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Friday, December 21, 2018

December 21, 2018-Good Teamwork Produces Satisfying Wins

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Fred & Judy

We started off the racing season with some great performances due to really good teamwork.

It's funny how winning and knowing we all worked well together made for a happy crew.

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Hi Jinks on Wings

The boat must have liked it too, we felt fast on all points of sail.

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Going to windward with the new A-3

The competition is good however, and we know that the racing this season will be a challenge. But we also know it will be fun.

Click here for photos of all the crew.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huacaxtle

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December 19, 2018-Old Friends Show up In La Cruz

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

Sixteen years ago Wings anchored in beautiful anchorage in Vanuatu in the South Pacific. It was called Asenvari, on the island of Maewo.

There we met a beautiful family whose boat Noason was anchored in the Bay, Gene Mim-Mack, Robbie Springs, and their daughter Allison.

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Gene Mim-Mack and Robbie Springs and their daughter Allison, 2002

They were completing a wonderful project on Asenvari and I wrote a story about it, here.

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This year Gene, Allison and Robbie, on a different Noason, showed up in La Cruz and we were happy to be reunited with them. They are still a beautiful boating family.

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Gene Mim-Mack and Robbie Springs and their daughter Allison, 2018

A lot of water has passed under their keels since 2002, much of it on land, and if you meet them I'm sure they will enthrall you with their story.


Click here to read the original story.

Click here for more images from Asenvari.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huancaxtle

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December 13, 2018-Is This a Car Repair?

Aire Condicionados Alaska-image
Bomb Went Off?

What happened to our car? Did a bomb go off inside?

No, just an air conditioner repair. When the evaporator had a leak and all the gas came out we took it to the local shop, Aire Condicionados Alaska, where Hugo, Eduardo, and Armando said they could fix it, "Come back Monday, we'll have the part, and pick it up Tuesday".

Then I got these photos on Whats App. OMG!

They said, "It's ready."

When I got there it was all done except for the wash job.

The Bill:
Parts $200
Labor $25
Wash Job, Free

Their father (also Armando) liked our car so much he tried to buy it.

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Eduardo washes up, or was it Hugo?

We love Mexico.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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Friday, December 07, 2018

December 5, 2018-First Practice

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Wings Sailing

Racing rolls around each December. The crew, those who summer up north, drift back into town and the rest of us who summered here put away our boat projects and start puttering with rigging and sails and daydreaming about the sleek hulls of the racing boats gliding to windward in Banderas Bay. Our hearts beat with some excitement at those thoughts.

I am one of the latter. I don't leave the bay each summer, and I am here all year, and as the season begins to turn from summer heat to winter coolness each day I spend more time thinking about the sailing; about when we start.

Our first race will be "The Blast", Dec 12 to Dec 14. The crew would be rusty even if we didn't have some new folks. But we do. A few changes, some rotation, and we have a fresh mix-up on the boat. Not the best for a race.

So we scheduled a practice. Weds is good. Everybody has Wednesdays reserved for sailing so even though Mike didn't plan a race we went out.

I pushed the crew a little, we set sail immediately after leaving the harbor and started throwing in tacks. People were startled at the suddenness of it and shook themselves, as if to get the cobwebs out, then they got into it. Judy watched everyone like a hawk and stopped the foul-ups before they could happen. But the sailing went well. Rod and Carol and Pete, the new guy, worked like they'd been together for a decade. Dick had the main flying. The new forward hands, Don and Glenn, scampered around the front and spent time looking aloft so I said, "Set-up the A2 kite, we'll hoist it in 50 meters". I knew it was already set up, I did it before we left the dock. But to them, this was real.

"One boat length!" there was no mark to round but I imagined one, and the kite went up and we turned downwind but it was good that Lynne threw herself on the bag early because that sail almost came out too soon.

Bang, the spinnaker filled and I called for the jib to be dropped. It came down. Minor problem: Judy was caught outside of the spinnaker sheet. I saw her grimace as she yanked her left leg out of the way and she dragged her leg behind her as she regained the foredeck.

"You OK?" She nodded and inspected her leg. A little blood. A rope burn and a scratch. She'll be fine.

