Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bon Voyage Party

Any excuse to get together with friends, family, Baja-philes and sailors is a good time for a party. Our leaving in a week on our sailing adventure provided such an excuse!

Thanks to a hot tip from Nancy Noriega, Gonzales Northgate Market (43rd Street off the 805 in National City) provided the main fair of pollo asado, carnitas, salsas, tortillas, frijoles, arroz, fruitas, and pan dulces of several delicious varieties. Kevin Young added to the ecletic fare by providing Chinese appetizers. A variety of beers, microbrews and wines were provided by guests to be enjoyed by all. Chocolate covered almonds, compliments of Verena Seisun, provided a delicious end to the deserts.

Guests included neighbors, family (Hans, Andrew, Nicole and Danica; Chantal couldn't make it because she was sick), former colleagues from the old kelp factory, several Baja-philes, and old sailing friends. Unfortunately, the camera's didn't make an appearance until towards the end of the evening when the fiesta was winding down and many people had already taken their leave.

Friends are what make life special and interesting. We feel very fortunate to have a such a warm and fun loving group of people we can count as our friends. Each one of them has enriched our lives in ways large and small. Thanks to you all for your warmth, humor and generosity! You'll be with us in all our adventures.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Boat Upgrades and Improvements

As promised in my first post, I will try to summarize some of the upgrades and additions we've made to the boat over the last 54 months of ownership. The boat, as purchased, was in good to very good shape, but as with most production boats that are a quarter of a century old, there are always things that require attention.

Much of the early work done on Citla, our Cal 39, involved cosmetic improvements. Others focused on routine maintenance items, required to keep the boat in good sea keeping condition. There were a few upgrades made to accommodate our cruising plans.

Some of the first projects tackled involved replacing the original headliner with new panelized headliner. The panels were laid out and installed by Randy Spicer and his crew at the Yacht Docktor (2390 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego, CA) and the upholstering and fitting was done by Tony at T-Man Canvass(619-299-6511). While the headliner was out, all the port light glass was replaced and the ports were re-bedded. New custom springs were manufactured (McMaster-Carr) to replace two that were missing on the opening port lights.

Old headliner was also used to back the liquor cabinet, the navigation station and the side shelves in the vee-berth. Each of these were replaced with teak to match the rest of the cabin woodwork. There was also faux teak paneling used as part of the back-splash in both the galley and the head that were replaced with real teak ply.

To improve both the mechanical operation and the sensory aesthetics of the head, new black water plumbing hose and the bronze vent fitting were installed to replace the occluded old plumbing. The original holding tank was replaced with a new polypropylene holding tank of the same size. A second vent line was installed in the new tank to insure good cross ventilation and promote odor free operation.

All new halyards were purchased and installed to replace the originals. A new headboard shackle was installed on the back-up main halyard along with a new snap shackle to replace an old bale style swivel shackle on the secondary jib halyard. A new spinnaker halyard and swivel block were installed. The adjustable gun-mount inboard pole fitting was re-installed on the mast to accommodate the reaching pole. The reaching pole was permanently mounted on the starboard foredeck. The traveler control lines on the main sheet track remain to be replaced. New plaited jib sheets were also added.

The standing rigging was replaced from the deck plates to the mast head, including all tangs, by Rigworks in San Diego (2540 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego, CA; 619-223-3788). A new internal wiring conduit and wiring were installed in the mast, along with a new cable for the Signet windex instrument. The old mast head anchor light was replaced with an LED tri-color, with built in anchor light and strobe (OGM Corporation). All the circuit breakers (both AC and DC) were replaced in the electric panel.

A new ICOM VHF radio (M304) was installed to replace the old Standard VHF. This was complemented with a hand held ICOM VHF. A Si-Tex SSB receiver (Nav Fax 200) was installed and is accompanied by compatible Weather Fax software (Weather FAX for Windows 2000) installed on the on-board laptop. A SPOT satellite tracker was included with the communications gear to allow family members to track our trip.

To supplement our navigation capabilities, a Garmin hand held GPS (model 76CSx) with chart upgrades covering Nothern California to Patagonia round out the electronics that include the Furuno GPS and radar that came wih the boat. Paper charts were purchased (Bellingham Chart Printers) covering the area between San Diego and Acapulco, including all major port entries. A Davis sextant (Mark 15) and stop watch were also included in our navigation inventory, along with HO 249 vol. II and a 2009 Nautical Almanac.

The ground tackle was upgraded, adding a new 300-foot 5/8" six-plaited (Sampson) anchor line to the primary Delta anchor (including 30 feet of chain). One of the older 210-foot 5/8" three strand nylon lines was changed, end for end, and used on the secondary Danforth bow anchor. Ground tackle for the small Danforth 'lunch-hook', consisting of 20-feet of chain and 200-feet of 1/2" line (West Marine) was added to our inventory.

New cruising sails were added in 2008. These were built by the local Quantum loft (2832 Canon St., San Diego, CA; 619-336-2422) in San Diego and included a 130% furling genoa and a full batten main with two deep reefing points. A 100 square foot ATN storm jib was added to the sail inventory. In addition to these two head sails, we will also bring the 110% jib, the 150% genoa and the 3/4 ounce symmetrical spinnaker. To accommodate short handed launching and dousing, the spinnaker will be rigged to fly off the head stay using an ATN head-tacker along with an ATN spinnaker sock.

The bottom paint was renewed the end of summer 2008 and the trailing edge of the rudder was also repaired. Two through hull sea cocks were replaced with new bronze valves (raw water intake and the black water outlet). The shaft zinc will be replaced just prior to departure at the end of October.

Spare belts, filters (water, oil, fuel) and pump impellers will be carried. The oil and filter will be changed, along with the fuel filters and water pump impeller in October, prior to departure.

Safety equipment include a four person life raft (Winslow, Super-Lite Off-shore); a ditch bag with off-shore first aid kit; a GPS equipped PLB (ARC); inflatable PFD's with built in harnesses for all crew members; safety lines for each crew; jack lines (port and starboard); permanent folding padeyes (Winchard) in the cockpit; new hand held and 12 gauge flares were purchased; and, an Achilles inflatable with a 6hp 4-stroke outboard (Mercury) was included in our safety gear.

This is a pretty comprehensive list of improvements and additions to the boats inventory. The only major items left off our wish list were solar panels, a SSB transceiver with Pacor modem for Sailmail and a watermaker.