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Sunday, May 09, 2021

April 28, 2021-Racing Ends with a Bang and a Fizzle

It was a wild beer can race, lots of wind, but we rounded the weather mark well ahead and were in first place. Now we were having trouble with the gybe. I stood on the aft deck with the tiller in my hand and I watched impatiently as the foredeck crew struggled to get the kite around.

The conditions were gusty and the gusts came from every direction; not weak gusts either, they were in the 20’s.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the leech of the main take an odd shiver.

I yelled, “Gybing!”

The main was caught aback and commenced a sickening swing across the boat, like a scythe, with the full force of the wind behind it.

It came like a car crash.

People ducked, but some of them not enough: Judy, up by the mast, was caught on the hip and knocked aside. She grabbed the shrouds and hung on. The boom went over Richard but the main sheet hit him on the shoulder and threw him onto his face on the side deck, right over Mike who was in the cockpit grinding. Geronimo, the tallest man on the boat, bent at the waist and was missed, thank God.

I didn’t see any of this, I myself ducked; I just heard the huge “BANG!” as everything hit the stops on the far side of the boat. I looked up and would not have been surprised to see some breakage but in that instant everything seemed OK. I breathed a sigh of relief and focused my attention on the front of the boat, the sails and the trim and on the status of the foredeck and the spinnaker. I hadn’t seen the human carnage at my feet, before my very eyes. I shouted, “Sheet in!” and turned the boat. I was going after the competition who had gybed instantly and slipped by while we were having our problems.

But things weren’t fine. Now I saw blood on the deck. There seemed to be blood everywhere. I pondered for a second about who was hurt, then I saw Richard’s Covid mask, it was bloody, blood was dripping from it. Other people were struggling to get to their feet. I looked around, people were in shock.

“Ok folks, we’re going in, get the spinnaker down”

I picked up the radio. “Race Committee, Race Committee, this is Wings, we have an injury, we are retiring.”

 The winds in April are good. We’d tried to extend our racing this year because the winds are so good in April.

At this moment it didn’t seem like it was that much fun; my friends were injured and bleeding.

The next week we came back for another try but the injuries kept some people home. Others had other reasons, maybe after a long season they just didn’t feel like pushing it any more. Whatever, we really didn’t have a crew. Eight people were gone.

I said we’d go with whomever we had and just take it easy, after all, Judy and I can do this by ourselves if we have to, I said.

Wrong again.

Lynne and Rene came, and Mike and Judy, our neighbors came, so we went out, two old men and four old women, and I love them all, but it wasn’t enough. We had no mainsail trimmer, no foredeck, no grinder, and no navigator. I would do those jobs, all of them, Judy could steer.

And it was another windy day.

We got the sails up, but in 21 knots the big racing sails, even with the J3 Jib, made the boat into a handful. Judy said, “I can’t do this.”

What she meant was, this is dangerous and we shouldn’t do it.

Just then Race Committee called on the radio, “Wings, Wings, you guys OK, can you get back for the start?”

I looked around at the crew, my friends and neighbors. They’d do anything for us.

But Judy was right and she’d made the decision.

“Race committee, race committee, this is Wings. We’re too short handed and we can’t handle these conditions. We’re retiring.”

When we got back to the dock we began to fold up the racing sails.

We’ll get them out again next year.

Sorry, no photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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Thursday, April 01, 2021

March 27, 2021-Banderas Bay Regatta

john pounder - jldigitalmedia

Twenty knots of wind, the biggest kite up, time to jibe. 

The bowman yells “Made!”. 
The afterguy is attached, good, but it needs to come in. 
“Grind, Larry!” 
But Hell! Why did the old sheet get tossed off the winch? I don’t know why but there it goes. 
I grabbed the errant sheet just as it began to run out. Holding the sheet in one hand, the tiller in the other, the boat is oscillating, someone is yelling, “Who has the sheet?” 
I could feel the sheet slipping. 
“I do, and I could use some help.” I answered. 
Richard turned to me but I could see he didn’t see what to do. 
“Put some turns on that winch please, right now, and grind it in.” 
There is tension in all of our voices.
 But by now the afterguy is coming in, I regain control of the boat, the kite is pulling like a runaway freight train, we are surging, the power is on. 
In this way we made a big gain on the asymmetrical boats. This is our wind, our point of sail. We are flying. 
Bottom mark, early take down, jib and main in, come up to weather for the last time, the boats from the class ahead are right there, seconds ahead of us. We get a first. 
The next boat is minutes behind; we owe him only seconds. 
Perfect! 
This is how we won the Banderas Bay Regatta. Strong winds, strong boat, strong crew. It was a fantastic regatta, we all felt it. 
On the ride home after the finish we were jubilant, we drank Champaign. Some of the crew broke into song. It was a beautiful song. God why didn’t I capture that song? But those voices are in my head. They will stay there. 
 As will the memories of this race. 
Click here for more photos
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Banderas Bay Regatta

