Tag: Mexico

Farewell Dear México

Alas, the time has come to say, “Farewell” to our dear friends here in México and set sail for the South Pacific. Our boat projects are complete. Provisioning is done. Food for the crossing is prepared, farewell dinners and parties complete, ZARPE in hand and the weather window we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. It’s hard to believe we’ve been preparing for this for close to two years now. Well, actually Dan has been preparing for it for many years but together we’ve been planning this for about two years. Where oh where did the time go?

Together we’ve spent countless hours talking, planning, reading, working and preparing for this awesome adventure. We’re both so excited the time has finally come to weigh anchor, hoist the sails and let the winds carry us to exotic locales in the South Pacific and points beyond.

We’ve talked with many people who have made this journey and one thing we are looking forward to is that first sight of land on the other side of the ocean. They say you can start to smell the land when you are a day or two out and the moment you get your first glimpse of the lush green foliage and the crystal clear bay at Hiva Oa it is simply awe inspiring! Our friends, Ray and Chicgaila on SV Seanote said it was such an awesome and emotional experience that it brought tears to their eyes and they could hardly speak. Oh how exciting it is to be part of the elite few who make this journey. Rest assured we will be posting lots of pictures along our journey.

Hiva-Oa-3

This morning as we prepare Dazzler to depart the anchorage here at Punta de Mita the humpback whales are all around. They are jumping and playing and giving us quite a show. I can’t help but think it’s nature’s way of saying, “Until we meet again we wish you farewell and safe travels dear friends.”

From here we travel southwest a little over 300 miles toward the Socorros which will be the last place we will see land until we reach Hiva Oa in the Marquesas. It should take two to three days to reach the Socorros and from there we will determine what course we will head to take the best advantage of the winds.

Map - Punta de Mita to Socorros

The big thing is to make sure we cross the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) at the best position. The ITCZ is an area of low pressure encircling the Earth near the equator.

ITCZ
Map Obtained from: http://mapineds.blogspot.com

This is where the trade winds of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres meet. Here you will find areas of convection that often generate vigorous thunderstorms over large areas. You may also find the issue of no wind…the doldrums! Ideally you want to cross in the area where the ITCZ is at its narrowest point. Of course it changes all the time so finding that spot can be tricky. I’m not too worried as Captain Dan is pretty skilled at reading weather and knowing what’s what out there and where we should go.

Pacific Puddle Jump Group
Pacific Puddle Jump Group from Banderas Bay. Courtesy of Latitude 38 Magazine & The Pacific Puddle Jump Group. Visit them at www.pacificpuddlejump.com and www.latitude38.com

Yes, it’s a vast ocean but all of the registered Pacific Puddle Jump participants communicate daily via SSB video nets. The one for the Banderas Bay jumpers, of which Captain Dan is the Net Manager, meets daily at 0100 Zulu on 8294.0 USB. This is the primary frequency. The alternate frequencies are 8297.0 USB and 6224.0 USB. Each of us will check in and give our location, sea state, weather conditions and crew information. The net is designed to provide us with an additional safety net for as we will know who is where and if help is needed, who is closest.

Those boats, like Dazzler, that have a licensed HAM radio operator aboard will also likely check into the Pacific Seafarers Net. They have high powered, land based radio equipment that reaches all the way to New Zealand. Once you check in with them they track you until you reach your intended destination. And, they upload your information on their website so family and friends can track you as well. You can’t have too much communication when you are out at sea!

Nightide
Nightide is the sailboat on the right.

Our departure time today is 1100 local time,     1700 Zulu. We expect the journey to take anywhere from 21-28 days. For those concerned about our safety, know that in addition to all the safety equipment and communication we have on board Dazzler, there are over 160 boats leaving the Americas heading to French Polynesia within the next few weeks. This means there are lots of boats out there heading the same direction. Some have already left and at least one that we know of, SV SuAn, has already arrived in Hiva Oa. Yesterday two boats left here in Punta de Mita and today as we are departing, our friends, Helen and Ian on Nightide are also departing. The excitement level is high and we are all hopeful for a wonderful passage.

To say the least we are excited about the adventure that lies ahead of us and we look forward to sharing it with you, our friends and followers. As we’ve said before we will be posting a daily update of the crossing and hope you’ll follow along. You can go to the bottom of the page and sign up to follow us. You’ll get an email each time we post an update.

As we leave the bay here at Punta de Mita, I will scatter some of Daddy’s ashes as we have done in important places along the way. I know he will be watching over us and making certain we have a safe passage.

And as we sail off into the big, blue ocean I’m reminded of a prayer I heard a few years ago…

Lord, we pray you’ll keep an eye
Upon our humble boat.
Watch her and protect her
And make sure she stays afloat.

Let the breeze blow gentle
And a tranquil sea prevail.
Bless all those aboard her
When in port and under sail.

