As I’ve previously discussed in my 3-part series about getting Tulum Hauled Out, New Chainplates and Rigging done….things took longer than expected. What was billed as seven days in the boat yard turned into twenty-two days, but things happen in Mexico and seem to take longer than expected on a regular basis. Finding the silver lining in things you can’t control is a symptom of resilience, so we figured out what other projects we had time to knock out and did them when we were not doing other things.
Forward Deck Track
Removing Deck Track is HARD. This is why people don’t wanna do it and we’re convinced the feet killing deck track was left on the boat just cause it’s hard to remove it. Read on: The first major project I started while hauled out in the boatyard was the deconstruction and removal of Tulum’s forward deck track. After trying to figure out how we would use the track and talking to several folks with more knowledge than us, we decided to remove only the forward deck track, leaving the mid-section deck track in place to use. Removing the deck track turned out to be a harder process than advertised, but I recruited the kids to help me and we plowed through the project in three days. To say this one was a backbreaker is an understatement. See…Tulum’s deck track was screwed through all our deck layers and came out on the inside of the boat….in some very, very hard to reach places. Needless to say, the bolts would not come out without getting the inside nuts and hardware off. Smartly I recruited my oldest daughter to help get her hand and a socket wrench into some very small places just under our deck and inside the tightest closet and headliner spaces you can imagine….working to get the rusted nuts loosened to the point we could get the bolts out of the top of the deck track. This wasn’t fun on a hot boat sitting on jack stands in the middle of a boatyard, but we worked through the roadblocks and at last, the second deck track came loose late one afternoon for the final time. I was totally thrilled but now had forward decks with forty holes on each side that were open all the way down through into the main areas of our boat. Luckily that week in the boatyard there wasn’t any moisture or rain, so I had time to plug the holes correctly and ensure they were waterproof the best I could. This was achieved through wood plugs in the holes, deck caulking and liberal use of epoxy resin. Here’s my pictures of the project:
The second fun project we started at the boatyard (while hauled) and finished back in the slip was the removal, reinforcement and raising of our lifeline stanchions. This project wasn’t in the books to get done at all, but after starting to discuss with Sergio Gallindo I decided to get it done. The project started in the boatyard when Sergio and his guys cut off the lifelines, taking them to the shop to craft the insert for reinforcement and lengthen the actual stanchions. When everything was done, we were at the dock and the stanchions were reinforced and welded back to together. Here’s my pictures of the project:
The third and last fun project we worked on the in the boatyard was the installation of two new opening portholes that we had sized and ordered from New Found Metals. I had measured and called the company from just outside Loreto (on tenuous cell connections) in the summer to order the portholes, getting them shipped to La Paz Cruisers Supply…meaning they were waiting on us in La Paz. Once in the boatyard, I couldn’t think of a reason not to get them installed by a great craftsman in the yard….Mr. Beto. Soon, the boat was a grand mess and we had two new holes in the boat. Two days later, we had two new opening portholes that were secure and waterproofed. Weekly these days, the HelmMistress and I comment about how much cooler the galley is during hot weather cooking….now that we have good breeze through these nice portholes. Here’s my pics of the project:
New Stak-Pak and Sails
Lastly, after our roadtrip home to pick up new running rigging and visit family, we brought back our new stak-paks, which needed some time to get put on and put up. The first thing I figured out when starting to put on the main stak-pak was that I had screwed up the size of the plastic cars used to keep the stak-pak attached to the main boom, estimating them to be one size TOO BIG. This means the stak-pak had no way to attach to the boom. So we had to work the problem and figure out how to get the thing to attach to the boom properly. We had also never put on our new mizzen sail since we had gotten it in 2019, so we took off the old mizzen and put on the new one….which fit perfectly (thanks Zoom Sails). In taking off the old mizzen, I noticed the metal and plastic cars on the old mizzen were smaller, and did in fact fit my main boom perfectly. So I cut them all off the old mizzen, cut the overly large cars off the new stak-pak and hand-sewed the old mizzen cars back onto the new stak-pak. Yeah, it worked perfectly and after a couple days of tweaking both the mizzen and main stak-paks, they fit nicely and they work perfectly. Here’s a few pics below:
The moral to our story about these improvements to the boat (besides new chain plates and standing rigging) is that we’re trying to start working smarter and not harder. I never realized just how much work I was doing with our old worn out sail covers and sail ties…every time we put up or took down a sail. Now, I can put up and recover the main and the mizzen with no help and without lots of drama, the sail goes into the stak-pak every time. We also thought through safety improvements with the taller stanchions for the lifelines and less heat in the galley with the installation of the new portholes.
We’re a family who lives on our boat with our Great Dane, trying to hunker down till all the drama’s over but knowing we’ll need to stay in Mexico another season to allow the world to stabilize a bit more before we start doing longer crossings or heading further south.
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PS: The HelmsMistress was just published in this months Latitude-38.(Changes in Lattitudes Section)..make sure to check it out or follow the link to see the electronic version.