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Sunday, March 14, 2021

March 14, 2021-New Paint

Peter Vargus was not too surprised when I told him to mix up a custom color for Wings' bottom paint, two gallons black and one gallon blue. After all, we've asked for that before. It's been over two years since we did a bottom job but the Comex paint has been holding up pretty well. But it was time. Now, in a little over a week we'll go racing in the Banderas Bay Regatta and maybe the new paint will help. The effect was quite nice we think. Meanwhile we attended a party at Deborah and Kelly's Beach house and it was fun.
Life in Mexico goes on. Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huancaxtle

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Monday, February 08, 2021

Feb. 08, 2021-Wreck of the Monkey

edwina images-john matejczyk

Wave Coming

There was a radio call, one of those which you hate to hear:

“Attention the fleet in La Cruz, a boat in the anchorage is dragging anchor. Can we get some help, someone in a dingy, to go get a line on it and pull it back to the anchorage?”

A chill went through my heart with those words. The anchorage at La Cruz is dangerous. Rocks and reefs lie just to leeward. When a boat drags there isn’t much time to save it. The community always responds quickly and usually someone gets there in time, often more than one person, and the boat is saved. But not always. Every season boats drag and sometimes they are not saved. Over the years we’ve had several wrecks on the reefs near the La Cruz anchorage.

The next voice I heard was someone answering; people from the boat Noeta.

“This is Noeta, we are in the dingy and heading that way.”

I relaxed. I couldn’t help anyhow. I don’t even have a dingy, but at least somebody was on the scene.

But a little while later, maybe 10 minutes, another call came through,

“Attention the fleet in La Cruz, this is Noeta, the yacht Monkey is still dragging and we haven’t got enough help to rescue it. It’s heading for the rocky breakwater

Now I had to act. I couldn’t just sit at home and listen on the radio while Monkey, the boat owned by my friend Ralph, or any boat, actually, got wrecked. I hurried down the dock looking for transport.

Ten minutes later I had commandeered a fast powerboat with a driver and was out on the water. It didn’t look good. The sailboat Monkey was aground on the rocks and a big surf was pounding it. How did this happen so fast?

We arrived on the scene. There were two dingies with cruisers in them and Ralph was there in a small panga. We were all just off-shore outside the surf line but that was nearly 300 yards from the stranded Monkey.

edwina images-john matejczyk
Monkey on the Rocks

Nothing had been accomplished. The boat Monkey had moved too fast. Now it was unreachable. Ralph was beside himself, wanting to get to his boat. Eddie rowed up in his Walker Bay plastic dingy.

He said,” I already got in there once with this boat, over behind those rocks. It’s pretty wild in there.”

Ralph said, “Let me try it” and they traded boats. Ralph began rowing towards the surf.

I got into the panga with Eddie and sent the powerboat back, there was nothing he could do, the distance too great, the waves to big, and it was shallow.

We watched Ralph make his way through the surf and then pull the Walker Bay up on the beach. He hurried along the shore to the Monkey. Soon he appeared on the sailboat’s deck. He had a radio. Eddie and I had Eddie’s radio. We had comms.

“Ralph, this is Fred on Sara Mar mobile. We need to try to set a kedge anchor to hold you from going farther up on the rocks.”

Ralph came back, “Yes, come in and I’ll give you my anchor.” I wondered how that would work, the waves were big. I didn’t think we could get near the Monkey in our panga in those conditions.

“How much line do you have?”