"Standby to jibe!".

It happened remarkably smoothly. I thought, that went nice.

"Shift the jib, we have a leeward mark coming up". They dragged the jib to the other side, preparing to re-hoist it.

"Hoist. OK drop the spinnaker." It came down but got wet. If it had been a real race we'd have lost time.

"Let's get that kite packed" and two hands went below deck to deal with a lot of yards of wet spinnaker cloth.

More tacks, again the jib crew was smooth, the tacks fast. We got back to the weather mark and the spinnaker bag came up the bow hatch and flopped on deck. Don hooked it up.

Another set, another jibe. Perfect.

This time we called the finish line and dropped the kite on deck, none of it went into the water.


Rod hauled the beer chest on deck.

"Good job you guys, great practice."

So next week we race. We're ready.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz

Wings' track

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Saturday, November 24, 2018

November 24, 2018-Thanksgiving

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Winch-Under Construction

Things are winding down on our 2018 project list. Most tasks are done, a few have been moved to phase II (this is a trick I learned from 20 years of professional project management: How do you always get done on time? As the end date draws near anything which is not yet finished you simply remove from the project and put it into phase two. Phase one is finished, and all is well.)

Here we are servicing the winches. It is a annual task, but I have to say, they didn't need it. I found all the winches were still clean and still had grease in all the parts. But I did it anyhow. Once you have the winch apart enough to know it's OK, you might as well clean it up a little and put in new grease. Six major winches, 10.5 hours. Task complete.

We also this week replaced the stereo amplifier for the outside speakers. That might not sound like a critical task but the old amp was really getting under my skin. It cut out every few seconds. Played for a few bars, then cut out, then came back in. When I was BBQ'ing outside I really wanted nice and steady music, not Off, On, Off, On, etc; The new one cost $63 and had twice the power, and never cut out. I'm happy. Oh, the other reason is that the racing crew wants us to play a fight song when we go out. Well, now we can ROCK IT!

I bought a new MFD sailing display. We have four but one of them is getting weak. I saw one at the swap meet, a brand new unit, and the guy wanted $50 Pesos, which is $2.50 dollars. A USED MFD costs $250 USD so this guy obviously didn't know what he had. I took it and I already have it installed. Beautiful. It's like Christmas.

So today is Saturday. Next Wednesday is the first race. With all of our projects done, and a good crew lined up, we'll be ready.

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Thanksgiving Dinner


With no family around most of the cruisers in Mexico have Thanksgiving dinner with others, like us, who are away from home and family too. Here we are in the quiet street of La Cruz, our village, having a fantastic Thanksgiving at La Cruz Inn with several of our best friends. We had Turkey and dressing, and all the trimmings, and even pumpkin pie. Seconds were included so I over-ate. Isn't that part of Thanksgiving too?

We went around the table and each of us told the group what we were thankful for. This is a Judy initiated tradition. Her idea. She tells people they have to stand up and say what they are thankful for. Everyone does.

I said, "Thanksgiving is when families back home get together and share a traditional dinner with their loved ones. But we are here and we can't always join them. Sometimes I feel left out of that family get-together but here we join together with our dear friends and we have hugs all around and we share our own Thanksgiving dinner and though we may be missing all of our family back home, we are thankful for being with friends on this day."

Judy said, "I am thankful that we have the family we have formed with our crew from Wings and our friends from this community and that we can share our meal with them in health and happiness, once again this year."

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

November 5, 2018-Squeeze Play in the Boat Yard

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We hauled out this month for bottom paint.

We've hauled Wings, oh, probably 35 times. It never goes totally smooth but this time we thought we'd gotten away with it. Four days into the job and we'd finished about everything planned and a little bit more.

"We're done," we thought, "it's 1:00 pm and the yard is doing to pick us up, we'll do the last bit of painting, and then they'll re-launch us".

But there is a problem:

They've just put a big catamaran next to us, and guess what? They didn't leave enough room to get the travel lift in and pick us up.

But they're trying.

Four hours later and they are still trying to squeeze the travel lift in between the catamaran and the building. They try, they stop. They go back out. They try again, they stop. I think they should have just picked up the cat and moved it a couple of feet and that would be it. But no, now they are invested in this attempt. They have even been disassembling the catamaran's rub rail to make room. I can't believe they are taking that boat apart instead of just moving it.

