Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ken's Story

We flew into GYM, Mexico airport ( Guyamas, Sonora, United States of Mexico) for a relaxing two week sailing vacation in San Carlos during the middle of October, 2006. The sun was out and the temperature was a warm 82 deg F. All looked great.

Then came our luggage…Oh My G—my army duffle bag has a white spot on it and has a black plastic bag around it. White paint was everywhere. Of course, I punched the “red light/green light” system…and I got a red light…meaning that all of my bags had to be unpacked. Every one was great…and assisted me in wrapping up one quart of blue white Interlux topside paint (after making sure it was just that). I tossed it in the back of the van…careful not to get paint on anything else, off to Marina Real in San Carlos.

I should’ve known that this was an omen for the next two weeks…but I was here to do a quick bottom paint and get off shore with Candy. This was supposed to be the trip that encouraged her to sail in the Sea of Cortez…perfect weather and light winds.

We had arranged to have the boat hauled out the next day…however, we could not stay on her when she was hauled…so Candy went into San Carlos to get a room at the Best Western (seems we have been there before). When she came back, we went to fire up the Taylor “cooker” (galley stove to you Yanks)…a gush of kerosene came out of the main line. WOW!! This is a new unit…but sure enough the stainless braided line had a hole in it. Probably due to the dry warm climate she was sitting in for 7 months.

Oh yes, did I mention that I moved the Merc outboard out of the cabin and pulled on the starter cord…it was froze. It worked fine when I left. Of course the whole boat was dusty (I leave a hatch open under the hard dingy)…so clean up was also in order.

We went into San Carlos (shuttle ride) for a new stove line and to get the outboard fixed. Of course the Merc dealer (yes, they have one) does not repair these…but there is a guy that will. Nope…no hoses available…but in Guyamas there is a place that will build one.

Just as I am ready to take the Merc to the person that repairs them…a young fellow (Nacho) came and grabbed the motor…yes, he would repair it and he was the fellow that was going to help me paint the bottom of the Noe Mar the next day.

OK, go for the bus and take off for Guyamas. Believe it or not, the hose place was on the main road into town and it was bright yellow…easy to spot. We got off, the fellow’s shop was pristine…and he made up a hydraulic hose to match the old one. OK, so it isn’t as pretty…but I assure you it will last longer than I will. There two things done plus a place to sleep.

That night while sleeping on the Noe Mar, Candy heard “critters” munching on our hull…Toredos???? I hope not…but as I laid my ear to the sole (floor to you land lubbers)…I too heard them crunching away. What have I done…taking the Noe Mar to the warm waters??

The next day, we motored the Noe Mar over to the hydraulic lift and off she went to the yard…and did she need it badly. Well, I had painted her bottom a year ago and I had a diver 6 months ago in La Paz…but she needed new paint and the hull cleaned. Nacho showed up and he started scraping with big flat scrappers….he knew these barnacles and he knew the “snapping shrimp “ (or so they are called…and these critters were the ones making the noise…not chewing on the hull…but rather expanding and growing themselves…what weird looking beasties). He rushed off and bought me a gallon of the most expensive purex (bleach) that I ever bought (but hey, he had to drive to town…etc)…I needed more bottom paint (I know where to buy it now) so his buddy brought over some partial gallons and we blended…scraped and painted the bottom. I found the rudder needing some “under water epoxy”…and I have that on board…so a minor repair to halt any further delaminating. The rudder base is bronze and I have tapered two layers of bonded plywood over it to streamline it and John Simpson (Burnaby, BC) redesigned it’s shape. Oh yes, I do believe this haul out cost around $700 USD (in cash…no Visa or Master Card here)…for all labor, bleaching the hull, the paint and the in and out fees.

That night we had a nice dinner in San Carlos and a great rest at the Best Western Hotel. The next day the Noe Mar went back in…and the Merc came back repaired ($180 USD). OK…in one more day we will sail.