“Lots”

edwina images-john matejczyk
Directing the Rescue

We tried to get in there but we could not get Ralph’s anchor into our boat, and then the rope on it broke.

John from Edwina showed up in his dingy and brought his own big anchor and a lot of line. Maybe we could use that as a kedge. Another boat came with more line. Then two men in a red panga from the Chica Loca arrived and their boss Gill in his center console. For the next hour we all worked to set the kedge and get a line to Ralph on Monkey. It was tricky because we had only a few moments at a time to work between wave sets. Get in as far as you can, work fast keeping an eye out for the next set of waves, then when we saw them coming, speed out before they got there. We knew we had a total of 450’ of line but how far was that out in the surf? Eddie used his phone to get a GPS position and we had the red panga drop the kedge right at 450’ from Monkey. Twice we got in close enough to catch a line from Ralph. Once it broke. The second one was 20’ short. Finally we joined it to another long line from the kedge anchor and Ralph pulled it to Monkey.

It was tricky out there. Gil found a large boulder in the surf when he bounced his center console off if it. And all of us cut it close escaping from the waves a few times and launched off the face, but luckily we all landed right side up.

Now we had an anchor set and a good line to the Monkey. But the tide had been going out and the boat was stranded. There was no way to use the kedge to pull Monkey off the rocks. We had to wait until the tide came in.

While all this was going on several people were listening in on the radio, including Judy, who was not happy about my being out there in these waves, and Greg Raume who was monitoring the situation from his high rise condo and warning us about incoming breakers.

Mike Danielson told us on the radio that he had arranged another powerful panga to try to pull Monkey off at high tide, at 10:00PM.Right now there was nothing we could do but wait.

Ralph was still aboard Monkey and now he reported that he’d been knocked around some and hurt himself.

I said to Eddie, “Can you get in there and help him?”

Eddie didn’t hesitate, “Yeah, sure.” We took Eddie in as close as we could and he swam through the surf to reach shore. I kept Eddie’s radio.

It was getting dark. The panga I was in was low on gas, I didn’t realize how low but I knew it was low, and we had no oars or anchor. In the dark we couldn’t see the breakers coming. I needed to get out of there. So we told Ralph and Eddie that Mike was coming and we left the scene.

Our panga ran out of gas about three minutes after we left, before we’d gotten very far. Fortunately we were out of the surf zone. I tipped the gas tank and got it running again and we made it back to the marina in the pitch black. That was a close call. If we’d run out in the surf there would have been two boats to be rescued.

The tide was coming in. We heard Ralph and Eddie report that the surf was bigger and unrelenting. The Monkey was really being battered. It was hugely dangerous to be on that boat at that time. Mike Danielson had sent a guy, Waz, down to the beach to help but he couldn’t get close to the boat. The surf on the rocks was too dangerous.

Sometime after 10:00PM Mike and the rest of his guys arrived in their bigger panga and they managed to pick up the kedge anchor line which we’d left buoyed and they began to pull Monkey.

Ralph’s voice on the radio was weak and the radio was fading out. He sounded like he was far away.

“I’ve got water inside, it’s up to my waist. I’ve got to abandon ship.”

Then his radio went dead.

Mike reported that were stopping the tow, the boat would just sink if they pulled it any farther. They could do nothing and they stood off for a while then they started back towards the Marina.

Waz on the shore found Ralph in the surf. He was OK, and they collected his ditch bag which was floating nearby with his valuables. It was all he saved from the boat. They said they were taking him to get dry and warmed up. There was nothing that could be done with Monkey, it was now a wreck.

But I was worried about Eddie. Where was Eddie?

On the radio I called out, “Anybody seen Eddie? He was on the boat with Ralph.”

Silence.

“We have to find Eddie.” There was fear in my heart. I was so worried he might be in the surf somewhere, in the darkness, alone, hurt, or worse. I had sent him in there, then I left him.

Mike’s panga team said they would go back and look for him. Waz and the guys on the shore turned back to the beach.

A few moments later we heard another radio call, “We have Eddie, He’s OK, he was rowing around by himself in the dark.”

Thank God.

So we lost a boat, the Monkey was wrecked, but we didn’t lose any sailors.

edwina images-john matejczyk
The Yacht Monkey

Click here to see more photos.