And there is another boat waiting to be moved after us. They want to be launched today too.

The clock is ticking.

Finally the travel lift is squeezed into position and they are ready to lift us. The patches still need to be painted. Our painters are standing around waiting. It's after 5:00PM.

I hear that the yard wants to lift us, immediately launch us, and then pick up the other boat. That won't work, we need at least an hour after they lift us for the remaining sanding and painting.

I talk to the operator, "You can't. It's too late, it will rush the painters who still have to finish my hull after you lift us. How about you lift us and leave us in the slings overnight, and launch us in the morning?"

What about the other boat which is also waiting?

We go to talk to the other owner but he's not there and the boat captain can't commit without talking to the owner.

We wait.

We all wait.

People are standing around doing nothing.

Meanwhile my painters are getting nervous. They want to finish the painting and go home but I don't want a rush job.

We still wait. I don't know what is going on. The travel lift is still positioned but the straps are not on and the workers have disappeared.

Peter comes up to me, "They won't put you in tonight, you should go home". But I think I will wait until I see the workers either hook up the straps (meaning they will lift us) or they shut off the machine and go home themselves.

Finally the workers return. The other boat owner agreed. They will launch him in the morning. The straps are hooked up on Wings and they lift us. The painters move towards the hull, but Judy sees another problem: the forward strap has shifted and it is bending the speedometer fin.


I show them. Nobody is happy.

The boat comes back down and they move the strap. Maybe it is OK now and the boat goes back up. The painting starts. Meanwhile Oscar and I try to straighten the fin.

The painting is done, the fin is sort of straight and it's late. We will re-launch in the morning.

Everyone else has gone and just as we get ready to head out I notice that during the confusion my phone has been broken; the screen is cracked. The phone does not work.

It's my new phone.

A funk settles over the day.

I shrug my shoulders, maybe next year our haul out will go smoothly.

Click here for more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October 30, 2018-Twenty Five Years Ago

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Winning PSSC

Wings is sailing home to Shilshole Bay Marina on October 23, 1993, after winning the PSSC regatta. It was tough sailing that year with winds in the 24-30 knot range for the three races on Saturday, then light winds on Sunday and we battled it out with Bill Buchan’s Sachem, in the end beating them by .25 points. It was mostly crew work, including one glorious leeward rounding in the last race where we came into a big traffic jam at the mark in 6th place and did a perfect floater takedown keeping our speed up while the other boats were basically stopped and came out in 3rd then hung on to win the race and the regatta. We have a good crew now but we had a pretty good crew back then too, most of them had sailed with us for several years, some for eight years.

You can see who they were on our log book page for that day here.

That was our last season racing in Seattle and it was a good one; we got trophies in 35 out of the 48 races we did that year, including 14 first places. After this season we stopped racing for two years to completely remodel the boat for long distance cruising.

Those years were glory years of living full time aboard Wings and racing every week, going sailing or cruising whenever we were not racing, and still having time for jobs in the city (we had a 6’ hanging locker full of suits, men’s and women’s). We also loved the community we sailed in with all of our yacht club friends in Seattle, at the Corinthian Yacht Club, the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club and especially all of our crew, and racing 40-50 times a year. Those were the days.

Crew: As best we can remember the crew positions are as follows: Jim Bonnichsen, Foredeck, Jim Watson, Foredeck, Bryan George, Mast, Jennifer Wright, Halyards, Kathy Clotfelter, Halyards, George Harvey, Trimmer and Grinder, Mark Nuss, Trimmer, Robert Schuler, Trimmer, Scott Davidson, Mainsail and tactics, Carol Noel, Runners, Judy Jensen, Runners, Fred Roswold, Helm. They were family to us after eight years and we keep in touch with many of them.

