Getting the boat ready to launch again

I just paid the yard bill installment at Cabrales in north Mexico. Argh, it’s just about a YEAR the boat has been sitting on the stands. But Ruby and I are down here now, getting things ready for our early October launch. It’s really hot during the afternoon, so we hide out in the air conditioned customer lounge. In a bit we’ll go back and work on getting both the main and dinghy motors started (and running smoothly). The main motor wouldn’t fire this morning so I’m doing some troubleshooting.

The nice beach is about five blocks away, and we’ve been hitting it for an hour or so each day. Ruby the water dog, at 8 months now, is a great swimmer. Fun to watch her body surf a bit. I should get some video for you guys!

Here’s the latest from the boat shed, just before coming back down to Mexico. The re-done floors you’ll see in this movie now look good back in place. Enjoy.

one post, two videos

This time you guys get one video from Ravenswing in Mexico, and one from the boat shop back here in California.

Here’s the final big work push on Ravenswing at Cabrales Boatyard in Puerto Penasco. Want to ride along in a huge Travelift crane? Well just have a watch here…

(PS, the handsome white-locks dude is my Y2k co-worker Tom, who convinced his dear wife to drive south from Scottsdale into the desert to visit a boat sitting in the dirt. SOOOO good to catch up with Laura & Tom!

In this one, the restored Lido 14 sailboat goes to a new owner in Newport, CA. There are very active Lido fleets in Southern California, so I figured the boat should probably head back to the land where she was built. I didn’t get much response advertising here in the SF Bay Area, but once I let folks know delivery was available on my way through to Mexico, it was easy to find a buyer down south. And the orange ski boat finally got finished up, just in time for our kids’ visit from Denver. Griffin, Taylor and their Goldador (Lab x Golden Retriever) Goose will be playing on the CO lakes with their new-old boat now. It looks pretty good for 52 years old!

So while we sit here making boat videos, we’re on pins & needles with the wildfire situation in the Sierra. Wishing strength and fair wind to everyone in harms way. The climate has changed, people :(

Riding in a Travelift

You guys know those huge blue and white machines that move boats in / out of the water, and around the yard? Well when it’s time to launch a boat, it makes a pretty fun ride to the water. In this video you’ll see us rolling around in a 46′ Kurt Hughes-designed, owner-built catamaran.

And if you’ve been following my rambles here for a long time, it’s been too long building this boat. So check out the sentiments as you get to end of this video. Turning over a new leaf as boat owners. And it feels good.

Ravenswing’s 2021 plans fell off the rails again, but this time for a good reason. Her name is Ruby, the chocolate lab. I was pretty much an idiot, underestimating the work and distraction of living with a high energy puppy. Had figured she be a trained “boat dog” by summer and we’d be cruising around the Sea of Cortez. Go ahead, laugh at the folly; others have. Here at home Ruby is proving an excellent swimmer, and we’re figuring out how to paddle board together. Tomorrow she gets her first kayak ride as we try to join Anton’s boat-in weekend campout on a beach in Tomales Bay. Wish us dryness. As in, she doesn’t manage to flip the boat under me :)

Homework – getting ready to return to Ravenswing

Well, what can we say? The COVID years here are pretty screwed up, and have basically made a joke of any plans we have for scheduled cruising on the boat. It’s really hot in the northern Sea of Cortez right now, so we’re not rushing back to Ravenswing just yet. But I’m finally working on the punch list of stuff here at home that will complete the re-outfitting of the boat in Mexico soon. Ruby the Labrador puppy has completely usurped any blogging and video making time in her first four month with us. What a handful, but we love her a lot and we’re figuring out life together. She is an excellent swimmer and budding boat dog!

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve posted here, and I miss doing this. So hopefully we’ll pick the pace back up. First up is FINALLY fixing the dinghy motor. Phew.

The last week in Mexico

Hi folks. Here’s the video from the fifth & final week of the upgrades winter work on Ravenswing. I was messing about in the sunshine while Jeanne held down the fort in very rainy San Francisco Bay Area. I came home in early March to find some of our fill dirt under the new workshop had sloughed downhill with the rains, so there’s been some shoring up work here in April and early May. We were also busy refurbishing the Lido 14 sailboat I wrote about last summer (last of the “5 little boats” project). It’s returning to its roots, meaning a new owner in Long Beach, not too far from where it was built. There are MANY Lido 14s actively sailing the bays of Southern Cal, and this gentlemen has been looking for a clean Lido to introduce his grandkids into sailing. Sewell Mountain Sailing Bob will love this happy ending. (check out Bob’s work at I’ll tow the Lido down south this Sunday, on the way back to Ravenswing.

I left you guys hanging some months back on that Tohatsu 9.8hp outboard motor. It’s finally back in one piece, and tomorrow morning we’ll hook up the gas line, put a water bucket under the water pump pickup, and try starting up after this long-delayed rebuild. Stay tuned for a video on that process.

Meanwhile, back to Mexico:

Catching you guys up

Hey folks, I got out of synch here, meaning this youtube video has been up a few weeks but I didn’t post it here. So, my apologies if you’ve already seen this via a youtube alert. There’s a new one being uploaded later today…

This one runs you through the late February work, getting a lot done. And this week I’m home gearing up for the final trip to Cabrales / Puerto Penasco to finish up all the final painting and re-rigging stuff.

