11/06/2010, San Carlos, Mexico
We spent the morning trying to get more messes straightened out. Open and put away over and over and over. Some progress was made, but we still have piles everywhere. It's looking a bit better. We even took a bunch of things off Zephyr and put them in the car to go back home with me.
About 1130, Tracy took off for the laundry to get all our clothes washed. I kept opening and labeling things as to what they were and where they go. Engine parts particularly. I don't want to forget what each part goes to. Now all I have to do is make notes as to where I put it when I need it.
Just after 1200, I walked over to the laundry to meet up with Tracy and have lunch. She met me half way and gave me a lift as she had the car. We ended up at one of the local eateries at the marina. Good food at decent prices. While we ate, the laundry got finished. Good timing.
After lunch, I started in on the electrical. We have lots of nice power on the Port side but none on the starboard side. Weird as we used to have power everywhere. I checked the wires for the outlet I put in in the back of the galley. It has always been hinky. It even melted one of the GFCI outlets I installed a while ago. I pulled some of the wires off the main panel and with volt meter in hand, attached them to different connections. Voila, we had power in the outlet and correctly wired power to boot. The circuit--at least that outlet--tested out fine. On the the rest of the outlets. Still no joy. I did figure out that while they indicated they were wired alright(neat circuit tester), there was only 65 volts in the outlet--not the 130 as usual. More work with the volt meter and after 3 hours working on it, I finally gave up. We even pulled out one of the old outlets to see what condition it was in. Not really that good. I'll be buying some new outlets tomorrow when I'm in Guaymas and changing them out.
After throwing in the towel so to speak, I headed off in search of an electrician that would work on boats. I was recommended to go talk to a guy named Luis. I found his shop but he was booked solid for the next week. Off again to Star Marine, one of the local big boys in San Carlos. I walked in and started talking to the service desk telling them my problem. "No problem, we have an electrician that can help". He was right beside me at the counter. I explained again the problem. He was all for coming out. "When?"was my question. "How about right now?" was his response. Say what!!!!!???? Right now??? How lucky could I get? Out he came and he went right to work checking the circuits right from the boat yard outlet all the way into Zephyr. Every splice and junction as well as the circuit panel and the outlets. Once he saw exactly what was going on, he pulled off one wire on the electric panel and moved it up two screws and we were done!! It was that simple.
While checking the switch box that Sea Marine installed--it's located just inside the hull where the electricity comes in. If there is a problem, there is where you can turn off all power coming into Zephyr. In the box were the "hot" wire, "neutral" wire and the "ground" wire. The hot and neutral continued in to tmain circuit panel but the "ground" wire stopped at the switch box. There is no "ground" wire going to the main panel!!! Then he asked the big question--"Have you been going through lots of zincs?" Those are the metal pieces we have been screwing to the prop and the rudder as well as dangling another big blob of it over board attached to the main grounding strap on the propeller. My answer was yes, we could go through one in a month or so. That's much quicker than we felt normal but since our boat had been rewired by an "certified ABYC electrician" we felt sure we were just fine. His comment was that when we were in the water attached to shore power, we were literally bleeding power into the water destroying not only our zincs but the zincs on other boats that sat nearby. To correct it, we have to run a ground wire from the switch box I mentioned earlier to one particular screw on the main electric panel and our worries will be over. Plus, we should no longer get shocked when we touch the main outlet where power comes into Zephyr and one of the lifelines. We've had that problem ever since we left Port Townsend. It doesn't happen all the time, just every once and a while. Now it should stop. Let's hope so. It stings!!
As to paying for his expertise, I'll find that out tomorrow. the shops computers were down. His bill is only for a 30 minute job. It won't be that bad and I really don't care as long as it solves all out problems.
I will be heading off for Guaymas tomorrow to pickup our two hatch panels I talked about earlier this week. The epoxy and fiberglassing should be done. I'm looking forward to seeing how they look.
I've posted a picture of the rudder and prop assembly so you can see the zincs I've installed to keep Zephyr safe from self destructing.