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

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Sunday, February 07, 2021

Feb. 6, 2021-Fixing the Lowrance

Screen Burn

Our Lowrance GPS plotter was losing it’s screen. LCD Burn.

The machine worked but numbers were barely visable. I found a used one on Ebay. It came with a 30 day guarantee. $139.00. Cheap. 

Today it arrived and in a few minutes I had it hooked up and running. It looked fine. But I wanted to keep all of our data, including waypoints from our circumnavigation. So I thought I would try to put the LCD from the newer one into our old unit. 

I took the old one apart, thinking I had done this once before and it was doable. 

It wasn’t. I broke the LCD connectors. Now I had only the newer one. 

But stubbornly I decided to try something else. There was a memory chip which was removable. I thought to try swapping these chips. Pretty easy, I thought, but maybe some risk. I wondered if I was being foolish, but I plowed ahead. Judy watched me dubiously. 

With the chip from the old one in the newer unit I turned it on. Nothing! Well, not nothing: It flashed once then went dead. 

OK, Maybe I have ruined two of these things in a short 15 minutes. Still trying, I disassembled it again and put its rightful chip back in. Turning it on, another flash and then dead! AGAIN! 

One more try, maybe I had the chip backwards, it could go two ways. Another disassembly and I turned the chip around. THIS TIME IT WORKED! Hurray! 

But not willing to let well enough alone, I dissembled it another time and tried the old chip again, this time I turned it around too. AGAIN IT WORKED! 

Well, the waypoints weren’t there but some of the settings were. 

I could do no more and was actually totally happy to have a working GPS with a good screen. I completed the installation and called it good. 

Click here for more photos of the project.

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

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Jan 27, 2021- Racing in Banderas Bay-FANTASTIC!

edwina images-john matejczyk


 

Sailing in Banderas Bay these days is better than ever. The blue skies, flat water, and steady winds have reminded us how much we love this place. Saturday (pictured) was fantastic. Sunday was challenging (to say the least) but we survived. 

Today, Wednesday, the Beer Can race was so good we stayed out for an hour afterwards having cold drinks and being amazed at how stunningly beautiful it is here. The crew is great, the boat is fast, and the competition is as tough as ever. 

That’s the way we like it. 

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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Friday, January 01, 2021

December 29, 2020-Blasting Out of 2020

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Happy Crew 

The crew was unusually jubilant after the 2020 Banderas Bay Blast.

I mean, how often do they hang around for an hour after the race draped over the boom drinking Irish Whisky and laughing about how good it was?

And it was good: not only did we get first place finishes in both of the two days (three, if you count the Mita and Back Challenge which we also won the week before) but on this race we put time on all of the boats, even the fastest of them. Some would call it a horizon job.

But it was not just the winning. This crew is working hard and doing well and they feel it. Sailing on this boat requires team effort. Ten jobs, ten people, and they all must work together. When they do the boat just clicks. That is what makes sailing great. Of course winning is the best fun, but having good team work feels good whether we win or not. When you do both, it is really satisfying.

Then there is the experience level of this team. This year when several of our regular Canadian crew couldn’t come to Mexico we found ourselves short.

We put out the call,

“Wings is looking for crew.”

People started walking down the dock, “I hear you’re looking for crew?”

“Yeah, we are, come on aboard.”

And in that way Judy and I picked up five more experienced sailors to add to our strong core of Richard, Lynne, Rena, Kelly and Terry. Several of the new people (scroll down) have solid racing experience. We’ve done well in past years with people we’ve trained from scratch, but now we’ve got more people who know what they are doing and, more than that, they aren’t afraid to speak up about how we can improve. Sometimes those suggestions come out a little sharply but we love it.

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Trimming In

Let’s talk about the Banderas Bay Blast. There are lots of races here each year but the Banderas Bay Blast is our favorite one and the one in which we typically do the best. We’ve been sailing it every December since 2015. Usually it is a triangle race here in La Cruz on day one, then a sail to Punta Mita on day two, a stay over, and a sail back to Nuevo Vallarta on day three. This year we did all three legs in two days. If you add the Mita and Back Challenge we also did this year, that is 18 individual races. We won 10, got 6 seconds, and 2 thirds. I guess it is a pretty good record and we’re proud of it. This year, with the increased competition and the huge margin of victory, we feel especially good about it.