February in the boat yard

Ruby and I are working on our definitions. Lap Dog = Sit on my lap while you’re still a little puppy, or lap up the rest of my beer?

For your consideration, follow the link to the latest Mexico boat yard work video. This is the action from the middle portion of the all-February session. Doing the editing of the various video clips, it all seems really choppy and scattered. And I realize it’s a pretty good reflection of the what transpired. Dealing with unexpectedly cold and windy weather really influences what composites and finish products you can use, and seemingly little tasks so quickly turn in to whole-day-suckers. You’ll see, if you have the patience to sit through 26 minutes. I’ll to be crisper next time :) Enjoy.

Back to the boatyard

We hit the road Feb 1 towards Mexico, for five more weeks of boat upgrades work in Puerto Penasco, Sonora at the Cabrales yard. In this video we’ll finally get those saloon opening port lights installed, and it’s really nice inside now with all the fresh air coming through. I’m pretty sure the new crew will approve, and we KNOW Momma is happy because these come with bug screens! Enjoy the show…

So worth the wait!

Ravenswing has new crew. With very sharp teeth. Boat work down at Cabrales / Puerto Penasco went on hold first to reunite Jeanne and Greg after a month, but also to drive up to NE Oregon for our long-awaited chocolate log :)

This is how Ruby behaves about 1% of the time:

Mostly it’s running around chewing on stuff, which causes yelling, that seems to get the attention, which leads to a moment of quiet / good dog, which invites freedom, meaning finding something to chew, and the cycle repeats. Only to be interrupted by peeing, pooping, and our favorite, EATING! She’s 9 weeks old today, already pushing 17 lbs, and we’re proud to report she’s very smart and doing well in her training sessions (sit on command, early fetching, leash walking, etc)

Apologies in advance, because there will be puppy video clips interrupting your regularly scheduled trimaran movies. Because you deserve it, and they will be exceptionally cute.

Tonight, let’s recap the day out at Anton & Fedi’s ranch. More good stuff putting the love back into the Newick 26 Sommersault prototype boat “000”. After a few weeks docked at Charlie’s place on the Napa River for her re-launch maiden sails, this boat is deemed a winner and very worthy of more refurbishing work. Anton’s gonna be a force on the Bay Area Multihull Association starting lines soon. Enjoy today’s work, without getting paint dust in your ears and beard (don’t ask).

Mind the gap

We got Ravenswing’s snugged-up daggerboard refitted Saturday, and as it sits under the mast, that cleared the way to restep the rig first thing Monday morning. I was eager to access the mast and boom to finally, accurately measure the mainsail. We knew something had gone wrong in the planning of enlarging the sail (because this mast is taller than the first one), but i hadn’t measured how short the luff (forward edge) is on the mast track. Instead we had been sailing with it not fully raised to the top, so that the bottom of the sail was in the right place at the boom. So, up it went on a still-air Monday morning.

We took measures and photos, then pulled it down, removed the long battens, and packed it into the pickup for a return to California and likely the original sail loft for an extra panel add. I’ll be very excited to sail the boat this spring with the main properly matched up to this new amazing mast. And speaking of added horsepower, the performance cat GenM next to us has raised their spinnaker halyard 6’ during a strengthening refit of their standing rigging. Their asymmetric spinnaker doesn’t fit their boat anymore and i was around as they received their new spin. We got to talking about sail dimensions, and darn if their old one didn’t sound really close to Ravenswing’s numbers. So we hauled it across the paddock and sent it up the halyard…

We grabbed a lull in the evening breeze to quickly deploy the sail and check how far back along the boat it reaches (foot length). Fits very well, and it’s the heavier 1.5oz fabric I prefer because it’s more durable than the 0.75oz racing sails. So Marvin and I are talking about a possible sail sale.

Yeah it’s the same Marvin who helped us out with spray painting. These bits look great.

Those are the rudder cassette (housing), tiller extension and bowsprit.

To wrap up this work session we did a number of small rigging upgrades, including refresh of the backstays. Here is new anchoring to the deck of fresh running backstay tails as they lead to the cockpit winches. You guys saw a few months back the lovely box of shiny cordage from Skateaway Designs. It looks even better on the boat ;)

After the very busy Monday of stepping the rig, installing/measuring/removing main and trying out that spinnaker, plus packing up the truck and cleaning up the crazy-mess work camp, I hit the road for home at 6am Tuesday. This time I took MX highway 8 up to Sonoyta but didn’t cross there, instead running MX 2 along the border to San Luis.

There’s a SENTRI lane at the San Luis / Yuma border, which if you properly online-register your vehicle, pay the convenience fees, etc., works really well. I realized my US trusted traveler Global Entry card can be used for SENTRI on the southern border. Last time I tried the lane but hadn’t registered the pickup, which is a big no-no and earned 1.5 hours in the border patrol penalty box. This time I sailed thru the SENTRI lane and avoided the big border line.

After 16 hours on the road, it was fantastic to park it in the driveway at home. Probably a new personal best for single day driving. Check the trip odometer; I don’t need to top this one anymore.

PS. When is 8 week old chocolate work a 650 mile drive? Answer next time here at