Puerto Penasco boat work, part 2

The funny thing is, I left home for this trip telling Jeanne I’d be back in ten days, including the drive time. Did I actually think this was 7 days of boat work? 15 days in to it, it sure is looking like 30+ days. And that’s the same reality that took our imagined fall 2013 original launch in to June 2016. Some day I’ll learn, “it is what it is”.

In this video there’s a first. First time since launch of cutting away part of the hull for something more than a planned thru-hull fitting. I had subconsciously organized the first week in MX to avoid starting on the engine project, because I was dreading doing this surgery. But it was pretty magical on that cold Monday morning to once again have the amazingly strong smell of the cut Western Red Cedar. That wood needs to stay entombed between the fiberglass skins for the life of the boat, but getting a fresh hit of that aroma right before Christmas was a lightning bolt. Also thinking here that Ravenswing is fairly unique – an old-school technique wood core boat with the latest carbon fiber, poly foam core, and synthetic fiber cordage for her fittings and upgrades. Not a big race boat, but not a houseboat either.

Here you get to watch more days go by, all of the hours consumed by the many steps of composites fabrication work. Blending the new flat-planes into the curved cabin sides, in order to get a fair and watertight mount of the new port lights, was painstaking work. That’s all done now, sitting in MX waiting for painting weather. It’s not explained in the video, so the issue is that below 70 degrees F, it’s “iffy” that the two-part linear polyurethane (the toughest, best wearing) marine topsides paint will ‘flash’ fully enough to result in the hi-gloss finish. If it doesn’t get warm enough, it will still harden over time, but the surface goes matte / dull. This is what happened in Nov 2018 back in Sausalito when we did the cosmetic damage repairs from the dismasting. It never got warm enough, but we had to paint anyway because Ravenswing was blocking the Spaulding Boat Works wharf / crane and they just couldn’t keep other customers held up. So I had an insurance-paid repair that had an inferior paint result. We’ll finally be fixing that here in this haul out.

Enjoy the show, and meanwhile we’re busy again back in the home workshop getting more parts ready to take back to the boat.

A shipwright on the road

It’s time to be a boat builder again, this time in northern Mexico, to make some major upgrades. The Cabrales yard in Puerto Penasco seems like a good place to tackle projects that solve stuff that we’ve found less than ideal during the year+ out cruising around. The first wave of work happened over 15 days in December. I had figured on ten days total. That was a big underestimation. It’ll probably take another 15 days or so in January to finish the list.

This first video shows the first week of work. In the second week, the new engine mount was built and I’m really happy with it. I didn’t originally put the motor on the back of the boat because of concern for it being subjected to waves coming from behind. That will be a risk now, but it’s rare. The existing side-mount subjects the motor to wave hits between the hulls, during choppy seas. This has been a danger because sea water has hit the powerhead hard enough to sneak around the seals. The other big advantage we’re going for is the ability to steer the engine with the main tiller. Turning the motor thrust will be a big help in low speed, tight quarters maneuvers like backing into a dock.

The big project in the video is changing out our on & off leaky deadlights, ie the polycarbonate fixed windows in the main cabin. They fit around the curved cabin sides, but didn’t stay sealed well enough. Living in the warm climate, there’s not enough ventilation, so we decided to cure all of this with six opening, screened ports. They have to be mounted on flat surfaces, so that means a big job to create flat planes in the curved cabin top. When I left the boat the other day, all of the prep work was done, with the interior complete and the exterior in primer. I decided not to make the cuts until the painting is done, to minimize the time with open holes in the boat. So that will be a big motivator to get back to Cabrales.

Merry Christmas to you all, and I hope we can keep you entertained for 26 minutes here…

Swimming with Seals

Isla Garda got even better on the second exploring day, as the sea mammals came out to play. We hope you all enjoy this final installment in the 2020 voyages series.

Where you see the boat at the end of this video is also were I just drove back to last Friday. Our pickup is a moving workshop / tool shed, and I’ve moved back aboard Ravenswing with a very busy weekend starting the upgrades projects. This is going to take a couple of weeks of non-stop work. Get up with the sun, work til it’s dark and too cold. Clean up, eat, sleep, and do it over again. The camera is helping, so you’ll get a good summary of the work.

In the mean time, please enjoy the favorite paddle boarding and 100-mile beat to weather of the year!