. Keith, I’m rigging up a 4′ long pennant, putting the tack of this thing a foot above the bagged primary jib. But looking again at these photos, maybe it needs to come lower for the right sheeting angle? Hmmm. Overall, it’s about half the size of the primary jib’s reefed deployment. So I’m thinking it’s for steering during basically bare-poles kind of days.

RickH, thank you again for the generous repurposing of your folding bicycle. It is VERY happy in its new place. It’s very light, yet rides close to a real bike. Fantastic for getting around San Pedro during the week spent working down there. I think it’ll be great to have in Mexico. We’ll do our best to fight off rust!

Right now we’re many hours in to setting up the Iridium Go satellite communicator. This stuff is expensive and confusing, but once it’s working we’ll have telephone, texting and basic email service anywhere. We’ve purchased through PredictWind so that weather forecasts will come to the boat wherever we are. This is a really exciting development. We’ll try hard to have the tracker system running for those who want to follow Ravenswing progress southbound. Stay tuned.

In between work days we hitched up the land yacht and got up the Mendocino coast. What a peaceful place. This girl was diggin’ the picking at Ft Bragg’s Glass Beach. That’s a little silver lining to everybody throwing their trash in the ocean 50 years ago. Yep, they just dumped it over the cliff for a very long time.

Still boat building, REALLY???

Yep, it seems we’re living the mantra of the Latitude 38 magazine’s BajaHaHa rally. For 20+ years we’ve all read that their event is most known for giving people a clear deadline for getting boats ready to cruise. Well, we left San Francisco but now in LA we’re squeezing out one more use of tools & supplies from home. Soon all this building stuff will end, and future boat work will be repairs, maintenance and upgrades along the way.

So, the solar rewiring finished up. Now the two starboard float deck panels are in serial, running one 36volt branch back to the MMPT controller. The two port float deck panels are also set that way. And the wiring is in place to add a third branch via new smaller panels on hard dodger top. Anton, if you’ve got any ideas for making a monocrystaline 36volt group, I’m all ears. Not interested in the flexible panels.

Mounting the new solar panel flat boards over the curved float decks is tricky, mostly because we’re trying to reuse the holes from the flexible panels’ old direct mounting. Needed longer thru-deck bolts but type 316 stainless steel is hard to get. As I fretted over how many days it would take to get a McMaster Carr order delivered, turns out the west coast hub is 20 miles away and open Sundays. Pilgrimage to Mecca, man!

One doesn’t get to wander the aisles, but from the bit I could see it’s every bit as tidy and efficient as their amazing website. Same day Sunday will call was great. And the counter guy was really nice, and intrigued by a first-visit from a long time customer.

Today Damien came over and on bolt #1 of 24 we could see the odd angles were going to be a problem. These mounting panels need feet! We’re in a fancy, tidy marina, not a working yard. Hmmm, go get some aluminum angle stock? That’s a lot of electrolysis trouble. Sure would be nice in plastic (fiberglass). So a quick Home Depot run for $6 of wood, some screws and packing tape to make a bracket form. Ugh, it’s 9pm and we have to build this inside the pretty boat!That’s a scramble of glass and carbon fabric scraps that I happened to throw in the box for this trip. It was thankfully just enough to form a long strip of angle bracket material. Pretty sure tonight no epoxy spilled where it doesn’t belong. The morning will tell.

I did take a dinner break in the wonderful company of Beth and Damien at their awesome Catana 431 catamaran BritoYou guys will probably see a lot more about them in a couple months as we make plans to buddy up in the Sea of Cortez. Along with a tasty dinner they walked me through their Iridium Go satellite comms system with built-in PredictWind forecasting. I think we’ll copy what these guys did! Gotta hurry to get the antenna and base installed later this month.

Forgot to snap a photo, but Brizo boat dog Bella is a kick. She’ll be video worthy in Mexico. Stay tuned for that one.

Off to sleep with epoxy fumes now. G’night people.


We told you Ravenswing had a good first ocean trip. And of course it generated a to-do list. We’re getting after it, pre-Mexico.

Jim and Dan, my first task at 6am today… The bathroom dry rot king can imagine what happened when I finally got the pump’s clog to clear in that Alamitos Bay parking lot bathroom. Nothing a little Clorox couldn’t fix. Note in the photo the small water lines and black ‘vented loop’. That used to be much higher up, behind a false bulkhead. Turns out I had too much elevation gain in the toilet flush-water supply line, meaning we were constantly starving the toilet for sufficient flushing water. Rerouted it all this morning via the “sea chest” concept down at hull bottom level, and it works like a champ now. The Lavac toilets are great with simplicity and strength, but do require sensible setup.

The other big one I mentioned before was blowing out a solar panel. Anton advises the flexible panels have proven to be quite prone to breaking circuitry due to the flexing. I thought we had done well to mount them to solid boat parts (I pity those who think it’ll work strapping them to Bimini tops). But we agreed that these panels really need to be permanently attached to actual backer boards to ensure the best chance of longevity. We’re out of foam core and wanted this project done quickly before I drove back to LA. So it was pressure treated wood and a sheet of doorskin. We’ll show you the install soon.

Got the sewing machine out for covering the Bimini when it’s folded up during sailing or storms.

The mainsail reefing-led-to-cockpit is working well, but missing a couple of line guides in front of the cabintop halyard winches. We had some extra plastic hanging around yesterday, and will install tomorrow.

I loaded the pickup with all the last stuff for the boat’s coming adventure, plus every tool I could foresee using in LA this week. Some of you knew our 2017 Ram Ecodiesel 1500 4×4, all tricked out with off-road gear. Yea, that motor couldn’t handle the travel trailer load. After a five month fight, we prevailed in arbitration and Chrysler bought it back last week. Their dough enabled a 50k miles 2017 Cummins diesel 2500. And this garage queen just barely fits :)Pretty darn happy yesterday driving down I-5 (basically empty) at 70mph getting 23-24 mpg in a huge ass truck.

Last weekend it pulled the travel trailer very well up to the Sierras. Mountain bike racing and early snow!I discovered how great the truck’s factory supplied exhaust brake works.

Anyhow, today was moving Ravenswing from the two week max stay at Long Beach to a three week berth in San Pedro. Never gets old passing the Los Angeles harbor entrance called Angels Gate.

Tomorrow includes solar rewording / reinstall, line handling upgrades and interior adjustments. Probably painting jobs on Sunday.

Oh yea, Navy radioman Dave: Turns out the VHF transmission problem was the $3 patch cable from the antenna splitter to the radio. After you left Catalina I took another crack at diagnostics and found the cable cutting in and out. Not cool that the $900+ professional AIS rig showed up with a crap cable! They quickly sent this for me to put in tmrw. No time for sailing this week but at least this is a nice marina to hang and work in for a few days. Next up will be the designated BajaHaHa anchorage in San Diego later this month!