Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Hookers
By Michael

This time of year, open markets in all the neighborhoods
and towns feature everything Christmas, from toys to
decorations. Baby Jesus figurines are everywhere, in
sizes to fit any budget. This one is about 12-inches
long and features a repaired broken leg. None
depict the holy child without mascara.
We made it. Sunday, with little fanfare, we pulled the dock lines aboard and motored out of the marina to stake our claim in the La Cruz anchorage. We set the hook in 23 feet of water just in time to enjoy a sunset from the cockpit, cold beers in hand. It was the kind of sunset that gives the sky dimension and depth that extends overhead and behind you, ribbons of high-altitude clouds saturated orange at one horizon and tinged pink at the other.

The girls laid low, unused to the motion of the ocean—though we were all rocked to sleep and slept soundly our first night, absent the creaking of dock lines we’d grown used to.
Three things remained to do before our first sail. First, when I went to install the Tank Tender sending units into the taped-up holes atop the new water tanks, I found that the threads were not correct. Until they could be corrected, temporarily sealing these holes to prevent water from leaking out when heeled, is difficult. Second, I needed to pull Windy up the mast to adjust our spreaders, to bang on the undersides until they bisect the wire to form equal inside angle, above and below. Third, she needed to install the new spreader boots on the same trip up the mast.

After several trips to the machine shop in Puerto Vallarta to resolve the tank thread issue—I think I wrapped that up. After hauling Windy up the mast yesterday morning, using her 20-year-old climbing harness and our main halyard, she was able to fix the spreader alignment, but not able to install the only boots I could find for sale in Puerto Vallarta, too small. So, she carefully felt the spreader tips with her hands and deemed them smooth enough not to chafe the sail in the short term, and we called that project complete. Then yesterday, we hauled the anchor and went sailing for a few hours. It was, it was amazing. The winds were light, but our fully-loaded sloop with a very high-cut genoa glided around the bay like she was on rails. Surprising to both of us was how steady she was. Either of us could leave the helm long enough to use the head, and the boat would track straight. On the first Del Viento, you could hardly take your hand off the helm long enough to stick it in a bag of chips before she rounded up--no matter how she was trimmed. We were all smiles, all four of us.
Eleanor grabbing some alone time in the
The past couple of weeks have been a blur—the big push. We accomplished a ton of work in that time. Added to the amount of work we’ve completed since arriving in Mexico, it is a formidable list (see below).

Our plans for the near future include wrapping up small jobs aboard (like rewiring the nav lights) and allowing the girls to spend time with their friends aboard Wondertime and Convivia. It’s interesting that we visited both of these boats on our way down in the car last summer, in their respective home ports. I wrote about our Wondertime visit here. The post I wrote about our meeting with Convivia was lost, but they wrote here about our visit aboard their beautiful Cal 43 in San Francisco Bay, the day after the Independence Day fireworks.

Last night Eleanor went carolling with the kids aboard Popoki and Andiamo III. She and Frances plan to do the same again this evening. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and we plan to sail north the day after Christmas, bound for La Paz and our landlubbing friends Tim and Nancy. Wondertime will likely join us for a bit of the way, maybe stopping with us at Chacala and Isla Isabella. Mid-January, Windy’s mom arrives in La Paz for a two-week stay aboard. We plan to take her out to the nearby islands (no, not to drop her off).

Windy and the girls aboard the newly-anchored, newly-named Del Viento.

Windy and I aligning the hailing port on the transom before application. This is
about the last thing we did before leaving the slip.

