Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving on the hard

The morning came for our haulout, and of course it was blowing a norther. Not too strong, but combined with the current at our slip, it felt too risky to try moving on our own. There is a huge schooner anchored behind us, with its bowsprit looming close by. The marina sent 2 pangas over to tug us into open water.

The haulout operation at the Palmar boatyard went smoothly. We were second in line, and got to see our fellow Oregonians Dave and Donna on Salonah come out first. We had been neighbors at the Embarcadero in Newport, Oregon, back in 2003.

Next it was our turn.

Once the hull had been power-washed and dried out, I started chipping away at the area where the fiberglass wrapping the hull-keel joint had separated from the keel.

Unfortunately I stopped taking pictures because I was nervous about what we would find, and my hands were dirty with bottom paint. Once we had ground and chipped away the loose fiberglass, the exposed joint looked fine. The 5200 sealant was perfectly dry and solid, with no sign of separation or leakage. I filled the bilge with fresh water, and the outside of the keel remained perfectly dry.
The boatyard men thoroughly inspected the entire hull-keel joint and expressed the opinion that I need not worry further about its integrity. They proposed applying a new layer of fiberglass to the small area where the old glass had separated, re-fairing, and painting.
I still wanted them to check the keel bolts for tightness. Unfortunately, with the tools they had, we could only check about half of them, but all of those were as tight as they should be. To take the inspection process any further in this yard would have required tearing out a large part of the boat's interior, so I agreed with their plan to re-glass the cracked area.
While I was greasing the Max-prop and installing a new zinc to the strut, a distinguished visitor wandered by from a neighboring boat. It was Cecil Lange, a highly-regarded designer of bluewater boats such as the Cape George family. He has lived in La Paz for 23 years, and at the age of 87, still surveys boats. I was eager, but a bit apprehensive, to hear his opinion of our boat. I half-jokingly said that I wish I could trade it in for one of his designs, now that we were planning to cross the Pacific.
He reassured me that although the ride would be bumpier in our boat than in a heavier full-keel model, we would be fine. He didn't seem at all concerned about the hull-keel issue, and told me stories of boats that he had surveyed where some of the nuts had never been installed on the keel bolts! We also discussed the Hydrovane, Max-prop, and offset prop shaft on our boat. It was a great pleasure to converse with such a knowledgeable man.
Looks like we'll be back in the water tomorrow. Because of this unexpected yard bill, we have decided to move out to the "cheap seats," giving up our spot at the marina and anchoring out in the bay for the next month.


Jay said...

Hi Mark,

I have a 1989 E 38-200. My rig is on the hard here in SF Bay. I found I have the same exact problem you have! Plus there is a crack in the fairing at the leading edge as well! Three years ago, I had the entire top of the keel wrapped in 4 oz roving and glassed on. The yard in Santa Barbara said I would never have another problem, no need for keel bolts etc blah blah blah... Well, they were wrong, but the good news is my yard found the same thing your yard found! No problema! Must have simply been keel flex. However, they did check all the torque just to make sure. The aft bolt is very hard to get to indeed. But they say they were able to get to it with an extended socket and torque wrench however. They did take out the galley drawers however.

Now a question for girlfriend and I would like to cruise in ours as well. Can you share with us what you did, or a list of things you added that has made your trip more enjoyable? I.E. water maker, reefer, mattresses, type of head, storage etc... If you have a minute, my email is

If you have any questions for me, feel free.

Thanks - Jay

Jay said...

oops, email is

White Shell II said...

Greetings from El Salvador!!! Glad all went well with your bottom!!! We just returned from a road trip to Guatamala.....resting then on the bus to Costa Rica for Christmas and then back to our White Shell and southward.