Sails: The mainsail in this picture was one I made on the floor of CYC in 1993. This was its first season and it was a winner. It was Kevlar/Mylar, 52 panels, designed with a home-made Lotus 123 spreadsheet. Each of the panels were shaped before sewing. We used ultra-light graphite battens which had a nasty habit of breaking if we flogged the sail at all. It was last seen in Raffles Marina in Singapore in 2007 serving as an awning for a marine store. The spinnaker was the 1.5 oz runner that came with the boat and it was already old then. A wonderful sail which we used relentlessly for another 11 years, from 1986 to 2007, when it blew up two days in a row while winning the King’s Cup Regatta (with one all night sewing session between races.) We used a variety of headsails in this regatta, primarily the Fracker #1 and the Sobstad #3, both were paneled Kevlar sails, tough but heavy.

The Boat: There is not a lot of difference between Wings in 1993 and Wings today. It would look the same to you if you saw it back then however it was more stripped inside, back then, but Judy and I still lived on it, and we didn’t unload it to go racing back then either. Since 1993 we’ve added a bit of furniture, all of which is made of ultra light weight nomex and carbon fiber honeycomb panels we got from Boeing surplus. Plus we added tankage, ground tackle, wind vane, etc. Not a lot else.

Click here for a few more images (more to come later).

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huancaxtle

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

October 14, 2018-Back to San Sabastian del Oeste

Friends, Food, and Photos

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San Sebastian del Oeste

I said I would never drive to this place again. Road is too bumpy for my car. But John and Elinore said they were going, would we be interested? OK, I'll give it a go. We'll stay overnight so we can have dinner there. The hotel is very inexpensive. Off we went up the hill.

A couple of hours later (with time out to try a great Mexican breakfast joint on the way, Casuelas), we pulled into San Sebastian del Oeste, booked into our rustic hotel (Los Arcos de Sol) and set off the see if anything had changed since our last visit. Not much had, but the sidewalk café was still pleasant and the beer was still cold, and we found our favorite silver jeweler.

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Artisanal Silver

Then we meandered down to the Jardin Nebulosa to try some of their craft beers. They were good, and afterwards we needed a nap to prepare for dinner.

Everywhere we went I was on the lookout for photo opps. This trip was all about friends, food, and photos.

Dinner was fantastic, and the Raicilla cocktails were fun and entertaining. I am sure Elinore's Facebook page has a review of the restaurant, buT damned if I can make FB cough up the link to it. Good Luck if you try to find it. I hate FB.

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The next day, more photographs, and then the drive down, which was better, and once we got to the black top we swept through the curves with eyes on the road and a foot on the brake peddle, on the lookout for pot holes.

We loved the trip with John and Elinore, but now I am sure I'm never going to drive that road again, until next time.

Click here for more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mexico

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October 14, 2018-Bright Bags

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Bag Art

I call it "Bag Art". Oh, it's not all that much art, just something which I think is kind'a fun; making an attractive and colorful sail bag. You see, I got a couple of spinnaker bags from China, one more than I needed. (I guess ordering in Cantonese is not my strong point). Both were black. Boring. What is worse is that I knew it would cause my forw'd hands some confusion: "Go get the A3". If there are five to choose from, maybe you get the right one, maybe not. But if I gave the bags some distinctive colors and distinctive markings, well then it would be easier: "Get the A3, (black bag)" or "Get the black and yellow bag with the A2 in it".

So I bought some yellow sunbrella scraps from Mike and my white insignia cloth and we got out the sewing machine, and off we went, making new bags.

On top of that, we took some time to re-measure the spinnakers, just in case we needed to prove that they were legal size, and we put the sails into the bags with a nice fold, to make them pack smaller.

All in all it was a nice project for a couple of days.

Click here for more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mexico

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

October 2, 2018, Sailing Again

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John Trims the New Kite

We’ve been heads down working, not sailing, for three months. The boat has been laid up.

Now the boat is back together and though the work is not finished it is to a point that we can sail and we have some new sails to try so we will go out tomorrow.

Sitting on my settee, the Chicken Tikka and red wine still warm in my belly, I felt the cool bundle of battens for the carbon mainsail lying on the pilot berth next to me where I placed them earlier which must be mated with the sail and set for the first time along with a new jib fresh out of the bag and a new spinnaker, still unseen.

Oh Heaven, new sails, a refreshed boat, and a good breeze forecast. I trembled with anticipation.

