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Calou's Blog
Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Solar Panel wiring and Controller
10/11/2006, Sausalito, CA

As I mentioned, it turns out Anderson's says that the repair will be relatively simple and will be done by this Friday. So it's back to work in preparations.

Today I completed the installation of the wiring for the Solar Panel and its computerized controller. The controller (pictured above at right) converts the 28 volts, 7 amps from the solar panel to the 14 volts , 14 amps needed required for recharging, and is a 3-stage charger so overcharging of the batteries is not a worry. It has a digital display that indicates how many amps it's putting out. In the photo it's producing two amps--in the evening!

The black thing to the left of it is the circuit breaker for the electric windlass.

Crew member John made three lee cloths today and is working on an all-weather spinnaker bag so the spinnaker can be lashed to the deck.

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windlass wiring

First of all I'd like to say how much I appreciate the comments that readers have left. With the frenzy of getting ready for this trip, which involve very long hours, I haven't had the time to reply to many of them. When we're sailing, I think we'll have more time.

I installed the wiring for the electric anchor windlass today. (Well, 95 percent of it). This includes two 4 gauge cables from the starter battery, to a circuit breaker in the cabin, and along the starboard side to the bow. Running these heavy cables is no small task. There's a relay in the forepeak which will switch the windlass up and down.

All that remains to be done tomorrow is install the control switch and the windlass itself in the anchor locker.

I designed a prototype for the windlass bracket, that raises it to the maximum height and places it in the exact location and angle required. The machinist appreciated having this 3 dimensional model to work from rather than the typical sketch.

You can see how the bracket turned out here.

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Solar Panel
10/08/2006, Sausalito, CA

Today, I got the solar panel mounted on the stern davits, with help from crew member John and a friend. This thing is about 5 feet by 3 feet. It's mounted on hinges so that it can tilt fore and aft about +/- 20 degrees. There are two locking piston-like devices that can lock the panel at any angle. These things are sold by West Marine for the purpose of adjusting the angle of an opening windshield on powerboats. They work perfectly.

I haven't connected the wires yet, since I'm awaiting the arrival of the charge controller, ETA Tuesday.

I also replaced the busted rope clutch on the mast for the jib halyard, going this time one size larger. Will add a block and cheek block so the halyard is brought into the cockpit.

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updated to-do list

Anderson's Boat Yard seems to be doing their thing at a snail's pace. So far the only thing they've done is pull the rig and remove the old prop and part of the prop shaft. I keep going into their office to remind them of our deadline.

Here's what Anderson's is expected to get done:
make bracket for the electric windlass, install chain stopper, dripless shaft seal, new prop and prop shaft, have diesel mechanic do complete engine service and checkout and recommend spares

Here's what we, the crew of Calou, still need to do:
finishing touches on bimini, solar panel, install windlass, cockpit shower, run jib halyard to cockpit, 2nd fuel filter & vacuum gauge in fuel line, new anchor rode, reconnect instruments

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Emergency Rudder
10/06/2006, Anderson's Boat yard, Sausalito

D.G. and I worked all day installing the emergency rudder system. It would have been easier, but the installation required the custom fabrication of teak shims to account for the curvature of the boat's hull. Fortunately, DG brought his table saw so the precise angle cuts were straight forward.

So now we have this great backup steering system!

Also today, Pascale drove all the way to hippie-dippee Hopland, CA, and back to pick up our new, super-duper solar panel. This baby produces 14 amps at 12 volts.That's a lot of power!

Attaching and connecting the solar panel will be the next project.

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10/07/2006 | Steve Rathfon
Enjoy your blog. The e-rudder looks very sturdy. What do you attach to the ends of the T and how do you manipulate it to steer the boat?
10/08/2006 | Bruce
the Tee has eye bolts in each end to attach lines, so the rudder can be steered by either (a) lashing down both lines to stern cleats or (b) lashing one end to a boat hook and pushing/pulling fore/aft.
Haulout, heater, windlass, SOS Rudder
10/05/2006, Sausalito

Started out this morning unstepping the mast of Calou, and hauling her out at Anderson's. We are pullling the mast to have access to the keel bolts, so they can be tightened.

Out of the water, a close inspection of Calou's hull showed she is in excellent shape, no blisters, and the bottom paint holding up fine since she was painted a year ago.

Calou will get a new prop shaft, a dripless shaft seal, a new cutlass bearing, and a new prop.

After some initial trouble, we got the Lewmar Pro 1000 windlass, which arrived today.

the new prop should've arrived today, but didn't. I won't start worrying until tomorrow.

I took the mains'l and genoa to Quantum Sails to be serviced, and am adding a deep third reef to the mains'l, so if we get some heavy weather, we can handle it.

I picked up the new SOS Emergency Rudder. This thing is a beautiful work of art, so finely designed and finished, it's a shame to bury it in a locker. This is probably the most important piece of safety equipment on board.

To top it off, we went to the Baja Ha-ha (Shouldn't they spell it Baja Ja-ja??) Crew party at Encinal YC. Met lots of sailors and cruisers there. Looks like a fun bunch. Crew members John and Deege joined us.

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10/05/2006 | Heidi
We (family of 4 aboard 47 foot ketch) did the Ha Ha last year and spent the winter in the Sea of Cortez; left the boat in La PAz for the summer and are heading back down again this year to do the mainland. The Ha Ha is a lot of fun but I do wish there were more stops along the Pacific Coast of Baja... you meet a lot of great people.
Have fun and fair winds!
10/06/2006 | Mark
Have a great time in the haha. We won our division last year and I can tell you to sail as much as you can!!!
How to use the Google Earth link on our Map page


if you click on the "Current Position" map you'll be taken to a map of the West Coast showing our latest reported position. On the lower left corner there's a button that says "Google Earth".

If you click on that button, you'll be taken to Google Earth where you'll see an actual satellite photo of our location.

That is, depending on your computer setup. First, you need to have Google Earth installed (if you haven't already done so, it's free, so go to to get it).

Second, you need to configure your computer so that when it downloads a file called "calou.kml", it knows to open it using the Google Earth program.

If your computer downloads "calou.kml" but doesn't know what to do with it, just save the file to the desktop or some other place, and then open it using Google Earth.

There, I'm sure that's clear as mud .

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Updates Via SSB Radio
10/04/2006, Tiburon

This is a test of submitting blog updates via e-mail. This will permit sending via the Single Sideband radio when at sea or where there's no phone or internet service.

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10/04/2006 | Michael
10/04/2006 | Ron and Lizzy
Very cool.. When you SSB radio, I thought that I would have to put up my antenna and connect up my ham radio equipment... Much easier to stay in touch this way! Have fun!!! Keep smiling, Ron

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