04/15/2010, 24 54.7'N:110 42.2'W, Evaristo, Baja Sur, Mexico
We're taking this relaxing thing seriously.This was the highlight of our day... Lets see...get up around 10, hot tea, tatos and egg breakfast, read for about 3 hours while digging the 3M 5200 sealant out from under my fingernails, Rina makes birthday dip - a family tradition, we take the dink over to the beach in the fishing town of Evaristo, hike a couple miles to the salt ponds, hike back, carve the above tribute into the sand, sit down and enjoy a little birthday dip on behalf of bro Phil. dink back to the boat, swim off the stern for a few minutes, give the ladies in the anchorage a show by showering off the stern, dig a Pacifico out of the fridge at toast to Phil being another year older! Happy Birthday Phil!
04/12/2010, La Paz
The shitter hit the fan today... what joy. I know, your thinking: "ha ha, you got yours! Serves your right...
Just when we thought Follow You was ship shape again, the forward head started leaking.... BAD... to quote my daughters when they were younger...eeeewwww!!!! Luckily we had the spare parts on board... in this case a seal for the macerator motor that chews up the... well, you get the point... an hour later and after several scrubs with anti-bacterial hand soap... and a couple shots of tequila, all is well in the forward head...
And a shout out to my compadre in head repair... Dietmar! Sunset Alert!
04/12/2010, La Paz, Mexico
After a week of sailing and socializing it was time to work on the growing boat maintenance list. So for the past week, we have been mostly heads down, 8 hours a day, fixing and cleaning stuff. Here's the list of stuff we worked on, most of which is pretty typical in terms of repairs that regularly comes up on a cruising boat.
On top of our repairs list, Rina had a sudden urge to re-varnish all the slowly deteriorating fiddles (wooden counter lips) in her galley. I could see why, given the amount of time she spends in there and the dull, dented state of the fiddles after 18 months of cruising. 3 days of sanding and multiple coats of varnish resulted in shiny new looking fiddles, a refreshed nav station table and seat. Now if we can just get rid of all the sanding dust that permeates the entire boat...
Waterproof and UV protect the dodger and bimini - it's been a year, and if you don't keep it watertight, mildew forms and the sunbrella deteriorates. Looks like new now, except the slowly crazing windows and chafe marks from where the slack preventers hit it when we forget to snug them.
Change Genset Oil - it only uses a quart and it's really easy to change, with a pump right on the engine to easily purge the oil. Cheap insurance in my book
Fix leak in starboard portlight - I've tried 3 times to fix this sucker from the inside. It doesn't leak much, and it *should* be easy to identify, but not so. I don't want to re-bed the whole window, which could easily introduce more issues, so I'll try caulking the entire outside with 3M 4200 to see if that takes care of it.
Wax hull and de-oxidize the fading blue boot stripe - I paid Javier 85 bucks to do this, and it was money well spent.
Clean and wax companionway slider track - Poor design results in build up of gunk and polycarbonate, making it difficult to open/close. Acetone scrub and a coat of wax worked wonders.
Rebuild watermaker ETD - Yes, the watermaker is flakey again, as predicted, even after HRO tested the pump and ETD and said everything was fine. Took apart the ETD, cleaning all seals and reinstalled - works sometimes, but as water temp rises here in the sea, I predict it won't.
Find and fix transom leak - I repaired a leak at the seam where the hull and deck comes together back in 2004, likely from somebody punching the stern into a dock, but we kept finding a couple of quarts of water in the stern lazarettes. At first we thought it was leaking watermaker filters, but after I fixed that we still had water in the lazarette. Finally located a trail of water from the seam inside the lazarette after a test sail, requiring a 10 hour repair. I removed 3m 5200 sealant from 8 feet of the seam from the inside, much of it watersoaked. On the outside I had to remove the rub rail, exposing a crappy seal job by the factory.... The problem is that the stern rub rail sits 3-4 inches underwater whenever we are motoring, so it needs to be completely watertight. The biggest problem was all the screws holding the deck to the hull on the stern were not sealed tight, making the stern a sieve.
Major clean and re-stowing of the garage and aft cabin. These two cabins become convenient dumping grounds for all our crap, and when the transom leak became significant, we found salt water making its way forward when the boat heeled, soaking floorboards and leaving salt residue everywhere. Rina pulled up the floorboards and cleaned everything, and found homes for all our junk.
Find and fix dinghy leak - a slow leak finally got big enough to be a pain. We found where a screw had chafed the hypalon when stored on the passage from Auckland to Ensenada and repaired it with a little Stabond.
Fix air leak in forward fuel tank supply hose - The transfer pump no longer pumped at 1 gallon a minute, so a little research found a small leak in the hose where it clamps on the tank. 30 minutes and a quart of spilled diesel later, all fixed.
