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Sunday, October 22, 2017

October 22, 2017-Bagaman

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
2D Bag

Being an old fashioned sailboat we have our sails in bags. We have bags of sails. Many bags of sails. Between racing sails and cruising sails, we have 15 sails, all in sail bags. Most of the sails are in pretty good shape but over the years, as we reused bags when we replaced sails, the bags have gotten scruffy.

Some were torn, most were getting dirty and faded, and some were turning into rags.

So as nice as the sails themselves were, the unsightly sailbags gave a bad impression.

I like our boat to look good, as much as that is possible for an old war horse, so this summer I got into my “Bagaman” mode and began sewing new sailbags as well as rejuvenating some of the old ones.

Besides looks, there is a practical side to this project: when it comes time to grab a sail from down below and get it on deck we often don’t have a lot of time to search through the pile looking for the right sail, especially in a race situation when the afterguard is hollering something like, “get the J-3 on deck, right away.” So putting the sails in brightly colored bags, with large code numbers on the bag, helps speed along that process. It is a lot easier when the sewer-man (the crew member who goes below to fetch the sail) can be sent with the following instruction, “Get the J3 up here, that’s blue and yellow bag with the J3 on it, pronto, if you will”.

Another change to the sailbags which I knew would be helpful to the crew was the addition of good grab handles and handy, big, zipper enclosures.

With those criterion in mind I ordered a variety of bolts of bag cloth, in the colors I wanted, and plenty of webbing and zipper stock, did some designs, and set about building a bunch of bags in cool colors and with great handles and zippers. I also designed strong reinforcing panels to help prevent ripping out bags when some strong forward hand roughly throws a bag from one side of the boat to another.

Actually this was a fun project for me; it’s kind of an art project, if you can stretch the concept of art to include a sailbag. Anyhow, I love this kind of sewing and I knew I’d love the finished products.

It took me a couple of weeks, (and some time for the bags I finished previously when the first material arrived). Judy was gone through most of this and the boat was a mess but now it’s finished and we have all these nice bags.

One thing I learned though: There is a good reason why the sail lofts charge $300 or more for a sail bag; they are a lot of work.

Check out the photos of some of the bags. Never mind what might be inside of them, don’t the bags look really nice?

Click here for more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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October 21, 2017-San Blas, Cartel Territory

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
San Blas

The U.S. State Department recently published warnings about visiting San Blas, a small port town in Nayarit, Mexico a hundred miles north of here. But we wanted to go to San Blas to check out a boat yard which promised cheaper boat work than the yard here in La Cruz.

What about the U.S. State Department warnings?

I’ll admit it gave us a stop at first but thinking about it we decided that the U.S. State Department was being too conservative, too alarmist. After all, there are about 9000 people living there who are not getting shot each day. Besides, the State Department has travel warning about almost all of Mexico, including La Cruz. La Cruz doesn’t seem too dangerous to us.

We decided to go.

So last week we piled into the Chrysler and headed off, with a full tank of gas, to reconnoiter San Blas.

It turned out to be a delightful trip. The roads were good, and clear, and the town is very nice. We found a historic Hacienda to stay in at a very good rate and we checked out, in detail, the boat yard. We decided that San Blas will be a good place to have our next haul out. We even already hired a team of Mexican boat workers to sand and paint Wing’s bottom when we arrive. (That’s so we can hang out and explore the bars, restaurants and hotels of this delightful little town.)

Our friends Jimmy and Robin from Orcas Island are coming down to sail with us to San Blas and to hang out with us while the boat is being worked on.

There are forts and other historic sites to visit in San Blas. San Blas was once the biggest port in Pacific Mexico, so it seems like there will be a lot to see and do. The hotel we have booked was built in 1883, one of the newer buildings in town.

We only stayed one night this time, but we think it will be fun to go back in December. If there is any worry, it is not the drug cartels; it’s the slightly dangerous channel we have to negotiate to get in to San Blas Harbor. Well, we’ll watch the weather and adjust our plans if need be.

Stay tuned for an in-depth San Blas report.

Click here for more San Blas photos.

Fred & Judy, San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico

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