Mirador went back into the waters of Bahia de La Paz on Saturday afternoon, March 7 and is now anchored in the "virtual marina" otherwise known as Marina Santa Cruz.

I picked up my brother Jim on Friday March 6 at the Cabo San Lucas airport after he flew out here from Cape Coral, Florida.  Jim is going to stay on Mirador through April while we sail south along the Mexican Mainland and then back to La Paz.

On Saturday morning Jim helped me get all 600' of new chain and the three big anchors back into the new chain locker.  Then Alejandro and his crew picked Mirador up with their big travel lift and finished painting the bottom.








Here is Mirador being slowly and carefully moved toward the Abaroa launching area.  Most of the work area and the travel lift area is hard packed dirt and sand.

The yard had about 30 boats shoehorned into it when Mirador left.  The smallest boat was about 30'  with most boats being in the 40 to 50 foot range. There were two sailboats over 65' and three sport fishing boats  over 50' in the yard for major repairs and repaints.










Jim  and I were aboard Mirador when Alejandro picked her up off the jackstands so we didn't see the placement of the slings.  In fact, I didn't even think about it because Alejandro had previously picked Mirador up five times in the last two years so I figured he would do it the same way again.

You can see in this picture that both slings were placed under the keel which is not the way they are supposed to be.

Oh well ... Mirador landed softly in the water, the Yanmar started instantly, and Jim and I motored away towing our new Portebote.

The virtual marina is only about a 1/2 mile north in the channel from the Abaroa yard so it was a short trip to our new anchorage.






Here we are just leaving the travel lift and heading out into the Bahia de la Paz channel.

I want to thank Carolyn from Que Tal for taking all the pictures of our repairs and launching.

The reason I have been negligent about updating this web site is that I had way too much work to do on Mirador while she was in the yard.  Most days I would spend eight to ten hours working on things or trying to find parts so I could continue to work on things.  By the time I ate dinner and had two beers I only felt like falling into bed and sleeping.

Here is a list of the work I have done on Mirador since returning from the States at the end of January:

- remove old Freedom 20 inverter and install a new Freedom 20

- remove Maxwell anchor windlass, take the motor to a shop for a rebuild and then reinstall the windlass.  This project took way too long because the spacer between the deck plate on the windlass and the chain gypsy had welded itself to the windlass shaft.  Many, many, annoying hours were required to get the spacer off the shaft before I could remove the windlass from the deck.

- remove the 1/0 battery cable in the anchor locker that was attached to the windlass.  Make two new 1/0 cables and install them to allow the new reversing solenoid to run the windlass both up and down

- mount the new reversing solenoid in a waterproof box in the rear of the anchor locker

- attach a set of toggle switches in a waterproof box to the reversing solenoid.  This box is attached to 40' of cable so I can operate the anchor windlass from anywhere on the boat.  I can now use the powered DOWN motion of the windlass to drop the anchor while I am behind the wheel keeping Mirador positioned exactly where I want her.  Attachment of the three #24 wires to the windlass required about 24 hours of effort and a weeks time, i.e. eight hours to attach each wire

The problem was that the first switch I used was Cole Hersee two way that could very easily go from ON to OFF to ON the opposite direction if you pressed the switch too hard when trying to just turn it off.  Breaking and then remaking the opposite contact while operating the 1200 watt windlass motor (100+ amps) would frequently weld the newly made contact to the hot side of the solenoid thereby making it impossible to turn off the windlass.  That meant I had to run back to the cockpit and then go below to open the circuit breaker that controls the solenoid.

Jim eventually wired up a new box with two separate toggle switches that are about 6" apart. That makes it almost  impossible to go directly from ON one direction to ON the other direction.  He also discovered that the rubber washers on each of the heavy studs for the battery cables were on the outside of the solenoid case.  They should have been on the inside of the case which allows the contacts to move just enough so they can self align with the plunger that is operated by the solenoid.

- Mount a chain stopper behind each bow roller.  The stoppers will keep the chain under control if I want to raise or lower the anchor while not at the bow

- splice thimbles and eyes into a 15' and 30' 5/8" three strand line for attaching the chain to the new anchoring point on the bow at the waterline.  The eye at the chain end of the line is attached, via two shackles, to an ABI flat plate that drops over the chain. 

- Attach a padeye to the new anchor roller frame.  The lower shackle of the drifter roller furling drum attaches to the padeye

- Create and attach a tang to the mount for the inner forestay that is under the deck.  The original anchor locker had a vertical bulkhead to which the inner forestay was attached.  That bulkhead does not exist in the anchor locker so we had to bring the tension load from the inner forestay back to the hull with some new hardware.  There is now a turnbuckle attached to the new tang under the deck and a removeable cable that runs down to a padeye mounted on the new vertical divider that is glassed to the hull.