Fix a cranky cabinet latch under the sink - always pops open on starboard tack.
Fix broken latch on freezer - finally just wore out...
Fix broken shelf in anchor locker that holds dinghy fuel tank
Errands, errands, errands - major provisioning run to Soriana grocery store, to Telcel to top off our prepaid internet card, Club cruceros for book exchange, home depot for latches and paint supplies, Fed ex for ship Zen's stanchion back to him, laundry, etc, etc...
So we're pretty tired now... time for some R&R...we will take 2 weeks to sail up to Puerto Escondito for Loreto Fest at the end of the month. The water is getting warmer, now 74 degrees, so lots of snorkeling in our future at great anchorages like aqua verde on the way up the coast.
04/08/2010, Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Gallery has been updated with lots of great shots from the last week. Follow You earned a nice reputation this week, placing second and third on the two races that really mattered, the others being called on account of no wind. In the picture above is the always photogenic Richard Spindler of Latitude 38 magazine and his SO Dona deMallorca, who were gracious enough to host us twice on their surfin 57 Catamaran Profligate.
On race one, we dueled with Craig on the Columbia 44 Adios, tacking up wind on opposite tacks, meeting every 45 minutes or so, with either us or him up by a boat length or less. Luckily when it was closer than a boat length I was on starboard, forcing him to duck under us. Craig gets extra points for single handing it though, including a hairy spinnaker run on our last day in 20 knots of wind, when his autopilot could not handle the boat in those conditions.
Another fierce competitor was Talion, a Gulfstar 50' who we alway seemed to *just* trail at the finish, always finishing within 2/10's of a mile of... We know she likes racing us though, because she called us out to race at this Sunday's La Paz Bayfest....
We also hung right on the heels of Braveheart, a MacGregor 65 on the last day, slowly creeping up on her stern over the course of 2 hours of light wind... he told me later I was pissing him off, as he should have been able to dust me with his longer waterline. As winds built, he doused the spinnaker and tacked to the finish line on a beam reach, as we kept the spinnaker up and beat him by about 15 minutes.
This racing thing is kinda fun, although Rina thinks I get a tad too competitive... who woulda thunk! She would just as soon take pics and kick back... meanwhile I'm tweaking sails and calling for yet another tack and blabbering on about wind shifts... what else are ya gonna do over 6 hours of pure sailing magic on the flat warm waters in the Sea of Cortez!
04/03/2010, 24 49.1'N:110 34.0'W, Isla San Francisco, Sea of Cortez
In our last installment of Â"Racing with Your HouseÂ" in Tonga, Follow You enjoyed a good sail, competing well with similar bloated butt cruisers in the fleet, showing our spinnaker colors and having a great time. Richard Spindler of Latitude 38 magazine is hosting the Sea of Cortez Sailing Week in the islands above La Paz this week, with about 20 boats in attendance. Back in the early 90Â's this regatta was huge, with over 250 boats attending. Latitude stopped hosting long ago but has recently picked up the mantle again, limiting the group however to however many he can fit on Profligate for the cocktail cruiseÂ. kind of an anti-Baja Haha in terms of size, complexity, and level of organization.
Our first race out of La Paz to Caleta Partida, 20 miles north, enjoyed perfect weather and winds from 8-18 knots. Follow You placed second due to a lucky wind shift that found us at the right time, while blocking several cats that had gambled on the far left side of the course. Of course we also lucked out because Pantera, the very fast trimaran that we last sailed with in the 2008 Haha blew their mainsail. Coming in first was Talion, beating us by just 3/10ths of a mile. Our closest competitor over the past couple of days has been Adios, flying a big code zero upwind and pointing much higher than we can. He too got stuck in the windshift.
In the fleet are many familiar names and boatsÂ. The crews from Destiny and Serendipity, who both sailed the HaHa with us are crewing on Profligate, while an old instructor friend from Club Nautique, Al Miller, is down here on his Hunter 36 with his wife and a rather large golden lab. WeÂ've met new friends on Tango, who are doing the Puddle Jump later this month, hosting them for drinks last night, imparting the wisdom from our travels (such that it is) and selling them a Cook Island flag, Â"French for CruisersÂ" book and another cruising guide. Felix and Andy on Rotkat are also in attendance. Andy, a sax player, and I were supposed to play at the open mic last Wednesday, but it was a bust. Not much jammin, but instead, several of the regulars at Marina La Paz playing standards from the 40Â's. Sorry, but the Djembe wouldnÂ't fit well with Jimmy DorseyÂ's greatest hitsÂ.
Our race yesterday was not nearly as fun, as the light winds all but died by mid-afternoon. The race was called and we motored up to Isla San Francisco, where we anchored in the turquoise bay you see above. We hiked to the top of the surrounding hills this morning with the group, noting that the light winds had clocked to the South, meaning another beat, instead of the spinnaker run we were all hoping for. If the expected northern winds donÂ't materialize by later today, weÂ'll all just hang out, take a nap, then head over to Profligate for a sunset cocktail cruiseÂ.
