North American Tour 2017-2019

From Portland, OR through Panama Canal to East Coast of USA and back via Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Hawaii

14 November 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
14 November 2017 | On the way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
13 November 2017 | On the way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
09 November 2017 | Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
09 November 2017 | On the way to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
08 November 2017 | On the way to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
07 November 2017 | Bahia Santa Maria, Mexico
06 November 2017 | Bahia Santa Maria, Mexico
05 November 2017 | Nearing Bahia Santa Maria, Mexico
04 November 2017 | South of Turtle Bay, Mexico
03 November 2017 | Turtle Bay, Mexico
02 November 2017 | Turtle Bay, Mexico
02 November 2017 | Turtle Bay, Mexico
01 November 2017 | Near Cedros Island, Mexico
31 October 2017 | Off Ensenada, Mexico
26 October 2017 | Transiting to San Diego, CA
24 October 2017 | Catalina Island, CA
23 October 2017 | Off Point Arguello , CA
21 October 2017 | In Monterey, CA
17 October 2017 | In Monterey, CA

We Have Arrived!

14 November 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
We moored at Paradise Village just north of Puerto Vallarta at 3pm, Tuesday, November 14th. The big news is the heat and humidity! Would you believe 95 degrees, and 100% humidity?! But who's complaining? With our Mexican fix to our transmission, we were able to motor at 1400 rpm and go 5-6 knots from Cabo San Lucas to Puerto Vallarta. The first day, of course, was great wind, and we had our best sail. The second day had wind on our stern, so we motor-sailed using our jib. Then we just motored, using 2-1/2 days to travel the 300 miles from Cabo to PV.

The Final Approach to Puerto Vallarta

14 November 2017 | On the way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
The NW15 winds were from behind us, so we didn't have as good a sail as yesterday. But we are within 50 miles of Banderas Bay and our destination of Paradise Village. The Bay is always full of whales, dolphins, manta rays and turtles. So we will be keeping a sharp eye out for our marine friends! The humidity is high, and uncomfortable, so the shade of a tarp or the breeze through the cockpit is welcome. Looking forward to getting ready for the flight to Portland for Thanksgiving!

The Midnight Ride

13 November 2017 | On the way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
While daytime winds were light and variable at N5-7 knots, requiring motor sailing. at about 10pm winds picked up to N13-14 making for ideal sailing. Current speed over the ground is 6.2 knots, giving us the best sail of the trip. .A fingernail moon rose at 2am. Otherwise there are wall to wall stars, and phosphorescence in the water. We have five buddy boats from the Baja Haha going to PV. Air temperature is 81 degrees.

Finale of the Baja Haha 2017

09 November 2017 | Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
We finally arrived at 3am in Cabo San Lucas. The final 20 hours were excruciatingly slow. Our tranny cooler had finally broke from damage caused (we think) by stray current in Crescent City earlier in the trip. With the break, the Automatic Transmission Fluid was sucked out of the transmission, leaving us dead in the water. We finally bypassed the tranny cooler, and were able to keep liquid in the tranny (ATF, saltwater, and engine oil Del 400). Since we couldn't cool the tranny, we could only run the engine at 1000 rpm. So we could only do 3 knots max. I didn't think the boat could go so slow. After arrival in Cabo, step one was get the paperwork going for entering Mexico, visas, etc. Step two was to flush the transmission several times with ATF, then connect a car heat exchanger to the transmission so that we can cool the tranny on our trip to PV. Step three was to fix a failing potable drinking water pump, and find leaks in the system. Step four was re-provisioning. Step five was re- packing our spinnaker, removing some twists that were present. It's hot and humid here! High 80's and low 90's. Tomorrow morning we head for Puerto Vallarta!

11th Day of Baja Haha

09 November 2017 | On the way to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
We are within 15 miles of Cabo San Lucas. It is past sunset, and we will be arriving at our designated slip in the marina at about 11pm. We have moved slowly with our transmission problem, motoring at 1000 rpm and sailing for part of the day. We have a game plan on how to clean the inside of the transmission: flushing, and refilling with fresh tranny fluid (ATF). So our goal tomorrow is to do the paper check in, find a chandlery for ATF fluid, flush the tranny, fill the boat with potable water, provision, and use Friday wisely so we can leave on Sunday. We made contact with Cook Engine in Portland, and talked through our tranny problem. We realized when we were in Crescent City Marina for three months, that we not only lost our zinc anodes, but that the salt water in our tranny oil cooler ate into its bronze interior as well, and finally developed at leak on the second leg of the Baja Haha Rally! We need to replace the tranny oil cooler.

Transmission Problems

08 November 2017 | On the way to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
George Stonecliffe
Surprise! We were motoring at 6 knots in light air, when we heard some different sounds from our engine room, and the boat started slowing to a stop...dead in the water. We put a call out to the Baja fleet asking for assistance. Within minutes, boats were offering assistance: anywhere from advice, to help on board, to offering to tow us over 100 miles!!! A large catamaran pulled up and tied us along side them. The skipper came over and we delved into the problem. First, the prop was still on the boat, and not fouled by anything. Second, the shaft was free to spin forward and back while the transmission and engine were turned off. The engine purred, so it had to be the transmission. Looking at the tranny, we didn't see anything obvious on the outside. But when we looked at the dip stick, it was low on tranny fluid (ATF). We added some, then added some more, then added some more: we added 3 quarts!! to a tranny with a 4 quart capacity. So it was up to the dip stick mark. We put down new absorbent pads to catch any drips, spray, etc. -- none seen. The question was where did the three quarts of ATF go? We pulled out the manual that had a parts explosion that showed there is an exhaust valve on the top of the tranny. It may be to ease built-in pressure while running for long periods. There was a drip line coming off of it. We had been in a series of seaways where the boat was rocking fairly hard, and that the ATF may have been escaping. So we have been motoring since then. We have stopped twice to check the ATF level. So far so good!
Vessel Name: Julia Max
Vessel Make/Model: 45' Passport/Peterson Custom Ketch
Hailing Port: Portland, Oregon, USA
Crew: George and Sue Stonecliffe
About: Float Plan: July 1, 2017 Leave Portland, OR; head south along US West Coast; leave San Diego 10/29/17 with Baja Ha-ha Rally; go through Panama Canal 3/2018; Florida 6/2018; NYC and Rhode Island 7/2018; Chesapeake Bay 9/2018; Caribbean 11/2018; Panama Canal 3/2019; Hawaii 7/2019; home 10/2019
Julia Max's Photos - Main
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Created 4 July 2017
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