Saturday, April 30, 2011

Blisters can be a good reminder...

Most of the hundreds and hundreds of blisters that were visible when first hauled are now gone as they were all in between the actual fiberglass and whatever outer coatings previous owners or the original builders had applied.  Now that the fiberglass is all laid bare, you don't have to be a chemical engineer to recognize the result of "laminate hydrolysis" in Pelican's hull. The outer layer of fiberglass matt in the affected area has turned milky white and is not translucent like the unaffected areas.  Water had slowly combined with the soluable components of the resin and had robbed the layup of its strength and rigidity.  This area is riddled with blisters (many ground out and filled over the years).

The reality is that the boat is slowly dying.  Polyester resin as a boat building material doesn't cut it.  The vehicle of my dreams, my floating sanctuary, it isn't exempt from the forces of decay?  Is nothing sacred?  Unfortunately not.  The ugly truth lurks everywhere, always coming back to remind us of the unacceptable fact of our own eventual annihilation.  And that is perhaps where the good news lies.  It is in the ability to put it into perspective.  At 46 years of age, a few millimeter loss of hull thickness really ain't that bad... At this rate, Pelican will still be out sailing long after you or I will be.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Still in Marina Seca Guaymas...

A friend of mine in Thailand recently sent me scanned versions of the write I up I received back in early 2009 in TTO magazine (thanks again to Sarah Dixon).  I have put the rest of the scanned article on the page that originally contained the link to the online version (now dead). 

One of the benefits of having a bit of cruising experience is understanding the range of cruisers out there.  The couple of weeks I have spent here in Marina Seca Guyamas has been a reminder of this as the range has significantly narrowed.  I have met cruisers who are surprised and even shocked to learn I have just recently completed a singlehanded circumnavigation aboard an Alberg 35.  I guess I don't fit the profile...  (Maybe it is the hank on headsails).  One thing I do know is it says more about their lack of exposure than anything about me.   There is no profile!  Some may think an Alberg 35 too small a boat.  What about Carina whom I met in Thailand when he came along side looking for a ride to the beach because he has no dinghy (boat already is a dinghy).  Others may think I am on too low a budget.  What about Emily, whom I first met in Mexico, whose first cruising boat cost $900.  I met her again in Panama City years later circumnavigating on her second boat which cost a whopping $12K (sponsorship help).  Others may think that a circumnavigation is too vast an undertaking.  What about Bob and Glenda on Nero whom I met in Madagascar who are on their fifth circumnavigation.   The farther you get away from the marina back home, the less accurate the yachtie stereotypes become...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Marina Seca Guaymas

The blisters were pretty bad this haul out...  Bad enough that the dreaded, "Have to remove the Gelcoat" option became a reality.  I probably won't go all the way to the bottom as there are only gelcoat blisters below where I have already ground.

This project would have been a nightmare in the states.  Just finding a DIY yard with affordable lay days, no enviromental restrictions and a hot dry climate would be next to impossible.  Then, imagine looking forward to spending any amount of free time holding a seven pound grinder at shoulder height for hours...  That is the problem with trying to squeeze in your dreams around the 9 to 5 .  It is hard enough to find time to do laundry let alone grind gelcoat off a boat hull.  At a certain point, you have to quit the job and make do with what you saved.  Of course I will have to head back to work for another spell but for now, with this project, I can do an hour of grinding, bullshit with my yachtie neighbors, do another half hour of grinding, bullshit with my yachtie neighbors, do another fifteen minutes of grinding, bullshit with my yachtie neighbors...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The page turned...

It really feels like the end of the trip...  Isn't there some god awful Randy Newman song about not going sailing anymore.  Geez, if I am having associations like that, I must be feeling it.  The plus side is I get to enter into refit mode.  Plenty to do and no better motivator than being in a yard.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Guaymas, Mexico

Straight shot from Mazatlan to Guaymas.  Took over a week...  Man, there is so little wind in Mexico.  I remember being warned about Asia but this coast is like Zen master level of patience...  The plus is that the Sea feels like a lake.  No swell at all.  Even with a five knot breeze one can sail as there is no swell to spill the wind.  I pretty much stayed in the center of the sea, tacking back and forth, always within sight of one coast or the other for most of the time.  I have already become used to Mexico which is mostly tones of brown meaning rocks and sand, but when I came into Guaymas and saw a hill covered with green, I was confounded until I realized it was all cactus!

Tomorrow I will hopefully find out when I can get hauled...