The crew shows up on time and we strike the awning and single up the lines and then we head out.

Out of the marina, out to the Pacific Ocean, out into the breeze.

The mainsail unfolds from the deck and snakes skyward. It fills, we heel. Next the jib; it is stiff and hard to handle; the price we pay for a racing sail.

But when these awkward sails are aloft and their shapes reveal the power designed into them the boat starts climbing to windward. We love it.

The new mainsheet winches make sheeting the main seem effortless. We are happy that change worked. The new runner leads are good. The secondary winches are fine, and other sheeting revisions don’t even seem worthy of note.

It’s all good.

But this is a test run, to look things over, to find stuff which needs to be fixed. We see that the jib needs a strop because the shackles can’t fit into the small ring. That goes onto the list. Then the kite is set. What a foul-up! We hooked it up backwards, my fault, I’d told Kelly, “Red is the tack.” But it was green. So we took it down and reversed it, then there was a twist we had to undo.

But when the new spinnaker filled, finally, we had had some fun. It was flat and we sheeted it in and sailed high onto the wind. Up we went. The crew was amazed but I nodded, this is what I ordered and this is what I designed.

We jibed and some more items went on the list, a prod for the lazy guy, some chafe patches, new rings on the kite. The bags need some labeling; plenty of time for all of this, racing does not start until December.

And then we were back. We folded sails and sent the crew home; too hot to ask them to hang around any longer. Judy and I finished it off; we folded the kite after dinner.

Now we can focus on the smaller projects. We know the main things are done and the boat can still sail.

In December we will be ready.

Click here for more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huancaxtle

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

September 27, 2018-Project Update

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Fresh Paint

Since our last project update we’ve been working hard on Wings. We had a long list of things to get done and by now many of them, all of the major ones, are completed or nearly so: inside the aft cabin repairs and repainting has been completed, the workshop and vanity areas have been repaired and repainted, the deck has been repaired, sanded, and repainted, the bow hatch has been completely refurbished, the toilet has been rebuilt and the toilet plumbing has been refurbished, the leaking water tank has been fixed, two new stanchion bases have been custom welded and the broken one was installed, four winches are refurbished and two additional secondary winches have been purchased (but not installed), and changes to the mainsheet system are completed.

Whew, it has been a bit of a drudge. Working on a boat in La Cruz in the summer is difficult. Humidity and heat wear you down if you are working outside, but we have persisted. We drink a lot of water.

A lot of work remains, lots of smaller projects, mostly ones we could delay if needed, but we’ll keep at it, and with where we are now, we know we’ll be sailing again soon.

Click here for more images.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz

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September 20, 2018-The Wreck of Alarife

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Morning After

Is This The End of the Line for Alarife?

Over the radio came the words any skipper dreads to hear, “Alarife is dragging, Alarife is dragging!”

Pandemonium broke out in La Cruz. It was 9:30 PM and a wild squall had just rolled through the area.

There was a path of destruction in the anchorage and marina. And now one of the boats was dragging towards the shore.

The first we’d heard before that was sound of rain. That is a sound which we rather enjoy because that means that the rain catcher is beginning to do its job. Then we heard the splash of water dumping onto the deck which means the rain is too heavy or the wind is blowing.

Then our whole boat shook as a big wind gust hit us. That was the beginning of the wild squall.

Immediately it was really blowing hard and howling. I turned on the instruments and saw the wind was mid thirties and increasing. I opened the hatch saw that the canvas was holding but the ropes needed to be re-tied. I knew I’d get soaked but I went on deck anyway to re-secure the awning.

By the time I got back below deck the wind was 36.5 knots and chatter had started to fill the radio.

People in the anchorage were checking on each other and the reports were starting to sound scary. Big winds, big waves, down pouring rain, and a night black as hell; it was not a happy time to be in the La Cruz anchorage.

That was when we call came in about Alarife. It was Dee Dee on one of the other boats.

“Alarife has definitely moved towards the breakwater!”

We knew that the owner was not aboard and in the conditions nobody could set out in a dingy to try to save it.

Mike Danielson came on the radio, “Is Alarife still dragging? Or has the anchor reset?”

