Friday, October 12, 2012

Care and Feeding of a Non-appreciating Asset

This season will be more illustrative than most when it comes to owning a boat. As the old saw goes: "Break Out Another Thousand"! As is widely recognized, boats are not appreciating assets (as opposed to houses, that is until the housing bust in 2009). Still, it is important to maintain a boat for safety's sake, if for no other reason.

This year we will be replacing our deformed, mis-shapened rudder (The
Foss Company, Newport Beach, CA). Ever since the "rudder repair" we had at the Driscoll yard in San Diego, we've been living with a warped, asymetrical, non-foil shaped appendage in lieu of a proper rudder. Due to both safety and performance considerations, we will be hauling a new rudder south with us to make the replacement. We will also be bringing enough Sunbrella , zippers, Stratglass and Common Sense twist-lock fasteners (all from Sailrite) to have all our canvas replaced. We've had our dodger, bimini and mainsail cover resewn twice since having the boat in Mexico. The canvas wasn't new when we purchased the boat, so it's about time to replace it. Buying the materials here, insures that we get the color of our choice (Sunbrella color selection in Baja can be limited) and takes the trouble out of looking for hardware. We're also providing the Tenara heavy duty thread so this set of covers will wear-out before needing to be restitched.

There are a couple of canvas shops in La Paz with experience fabricating boat covers. We're hoping to be able to use the services of either Danny at Pacific Threads or Doug at Snug Harbor Sails. Both do very good work and will be able to do the fitting on the boat. There is also a modest savings in labor charges by having the work done in Mexico.

In addition to doing the two major upgrades (the rudder and new canvas) we'll also be bringing bottom paint, two-part epoxy gelcoat sealer, replacement batteries for the Nicro solar vents, a 3dB VHF replacement antenna, an ICOM hand-held VHF antenna replacement, new sail ties, mast boot-tape, fiberglass cleaner, wax, Hypalon repair kit and BBQ replacement parts. Since the boat has been out of the water for some time and the new rudder will require bottom paint, we'll be doing the entire boat. Having the boat on the hard also provides a time when cleaning and waxing the hull can be done relatively easily.

We're believers in lists. These days, most things we might need can be found in Mexico. Some of them easily, others not so much. Taking those items we know we'll need from home, saves an enormous amount of "searching" time to find those same things in Baja. This is the reason that for the past several months, we've been compiling lists of things we need to take to the boat and things that have to be done. As we accumulate the items on our lists, they get checked off and are stored in the boat 'pile' in the garage. When it is time to depart, hopefully we will have gone over the lists to confirm that we have all we had planned to bring The plan is to order the rudder replacement a couple of weeks prior to our departure in November; pick the crated rudder up in Santa Anna, lash it to the roof rack on our truck so we can drive it to the boat. With the fabrication paperwork in hand, along with our TIP (Temporary Import Permit) for our boat, we don't anticipate any problems with Customs (Aduana) in Mexico. We'll see how it goes this time around and will be updating as we get ready to head south.

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