An End In Sight

Slowly but surely, it is here: the final spurt. We see light at the end of the tunnel. Splashing is imminent, if everything works out the way we want it to. But there is still a lot to do before Milagros is ready for the next big adventure.

Showers in the cockpit

Painting, fairing, sanding, painting etc. of the hull is in full swing at the moment, but I won’t get into the details here. In the meantime, we have also devoted ourselves to some smaller projects. For example, we installed a fresh water shower in the cockpit. For this, we had to pull a hose behind the wall panelling all the way from our water distribution to the cockpit. And now we can give ourselves a fresh water rinse in the cockpit. We also replaced the hose for the water supply of the new water tank, as algae had formed in the hose and was floating in the tank after every filling. The replacement was not as easy as expected. Our neighbours on SV Rua Hatu could hear the searing all the way outside. Only on the fourth try did it work. It was definitely a waste of life time.

Our Bimini

You may remember that a new Bimini was also on our top 5 project list. We didn’t manage to get an appointment with the welder for 9 months. We had already written off this project when suddenly a new opportunity arose. Our exhaust manifold (where the exhaust meets the cooling water) needed a hairline crack welded. Dave just messaged the welder and to our surprise he was on the boat 30 minutes later. This was our chance, and we immediately took it and got a quote from him for a Bimini.

It’s a go

We agreed with the price and a few days later we ordered the material; now he is working on it. Since Marga already has a Bimini on SV Dogfish, he was able to take measurements there and didn’t have to reinvent the wheel Bimini. We also have him make new chain plate covers from our old water tanks. These protect the sealant from UV radiation and help keep everything tight. This is now the second project, besides the mast top mount, to be created from the old tanks.

Are we there yet?

And when the last layer of top coat is sprayed on the freeboard, we have to wait at least 2 weeks until the paint has cured enough to keep up with the travelift slings. Then we can splash! Just like SV Cavu and SV Alegría, who we have now waved goodbye and watched sail into the sunset for the second time since we arrived. But there are still a few projects to completed before we are ready.

Bye bye Alegría

The mast needs to be stepped

One of the biggest projects that still needs to be done is probably putting the mast back in. The mast has been freshly painted, all the fittings are back in place and the installation at the mast head has also been completed. Together with Rob from SV Mapache, we spliced the forestay into the furling system and cleaned all the screws and bearings. Now we still have to attach the new rigging to the tangs and mount the backstay chain plate. Then we can order the crane and make the Milagros look like a sailboat again. Hopefully the whole operation is as easy as it sounds. Let’s see… Our new boom fitting is not ready yet, but we hope for the best. As soon as the mast is up again, we can drill the new holes for the boom fitting and then attach the boom.

The shaft must go back

We also have to reassemble the straightened drive shaft. The cutlass bearing has been replaced and the new shaft seal is ready. The pillow block bearing has been recast and now fits perfectly on the shaft, the coupling has been repainted and the propeller cleaned. Here, too, everything is ready. The engine now only needs an oil change and new coolant, then we can start it and see if everything is OK.

Starting the engine

Starting it on the dry dock is possible because we have just installed a fresh water inlet from our new water distribution system to the engine. This is meant to flush the salt water out of the engine when it is not used for a longer period of time. But we can also use it to test the engine on the hard. After all, we don’t want to get into the water and then find that the engine won’t start.

Beauty queen?

Milagros also gets a nice black dress aka 2-3 coats of antifouling. The red also looks good on her, but we want black! The so-called “fast stripe” that rounds off Milagros’ freeboard will also be black. We will have Pancho spray this on as well. Then all that’s left is to paint or stick-on Milagros’ name.

And then?

When we have done all that, our life on the water can begin. We think we will spend a few weeks in a marina here in Puerto Peñasco to wake Milagros from her beauty sleep. All the systems need to be checked, all the changes we have made need to be checked and more installations need to be done. Our winches and blocks need some love and the sails can be taken out and hoisted. And many other little things want to be done. And of course, we want to take Milagros for a little spin. Yes, and then?

La Paz?

Yes, then we can sail off. As it looks now, that will be around the end of November – about 6 weeks later than originally planned. Not bad, is it? My family is coming to visit over Christmas. We want to bring the two boats to La Paz for that, if possible. My sister Carmen and her boyfriend Iñaki are currently still on the hard in San Carlos (about 500 km away from us) and are continuing to renovate their Anila.

Where are we going?

So, we’re going to take a quick trip south, like we did with Ray on SV SeaNote in May. Not exactly what we had in mind after many months in the boatyard. Actually, we wanted to sail to Refugio and do nothing there for a few weeks. But we will definitely make up for that after Christmas. Besides, we don’t know yet where our journey will take us. A bit further south into the warmth or a bit further north to the places we passed. We will see.

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