We have lots of good pics, but they will have to wait till we get internet again in La Paz mid next week. Until then, itÂ's email only via satphone.
03/31/2010, La Paz, Baja, Mexico
After bashing up into the Sea of Cortez from San Jose Del Cabo for 2 full days, we finally got a day of flat seas and a beautiful morning. Ever since turning the corner at Cabo Falso, near Cabo San Lucas, we have been basking in the warm weather and warm water. We left San Jose Del Cabo for the 39 mile passage to Los Frailes and while the first half of the journey was blissful, a norther came through and pitched a hissy fit, turning the seas into 4 ft jabs every couple of seconds. The boat slowed to 3 knots or less unless we headed off on a reach, which usually took us in the wrong direction. Doing so increased our speed to near 6 knots again, so at least if *felt* like we were going someplace. Actually, VMG was better and the ride was ok, and 8 hours later, we were anchored in Los Frailes enjoying the 25-28 knots of wind tugging on our anchor.
This picture is the moonset and the sunrise coming out of Bahia Los Mertos around 6:00am, on our way to La Paz. A few dolphins greeted us for a morning romp on the bow. It was a really flat motor sail, not much wind to speak of, but again on the nose. You could easily see the sea life as we cruised through the glassy water. Sea Lions didn't even flinch at our boat going by; we actually had to steer away from them. I have to say, I don't remember the water being so flat that I could actually cook a full on breakfast in a LONG time!
We are enjoying the temperatures here in the sea, it's been around 90-99 degrees the last two days in La Paz. We have biked around town running errands for boat parts and of course re-provisioning food and drinks before we take off for a couple of days up into the islands above La Paz during the Sea of Cortez Sailing Week. We missed it last year since we did the Puddle Jump across the Pacific in March last year, so we are looking forward to meeting old and new friends here in Mexico. We're off to the skippers meeting tonight and Allan's going to the open mic night at the local cruisers hangout. I'm sure we'll have some photos to follow.
03/20/2010, Turtle Bay, Baja, Mexico
Three short days in Ensenada, ensconced at Marina Coral, allowed Rina and I to clean up and re-provision the boat for our trip down the coast of Baja California. We caught a convenient hotel shuttle from the West Marine parking lot in San Diego with our gear and the spoils from our Port Supply and Downwind Marine runs. The 90 minute trip to the Hotel Coral along the coast helped reacquaint us with the Mexico we have been away from for the past year. On Saturday, our trip to the Port of Ensenada to inspect Follow You before the boat was lowered into the water was delayed from 10am to 6pm, precipitating an additional night in the hotel before floating her off Dockwise Sunday morning. The boat travelled the 5000+ miles pretty well, with only rusty stanchions to show for her journey. This was much better than our friends Tom and Monique's catamaran Zen, with a new paint job, which had been covered in Auckland by shrinkwrap for her journey. Super Servant 3 encountered 55 knot winds and rough seas around the Cook Islands, which tore or bent most of the stanchions on Zen. Fortunately her new topsides and hull paint job still looked great, with only 3-4 gouges where the uprooted stanchions had bashed the nearby hull.
For two days at Marina Corel, Rina and I cleaned Follow You, inside and out, removing gummy tape residue and rust stains from deck and stainless. Our new friends Emily and Mark from S/V Groovy had a pickup truck, greatly easing the logistics of our provisioning runs to Commercial and Soriana, where we stocked up for our 2 week run down the coast of Baja. As thanks we invited them over for a manicotti dinner and boat talk, as they are at the very beginning of their cruising journey, having just purchased Groovy, a Hunter 44DS, and learning to sail in the last year. Thank you Mark and Emily and best of luck on your own sailing journey.
We checked out of Ensenada on Wednesday and headed down the coast in mild conditions, sailing, then motorsailing overnight as the winds died. At sunset we were munching some snacks when we noticed the engine temperature rising slightly and a hollow sound coming from the exhaust. We eased the throttle, which made no difference. So after cutting the engine, I went below to investigate. We found a mildly fouled seawater strainer... it's amazing how rich in bio-matter the pacific coast is compared with the entire South Pacific, where clear blue waters are the rule. The green sludge of plankton, kelp and assorted other creatures created a mild blockage, but was ultimately not the cause of our overheating. My first reflex was engine impeller, but then reflected on past episodes and how the simplest explanation usually was correct. As we continued to sail towards San Carlos, I exercised the primary thru-hull for the engine (we have two, one at the thru-hull and another just before the strainer to simplify cleaning), noting a slight resistance, pointing to something we may have sucked up in the kelp infested waters. Removing the strainer and opening the thru-hull revealed a continued blockage, so after reconnecting and priming the system, I rev'ed the engine to 2500 RPM's, sucking the above small apricot-sized kelp ball into the strainer, clearing the obstacle. After a big sigh of relief at NOT having to replace an impeller in the middle of a seaway, we continued on down the coast.