We’ve also gotten faster over the years. Our times, all carefully logged, have simply gotten better and better. The longest it’s taken us was 1 hour and 48 minutes (other than 2017 when the wind died and it took 5 hours) and now we are down to 1 hour and 33 minutes.

cayuse images-jill peterson
Wings and the Bay

What about next year? Somebody may come out and beat us. That will be OK. If they do it because we screwed up, then we’ll have a lesson and hopefully we can learn from it. If we sail well and still lose, we’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that we did the best we could.

And anyhow, it’s all sailboat racing, and it’s all good.

wingssail images-bernard saggest

Click here for all the photos from several photographers. 

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

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Saturday, December 12, 2020

December 12, 2020-Making the Red Dragon

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

The Dragon

 Sometimes we get these ideas that are really dumb. We don’t exactly know where they come from and if we’re smart we just let them pass.

But when Luis pulled the Red Dragon out of the bag onto the grass I was inspired, I had to have that spinnaker. It was so…stunning.

But it was a dumb idea.

Who in God’s name needs a 2.2 oz blood red symmetrical spinnaker with a giant dragon on it. Especially since we never have the kind of strong winds here in Mexico where you would need such a sail, and if we did have those kind of winds we wouldn’t be flying a spinnaker, and anyhow I already have a heavy duty symmetrical spinnaker, which is also nearly new.

And what’s with the red color and the Chinese dragon? I have no connection with China.

But this sail was so beautiful! And, while second hand, it was apparently unused (no surprise, who would ever use it?).  And the price was right, very right. Oh I wanted that sail.

Then I had an inspiration: What I did need was a heavy duty asymmetrical spinnaker to fly on those windy reaches we have here so often. Why not recut this sail into an asymmetrical? With its weight it would be bullet-proof.

So I bought it.

Now recutting a symmetrical spinnaker into an asymmetrical might be a bit tricky I thought, especially if I want it to work well enough for racing, and what did I know of such things? Nothing.

But no harm in trying, and actually, I was sure it would turnout all right, I never believe that things won't turn out OK when I start a project. I just plow into them, you could call it over confidence. Any anyhow, if it doesn’t work, Luis wants it back to make kites out of it. I’ve got nothing to lose.

First we had to take a look at it.

We got some of the crew one day and went out to put it up and see what shape it had.

The Dragon, in symmetrical form

Everybody likes it

It was big and a bit flat (OK) and it had narrow shoulders (also OK) and a narrow head (also OK, really OK). It was also pretty. I took some photos. Now I was really encouraged.

Back home I did some research into asymmetrical spinnaker dimensions, and played around with Photoshop until I could create an image of what it would look like as an asymmetrical.

Cut out on the white lines

Next Judy and I hauled it and the Sailrite sewing machine up to the VIP room and tore into it. We measured and cut and taped and sewed. Seven hours later we had an asymmetrical. Retaining the dragon logo in the middle made the job a little trickier, but I found a way around that.

Sewing

Now to try it out.

We were scheduled to sail on in the Beer Can Race on Wednesday so when the crew arrived I told them we were going to again use the Dragon, but now it was an asymmetrical. They shrugged, “Whatever you say, Fred.”

But it worked!

Terry sets the Dragon, asymmetrical mode

Oh I saw some flaws and the leech needed some re-shaping, and we had trouble jibing it, but it definitely worked as an asymmetrical. The crew thought it was fine.

Back in the “loft” for a second re-cut. This required less time.

And back on the boat for the next Wednesday’s race we gave the dragon a real workout. We still had trouble jibing, but the sail worked even if my steering didn’t. After the race, in which we were last, we went back upwind for more practice. We got the jibes sorted out. Then we decided to see what that sail could do.

In 15 knots of wind we came up onto a reach. No problem.

Then a tighter reach. Still no problem.

Then a really tight reach. Apparent wind at about 45 degrees. WOW!

Flat Sail, Hard Reaching

That Dragon transformed itself. Downwind it was full but when strapped tight it became flat. It really was gorgeous! And the power was forward, where it was needed. Wing’s rudder had no problems holding that sail in that wind, It was Fun! Everyone was grinning. What power, what speed!