- Install a new drain, without installing a new thruhull, for the new anchor locker. 

- Mount an XM radio antenna and receiver

- Mount new cabin reading lights.  The original brass lamps were looking very ratty and used a lot of power for not much light when compared to the new Xenon lamps.

- Attach lifting eyes to the new Portebote

 - Install an entirely new refrigeration system.  Dick from Corazon did the technical compressor and cold plate tubing modifications and connections.  I had to install the Carrel digital thermometer and controller, LEDs, and switches.  That required making a cutout in the bulkhead above the icebox. However, I soon discovered that the track for the slider that covers the dish storage area was in the way of the cutout I was making.  So, I had to remove and reposition the tracks. 

The refrigeration system took about two days to install and two weeks to fine tune.  We used the original ISOTherm coldplate in the icebox but Dick had to modify it for use with the new compressor.  The ISOTherm used a capillary tube system while the new compressor uses an expansion valve.  The solder that ISOTherm used was incompatible with the solder available in the US.  Dick had to solder several new connections to the cold plate and it was a real struggle and quite time consuming to find all the leaks.

The new system is a big improvement over the nice but nine year old ISOTherm water cooled system.  The new BD50 Danfoss compressor and the 7" box fan that cools the condensor draw a total of 4 amps while running compared to 11 for the older Danfoss compressor and waterpump.  The new Carrel digital controller allows for very precise monitoring and control of the temperatures in the icebox.  The compressor comes on when the coldplate warms to 26 degrees and shuts off when the plate reaches 22 degrees.  The icebox temperatures remain in the 33 to 37 degree range while the compressor runs for about 45 minutes every three and a half to four hours.

It is very easy to change the startup and shutdown temperatures for the compressor so I can easily balance energy consumption and the temperature of the beer in the icebox.  More sunshine - colder beer!  And... there is never a lack of sun in the Sea.

I rented a Nissan Crewcab Pickup truck here in La Paz and along with Judy and Dick from Corazon de Acero drove up to San Diego to pick up parts for our two boats and another 10 that heard we were making a quick 2,100 mile round trip to San Diego.

The entire Mexican Highway 1 from La Paz to Ensenada is two lanes with no shoulders and lots of small villages.  Few cars drive the road at night since cattle, horses, burros, and goats use the highway as a convenient path from one grazing area to the next.

We left La Paz at 1 PM on Tuesday, February 24, and arrived in San Diego about 8 PM Wednesday with an overnight stop in Santa Rosalia. 

We shopped dawn to dusk in San Diego on Thursday and Friday and crossed the Tijuana border at 8 AM Saturday, headed back to Laz.  We spent Saturday night at a $25 motel in Guerro Negro and made it to La Paz by 7:30PM Sunday. 

The trip was uneventful except for getting stuck in the middle of the road and the middle of a herd of horses.  The biggest horse walked up to the drivers window, pressed it's nose against the glass, stared at Dick who was driving, and then ambled off with the others following. 

This picture is taken in the plains east of Guerro Negro as they rise to cross the shoulder of the Tres Virgenes volcanoes.  These huge rocks cover the ground for about 20 miles. 




Driving Highway 1 in the Baja is often an adventure due to animals, washouts, floods, and big trucks.  Every few miles you see a monument to someone who has lost their life driving the road.

Apparently Hector lost control of his truck on this curve and drove it off the road into the arroyo.  The little truck cab you see in this picture had a nice picture of Hector positioned behind the tiny little steering wheel that had been mounted in the cab.

Two American cruisers who were headed north from Puerto Escondido were hit head on while driving their van the week after we arrived back in La Paz.  They were not seriously injured but the two drunk, uninsured Americans that hit them managed to escape and flee back to the US.  

Such is life in Mexico and the ONLY highway between the state capitals of Baja California North and South and the US border.


Jim and I are finishing up the last of the minor boat projects this weekend and are planning to leave here on Monday or Tuesday.  We'll go sail around Islas Espiritu Santo, Partita, and San Francisco for a few days to make sure that everything on Mirador is working OK.  We'll then make a non-stop 500 mile downwind run to Bara de Navidad on the Mexican Mainland.

Bara is Jim's favorite spot on the Mexican Riviera.  He spent a month there on his Tartan 42 in the spring of 2000.  We'll spend a couple of weeks in Bara and then start heading NW as the winds allow. 

Here is Jim racing around in the new Portebote.






And finally, here is picture of Jim.

It is now time for me to head up to the internet site and update my WEB site.

 The other big internet project today is to check status of our 2003 US federal tax return that I filed electronically a couple of days ago.  It sure is convenient to be able to handle that little detail via the internet.