Our original plan to spend the next night in San Quentin, about 120 miles down the coast from Ensenada was replaced by plan b, San Carlos, 60 mile further. This was due to major new sand bars in the San Quentin anchorage which would have forced us to anchor in an open seaway where the 10 foot Pacific swells were rolling in every 10 seconds. As it was, the reflected swells in San Carlos were almost as bad, becoming more sharp and frequent as they bent around the point. We spent a rolly night in the anchorage, tossing and turning in our bunk, dreaming of the warmer and calmer waters of the Sea of Cortez. We left mid-morning on Friday for the 126 mile overnight run to Turtle Bay, where we last anchored with 160 boats in the 2008 Baja Haha. The passage around Cedros Island is notorious for bashing boats around as the wind funnels between the mainland and the island, but conditions were benign as we tucked behind the island at midnight, with smooth seas and little wind as we motored the next 10 hours into Turtle Bay. We arrived mid-morning and finding only 3 other boats in the anchorage, settled close to the dock as Enrique the fuel guy came to greet us. The small village of perhaps 500 people is quiet as a chilled 20 knot wind blows through the streets and anchorage. The buzz we last experienced here in 2008 has been replaced by calm, likely the normal state of things in this lonely outpost in the middle of Baja California.
03/14/2010, Ensenada, Mexico
After what seemed like an eternity, we are finally back aboard Follow You... not that we didn't have a blast on the South Island of New Zealand or visiting relatives and friends in California. It does however reinforce again how much this has become our home. We enjoyed several days in Newport Beach last week visiting Stephanie and John, who last visited us in the Marquesas and Tuamoto's last year. John was kind enough to put his 22 foot RIB with twin 50hp outboards on Newport Bay so we could get our water fix in after 3 weeks on land. Rina played race photographer and shot over 1000 pictures at the WD Shock Memorial Regatta, where Lido 14's and S20's carved up the bay under rain threatened skies. John and partner Kurt Wiese took top honors in two days of sailing. Full results at www.lido14.org. Later we visited with daughter Megan in San Diego and spent a night with Kurt and Susan, who have spent much time on Carinthia over the past year. Congrats to Kurt for getting his 100 ton captains license on Friday after a grueling 14 straight days of classes.
We arrived in Ensenada Friday night anticipating a Saturday morning inspection and offloading of the boat, only to be delayed until early Sunday morning. Upon inspection of Follow You we found that the boat travelled well... a bit dirty, but otherwise in good shape. We departed Dockwise Super Servant 3 by 9am and headed out into Ensenada Bay where we encountered the Northern Pacific swell for the first time in a year. After checking all boat systems we headed to Marina Coral and tucked into our slip. No sooner had we done so we were greeted by several cruisers. We met Mark and Emily from Groovy, a Hunter 45DS, who had been following our blog for awhile and were surprised to learn we were headed to the same dock. Several other cruisers introduced themselves over the next couple of hours as it slowly dawned on us that we were back in the friendly cruising grounds of Mexico.
We spent all day cleaning the boat, getting most of the dirt off, but only some of the rust and sticky adhesive from the shrink wrap tape used to secure the covers used during transit. We'll tackle the rest of it over the next 2 days, along with provisioning and fueling up for the trip down the coast of Baja on Wednesday, weather permitting, and head for the Sea of Cortez sailing week in early April.
We now return to our normal programming... let's go sailing!
03/03/2010, Auckland, New Zealand
After a gala party on Carinthia last night and not so sad goodbye's today with Dietmar, Suzanne, Aaron and Lauren, we are headed to the airport and Ensenada to pick up Follow You...
02/28/2010, Queenstown and Christchurch
The last 5 days have been a blast, meeting up with Drew and Margie from Dosia in Queenstown where we all partook in some serious adrenalin-junkie sports.... jet boats, multiple bungy jumps and absolutely picture perfect weather to go along with our two bedroom suite with private hot tub. See the picture gallery for all the highlights.
After 3 days we headed to Christchurch and enjoyed another great weather window playing tourist in the central district, botanical gardens and the river Avon...
Follow You is around the equator now on the Dockwise freighter and email reports from the crew on board some of the superyachts report bad weather and headway of 4-6 knots around the Cook Islands.
We head back to Auckland to see Carinthia and Wayward wind one more time before heading to LAX on the 3rd, visiting relatives for a couple of days before meeting the boat in Ensenada around the 12th.
Getting the boat itch again.... need to be back aboard soon!