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From: Tom T House
Date: 06 Mar 2006
Time: 18:53:37 -0500
Well, we had another most excellent adventure, again sailing on the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. Brad Seevers was kind enough to invite my wife and me to accompany him and his girl friend, for a week of sailing. After traveling from Salt Lake City we stopped for some sleep, a shower and to visited family in Las Vegas, Nevada. While there and Abby sat in a dentist's chair for 8 hours. Now that's a way to start a vacation, right..? From there it was on to Phoenix, Arizona for another night's sleep, another shower and to visit our married kids and grand kids. From there it was on to San Carlos, Mexico to meet Brad, his girl friend and "Windependent", his Stiletto 27. Windependent was out sailing, so it took us an hour to raise him on the radio to let him know we had arrived..but that gave us just enough time to get a fish taco and virgin Pina Colada fix. I really could get used to simply stepping on a boat that's already transported, rigged, launched, and ready to go. (What ever you do, don't tell Brad that he sails well enough to do without me as crew.) For nearly a week, we sailed and explored here and there, did some Hooka diving, boat camping and general goofing off. The boat ran well and the breezes were a bit strong but do-able and the seas were a bit "lumpy", but OK. (The Sea of Cortez is notorious for its short steep chop and that's just what we had.) We elected to forgo the open ocean sailing to cross the 100 miles between the mainland and the Baja. Instead we kept on the mainland side and explored some anchorages and Island in that region. That decision was, in part, due to one of the canopies that decided to break in half, right across where the front bow hardware is located, on the canopy. We repaired the broken canopy at dock-side, with some epoxy resin and some carbon fibre a fellow sailor donated to the cause. That repair really turned out very nice. It is very strong and we put the resin and carbon fibre on the inside of the canopy and masked it off about two inches on either side of the break. The carbon fibre is black, so it is hardly noticeable on the outside of the canopy... This works so well, I plan to reinforce mine, where both bows attach to each canopy, before one of the small, short stress cracks, do what Brad's did and break suddenly and in half... while out sailing in open ocean conditions... OK, it wasn't the sea condition, but rather I caught the heel of my sandle, right under the front part of the open canopy... But still, who would have thought it would break the canopy in half...? As it turned out, the decision to not sail across the Sea was a very fortunate decision. On one sail, about 20 miles out, while on our way to an off shore Island, down came the mast. We were on a tack and the forestay simply let go and the mast fell almost directly aft. We immediately secured the bottom of the mast, before it went overboard and set out a drogue, off the bow to help stabilize the boat in fairly lumpy conditions. After stripping the mast of boom, sails, running rigging, etc., we drug it back aboard and lashed it securely, along the boat's diagonal. We were pretty fortunate, because the girls were below, sleeping when the mast came down so there were only two of us on the hard deck and plenty of room to dodge things coming down. It was also fortunate the mast just missed falling on the outboard...and it started right up after all the rigging was cleared from the boat and water. A few hours later, we motored into Marina San Carlos, our launch point, and put the boat back on its trailer. Closer inspection disclosed the forestay's turn buckle had backed all the way out, releasing the forestay. This turnbuckle was a closed barrel type, so you couldn't see the threads. It is secured by a locking nut just above the barrel. However, the locking nut apparently kept turning at the same rate as the threads were backing out. That kept the lock nut in contact with the barrel and disguised what was happening. Much of this is also partially covered by the drum of his headsail's roller furler. I really should have caught that, anyway, because, though his rig was a bit loose to start with, I thought I noticed the leeward stay getting looser. I probably would have check all that had we made it to the protection of the Island we were sailing to. I guess the lesson(s) learned could include: If in doubt...check it out..NOW...not later!!! Brad plans to replace his closed barrel turnbuckle with an open one, so its threads are visible and it can be secured with split rings and/or seizing wire. After the boat was on the trailer, further inspection revealed no damage to anything, other than some scuffed paint on the tiller cross bar. Everything else was completely OK. As a matter of fact, we could have re-stepped the mast and gone back out sailing, if we hadn't have had to return to working for a living. All in all, it was another, Most Excellent Adventure. The Next one is now being planned for May, for a sail across the Sea of Cortex, from San Carlos, Mexico to Loreto, Mexico about 120 miles more or less... I sure hope the two feet of snow, sitting on my boat, melts by then...so I can paint "Salsa" my Stiletto 27 and get it ready. Is life good, or what...?