Stay tuned for more exciting adventures aboard the good ship Zephyr and her faithful crew of four.
11/05/2010, San Carlos, Mexico
Well, it's now after 2200 and Tracy is off to bed with the kids and I'm out at the table letting you know how it is going.
So far, we've cut off the blue tarp, put on the main sail, jib and the roller furling Genoa sail. The reefing lines have been installed on the main. The deck has been vacuumed of all the blue dust and the San Carlos dirt. I've changed out the blocks that the lines that raise the main run through. The old ones took two lines(primary and backup lines) through one set of blocks that had two wheels. When one line was pulled, the block had a tendency to twist making raising the sail harder. Now each line has it's own block. I'll be posting some more pictures so you can easily see what I'm talking about. Check under the "Main" photo album for the pictures under the "San Carlos boatyard" heading.
The hull has been cleaned and waxed so she's looking good.
Tracy has stowed tons of supplies in the numerous cubbies we have onboard and is making a pile of things I will be taking back home. After being out here for a few years, we know what we really need and what we don't.
The water tanks pressurized just fine(sigh of relief) and the batteries took a full charge. The frig/freezer is up and running after getting two cans of coolant run into it. Not sure where the old stuff went but it was sure gone. I borrowed and coolant sniffer(amazing what you can find on peoples boats out here) and checked all the copper lines. NO detectable leaks. Oh well.
I've torn apart two of our through hulls(the first one three times) cleaning off the surface with a "valve polishing compound" normally used on car engine valves(again---amazing what you can find on boats out here. I bought my own supply today at Autozone in Guaymas.
We have two deck hatches in a fiberglass shop in Guaymas getting the underside fiberglassed over. Again--take a look at the pictures for a closer look of what shape they were in(bad).
I've installed the zincs on the propeller as well was five on the rudder. It keeps the metal on each from getting eaten by electrolysis or some such thing. Once that was done, I spent a good bit of time pumping grease into the gears of our propeller. It's not like you "normal" prop that just spins. This baby rotates as it spins from forward to reverse. Called a "MaxProp", it's a VERY expensive piece of equipment for a boat. The last owners of Zephyr had it installed. Works great but again, it's another maintenance project.
As I said earlier, the kids are adjust ing quite well to being back home. Sleep all day other then a few walks around the deck and then Blue wants to stroll the decks at night. That's not going to happen.
Brackets are made for our radar reflector but I have to go up the mast for that installation and it's a few days off.
Tomorrow--on to our electrical problem. We have power on the port side but not starboard. Out with the volt meter for some real fun. Sure hope I don't fry myself.
Check the pictures for more show and tell. If you have any questions, just leave them in the "comments" section.
11/04/2010, San Carlos, Mexico
As I sit here copying disk after disk of charts to our assorted computers, Blue is curled up right next to me. It's been quite a long time since she has done that. Snowshoe is asleep in the floor of the stern head(a favorite place of his). Both have settled in well. Heck, it's like being home again. No arguments (or at least only a few)so all is well.
More jobs to do. Back later.
11/03/2010, Marina Seca yard in San Carlos.
Let me tell you, working on boats is a younger mans job. Up and down the ladder numerous times. Lifting things aboard using a rope and hook as we emptied the car again. Boy did we bring too much stuff. We'd forgotten how much we already had on board. We'd left more than either of us remember. Now we have more. Heaven help Zephyr when we launch her. Sure hope she stays afloat.
Monday, I took off two hatches and took them over to Guaymas to see about having them fiber glassed over. When Zephyr was built, they included two lockers in the stern section--one for the propane tanks and the second we treat as a garage with lots of stuff crammed into it. Both hatches were built like picture frames with solid wood around the edges and a piece of plywood filling in the center of the frame. Teak was then laid across the top. Over the years and with a good bit of moisture(water) the underlying plywood has begun to fall apart and with it, the structural stability of the hatch in general. When you step on the hatch, it sinks slightly into the locker below. Not a good thing. I fixed one with angle mending plates screwed into the solid wood so it would hold the plywood in place. Well, when the second hatch began to come apart, it was time to get serious about getting them fixed and having it done properly. Off came the hatches and I went in search of a good fiberglass repairman. With enough epoxy and pieces of fiberglass mat, they should be nice and stable when we get them back. I dropped them off Monday and expect to have them back on Saturday. Hows that for a fast turnaround? We'll see how they look when they get back.
