We’re truly happy for everyone who leaves the boatyard to go sailing again. Even if it means saying goodbye and makes us a little envious. We want to splash too! But we know: Our time on the water is coming soon! Just a few more (thousand) projects to complete, and Milagros will be ready, too. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to go sailing with two other boats.
Goodbye for a while
Meeting cool people while sailing or at the boatyard always means saying goodbye at some point. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later, sometimes for a long time, sometimes only for a short time. It’s not like we have much experience with that, apart from saying goodbye to our whole life that we left behind in Switzerland. But here, too, we have to get used to saying goodbye on a regular basis. Just last week we had to (or could?) say goodbye to two boats and their great people that accompanied us during our first 3 months in the boatyard: SV Cavu and SV Alegría.
A boat in its element
The moment of splashing after a refit is always a special event that is celebrated extensively. After the successful launch of Alegría, we toasted with Mike and Katie and Cavu Dave and Marla to the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. Sitting in the cockpit of a sailboat on the water is a thousand times better than on land. So, we enjoyed the gentle rocking of SV Alegría and the sea breeze in the marina. And when a fishing charter boat offered us freshly caught fish, we immediately fired up the grill. Mmmmh, fish tacos – and they simply don’t get any fresher than that.
When the moment of departure came, we waved goodbye to Alegría at the harbour entrance. Two days later, when SV Cavu untied the lines, we wanted to wave goodbye again at the same spot. Only this time, the Mexican navy refused us passage. Same time, same place, different day, different rules? That’s Mexico for you. Unfortunately, we could only see their mast passing by in the distance. But we will surely see them again sooner or later. And we still have their 8-yard roll of 1708 fiberglass.
Summer is coming
It’s getting warmer here – this means two things. Those who can are leaving, or at least planning to. And those who stay have to prepare for the heat. It’s said that summer – especially in August and September – is brutal here. And we believe it – almost. On the climate chart, it doesn’t look too bad. Hot, yes, but not hot like for sausages on a grill. Still, it is always stressed how uncomfortably hot it will be. I have to admit that I have never experienced a summer in the desert. So, I can’t speak from experience. But I believe that people are extremely adaptable.
When asked if we will have air conditioning, I have always answered no. We won’t need it and we are not used to it either. And I always remembered summer in New York three years ago. My flat in Manhattan had single-glazed windows, so it heated up pretty quickly. It was 100°F plus for weeks and at night I had the choice between air conditioning noise and heat. And I always chose the heat because I couldn’t sleep with the noise of the air conditioning. Of course, I left the unit running until I went to bed, but the flat got warm again pretty quickly.
Air conditioner for chocolate
When we were offered an air conditioner by SV GenM, we initially wanted to refuse. But after thinking about it for a while, we decided to take it anyway. It couldn’t hurt to have one, just in case it really would be as bad as EVERYONE said. So, we had to think of a way to install it. We have the advantage that the centre cockpit effectively divides our boat into two rooms. Our bedroom is accessible through the tunnel and through the aft exit. Therefore, we were able to “sacrifice” one of the accesses for the air conditioning.
Buying wood in Mexico
At “Todo para el Carpintero” we bought some hardboard and had it cut to the desired dimensions. However, the cutting itself was only done after we had paid for it. We were a little surprised at the price – 10 $ for a 23×16” piece of hardboard seemed like a lot. The riddle was solved when we received the rest of the hardboard piece too after it had been cut. Luckily, we were there by car. Then I remembered that someone had once told me that it was common in Mexico to have to buy the whole piece.
We are impressed
Back at the boatyard, we then used our brand-new Bosch jigsaw to cut out the recess for the air conditioning. To protect the cheap material from the weather, we painted it with a layer of epoxy resin. The next day, of course, we had to test the air conditioner right away. And we were impressed. Within 30 minutes it cooled our bedroom down from 85°F to 70°F. The heat can come!
The rudder inspection
Something we had avoided for the longest time was the inspection holes in the rudder. Because if we already had the chance, we wanted to do a thorough rudder inspection. And these holes are part of that. They are drilled in strategically selected places so that the metal skeleton can be examined and thus a conclusion can be drawn about the integrity of the rudder. Our rudder consists of two halves in which three interconnected plates of stainless steel are embedded. Chipboard and other fibreglass scraps were used as filler material.
We were a little afraid of the outcome of the inspection, because we knew that water had penetrated the rudder. In the worst case, the skeleton could have corroded, because the low oxygen content combined with salt water promotes corrosion. As a result, for example, the rudder shaft could break off or twist in the rudder, both leading to inability to manoeuvre (most probably at the worst moment). So, a bad condition of our rudder would mean that we would have to build a completely new one.
The holes are drilled
After 3 months I finally got round to drilling the holes. Why now? Because we now have the skills to build a new rudder in case our findings don’t turn out as we desired. So, I removed an inch of the fiberglass at the top of the rudder to be able to inspect the rudder shaft more closely. With a felt-tip pen, I marked the assumed position of the skeleton and selected two spots in the upper part of the rudder for examination. My assumption was that if it was good at the top, it would be good at the bottom and vice versa. Then I drilled the holes with the hole saw.
Fortunately, the result was okay; well, not really good, but not too bad either. The stainless steel didn’t seem to be corroded, but the wood was a bit damp and soft. And after cleaning the rudder shaft, I found pitting corrosion in various places. That worries us a bit and we need to examine the situation more closely. Otherwise, the rudder is probably still good enough. Before we reseal the holes and reinforce it with 2 layers of fibreglass, we will let the rudder dry for a few months. Or we will have to build a new one. We will see.
It will all have to wait
But before we get on with all our projects here, we’re taking a more or less planned break. We are going sailing! The 2 planned weeks have meanwhile turned into 6 weeks. Originally, we wanted to go sailing the first 2 weeks in June with my sister Carmen and Iñaki from La Paz to Puerto Peñasco, as they are dry-docking their boat Anila here for the summer. At some point it turned into 4 weeks – a little more training can’t hurt. And now it turns out that we can crew on another boat from here to Anila instead of taking the bus. Even more training. We are very happy to finally go sailing again, even if unfortunately, not yet with Milagros.