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Sirocco Sails to Mexico
S/V Sirocco
Who: Lee Pryor and Cathy Sweet,
Port: Oceanside, CA
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One broken bolt....

How a single broken bolt can wreak costly repairs

On our trip from PV to Barra Navidad, we continued to notice that the complex bracket supporting the frig compressor was increasingly wobbling. Because the alternator hides the bolts holding the bracket to the engine block, we did not know why this was happening. At one point we gave up on using the engine compressor - we took off the belt and jury rigged the bracket so it would not completely fall off the engine.

When we started disaseembling things, we saw that one of three bolts had sheared off. We think this happened years ago. That left two bolts and one was missing and the third was loose and about to exit the block. Before this we had to modify the bracket because it was destroying the heat exchanger a vital component more so than a frig.

Our back up was the Honda generator to run the 110 frig system. We also had an Engle freezer so we were not in dire straights.

John from Johnco drilled out the sheared bolt and modified the system with weld tabs to ensure that the bracket will not separate from the block.

While the engine was partly disassembled, we decided to put the new starter in even though there was not sign of trouble with the existing one. The starter must be removed to put in a new impeller - go figure!. But the bearings in the alternator did not sound quite right so we took this opportunity to install the new one we had on board.

John also did a cleanup repair on the turbo which was not spinning freely. So everything on the port side of the engine is new and hopefully is in better shape than when we departed San Diego. John is from St Louis and live here in Barra. His fee was reasonable and about half of what all this work would cost in the U.S., especially Oceanside if you get my drift.

It was fun working with John and his apprentice Eddy.

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12/03/2009 | Alison
Hey, nice looking rope! If it works, it's a beautiful thing!

Dont forget to ask for Anejo when you buy the rum.
12/07/2009 | Ted Langs
Today, Monday, it is raining this morning. =(

We been missing you all especially at the various dinners we have been rotating around the gang. Chic and Judy are great hosts and always a fun time at their place. Oralee and Manfred are headed on their cruise to/from Hawaii (not on Invctus though). Samantha is due back on the 19th for the holidays and my folks will be over for Christmas. Hope this note finds you all well and happy.
01/21/2010 | Jeff

Living in Manzanillo at the Marina Las Hadas, and happened upon your blog.

Was curious if you have John's contact info? No trouble presently on the Yanmar installed in the 1999 Passport 456, but it can never hurt to make the acquaintance of a knowledgeable diesel technician;-)

Safe Travels,


Here is Wes, leatherman extraordinaire.

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Boat Repairs

We're still here in Barra Navidad. The last few days have been spent on boat repairs. We met a character named Westin who knows Steve Link, Paul Gadbois, and Ron Kuntz. Westin does all kind of boat work but has a specialty in leatherwork. He offered to recover our 60" racing wheel. The leather cover was looking pretty shabby and we had to tape it up before we left Oceanside. It took him two days to finish it but the wheel turned out beautiful. I won't say how much it cost but we couldn't even get the materials for what he charged us. He guaranteed Sirocco will sail even faster with the new cover.

The other repair was the compressor bracket which has been giving us problems most of the trip. We found an excellent mechanic named Jon that is a Yanmar expert. The engine should be working great for the bash back north.

While the guys have been dealing with the repairs, I've been hanging out at the pool, kayaking, and window shopping. It's a tough life but someone has to do it.

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12/07/2009 | Ted Langs
You all have given me a whole new perspective on Mexico vs the wild west gun fest we hear in the more metro areas. If it looks as calm as your description and pictures depict, I am in for the next run south LoL. Are you sailing Sirocco back up or is someone going to take her back up for you? I looked at the map and thought it would be a rough/longer time to get back.
Barra Navidad

Did we make a wrong turn somewhere and end up in the French or Italian Riveria? That's what it looks like here in Barra Navidad. The marina is absolutely beautiful. It is right next to the Grand Bay Hotel which is a 5-star Wyndham (sp?) Resort. Slip renters get access to the hotel amenities. We immediately headed to the pool which has a water slide, volleyball court, and swim up bar. I've never stayed at a 5-star resort before and am in awe. I hope we stay here awhile.

The architecture reminds us of the Italian Riveria. The hotel is built against a hill and is Mediterranean architecture. We talked to the head concierge and he said they are only 10% full right now. He suggested we go up to the 10th floor to visit the penthouse suite. He said the pool and spa would be open and we should try it out. I think we will.

The slips here are only about 50% occupied. A panga pulled up with a bunch of tuna this afternoon and gave us a great filet that Lee cooked up. It was a great dinner. Since we are in a slip with shore power, we fired up the ice maker and it is cranking away. We've lost track on the number of Cubre Libres we've had. Ice is such a extravagance; life is very good.

We are running out of rum so will need to make a trip into town tomorrow. We also need to make repairs to the refrigeration compressor. Fortunately, Sirocco has both 110 and engine driven refrigeration so as long as we have shore power, our refrigeration will be fine until we get the engine driven compressor fixed.

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Tenacatita Bay

We arrived in Tenacatita Bay on Thanksgiving Day and cooked a pot roast for dinner. It wasn't turkey but was tasty anyway. Only 4 other boats in this large bay; one was a black J-160. That's the third J-160 we have encountered down here. I didn't know they built so many.

We are still having problems with the refrigeration bracket that attaches to the engine. The only solution now is to remove the bracket completely and disconnect the compressor. That means we have no refrigeration but we are making ice in the freezer to cool the refrigerator. We mostly have drinks in the fridge so we won't lose much.

Friday morning we dinghied over to a neighboring boat and as we got closer, I saw Chico, CA on the transom. I couldn't believe it. Here was a boat from landlocked Chico, where we lived for 20 years. Bill and Karen Vaccaro own Meila, a Moody 44. They started sailing on Lake Oroville on a Merit 25 and then upgraded to the Moody 44 which they kept in Emeryville (SF Bay) until they did the Baja Ha-Ha in 2004. The boat has stayed here since then. Karen is the CFO of the No. Calif. Boys and Girls Club and still commutes back and forth to Chico. Bill owned Vaccaro Seed in Chico and is now retired. Lee remembers seeing his pickup trucks around town in Chico. Bill and Karen joined us in their dinghy to do the Jungle River tour. There is a small river that starts in Tenacatita Bay and ends at a beautiful lagoon in the next bay. We didn't see any crocodiles but several birds and lots of red crabs.

On Saturday we went across the bay to a small village called La Manzanilla (not to be confused with the city of Manzanillo) to look for gasoline. Unfortunately, the cruisebooks don't say much about this town. In fact, we wouldn't have gone over if we didn't need some gas for the outboard. La Manzanilla is a very quaint town with numerous restaurants, small markets, and a crocodile pen. The crocs were very large, and I was glad there was a fence between us. We had a great lunch at Yolanda's which is owned and run by a Dutch couple. The cuisine varied from Asian to Indian to Mexican. Our new friends Bill and Karen said there were two couples from Chico that live in La Manzanilla. We ran into a guy from Portland who is visiting his friend's place and thinks La Manzanilla is a great place too. In fact, he's looking at buying a place. So far, this is my favorite town.

We are now thinking of staying in this area for the next 3 to 4 weeks. Hopefully we can get a slip at Barra Navidad which is supposed to be a posh marina that allows slip renters access to a really nice hotel complete with spa, pool, laundry services, etc. This will be our Christmas treat to each other.

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Another beautiful sunset... Careyes

We just can't seem to get enough of these.

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