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Calou's Blog
Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
New Bowsprit
Bruce
03/19/2011, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Here's a photo of the very sturdy bowsprit that will support our asymmetrical spinnaker.

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Pascale Bakes Bread on board Calou
Bruce
03/19/2011

Pascale bakes bread on board Calou. During our 3-1/2 week passage to the Marquesas, when our bread runs out, if we want more, we plan to make our own.

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La Loupiotte
Bruce
03/19/2011, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

A few weeks ago we enjoyed this acrobatic performance by the French crew of the sailboat La Loupiotte. They are acrobats and perform a beautiful show from the deck and rigging of their boat as they sail around the world.

We had Frank and Delphine and their two little girls on board Calou for dinner, and enjoyed speaking French and sharing our stories.

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Surfing Day
John
03/19/2011

John's Blog Updated. Original post with photos: http://travel.reservationkey.com/?a=1&p' Latitude: 20.870548 Longitude: -105.443274

Ever since I arrived back in Mexico almost a month ago I've been wanting to go back up to Sayulita. I first visited it in January and really enjoyed my short stay there. Today Francois and I took three different buses and made it to Sayulita in time for surfing at high tide.

We rented boards (about $4.50 and hour) and paddled out. This was my first time ever surfing and Francois' second (he went a few days ago). I caught some great beginner waves and was able to stand up and ride quite a few of them into the beach. Standing up was actually easier than expected. I think surfing is one of those must have water skills, so nice to add this skill set.

After riding the waves for a few hours we turned our boards back in and had a very nice late lunch on the beach. Sayulita is a really laid back town and has a great eclectic feel to it. It was a nice change compared to the fancy resort we have been staying at.

On the way out of town we surprised one of my clients by randomly showing up at his hotel and ice cream shop. I tried to meet him when I was there in January but missed him, so great to now get to meet him. He is planning some major expansions now so it was great to meet him and possibly work with him in selling my reservation system to other Sayulita businesses. What a great way to turn a surf day into a business trip! My client is also a surfer, so it was critical that I get into the surfer way of thinking so I could better relate to him.

Tonight at the boat, I went up on dock to photograph the supermoon. It rose huge and orange through the haze.

On the boat front, all the major projects are completed, plus our spinnaker and barometer arrived. Now we just have to re-mount the solar panels and finish up our provisioning and we should be good to go

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Making Fantastic Progress in our Preparations, Finally
Bruce
03/19/2011, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Today was a very big day, where everything magically came together pretty much simultaneously.

The welder completed his four major projects (overhauling the gooseneck parts, building the emergency rudder, the bow sprit, and the new and improved solar panel arch) this morning.

Also, today the rigger came and put the boom back up with the new gooseneck.

Also, the new asymmetrical spinnaker that we ordered arrived today.

Also, the new barometer that we ordered arrived today.

For the first time, we are not dependent on anyone else for our boat projects. We have everything we need, we just have to get it done now.

We went to Costco and bought a trunkload of red wine and Bacardi rum to bring with us. The rum will go into a 5 gallon jerry can. The wine will go into collapsible plastic envelopes designed for the purpose. Everyone at Costco wanted to know where was the party! The reason for this is that wine and liquor are extremely expensive in Polynesia.

Meanwhile Francois and our crew member John went surfing today. Francois has learned to surf and now would like to get a surfboard (we sold ours a few months ago). Oh the irony!

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Finally Seeing Some Progress
John
03/19/2011

John's Blog Updated. Original post with photos: http://travel.reservationkey.com/?a=1&p& Latitude: 20.691867 Longitude: -105.293009

After waiting almost a month to get some basic welding done, it has finally started. Yesterday Hilario sent five workers to the boat who quickly worked through our projects. They first installed the new bowsprit pole which will be used for attaching our new spinnaker. They made the pole at their shop by following a detailed drawing Bruce gave them.

Next they helped remove a stubbornly stuck bolt on our gooseneck fitting. Then some work on our emergency rudder mountm which is now just about completely finished. We are thinking about leaving the whole thing assembled in place (except for the rudder) since that would be easier than storing it somewhere in the boat.

Bruce decided to move the solar panels closer to the boat, and raise them up a bit. So that required welding extensions to the bottom of the bar and welding the whole assembly in a different spot on the dinghy davits. They started doing the welding while everything was attached to the boat, but ended up removing the whole thing and taking it to their shop.

While all this work was going on, one of our boat neighbors showed up with a cooking pot that had a loose handle. The welders fixed it up for him. I told the neighbor that he could only have two minutes of their time since we had waited almost a month for them to show up.

Hilario's shop also created a new gooseneck fitting for us which looks really strong. We hope to install that today. All of our metal projects should be wrapped up today, which is amazing considering how long we have been waiting to get these projects moving. If only the people we originally talked to about doing the work had been up front with us and said they were to busy we could have saved a ton of time. And also if we had known about Hilario's shop earlier. All the people we were talking to kept recommending Chava, but Chava was way to busy and unreliable for us. Hilario's group is doing great work and actually showed up when they said they would.

Our barometer, which had been promised to arrive at the boat by Friday, and which I gave only a 5% chance of happening, surprise, did not show up. Supposedly it is in PV, but the finally leg of its journey did not happen. It should be delivered Monday though. One thing that did happen as promised is that our new spinnaker actually arrived at the airport Friday night. We will pick it up today. Our replacement watermaker pump also was installed yesterday, basically a full week after it had been promised to arrive.

To wrap up, our major fabrication projects should finish today. All of our outstanding packages should arrive by Monday. What remains is to finish some provisioning (fresh produce) and trips to the usual stores for a few more random things. At this point we are looking at a possible departure date of mid next week.

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Big Projects getting completed!
Bruce
03/18/2011

Wow, this has been a big day.

The welder showed up this morning, and installed the new bowsprit. It looks like a big stainless steel cannon sticking out from the bow. It will support the asymmetrical spinnaker. The thing is a work of art...

Second, the aluminum arch that supports the solar panels has been extended and welded to the stern davits. This makes it much stronger and less vulnerable to a boarding wave.

Third, the emergency rudder system has been built. It's fantastic, very strong. This project is unfinished, and will be completed tomorrow.

Fourth, the gooseneck (the hinge that connects the boom to the mast) has been totally rebuilt and outfitted with bronze bushings to make the thing as good as new. The gooseneck is the number one point of failure on sailboats so we have been careful to make sure this critical point is in top condition.

In a day and a half, all these projects are already nearly completed.

Plus, our new spinnaker arrived from the U.S. today.

We're getting close to being ready!!! We can hardly believe it!

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03/21/2011 | Galina Powell
It was wonderful to see what are you doing. Good luck, Galina
Welder Finally Shows Up!
Bruce
03/17/2011

After having waited for weeks for the welder, Chava, to show up, we finally found another guy, Hilario, who seems to be reliable. He actually showed up today as promised, and started work.

Project #1, building the emergency steering system. This is a spare rudder that bolts to the stern of the boat in case we lose our primary rudder. I made a mock-up with PVC pipe and the welder will duplicate it in stainless.

Project #2, relocating the solar panel arch. The solar panels are supported by an arch that is bolted to the stern davits. (The stern davits, being a pair of cranes on the stern of the boat to lift a dinghy out of the water). The arch will be moved forward, and higher, and welded to the arch, rather than bolted. This will be much stronger and less vulnerable to a following wave.

Project #3, to build a bow sprit to carry the asymmetrical spinnaker. This is a pole that sticks out in front of the boat far enough so tha the spinnaker doesn't get caught in any of the boat hardware.

With any luck, we might be done with these projects in a few days and ready to set sail soon thereafter.

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