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Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 27, 2015-Racing Blast Off

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Approaching the Finish

Going up the shoreline, playing the beach hard, was clearly paying off. By mid point in the race the other boats had all been overtaken and they were fading. Local knowledge said to stay in and that’s what we were doing, but it was nerve wracking. We sailed almost into the surf line. The swells rose up, the tops blew off like a mullah’s beard, and the combers started their shoreward march just to leeward of us. The rocky points jutted out ahead and were awash in white water. There was no small talk on the boat; we were all alert. Everyone’s eyes were on the depth sounder. When we got in to 20 feet and it seemed like we could touch the shore with our toes we took a tack out but the tacks out were short. We were committed.

No other boats were working the beach like that and we watched as they fell away. One by one they tacked out, looking for breeze or deeper water, or I don’t know what, but when they did they immediately began to lose ground. I don’t know why they couldn’t see what it was doing to them but they kept doing it. They became distant on the horizon. The final big gain for us came in the last few miles before Punta de Mita, when the wind inshore turned North West and lifted us in to towards the finish line. The boats outside didn’t get the lift and by the time we finished the race, in first place, we couldn’t even see them.

The realization that Wings had performed a “horizon job” on the fleet came on us gradually and when it sunk in we savored the feeling. You don’t get then like that very often.

The Banderas Bay Blast was three races. We got a first and two seconds. It added up to first overall.

And that was after two Wednesday Beer Cans where we also finished well up. The season is getting off to a great start but we are not letting it get to our heads; the racing will be tough this year and we’ll have to work hard to keep it up.

We intend to try.

Click here for another photo and the sail bag project photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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December 27, 2015-Bag Time

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Pink Bag Looks Tired

The Dacron number 2 genoa is OK, not great, but OK, but the bag looked terrible. The bright red cloth we got from Ket in Phuket had turned to pink. Sitting on the foredeck or stowed down in the sail locker it gave a bad impression.

So we made a new bag. The sail is still the same old Dacron 2 but the bag looks fantastic.

It was a good one-day project.

In Progress

Click here to see the finished product.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle.

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Friday, December 25, 2015

December 25, 2015-Merry Christmas

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Click here for a few other photos we considered

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

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Monday, December 07, 2015

December 7, 2015-Racing Season is Upon Us.

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Cockpit Floor Repaired

The summer in La Cruz was long and the days were hot. We moved slowly during those hot days. We had work to do on the boat before the start of racing season but that seemed far in the future and we never really felt much pressure about the work; there were many days in which to do it. In all that heat and humidity we were happy if we did at least one thing constructive every day but we let siesta take up most of the afternoons. July rolled by, August, September…October. October? Oh my gosh. It hit us that there wasn’t much time left. Now, all of a sudden, racing season was almost upon us and we were just barely getting the boat ready. Or were we even doing that? There were still some issues, big ones.

So when October came we knuckled down to work. First, the cockpit. The cockpit sole was soft and had been for a while. The balsa core was rotten. Replacing it was a job we’d been putting off, for years actually, but it got worse over the summer. We began to worry about the possibility of someone crashing through the sole to the main salon below. We attacked it with a grinder and a cutting blade. We ripped off the fiberglass skin. We ripped out the old balsa. Then we replaced it with new wood, good Mexican wood, and plenty of epoxy, and put all back together. What a job. Well now it’s done, it’s plenty strong, and it looks good.

We also got the primary winch fixed. The drum on starboard primary winch broke one afternoon. Like a sailor with scurvy it started losing its teeth. The aluminum teeth were falling out like crazy. Remedying this took some decision making. We could buy new drums from Allen Hutton in Australia, at a price which was pretty high for us, or we could buy some used winches, sight un-seen, on EBay. We decided instead to try to get a local machine shop to fix our broken one with new stainless steel gear teeth. I’d almost rather have gone to the dentist. It took nearly a month to complete this work and there were several return trips to the machine shop to get it right. I won’t say it’s perfect yet, even now it clangs like a cow bell when free-wheeled but we think it will work.

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Jim & Fred enjoy a nice day

Then there are the sails. The heavy #1 genoa was cupping in the leech and needed a bit of a recut. The mainsail also needed some minor repair work on its leech, but to increase the longevity not to change the shape. We took them both into the loft earlier in the summer and got them back in October. Jim Slosson, my old college buddy, went sailing with us to take a look. The jib was good and it we knew it will help us this year but the main still needed more work. Back to the shop it went. This was getting old. When it came back a second time and still wasn’t right I did some sewing on it myself. But it’s ready now.

All this last minute stuff was somewhat nerve wracking; the first race was scheduled for November 25 and we weren’t ready. We would have gone out, ready or not, even if we had to use the Dacron main, but on top of everything else crew was an issue. So we were relieved when the race was cancelled.

Actually, as of that first Wednesday race, we didn’t have a crew. Last year’s bunch has largely broken up and moved on. We needed a new group. Finding them was one task we couldn’t do much on during the summer; there isn’t anyone around here to recruit from then, although I tried. We did line up a team for the second race, which was Dec 2, and we sailed. The new crew turned out to be terrific. In fact they were great. Now if only we can keep them. Most of this bunch are cruisers themselves and cruisers tend to move on so we don’t know. Right now things are still fluid. By January we hope to have a solid, well trained, regular, crew.

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Fred Scares Mike Danielson

That race on Dec 2nd was our first of the season, and it turned out pretty good. The wind was light, almost nonexistent, but we sailed well in it and kept moving. We led most of the way. The finish was close and Blue, the J-160, which finally overtook us on the last leg, beat us over the line so we finished second. But we believe they didn’t finish properly so in that case we won, but, of course, that was argued for hours at the after race party, to no conclusion. We’re happy anyway.

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In the boat yard

Now we’re in the boat yard, hauled out for bottom paint and a new propeller, so we’ll miss the next race, but after that the season will be in full swing and we’ll be back at it...

for another year.

Click here for more photos

Click here for more of Katrina's pictures from the race.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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Another Season Starts

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