Hard Reaching Fun

So we don’t know if it will really be fast (compared to other boats, I mean) but we’ll find out soon enough, and in the meantime, we had some real fun doing it.

Sometimes dumb ideas work out.

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

PS. Where did this sail come from?

There was a boat here for a few years with an absentee owner. He’d gone to China, apparently (funny, so there was a China connection with this sail) and some say he met a girl there and wasn’t coming back. He stopped paying his berthing fees, we were told, He also stopped paying Luis to maintain the boat.

“Sell the sails and get your money that way.” He wrote to Luis.

Then the marina foreclosed on the boat and sold it, but Luis still had the sails. I helped Luis flog the sails and when it came to the red one, he gave me a good price.

windcharmer images-don deil

Coming In

Click here for more images.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz, Mexico

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Thursday, December 03, 2020

December 3, 2020-Alarife Rising

On a summer night in 2018 pandemonium broke out in La Cruz. It was 9:30 PM and a wild squall had just rolled through the area, including through the fleet anchored offshore. Then we heard over the radio the words any sailor would dread to hear, “Alarife is dragging, Alarife is dragging! It’s on the rocks”. 

Our hearts were broken, if it truly was on the rocks, the iconic Holland 41 Alarife would be lost. No boat around here has survived that. People were braving the storm to try to affect a rescue, but it was hopeless. 

The next morning the worst was evident: Alarife was sunk. The divers reported large holes in the hull. It couldn’t have been worse. But this story has a good ending. 

Today, two years later, thanks to a handful of local sailors who put in a lot of hard work, and not a little money, Alarife is rebuilt and sailing again. 

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

The racing yacht Alarife has had a long storied career. Built in 1981 in Mexico for Manuel Vasquez in collaboration with Ron Holland, the designer, Alarife had a successful racing record among the hottest racing boats of the day in Mexico. As a sister ship to the famous Imp from San Francisco, it should have been. Over the course of at least two subsequent owners the boat continued to race In Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco. Mike Danielson of PV sailing, who was involved in the racing program on Alarife, remembers, “We had at one point a crew of mostly teenagers from Mexico City coming down to crew on the races, so it was really a youth program. And on non-race days we sailed the boat all over the Bay.” 

Eventually though, the boat had changed hands again and was put into charter service doing day sails on the bay with small groups. While still showing up from time to time on the race course, it was mostly kept on the hook in the anchorage at La Cruz. 

After being refloated, a volunteer effort of local cruisers and Mike from PV sailing (“I just couldn’t bear to give up on the old girl”), Alarife came into limbo. The boat needed to be lifted from the water and put into the boat yard. The yard, however, wouldn’t save the boat without money up front. The owner couldn’t come up with that kind of cash. There she floated, suspended by 18 large barrels filled with air with nowhere to go. 

Click here to read more about the wreck. 

The angel that day (Alarife has seen a few angels) was Gil Drory, of Chica Loca Tours, who fronted the money and took ownership of the boat. The travel lift fired up and Alarife was hauled out, water pouring out the massive holes in her hull.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

alarife images-gabriela romero carlin

On the stands in the La Cruz boat yard Alarife looked hopeless. There were holes big enough to crawl though, the rudder was broken, the keel chewed in half, the engine shot. The rig was pulled, the deck stripped, and parts of the boat seemingly disappeared into thin air. You could say, “looted”. 

Some work was being done but the progress was slow. We all wondered why bother, it couldn’t be worth as much as it would take to fix it, if that was even possible. 

A year went by. 

Then one day we saw that Alarife had been moved to another corner of the yard and was covered with tarps. The sounds of grinding was coming out of that pile of tarps. We saw the keel being reshaped, the rudder being remade. When things were quiet we crawled under the tent to see what was going on. Amazingly the hull was being repaired. 

We wondered who was doing it? Who would take on such a project? 