Meanwhile, the frig is up and running great. The freezer is nice and cold and the frig area was at 25 degrees this morning after a good start up last evening. With that news, we packed up what was left at the condo(Gringo Pete's) and headed for Zephyr this morning. We're now living aboard again after a long 4.5 months away. I brought Blue aboard first thing and got her set up on the "throne". The top perch of a tall cat tree(smuggled aboard at night so no one would laugh at us while we were still in Newport, OR). She looked around and settled in. She's spent most of the day there or slowly wandering around the deck taking in the sights of her home again. She's not to impress with the boatyard dogs that go running around under all the boats(and that is just fine). She will stay on board. Snowshoe took up residence in the stern bunk and really hasn't move much. He knows he's home and appears to be quite happy about it.
I tried to open some of the through hulls so sinks can drain around the boat. Nope--stuck TIGHT. No amount of heaving or hoing was going to undo them. I finally stuck a big wooden dowel under it and it broke free--sort of. I consulted with another(much more experienced boater) about my problem. He came aboard and took the whole thing apart and showed me how to clean and rebuild it. It's a big family here with everyone helping each other. I loaned my drill and some screwdrivers to another boater a few days ago.
And that's about it for now. The body is in need of some pain killers(more than just alcohol). More tomorrow.
11/03/2010, San Carlos, Mexico
Just a quick note as to the last few days.
We got the frig up and running yesterday afternoon after adding two cans of coolant to the system. Where the old stuff went, we have no clue. That was the last stumbling block keeping us from moving aboard. While the inside is still a bit of a mess, we need to move aboard asap. The kids are a bit fritzed but I'm sure will be "happy" to be home with no more moves(at least land moves).
I'll fill you in on the rest of what is happening once we get a chance to stop for a while--like doing laundry.
11/01/2010, San Carlos, Mexico
Yeah, I know, I've missed a few days but we have been traveling again.We headed back to Tucson on Sunday morning and got in about 1400. Over to the storage shed(thanks UHaul)and Tracy loaded the car. What a pro. She got everything we had brought in the trailer into the car with room to spare. With that being said, we took off for Costco to get more canned Tuna and other things that aren't available down here--the list is long.
Over to Lowe's to buy a few things including brackets to fix the hatch that covers our propane locker. For some reason when it was built, they made a four sided frame(like a picture frame) and then plopped in a piece of plywood as the main body of the hatch. Over time, the "frame" has begun to crack, letting the main section of plywood come loose which makes the top outer layer of teak that covers the outside break. Now I have to take it apart(same thing happened on the port side) and reglue it and try and stabilize the entire hatch so when we walk on it it doesn't sink into the locker below and break more. Gee what fun.
Meanwhile, other boats come and go and we keep loading more and more supplies and installing new hardware and putting the sails(main, genoa and jib) back on. Tracy's modification of the main sail cover looks great.
On Saturday night(the night before we left)the guys in the condo next door threw a party. It started at about 2000 hours and ended the next morning about 0600. It wasn't so bad except one of the guests played bongo (yes, that's right) bongo drums through the night. Over and over and over at all hours. With all that noise, it made the nights sleep not tremendously good--if at all. And the 6+ hour drive a great deal of fun. At least the movement of goods is now over and we can really buckle down and get Zephyr up and running.
We heard from the Cool Blue folks that made our frig. His suggestion is to put a bag of ice against the holding plate so the compressor doesn't have to work quite so hard on startup. We'll try it tomorrow. It's the big reason we are still in the condo as we have a good bit of frozen food that needs to be kept frozen and a warm frig just won't cut the mustard.
It's dinner time for the exhausted two of us, so that it for now. More to come as the spirits revive.