Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Boat Haul-Out Prior to Departure

It's been two years and several thousand miles since we had the boat
hauled, that and the fact that we want to check the prop-shaft and rudder post, it's time. We've been putting this off nearly since we arrived back from Mexico last July (2009). Besides trying to control our cash flow, we felt the bottom job should be done shortly before heading south again. Here we are at Driscoll's Boat Works on Shelter Island Drive.

Among the projects we hope to complete entail an out-of-water hull survey. This is to fulfill insurance requirements for our cruising policy for Mexico. We had an in-water survey done shortly after our return to San Diego that was required when we switched back to our lower cost Boat US insurance. Since we're heading back to Mexico and may be further south than 20 degrees north and intend to stay for more than 4 months, switching insurance carriers is necessary once again.

While the boat is out in the yard we'll have the bottom pressure washed and painted; the rudder dropped for inspection of the rudder post and for any signs of excessive play; pull the prop-shaft to insure it is true; check the cutlass bearing; align the engine to the prop-shaft; install a new pack-less shaft seal; and, put it all back together again and re-launch. I'll also wax the hull while it is out of the water and accessible.

It's now over a week and Citla is still in the yard, sans rudder. The survey
was done. A new stainless propeller shaft was fabricated and installed with a new pack-less shaft seal and new cutlass bearing. The engine alignment was checked. The hull was waxed and the bottom painted. A joint on one of the stanchion supports was re-welded. There was essentially no fore and aft play in the rudder, but some lateral play was noted. The rudder was dropped from the boat and the problem was corrected inserting an upper and lower bushing in the rudder post tube.

One note of interest, while the rudder was out we had a few days of unusually hot weather for San Diego, if this may have contributed to what we observed on the rudder is not certain. Apparently, the rudder was stored on its' side and when it came time to reinstall and paint it there were two areas where the foil had lost its shape and collapsed under the fiberglass. Both deformations were on the starboard side of the rudder; one towards the leading edge about 8" down from the top of the rudder and the other was on the bottom edge of the foil, covering an area of approximately 6" high by 10" long. It appeared that the underlying foam body may have had voids and in the heat the overlying fiberglass was drawn in, almost as if by a vacuum, leaving these hollow areas. The size of these deformations shouldn't perceptively effect the boats performance (the turbulence generated by the large three bladed prop is a greater contributor than the voids in the rudder foil). When the boat is hauled for hurricane season in Mexico, we'll strip the bottom paint off the affected rudder areas and fill these indentations with micro-fill and reshape the foil.

Since the relaunch from Driscoll's, ipe weather boards were installed on both port and starboard side decks to accommodate four 5-gallon diesel cans, each. These include stainless webbing anchors
and custom fitted 1" nylon webbing with quick releases included for each container. The weather boards were secured to two adjoining stanchions with a pair of stainless U-bolts at each end of the board. The inboard end of the U-bolts made use of double machine nuts to lock each leg of the U-bolt, with the outside of the pair a castle or acorn nut to provide a smooth, non-snagging finish. While not a permanent installation, it will provide far more security than the set-up that was used on our last trip to Mexico. During our bash north from the last trip, all the cans had to be secured from time to time, due to the constant and sometimes violent motion heading into wind and waves.

Since the boat haul-out and concurrent survey, we have also secured our new cruising insurance policy through American Marine Insurance Services who served as the broker to our new Markel American Insurance Company policy. The new policy covers the boat from Point Conception, California to Acapulco, Mexico, not more than 200 miles from shore. It was one of the few brokers contacted that provided west coast coverage and proved to be less expensive than the coverage offered through Blue Water Yachts, the company we used previously.

It's unfortunate that Boat US doesn't offer a more expansive insurance rider for Mexico. What they do offer is four month coverage, no further south than Puerto Vallarta. I'm unfamiliar with their hurricane season limits, but I would guess the southern limit would be no further south than Punta Banda (south of Ensenada). Because of the limitations on both the duration and range of the coverage, we had to drop this insurance for our Mexico sailing. Every time insurance is changed, usually there is a requirement to provide a current boat survey, which adds another $300 to $400 to the change. With regard to boat insurance, all that remains is to secure Mexican liability insurance. This can be done on line and is relatively inexpensive insurance to carry.

All that remains is to replace our wet-cell batteries that we purchased in Cabo San Lucas, with new AGM house and starter batteries (two 4D house and one group 27 starter battery). We will also secure Mexican fishing licenses for ourselves and the crew here in San Diego at the Conapesca office on Fifth Avenue. Then it is a matter of provisioning the boat; reinstalling the Furuno GPS (new lithium battery installed); getting a new Mexican courtesy flag; topping off the water and fuel tanks; and, securing the extra diesel jugs on the side decks. We hope to depart the port of San Diego the first week of November, 2010.


Mari @ Once Upon a Plate said...

How did I miss this very informational post??! She's as beautiful out of the water as she is when she's under way! :)

I'm getting excited about your upcoming excursion and look forward to following along with your updates.


Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Beautiful boat! We look forward to your upcoming cruise and pictures.