Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Back to Mexico

Well it has been a long time since we updated this blog and my apologies for this. Rani had some issues with tendonitis that has prevented her from using the computer much and I have just been busy doing non-sailing related things.

Recorder concert at local school

This fall, I played recorder in a local quartet, worked at the university in Victoria as a research assistant, and taught a 3rd year computer science course. I had been warned by several friends that the teaching would be time consuming and boy were they right! When you teach a class for the first time you need to budget for at least 15-20 hours per week to prepare lectures and mark assignments. Some weeks it took closer to 30 hours! We also finished most of the inside renovations on our house and even managed to get married. A 'brief' selection of pictures from before, during, and after the wedding can be found here.

We also did quite a bit of hiking with the Cowichan Outdoors Group and this trip to Mexico will be in stark contrast to our recent recreation.

We fly out of Vancouver for Phoenix in a few days and will then take the bus down to Guaymas where Ladybug awaits us. The plans are modest this season and we will sail south through the islands in the Sea of Cortez to La Paz, across to Puerto Vallarta, possibly stopping at ports north of there en route, then return to Guaymas via La Paz and the islands in May. We are both really looking forward to some sunny warm weather - today we had a foot of snow and the power was out for 7 hours+!


Doug and Lyneita said...

Hope we cross paths in the next little while - we're in Mazatlan at the moment. Wonderful wedding photos - is that fusion or what? Congratulations! See you soon, Lyneita and Doug

Naomi said...

Hey guys....congratulations on your wedding, the photos are amazing!! Have a great time in Mexico. We'll be checking your blog to follow along. We return to the boat in March - can't wait to get back to the sun!! Naomi and John - SV Renova

Curt and Kara said...

I've been following the blog, off and on, for a few months. I found it on a search for "Cal 29", as I own a 1974 Cal 2-29. I found the stories of sailing Ladybug to Mexico, Hawaii and back very encouraging! I am curious, however, about how you would evaluate using an outboard for ocean sailing on that boat. Did you find it troublesome in chop or steep swells? How did you store the gasoline? I live in Astoria, Oregon, so have a good bit of chop, wind, and currents to contend with. I intend to cruise up to Vancouver Island, and maybe as far as Mexico some day. And between limited vacation times and that old north wind in the summer, I may have to motor most of the way to Neah Bay someday. But, the old Farymann is dead, darn it. And diesel engines cost as much as I paid for the boat originally. I know you have experience with both outboard and diesel now, so how would you compare them? Thanks for keeping such an interesting record of your sailing, it definitely helps the winters go by.
Curt Yoder,
S/V Shearwater
Warrenton, OR

Chris Bennett said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words. It is great to be back in Mexico, although we are in a dusty boatyard at the moment! Rani will post shortly on this and the work we are doing to get Ladybug back in the water.

Kurt - regarding outboards versus diesels, this seems to be a highly charged subject in cruising circles. I am sure I wrote about the reasons for doing the conversion on the Cal, selling the old Faryman diesel and cutting the transom to install a new high thrust Yamaha, but I will try to summarize what I have learned since then.

The advantages of the outboard in transom cutout were outlined to me by a Victoria yacht broker and yacht charterer who has been indirectly responsible for converting more than a dozen cal 29s in this way. The conversion gives you a boat with a powerful engine (non-angled shaft gives higher horsepower than an angled 10 hp diesel inboard would). The boat reverses better (you can angle the prop), sails better (no prop drag), and smells better below (no diesel tank). The bilge is dry and there is extra storage room below where the diesel and tank were (enough room to store two folding bikes and 3 full size rubbermaid storage bins + an extra water tank). The prop stays in the water in all but the worst chop because it is a long shaft and is mounted low in a cutout. Fuel use is about 2 liters per hour - same as a diesel.

disadvantages - you need to carry fuel in separate cans (although I guess you could build in a gas tank). When first started, until the boat gets moving and 'sits down', you can get some cavitation in choppy conditions. Under way I have never had this happen even when crossing river bars in a heavy chop. Refilling fuel tanks from jerry jugs can be a pain at sea and in some ports in Mexico, you must jerry jug fuel from a nearby gas station because only diesel is available on the dock (although this is uncommon).

I have had both diesel and outboard Cal 29s and I would rather have an outboard in a cutout than a diesel for reasons of simplicity and cost plus the benefits mentioned above. BTW - I stored the gas in the cockpit lockers. Not the safest option, but preferable to having all those cans in the cockpit with you. I believe some owners have partitioned part of the cockpit locker and sealed it off from the boat for this purpose (much like a propane locker would be with an overboard drain).

Hope this helps you in your decision!