The newest Alarife “angels” were Pepe Martin del Campo and Gabriela Romero Carlin. Pepe and Gabi had a cruising sailboat already but they wanted a racing boat. “Maybe it was a crazy idea”, they admitted to me, but they took it on with a dream to have Alarife sailing and racing again. Why? Pepe said to me, “I was a cowboy, a rancher; I have a ranch at Lagos Moreno up in the center of Mexico, but I wanted to be a man of the sea, so I sold my cows and came down here to Banderas Bay. Gabi is from a sailing family already; her grandfather is Ramon Carlin (who shocked the yachting world by captaining his yacht Sayula II to victory in the first Whitbread Around the World race in 1973. Now, that is a story in itself, but one for another day.) 

alarife images-gabriela romero carlin

These two are hands-on people. Who was up to his elbows in fiberglass dust for months? Pepe. Who do I see cleaning, polishing, and sorting all the bits of hardware that was rescued from the four corners of the boatyard? Gabi. So this is truly their work of passion. 

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

I joined Pepe and Gabi and several of their friends on Alarife’s first sail in November and the boat sailed like a dream, like a dream come true. They drank champagne after that sail. 

Of course there is more work to do, it is a sailboat after all, and there is always work to be done, but since that first sail they made it to the start line for a Wednesday Beer Can Race and Alarife looked good. They have been talking to Gil and are making plans to do Team Building Match Racing charters against Wings. Now won’t that be something? 

But it would be just one more new life for Alarife. 

chica loca images

Click here for Lots More Photos:  

 
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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Saturday, October 31, 2020

October 31, 2020-Lock Down-Wings Style

wingssail images-fredrick roswold Locked Down (bolted down) Water Tank 

Today is Halloween but we are not going trick or treating. Even going to the La Cruz Inn to give out candy to the cute local kids who come by in their costumes didn’t tempt us. Too many people, mostly strangers, too close together. We’ll do some social things from time to time, but trick or treat isn’t one of them this year. But we have been busy. We have been wrapping up a lot of projects on Wings (and some on the car as well). One Wings project which we started in Feb but never finished was the water tank project. We did take out the old tanks and get new ones made and installed. However we never finished securing the new tanks.

Previously the water tanks were fibreglassed into Wings’ hull and removing them meant grinding out the fiberglass tabs holding the tanks. A few years back we ground out the glass and removed the port side tank to get it re-welded. When we put it back in we used bolts instead of fiberglass tabs. The starboard tank was still glassed in until Feb when we ground it out too. When we put the tanks back in we didn’t want to use fiberglass again. To properly retain it after reinstallation we needed some bolts and plates of metal which had to be made. That part of the project we put off.

So for eight months that tank was just sitting there half secured.This week we finally finished the lockdown (bolt down) of the starboard tank.


So that project is off the list.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz

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Friday, October 16, 2020

October 16, 2020-Three Legged Gecko

wingssail images-fredrick roswold Gecko Looks for BBQ Sauce 

There is a gecko in this photo, can you find it? 

When we last shared our gecko storywith you our big geckpo pet was eating a banana on our chart table. Cheeky little devil! But after that night the gecko disappeared, maybe forever! We were so sad. We wondered if it was just carbo loading before a long walkabout. 

However, since then another gecko has showed up. This one is “suction cup challenged”. It has only three feet. Its right rear leg has no foot. How can a gecko climb around with one foot missing?? 

This gecko is smaller and lighter skinned. It has appeared all over our boat. Apparently having only three legs does not prevent it from going where it wants. 

I once watched it creep along the bottom of some teak trim from one side of the boat to the other. The Gecko Highway! 

This is a favorite route for geckos to get from port to starboard. They all go that way when crossing across the salon. But how can one hang upside down and go along with only three feet? Magic Gecko! 

Once it jumped down from the ladder ONTO THE CORK OF OUR WINE BOTTLE! Geez Gecko, You are sort of cheeky. 

But when we got close it ran down and went behind the table leaf. 

Last night’s appearance really shocked me. 

I went outside to BBQ some pork and the three legged gecko showed up my cooking table which is really a solar panel.

This little three legged gecko was clearly sniffing around my bowl of BBQ sauce. I touched my finger in the bowl of BBQ sauce and then dropped some on the solar panel. The gecko then came over and licked the BBQ sauce. It likes it! I got my Redmi phone out and shot some clips. It was a game. When I got close for the shot it ran out of view. When I backed off it came back. 

I was worried when it ran off the side of the solar panel; what if it falls into the water? But three legs or no, it seemed quite capable . 

When I finished my cooking it sort of followed me into the cabin, like a puppy, but stopping just outside the door. 

