Working on all fronts

Realized today this haulout and work session is so complex because we’re tackling all the primary motion parts of the boat. Engine, steering, foils (daggerboard and rudder), boom, mast, energy (solar panels) and some sail handling (upgrades to bowsprit and adding third reef gear).

Monday morning we unstepped the mast.

Here at Cabrales you have to hoist a yard man up to set his choker and hitch to the crane. So I started my day on the main halyard winch. The mast is now on saw horses alongside the boat, the boom nearby, and I had the crane lift out the daggerboard for work too.

Our mast issue is the Tides Marine mainsail track pulling away from the mast at the top. When Anton spotted this underway coming down the Baja Pacific coast we immediately reefed the main. I’ve been thinking about the cause, and the fact that our sail is too short. We haven’t been hoisting it all the way up, so the headboard has not been aligned with the extra reinforcements area behind the sail track. So it was time to measure for real and figure this out. Yes, Carter spreads his junk even more around this yard!

Pressure from the head of the sail in the areas without enough attachment clips behind the track resulted in shearing the heads off the screws. Look under the black plastic track to see broken screws.

The gaps are where we need to refasten the track clips by drilling and thread tapping new holes.

I’ll be adding 30 more of these Tides clips but, of course, I only have about 20 of the very specific screws this takes. So we’ll await a McMaster-Carr delivery to the border gas station up in AZ, and I’ll set the mast aside for a few days.

The boom modifications finished up this morning. Here’s the third reef sheave box going in.

The box is a piece made back at home by using a piece of wood, just slightly bigger than the sheave (pulley) as a mold and wrapping it in the wet carbon fiber. I think I filmed that for you last month? Here I drilled to holes in the boom top, spanned between the holes with the jigsaw to make a pass through slot for the third reef clew line that will come down from the sail, into the boom, down to the deck and back to the winches.

We also beefed up the reinforcements where the mainsheet wraps around the boom, and filled in the first attempt, now unused, lazyjacks attachment holes, and cleaned up a few dings.

The boom will get primer tomorrow and be crossed off the ‘fabrications or repairs’ list!

Today I attacked abuses to the daggerboard. Remember the video from LaPaz where Colin dove down to apply underwater epoxy? That temp repair held up very well, and today I smoothed it in plus cleaned up other minor damage. The board has been moving around too much in its trunk, so that will be tackled here as well. The dagger bottom is prepped and fabrics cut for tomorrow to get a Kevlar and fine-weave glass layer as grounding protection. Because yes, with a super shallow draft explorers boat, the captain has touched the bottom a couple of times. I need to pull the dagger up before we hunt for those shallow anchorage ideal spots.

Much work has gone in to new mounting positions for the framed, glass solar panels. Removing the flexible panels, filling old holes, making reinforcement points, positioning and bending the new aluminum feet have taken many hours. Ready for final paint on that now.

It’s been just a bit too cold to paint. 60’s here while most of USA has been freezing and/or wet. I’m optimistic about tomorrow morning for finally getting white paint at least where the solar panels, radar and engine need to be mounted. Soon we’ll finally start painting the grey stuff.

Interior spiff-ups continue in the evenings. Loving the new day-gear shelf and what do you think of the recently sewn cords organizer?

Also, how are these photos working for you? WordPress told me I was uploading too high-resolution and needed to pay a bunch more money to maintain the website. Or choose lower res. They look lousy on the phone as I type this but hope it comes out clear enough when I hit Publish? If not let me know I’ll argue with them.

Come on 70 degrees Fahrenheit!

Happy Birthday, Mom. Thanks again for following through once you decided to try for your first child!

Work progress report

Yea! New opening port lights. It’s really nice inside with the breeze blowing through the boat. This installation was a big project with the cabintop side panel rebuild, but oh so worth it. I just have the interior cosmetic trim rings to install, as soon as I can ask Colin how he did this for the same ports in the aft cabin last September.

The aft end of the refitting is now complete. Radar tower, swim platform / ladder and new engine mount are in the multi-day painting cycles. Minimum of five days, 2 primer coats and 3 finish coats. Weather can add more time. Today was a bust because a commercial crew was sandblasting a shrimp boat in the next yard, and a huge cloud of dust descended on this place. I worked on the new solar panels placement, and within 30 mins the panels had a couple mils dust layer. Hopefully I can paint tomorrow (Sunday). Also I’m running out of white, and Svendsens in Alameda is shipping a quart UPS to the gas station / mail stop at the Lukeville, AZ border. At some point I have to take a break and make the four hour round trip up there. Having trouble getting the piston rings for the Tohatsu dinghy motor rebuild; hopefully they also get to Lukeville in a few days.