“Well, the bow is into the wind, so maybe the anchor is holding again, but we can’t see in the dark for sure, but it is definitely close to the rocks”

About that time it was clear that the squall was over. The wind was dropping; 14 knots.

It seemed like Alarife had stopped short of the rocks.

But it wasn’t over. Alarife had already landed on the breakwater and nobody knew it yet. The waves had already pounded a hole in it.

When I got up in the morning the news was all over the place. Alarife had been wrecked and sunk just off the breakwater.

It breaks my heart when a boat is lost this way. This is so needless. Owners should not leave their boats un-attended, especially in this anchorage. It has no protection and squalls and thunder storms can come in from any direction. The holding is not good there. We all knew that and we all knew that Alarife was at risk. Alarife has dragged several times before. We knew it was just a matter of time and we told Jorge that. Still, I am sad about it. We knew the boat well, it was a beautiful boat, and Jorge, the owner; we knew him well too. He’s a good guy. We have raced against Alarife many times.

Now Alarife is gone. I saw Jorge that next morning and he told me that he was going to re-float Alarife and repair it, but I doubted that he has the skills or resources to do that. I thought that we won’t see it sailing again, ever. I hope I was wrong.

Click here for more of this story, and photos.

Fredrick Roswold, SV Wings, La Cruz


This isn’t the first boat which has been lost here. It happens every year. Since we’ve been living in La Cruz there have been four or five boats wrecked here, most in similar circumstances. Even more boats have broken free and been rescued in time by other cruisers. I’ve been involved with those rescues on occasion. Interestingly these boats have all been owned by single men, most with meager resources, who left the boats at anchor because they couldn’t afford or didn’t want to keep it in the marina. In some cases the owners left the boats and returned to the United States, essentially abandoning the boats. Other just preferred to live ashore. I view this as irresponsibility and I’ve lobbied for the Port Captain to take a more pro-active role, but there is little interest getting involved on the part of any of the authorities. When there is no penalty for abandoning your boat or allowing it to become a wreck on the beach, and especially when you have little invested in it, people will continue to do this, and when the boat gets into trouble it becomes someone else’s responsibility to try to save it. That is really wrong.

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Sunday, August 05, 2018

August 5, 2018 Mid Summer's Project

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Boat Work

Our life in Mexico runs in a cycle synchronized with the seasons.

In the winter we’re racing; that’s when the racing season is. In the spring we take a cruise. And in the summer…

In the summer we work on the boat. We’re not doing much sailing during the summer time and we’ve got time to kill.

After racing and cruising there is usually a list of stuff which needs to be done on the boat. In fact there is always a list, but after racing and cruising the list gets pretty long and some things have become urgent.

This summer we have a long list with several urgent things on it.

We made it all into a Mid-Summer’s project.

We actually organized the list in Microsoft Project, a professional project management tool. We have phases, tasks, estimates, dependencies, resources, and a schedule. There are 164 tasks on this project and the total of all the estimates is 713 hours. The project started July 11 and right now it is scheduled to finish on December 24 but that date shifts as we add and delete tasks and get things done earlier or later than planned. At some point we’ll cut off the lower priority items, which fall at the end of the project, and call it done. What’s left over at that point will go back on the boat list.

There is always a boat list.

We’re working hard on this Mid-Summer’s project. We try to get each task done on time, or early, and to do that we really need to make some progress on something every day.

In the heat of summer we don’t work long hours, and daily siestas (naps) are high on the priority list too, but we keep at it and we’re making good progress. As of August 5 we are 26% completed. At that rate the whole project will take around four months. We’ve had bigger projects: we’ve had re-fit projects which required us to move off the boat for months and spend thousands of dollars. This one is much less than that, but it’s enough to keep us busy.

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MS Project

The funny thing is that when we’re finished the boat won’t look any different or work any better. All of this stuff is just maintenance items. We’ll notice the improvement but nobody else will. That’s the thing about boats, particularly old race boats: no matter how hard you work on it you’ll still have an old race boat when you get finished.

It won’t make the boat more valuable either. Not that we’re selling, but the value of a fixed up old race boat, or any used boat for that matter, isn’t generally higher just because it is in good shape. You can put $10,000 and 700 hours of work in a boat and you wouldn’t get a much better price if you try to sell it.

