Of new plans and a zinc headache
16 May 2010 | La Cruz anchorage
First things first. We have made yet another change in our plans. We are still going to leave the boat in Mexico this summer but we will be heading up to a place called Puerto Salina between Ensenada and San Diego. Although it will take some time and effort to get up there the logistical advantages of having the boat in relatively easy driving range and close to suppliers in San Diego trump the inconvenience of having to go up the Pacific side of the Baja. This passage is frequently referred to as the "Baja Bash," as the waves and wind are on the nose.
So what does this mean? Sometime next month we will make our way to Cabo San Lucas to top off the fuel tank and add some fresh fruit and vegetables. We'll also get our "zarpe", the clearance document to leave Mexico. Once the weather looks somewhat benign we will begin the trip north. We will stop at Turtle Bay for fuel unless the winds do something odd like come from a favorable direction, reducing our motoring time. Depending on the weather we may make some stops along the way, particularly at Bahia Magdalena. During our trip down the coast with the Baja Ha-Ha we stopped at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria.
So what do we need to get ready for the Baja Bash? Since the boat will be moving around more than it has lately we will have to get things pretty well stowed. I recently changed the engine oil, clutch oil, and fuel filters. Some of you may recall a recent blog post about the fuel filter change. Tomorrow I'll be doing a bit of work on the rig. Our friend and rigger Adrian will be stopping by to install a pin at the mizzen masthead we had fabricated to facilitate a future improvement. When the previous owner of our boat had the masts pulled and standing rigging replaced at a cost of $14,000 you would assume that the "reputable boatyard" that did the work would have managed to stay within the realm of industry standard practices. Not. We'll be giving that yard an opportunity to make things right by supplying us with the hardware and wire we'll need to bring things up to snuff. If they don't want to play ball I'll be putting some photos of their work here and on the most popular sailing website in the world.
One project that has taken an inordinate amount of time has been replacing the zincs. For those unfamiliar, zincs are pieces of, well zinc, that are attached to some of the underwater metals that we need to protect from corrosion. Zinc corrodes before the metal we really care about so these bits of zinc are sacrificial and corrode away over time. We carry a good supply of spare zincs so we don't have to find them while cruising. One of our zincs is attached to a special nut that goes on the end of the propeller shaft behind the propeller. These are predictably referred to as prop zincs. A picture equals a 1000 words so that's why I included one. See the second piece from the left in the picture? That's the special nut. The threads on the very end of that special nut deteriorated so they won't hold a fastener. So I needed a new nut.
Here in Puerto Vallarta lives a pirate named Zaragoza. He owns and operates a chandelry by the same name. We have renamed his chandelry "There it goza" which refers to your money if you are doomed by whatever foul circumstance to have to purchase something there. The nut I needed was only sold as part of a complete kit as shown in the picture. The price was double that of stateside prices. When I got there they only had one on the shelf. When I got back to the boat and unwrapped it I realized that the zinc was not zinc. They had sold me a freshwater zinc. I think they use aluminum or magnesium for freshwater boats. Apparently this isn't the first time they have foisted a freshwater zinc on an unsuspecting gringo. In any case all I really needed was the nut. So I donned the scuba gear and overboard I went.
Imagine my disappointment when I discovered the threads did not match the ones on the propeller shaft. Drat I said. Well maybe it was something stronger. So back to Zaragoza I went. This involves a 16 peso bus ride and about 45 minutes to an hour each way. I couldn't find the receipt and predictably they did not want to exchange the assembly for a salt water version. I kept repeating. Mi velero es in el mar, no in un lago. (My sailboat is in the ocean, not in a lake). There was only one 1 3/8" prop zinc assembly on the shelf and finally a sympathetic parts manager that recognized me from my prior visit relented and allowed the exchange to happen.
This afternoon I got the zinc installed. Special thanks to Adam on Estrella who gave me a 2x4 that used to be part of a futon to use to keep the prop from turning while I tightened the nut with our 18" crescent wrench.
Tomorrow we head into the marina for topping off our water tank and doing some cleanup. About once a month we usually visit a marina. After a brief stay we will be on our way to La Paz where we will leave the boat for about a week to attend to a family matter in the states. On our way to La Paz we will visit some of the beautiful islands like Espiritu Santo. When we return to La Paz we'll begin making our way to Cabo and on to Puerto Salina.