I’ve been fitting in the small projects around the big ones, trying to piggyback epoxy and paint work efficiencies. Things like the dinghy motor mount and steering stick extension get the leftovers of fairing compound or paint until they too are complete.

The next big one on the list is the removal of the beam braces for stripping and redo in epoxy and paint. Our use of the west systems aluminum etching kit failed us and all that paint is bubbling off. Looking at all this, I should stop and get these 3.5’ big pieces anodized. No one has that equipment here, so it would mean searching in Phoenix or Tucson, plus probably two driving trips up there. Anybody want to make some phone calls on this?

Also need to figure out a realistic way to clean minor rust staining off the 3/4” diameter attachment hardware. Please comment back any chemical solutions ideas. Thanks!

In the evenings I work on the interior jobs. The “pilot berth” extension is coming along nicely. The wood face joint was facilitated by getting a few minutes on an old chop saw from the landlord of the temp apartment rented by our yard neighbor. Me cutting 22.5 degree angles through 4” tall trim by hand wasn’t going to work … but resourceful scrounging pays off.

So when you find a ferreteria (hardware store) to get a quart of acetone and some sandpaper, I suppose you shouldn’t be surprised by random buckets of turtles. These poor little guys sit in sad barren buckets next to the plumbing aisle. They looked right up at me with begging little, “wouldn’t a pet turtle be grand?” eyes. But I’m holding out for a Labrador puppy in March instead.

Back in the writing groove

Well good people, I offer a big thank you for the patience in the long gap of these updates. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the Ravenswing videos on YouTube. Turns out they are quite consuming to make, and I ran out of energy to come back to this blog.

But, that’s “old thinking” because it’s too difficult to get video stories done quickly, and some of you guys want to know what’s going on NOW! So I’m thinking we’ll still work to capture Ravenswing adventures for sporadic video releases, but get back to the quick iPhone photo hits here on the website. So here goes…

I departed home Monday Feb 1 towards Puerto Penasco. Made it to the Salton Sea that night and slept six hours in the back of the pickup. This was timed to get to the Calexico US border patrol office for a 7 am “hearing” about being reinstated for Global Entry. My $100 hard to get card was confiscated on the prior trip because i shouldn’t have taken the passenger Marvin through the special lanes at Mexicali. Things can be rather tense on the southern border. Got the card back quickly as the hassle to retrieve seems to be the designed penalty.

February is dedicated to finishing all the upgrades and ‘shoulda dones’ from the boat build. The (Covid partial) year of voyaging showed what needs to be different.

I’ve had five work days here now, getting a ton done daily. The new motor mount, radar tower and swim platform all got final fairing yesterday and first primer coat today.

The holes with blue tape are the new conduits to pass the engine controls, wiring and fuel from the cockpit through the aft cabin and out to the new engine placement. The new swim ladder is a major upgrade for Veterans Dan and Rick!

The anchor has come up quickly a few times with its heavy pointy end bashing on the boat. So we beefed up that area with extra glass and a Kevlar layer.

Alongside the stern-end projects has been the huge job of replacing the fixed “dead lights” with opening ports. That was in the prior video. It’s finally warm enough to paint, so the white cabintop was done and the new portholes cut yesterday while y’all watched the SuperBowl. The Vetus ports fit great, but await install until the black accent goes back on.

We’re also mixing in small tasks during these days to combine batches of epoxy or fairing compound or paint. For example, the old through hull that passed engine rigging was below the starboard aft beam. That was plugged and glassed back in yesterday.

Before sunset tonight the version 2 dinghy engine holder got roughed-in. No metal fasteners; all composites for light weight and zero maintenance.

Yeah, that string and clamps nonsense is improvising to ensure the block doesn’t slip down while the epoxy sets up. What can I say, it was the end of a long day.

I type this tonight from the Cabrales customer lounge. There’s a slightly intimidating task, as each crew is asked to sign the wall before splashing their boat again. How are these people copying their boat graphics here? How will i get our Ravenscript done with my lousy art skills? Do you know any of these other Penasco travelers?

And I just realized I never sent out the link to the most recent YouTube video. So if you haven’t seen that one yet, here you go.