So why do it?

As most of our readers know by now, sailing, and this boat, are big parts of our life. Most people might be tempted to say it is our life. We can’t argue much with that. But since the boat is a big part of our life we like to take some pride in it and we want everything to work. We’re doing this project for ourselves, in other words.

And so, the cycle continues, and the mid-summer’s project goes on.

Click here for more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz

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Monday, July 09, 2018

July 9, 2018-Booby Visit

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Boobies Arrive

Sometime a little before sundown the first night out, when the late afternoon light was at its most intense and the air was so clear that the mountains of Baja were still visible 48 miles to the west the first few boobies came rolling in to check us out.

I was on watch and I saw them coming and just because they are such beautiful fliers I turned to follow their flight. They came in high and circled the boat on the glide craning their necks to look back at me. I saw them jitter a little going through the backwash of the sails and then swoop down to the wave tops off to leeward and brush their wing tips along the crests and troughs of the blue Pacific swells as they circled back for another pass.

Within moments there were two more, and then ten. Before long there were 50 to 100 boobies circling around Wings and making passes at the rig and sails. I had no idea where they came from of how they all found their way to this spot in the ocean, or why they found us so interesting.

In the deepening shadows they were contrasted against the indigo sky and the swirling motion of 100 boobies was overwhelmingly beautiful and I watched, captivated. The boat was sailing quietly and the birds made no sound, it was all just visual. As I lay on the deck looking upward and the swell rolled Wings' mast, the birds seemed to lurch towards the mast and sail, then lurch away. It was only the movement of the boat but the image was astonishingly beautiful; it was magical. I needed a video camera but not having one I reached for the Nikon, but it just did not properly capture the spinning, wheeling, wild ballet over my head.

As suddenly as they came they all flew off, all together and in the same direction, to the South East, and I was left sailing alone again.

But it wasn’t over.

Within minutes, just before darkness set in, another group came and they repeated the whole thing, circling and swooping and checking out the boat and the sails. Some made passes as if to land but swerved away at the last minute.

So I watched the second group come and go, then a third, and then it was dark.

The next day a pair of boobies came during the daylight and proceeded to land on the bow pulpit. They tend to soil the boat so I tried to wave them off. It didn’t work; they just looked at me. Judy got the air horn and I blew that at them, which made them curious, but did not scare them off. Finally I walked to the front of the boat and when I got within a few feet of them they flew away, only to come back minutes later. Only by standing there could I keep them from landing. It was a stand-off, and I held out longer than they did and eventually they gave up and few away.

That night, the last night of that passage, boobies again came to visit and entertain us and each day pairs would try to hitch a ride. Not until we neared the mainland coast did they stop coming to us.

In many ways it was better than TV.

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Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz

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Sunday, July 01, 2018

July 1, 2018-Return to La Cruz

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Sailing Into La Cruz

After 79 days in the Sea of Cortez Wings returns to La Cruz, in Banderas Bay on the Mexican mainland coast.

Most of our sailing days on this cruise were upwind days, tacking against contrary winds which were usually coming from exactly the way we wanted to go. Upwind or not we enjoyed it; Wings is great upwind and the weather was nice on those sailing days, cool and clear. The Sea of Cortez, especially on the Baja side during Springtime, is refreshing and rarely too hot. But coming back to La Cruz we left the clear, cool, dry, weather of the Baja and returned to the heat and humidity of Banderas Bay. In Baja, on the day we left, we could see land 48 miles away from us. In Banderas Bay land is lost in haze only 12 miles distant. But La Cruz is home to us now and we are happy to be returning, heat or no heat, haze or no haze.

And the wind was at last behind us. Coming into Banderas Bay we caught the afternoon thermal and we set the kite, our old and scraggly Eddie Fracker kite from 1990, but it still works. In 16 knots of wind, dead downwind, we marveled at the nice sailing conditions which we love in this place and the lush green jungle covering the land, and, yes, even the heat.

Welcome home Wings

We have not yet finished editing the photos, we'll catch up with that later.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huancaxtle, Mexico

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