Dispatches from the Boatyard #1
It's hard to believe it has been 2 weeks already since we hauled Calla Lily out of the water again for some post-shake-down TLC. We'll be doing more frequent short dispatches while we are on land for a few months. We'll also fill in the gap since Bahía Concepción where we almost melted from the heat and visited some cave paintings.
Calla Lily has a few thousand miles under the keel now since we left San Carlos in November and we have had a chance to give her a good long shake down. We also finished all the projects and installations we planned back in 2020 and 2021. Our plans for our next phase of cruising include a crossing of the Pacific Ocean from Mexico to French Polynesia and being on the hard near the US will facilitate the work and procurement to get ready for that. The two biggest projects are to install a wind powered autopilot, also known as a wind vane and to address the sorry state of Calla Lily's topsides. The topsides work means lots of sanding, prepping, and painting. Shelby has been hard at work sanding the cap rails all week. We have a long list of small and medium projects and things to buy as well.
Calla Lily was hoisted out of the water on 22 July at Cabrales Boatyard. She looks so small in that huge travel lift that is big enough to handle shrimp boats. After a quick power wash she was moved into the boatyard and we headed to spend the weekend with Richard, Kathy, Lucine, and Ursula's at their beach house. We took the weekend off from boat projects and enjoyed relaxing and hanging out. On Tuesday, we went back to Tucson for the week to visit Shelby's mom and our Tucson-based children and to help our son Furey move across town. We had a great visit with friends and some dinners at our favorite restaurants and soon it was time to return. Our 4-hour trip back ended up taking 18 hours because the highway to the border was closed and wouldn't open until after the border was closed for the night. We made the best of it and found a cool hotel place in nearby Ajo for the night.
Our local cruising and sailing guru met us at the boat soon after we arrived to help us figure out how to attack the bottom paint and topsides projects. Turns out Calla Lily has many coats of bottom paint on her and one of the deeper coats didn't bond well to the layer below it. She's going to have the top layers sandblasted off and then we'll know whether what appears to be copper paint below all those layers is in fact copper paint (a good thing) or not, If it is copper paint, it means a lot less work. On the top, we will strip the mess of finishes and epoxies on the cap rails, stabilize them, and paint them. We're currently figuring out what kind of paint we want to use for the top.
Wednesday, we started in on the projects. First we put up our shade coverings to provide shade and protect us a bit from the relentless sun. Then we did a bunch of measuring for things like new bits of running rigging, new lifelines, Bimini modifications, and our sinks for some sink covers to help keep the bees out. Next up was removing the CV joints/axle from our drive train. Calla Lily has clever drive train that uses a thrust bearing and an axle with CV joints. The axle was surprisingly easy to remove. We really appreciate the care that went into the design and building of this boat when doing jobs like this. The axle will get shipped to a driveline shop in Seattle to have new boots installed as one of them is ripped. Shelby sanded cap rails. The engine was next. Our engine is a 32-year-old Perkins 4108 and it runs like a champ. It starts up immediately every time and (as long as there is fuel in the tank) goes and goes for hours and days at a time. Being British, it also leaks oil like crazy. The projects for the engine are to clean the heat exchanger (like a car radiator), replace the fuel injectors, and check and adjust the valves. It took a few days, but we got the heat exchanger and parts of the exhaust and the injectors removed. Based on our experience with 40-year-old Mercedes diesels and 60-year-old motor scooters, we expected surprises and to break a fastener or component or two as we dug in. The only significant surprise is that our exhaust box/wet muffler has a minor leak. Most of the engine-related work is made easy by the large engine room that provides access from all four sides. The valves adjustment was especially easy. Shelby sanded the cap rails (it's a huge job.) Next up is taking the heat exchanger and associated bits to a radiator shop to be boiled in nasty chemicals to dissolve the corrosion and carbon build up. We have a rebuilt set of injectors all set to put in.
Did we mention that it is really hot and humid here in Peñasco? As I write this, it is 95 degrees and 58 percent humidity. According to wunderground.com it feels like 119 degrees! Can confirm. We try to get to the boat (a 15-minute walk) by 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning and work until noonish or until we are just too damp and drenched to carry on to deal with the heat. We spend the afternoons in air conditioned comfort recovering and planning and ordering stuff.