I undid the sail covers, hanked on a working Jib along with the Ginny…I was ready for light winds or heavy winds (afternoons were breezy). We motored out of the Marina and into the bay…ready to go out to sea. I hoisted the main and the working Jib (hate feeling nausea) after hoisting the Mizzen…just then Candy hollered…smoke!!! I ran back and shut the engine down (oops, forgot to tell you the kill cable on the engine froze while we were gone and no one had a new one…so I had to lift the engine cover and turn it off by hand). I took loose the belt off the water maker (where else was smoke coming from?)…fired the engine up again…the temp alarm went off….I shut her down…unscrewed the front of the engine and opened up the impeller pump. Don’t loose one screw into the bilge, I said…and sure enough I quickly lost one. However, the impeller was indeed shot. I installed a new one (yes, I did have one on board)…meanwhile as the boat was rocking, I was getting greener. I got it back together…Candy yelled that she couldn’t steer the boat and we coming up on rocks. I came on deck…rounded the boat around…looked at these rocks that were 100 feet away (as She said)…calculated them to be about 1-2 miles on the Starboard side (but they are scary) and fired up the engine. The temp. Gauge read OK…but there was smoke coming up from down below…damn.

I decided to sail into San Carlos, anchor, take the dingy in the next day and get a new screw for the impeller and try to find were the smoke was coming from. I would anchor in the same bay I did last April (it is listed in Cunningham’s book). Bad choice…there is a great place to anchor just inside the entrance to the bay for the San Carlos Marina…but hindsight is always 20/20.

It rocked and rolled all night and the next day the waves were choppier than before. We unloaded the hard dingy…put the Merc on her and went to shore. Buried the Merc under the dingy and walked into town. Got the screws and another impeller…and now back to the boat.

Have you ever gotten a hard dingy over a rough surf??? We didn’t either…damn near ruined my wife (what a sport…I thought the dingy did her in at least twice)…dumped the motor several times…turned it over each time by hand…and then fired her up and shut her down.

Candy suggested we hire a Panga to take us to the Noe Mar…I was frustrated and said no one would do that. Fortunately, she was right and I was wrong…for $130 (Mexican…$13 USD) a panga operator took us to the boat….and then yelled (in espanol) that this was NOT the place to anchor. Boy was he right.

Yes, by this time the chain had drug (I left the GPS on)…but we got aboard.

We sailed back to Marina Real (about 20 miles around the point) and I fired up the smoking motor just as we sailed close to the entrance (yes, I took all the sails down).
Whew! We were home.

The next day, I hired Nacho and a buddy to drive into San Carlos and bring back the dingy/Merc/oars…this they did for $15USD/each. I put the dingy in the water and motored over to the Noe Mar. Yeah! The Merc worked.

I figured I had to find what was going on with the main engine…I pulled the hoses off the heat exchanger (like an internal radiator)…and there were pieces of the impeller…but I wanted to check for more bits and pieces in the heat exchanger. I was just ready to drill a hole in the back of the settee…when Candy (is she always right?? But a great person to have around) said “pull up the flooring under the stairs”. Off course, I thought it was screwed in..but to prove it to her, I started to remove parts of the engine box and the electrical panels. OOPs…I had requested the shipwrights to make everything accessible, and they had. The sole (floor) panels in the entryway…were fit into place like a glove. I got the heat exchanger out and cleaned it…….but WOW! the Vetus water lock was melted. This shut down our sailing. As it turns out, even West Marine doesn’t sell them anymore…so when home I ordered one from Canada.

We cleaned the Noe Mar inside, went to dinner…rowed out to the bay (great fun) walked the deluxe home area (very spendy homes)…bought fish and great food from a local dealer (out of the back of his Nissan truck). Great food, Great cervasa, great company…Candy reorganized the boat and filed everything away.

Next few days I went to use the rebuilt Merc on the hard dingy (we had rowed the Tinker…which is a soft dingy and a life boat)…and as I was coming back to the Noe Mar…it seized up. So much for the repair job.

Off to San Carlos to the Merc dealer (who is also a West Marine dealer)…this time we make arrangements to take it to the San Carlos Marina dry dock where they tore it apart and found a main roller bearing destroyed. It is still there waiting for parts from the USA.

We flew home…question…will Candy ever sail with me again??? I am hoping to fix everything and then see what happens next.

Stay tuned…………Skipper…….Ken Scott


Blogger J Mills said...

Great story, relly enjoyed the write-up. Especially enjoyed Candy's commentary.

12:04 PM  
Blogger said...

Thanks the way...John Mills works for Candy :-)

3:26 PM  

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