The 2011 refit of Del Viento includes, in no particular order:
  • Removed the old boat name, applied the new name
  • Removed the exhaust elbow, had it repaired, reinstalled
  • Installed the CO detector
  • Installed 2 smoke detectors
  • Replaced all the standing rigging
  • Replaced 6 chainplates
  • Removed, marked, reinstalled the headsail
  • Replaced the main halyard
  • Replaced the headsail sheets
  • Replaced the water tanks
  • Cleaned and painted nearly the entire bilge
  • Replaced 2 windlass solenoids
  • Replaced the windlass base
  • Had the davits re-welded
  • Had jack line eyes welded to the companionway stanchions
  • Had 6 supports welded to 6 aft stanchions
  • Had struts welded to the bow pulpit
  • Had a new anchor roller fabricated
  • Had hand-holds fabricated for the dodger frame
  • Relocated old anchor roller as secondary and install new primary
  • Had the teak toe rails and trim stripped to bare wood
  • Applied 7 coats of varnish to the teak toe rails and trim
  • Replaced the gaskets on both main hatches
  • Stripped and painted new nonskid decks
  • Cleaned and painted all interior lockers and cubbies
  • Had all the furniture cushions reupholstered
  • Rebuilt the anchor locker floor
  • Installed a new bilge pump switch and wiring
  • Installed new bilge pumps
  • Repaired the manual bilge pump
  • Relocated thru-hull for the primary bilge pump
  • Cleaned the salt water strainers
  • Replaced the house and starting batteries
  • Rebuilt the floor that supports the house batteries
  • Replaced a lead of 2/0 wire for the windlass
  • Had the hull and topsides buffed
  • Rebuilt the toilet
  • Redesigned and replaced the head plumbing
  • Removed, cleaned, repaired, and reinstalled the holding tank
  • Built a new solar panel arch
  • Installed an additional solar panel
  • Replaced the Racor water separator filters
  • Replaced the fuel return line
  • Installed the wifi booster antennae
  • Installed a new stereo system and speakers
  • Installed 6 fans
  • Installed a 4-inch solar fan in the head cabin top
  • Installed a new propane solenoid and hose
  • Replaced the overhead light fixture in the head
  • Replaced all the interior bulbs with LEDs
  • Removed all the bonding wires/foil
  • Added blocking to the floor of the lazarette
  • Replaced all the fresh water plumbing
  • Reconfigured the selector switch for the galley fresh/salt pump water
  • Regreased the Maxprop
  • Prepped and painted the bottom with new antifouling
  • Had a gel coat crack in the bow repaired
  • Replaced refrigeration wiring connections
Of course, this list omits the hours and hours and hours spent exploring, playing, blogging, cleaning, learning, organizing, socializing, and shopping. I’m not including all of the time spent on the two dinghy motors. In that context, it is amazing to me what we accomplished these past five months. And a few projects remain:
  • Re-bed the opening port lights in the girls’ cabin
  • Install the 7 port lights we brought down with us
  • Install the LED mast head tri-color and anchor light


  1. Well, after a huge amount of work, you're finally ready to be underway. Great job! We're currently aboard Citla (Cal 39) in Marina de La Paz. Have a great sail up this way and maybe we'll see you here. Great to see you on your way.

  2. Glad you made it!! We're heading into our refit stage after Christmas--but such is the joy of this lifestyle:)
    Have a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

  3. We're so happy for you guys - we can relate - refits are extensive, exhausting and overwhelming... makes enjoying the fruits of your labour that much sweeter - Here's hoping we get to hang out again in the Sea of Cortez this Spring! Cheers, the Nyon crew

  4. Merry Christmas friends! I am so happy to hear that you are heading North. We look forward to an extended visit!

  5. And a job well-done! Ironic how we are ending our adventure as you are beginning yours - just made landfall in CA via airplane! Best of luck to you and your crew. We'll be following you the whole way.

  6. Wow, look at all those milestones you met - on time and within budget? ha ha ha ha, lucky you, no closeout report :-)

    Wishing you all the best for a new year afloat!

  7. So incredibly happy for you and your family. Wishing you all amazing adventures! ~ Daniele & Julie, Austin, TX

  8. wow! What a list! Fair winds and I hope you find some time to simply enjoy being out on your boat. It does sound so beautiful down there.


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