Unknown

Dan & Jilly Pre-Departure

Off we go!!!

Until next time…

Jilly

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Happy New Bowsprit :-) and Clean New Look

Dazzler’s Bowsprit project part two.

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Sanding the surface and preparing for painting

After all parts removed were cleaned and/or painted, the process of re-installing parts back onboard began. While the bow pulpit was off and being cleaned, Jilly discovered a crack and hole on the lower aft corner. That was sent off to a welding shop for repairs and was returned the next day. Thanks to Haracio in La Cruz for his valuable assistance. First I set the bowsprit on the bow and bedded it with 3M 4000 bedding compound.

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Clean Boat Bling and Cha Cha. The Sampson Post and Bowsprit strap were bedded and bolted into position.

Next was bedding the windlass and installing all of its cha cha. Next was starting to re-string the rigging. All was re-connected except for the Jib roller furling which needed its lower bearing replaced. This was a bit easier and a bit more difficult than it seemed. First the roller drum at the base of the foil came off easily. This allowed me be able to work on removing the large oil/grease seal from the bottom of the drum. The center shaft that the bearing rides on has a heavy duty circlip retainer keeping the bearing in place and preventing the shaft from riding upward. This little tidbit will be revisited later. The center shaft could then be tapped out through the top of the drum. After I cleared the shaft from the drum, another oil/grease seal and another circlip is visible and attached to the shaft. It is important to note that the two circlips on the shaft index the bearing placement on the shaft. I was able to locate the necessary replacement bearing and shaft seals locally here in the Banderas Bay area as the seals and bearings are standard type machine grade parts. There is a large circlip that insets against the interior of the drum against the outer ring of the bearing to index it against the drum housing. After removing that circlip, I was able to tap the bearing out of the drum. The ProFurl bearing and seal kit was somewhere in the neighborhood of $350 USD … if you can get one. The rigging shop in San Diego would not sell it to me because they have to be the ones that install it. I found all the parts I need here in the Banderas Bay area for approximatel $95 USD.

Ready to put it all back together, it went back together about as easy as it came apart. I recommend that you have some kind of heavy duty circlip tool for removal and re-installing the circlips. Those rings are very stout. Pack the bearing and the area between the seals with a good marine grade grease, but not too much. I used a straight probe carefully inserted between the shaft and the inner part of the seal to allow excess grease and air to escape while tapping the seal into place. I could now re-install the drum on the headsails foil. The forestay furler was attached allowing me to start tuning the standing rigging. Dazzler is starting to look like a sailboat again.

After tuning the rigging, we hoisted the staysail and furled it up. Next was the headsail. We hoisted it up with its halyard and I put the extra tug to set it in place. Now was the moment of truth. Did replacing the bearing correct the stiff roller furling of the sail? The answer was yes, but as I looked at the drum something didn’t look right. The lower shaft had pulled the top seal almost out of the top of the drum and was elevated about two inches above where it should have been. Knowing how the drum was put together, I knew that the lower circlip had some how failed. Which meant I had to de-tune the standing rigging, drop the Jib Sail and remove the roller drum, AGAIN, to take it apart.

Well, the culprit was the lower circlip was too thick and did not seat into the grove on the shaft, which allowed the shaft to slide upward when I loaded the forestay halyard. I had another circlip that was a few millimeters thinner and that was the end of that. BTW, I was able to find the heavy duty circlip at another tienda here in Mexico also. Lucky or just holding my mouth right I guess.

The double repaired drum was re-installed, the forestay roller re-attached, the rigging returned and the headsail installed again. All was good!

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Everything is back together and working great.
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The Guiding Star. All cleaned up, polished and ready to Lead Dazzler onto new horizons and adventures.

As part of this bowsprit project I decided to replace the stainless lifelines with Dynema material. Since I had already purchased the Dynema line, I only needed a few end terminals, which I acquired at the local Marine chandlery in La Cruz. Two afternoons of splicing and the lifelines were completed. Dazzler’s stanchions are equipped with rings welded onto them to allow the line to easily pass through. I carefully marked those locations on the Dynema and spliced Dynema covers onto the lifelines. It turned out very nice. If attempting to do these cover splices, I recommend that you complete the first cover splice and then mark where you plan to make the next cover splice. I discovered that the splice reduced the length of the line by approximately one inch for each splice.

Spectra covers at wear points
Spectra cover buried in the Dyneema Line.

The Dynema was so easy to work with and splice. I was able to remove a few splices and move the splice to the correct location. I used about 16” of Dynema cover for each splice. I also stitched each splice with Dynema whipping twine to finish it all off.

Parts List for the ProFurl furling drum and life lines

Bearing FAG #16010, this seems to be a standard number with different manufacturers

Seal Dichtomatik #39395, 80x50x12mm

Regular 3/16 Dyneema line with a breaking strength of 6,500 pounds

Johnson products were used for termination points.