Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pimp your Engel!

When we first arrived back at the boat this year it was over 100 deg in the cabin during the day.  Whats better in that kind of heat than ice cream?  I fired up our trusty Engel freezer to keep the frozen stuff frozen and it did the job despite the heat.  After a day or so I noticed that it wasn't cycling on and off as usual.  With the ambient temperature so high it just couldn't keep up. 

Solution?  One little computer fan blowing across the condensor did the trick.  True, the fan is on all the time but it draws less than 2 amps in 24 hours and that is more than paid back by reduced run time.  Now we have ice cream all the time and the freezer is back back to its usual 1 minuet on 2 minuets off schedule.  

Tight is right

When you install a high output alternator one of the most important things to keep an eye on is the belt tension.  Too loose and the belt overheats and too tight and you wear out the alternator and waterpump bearings. 

After a few years of using a wooden hammer handle to tension the alternator I decided to add a turnbuckle.  Becaues the turnbuckle is in a different place than the old adjustment arm I used heim joints(rod ends) which allow some degree of mis-alignment.  Mine came from http://www.bakerprecision.com/fk6.htm 

Belt changes and adjustments are now a "no tools required" item.

Dock 6 kitty's alter ego

          The other night we watched "How to Train your Dragon" 

So, which came first? 

The Dragon                             or                          Dock 6 kitty?


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rain delay

Today was the day that we were supposed to finish the remodel of the head/shower in the boat.
Oh, did I fail to mention that we are systematically disassembling the entire interior of the boat to replace the headliner (ceiling) and some wood that had spots of dry rot? All we had left to do for this part of the project was to paint the trim around the sink. When I woke up this morning there were a lot of ugly clouds off to the West but I didn’t think we would get any real rain.


Stay tuned for more on the remodel

Marine Recycling

What do you do with an old head (toilet)?

The first project we tackled when we bought Slacker in 2000 was to redo the sanitation system. New tank, hoses, valves and a new toilet. Over the years our head had served us well. Never clogging, never leaking always faithful. Two years ago we noticed some cracks in the plastic around the pump area. No problem, a little JB Weld and it was good as new. Last year we brought down a new pump assembly and went to switch it out with the cracked one. More cracks were found. Not good. More JB Weld and we made it through the rest of the season. This year we brought down a new head.

Now to the hard part. What do you do with the old one? Marine heads aren’t something you can just run down to the marine store and buy here in Mexico so I figured there must be a market. The head was advertised on our local VHF net every morning but there were no takers. On Saturday we had a swap meet and I lugged it up along with some other stuff I was convinced someone would need. No takers. What to do?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Welcome Cloudbreak

We first met Scott and Janet in 2004 at Paradise Marina in Puerto Vallarta. They had sailed down from San Diego with the HaHa fleet in their Ranger 33 “Vinmar”. No dodger, no fridge, no water maker, no solar. Tuff folks we said. They spent the winter cruising and then sailed back to San Diego in the summer.

A few years later they again came down again but this time with a dodger, refrigeration, solar panels and a new diesel. That year Scott started looking at bigger boats. The Admiral had spoken “get a bigger boat or no more cruising”

Scotts search led him back to Mazatlan where he found a Hylas 42 that had been sitting at the marina for a couple of years. The owner was done cruising and had moved into a condo at El Cid. The boat needed a facelift so once the deal was done it was off to the boat yard and into the hands of Rick Cummings of Mazatlan Marine Services.

Teak decks were removed, hull, deck and mast sprayed with Awlgrip, stainless was gone over and a million other things done. A couple of weeks ago we mentioned to Scott that the customs of the sea require him to host a party when the new name was painted on the stern. “What do we need to do?” he said. “Not much, just beer and pizza for the dock and a short speech by you explaining the new name.

A couple of days ago two guys showed up to put the new name on and Scott promptly shooed everyone away. The new name was covered up and the party was set for Thursday.

Whenever cruisers hear about anything free they show up and pizza and beer is like honey to the bees. Scott made a short speech about the new name, offerings were made to Neptune and then it was official.

Welcome Cloudbreak and her crew. Fair winds and following seas.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Its the end of the world as we know it

It is for me anyway.  Why? Let me tell you.

Wind moves from an area of higher barometric pressure to one of lower barometric pressure. It also moves in a circle but ignore that for now. The greater the pressure differential the stronger the wind. Several times a year a strong high forms over the Great Basin area usually in the 1026-1035 millibar range. Down here in sunny Mazatlan the usual pressure is somewhere around 1010.

On Monday such a high did form and by evening we had 15-25 kts of wind here in Mazatlan. That in its self is not too big a deal. Everyone just hunkers down and waits it out. This time in addition to the big blow there was a storm in Southern California. The wind pushed the cold air in California down to us in formerly hot and sunny Mazatlan. Now don’t get me wrong. Its not snowing or anything here but temperatures have dropped a good 15 degrees.

The net for me is that for the first time this year I have had to turn on the hot water when I take my evening shower. This happens every year, its no surprise but does mark the beginning of the end of the really warm weather. I really like warm weather.

By tomorrow the high will have moved off and things will be back to normal. It will warm up again but not quite as warm as it was before the blow. In another 3 weeks or so a high will form over the Great Basin and we will do it all over again.

It’s the end of the world as far as I am concerned.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Dia de los Muertos

Last Tuesday night was Dia de los Muertos, and it is always a treat to be here at this time of year. The Mexicans have a great tradition of remembering their loved ones who have passed by celebrating their lives. In Mazatlan it gets even better they put on a big party in the Plaza Machado, and then you walk around the old town looking at all the shrines to the dead, but the best part is the Donkey carts in the parade with the free Pacifico Beer. What a way to celebrate and the Costumes and bands and fireworks are just fun! What a night!

"Por Favor! Una mas" 

The girls having a great time! 

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

We are so cool

Each summer when Julie and I are strolling through Target,WalMart or Big Lots we see these small window air conditioners. 

Here is the conversation;
Julie- "what do you think about getting an air conditioner for the boat?"
Mike- "naw, its only really hot for a week or so and then we get use to it"
Julie- "yea, we just have to get use to it." 
Mike- "remember when we get back to the boat we hardly ever see out neighboors?  They are all inside sitting in their air conditioned boats while we are outside getting stuff done."
Julie- "yea, its better to get use to it."

Its been so hot this year that when out friends on Pelagic announced that they were sailing back to California and would be selling their air conditioner we jumped on it.

Now we are just like everyone else.