I don’t know when or where it will show up next, but nothing will surprise me, and I am looking forward to it, because I like this little guy. 

Click here for more photos and a video

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz

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Sunday, October 04, 2020

Oct 4, 2020-October Restart

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Taco Sunday

Covid-19 isn't over in Mexico, not by a long shot. But the people here, like everywhere I suppose, have grown weary of the precautions. So they are sliding. 

What it means is that La Cruz is going through a restart. Restaurants are re-opening. Bars too. 

We now begin to hear live music around town. 

And the streets are filling up with people again. No Masks, no distancing. It's not the same in the major stores. The regulations are being followed there, but in the local shops...not really. 

The silly thing is that the danger of catching Covid here is just as bad as it was in May, worse maybe. 

People are still getting sick, still dying. But the population has just decided to take the risk. 

We've been going out occasionally the whole time, since we got back from our cruise. Shopping once a week, and we've had a couple of nice meals at La Pesca too. 

Today we decided we wanted Tacos. It was Taco Sunday we heard. So we went to Tacos On The Street. Prime Rib tacos Mexican style. 

We got a table on the side walk. It was good. 

So maybe there is a restart of life in Mexico this October. We hope it does not end tragically. 

 Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz
wingssail images-fredrick roswold Taco Sunday

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Saturday, September 12, 2020

September 12, 2020 Varnish-Paint-Programming

wingssail images-judy jensen
Varnishing in the Galley

Since many of our normal summer activities are off the table this year we’ve turned to boat projects to fill the time.

That’s not unusual; summertime is when we usually catch up on “the list” but this year is different, of course. It’s Covid-19. Because of Covid-19 we’re for the most part stay-at-homes (as is almost everyone around the world I guess) so we have an opportunity to do more boat work. We started off the summer with a pretty long list and we’ve been going at it for a couple of months. Now I’m over it, I just don’t want to anymore.

I’m like the little kid, “Mom, there’s nothing to do.”

Of course there is plenty to do, but I’m inherently lazy. Nothing on the list strikes my fancy. The easy things, or the fun things, or the things we just couldn’t avoid, they’re already done. Now we’re down to the ones we don’t want to tackle. It’s easier to take a nap or look at the Internet than to start sanding on the teak trim.

I’ve got a brother-in-law who has more ambition in his little thumb than I have in my whole body. When he gets bored he remodels a house somewhere.

Me? Not so much. I’m not as industrious as him and I know it.

So I’m guilt ridden, and therefore I force myself. Each morning I wake up and start to think, “What productive thing will I do today? What item on the boat project list can I do?” I review the project plan, as I have done 100 times, searching for that unfinished item that looks easy.

It’s only mid-September, we still have at least a month and a half of boat project days left. Oh God, if it is tough to find something today what will it be like in October?

But the good news is that we’ve got a lot already done.

Last week we (Judy) varnished the galley (I helped by opening the can of varnish thinner). I refinished a bulkhead which had water damage and peeling paint which involved removing and then reinstalling the water maker. So I sanded and repaired and painted, and since the water maker was off, I rebuilt that.

Then I caught up on my log book project. We’ve had an ongoing project for years to digitize our paper log book but we were behind in it. The last trip we’d put online was in July 2019 so there was a year of trips to catch up on, plus I wanted to update the index for all of our blog posts as well as the log. This is truly a project just for ourselves. The log book is part of our online blog and anyone can view it but to everyone in the world but us it is a boring piece of trivia. But for us however (or me anyhow) it is a labor of love.

wingssail images
Log Page for Dec 12, 2019

We sailed a brilliant race that day

Google Blogspot made it tougher by changing the user interface and I needed to do some HTML programming and a lot of excel spreadsheet manipulation. That actually made it a fun project because I like programming, and it also had a deadline since Google has announced that the UI was going to be changed again on September 1 and the upcoming change would make my index updates impossible. But I got it accomplished and now we are completely up to date on the Wings Log Book Pages. 1497 separate trips on Wings are recorded and posted online along with several indexes such as location, date, significant events, mechanical breakdowns and maintenance, and even who was on board. If you have sailed on Wings your name is in the index, how many times you’ve been on board, and what each of the trips were, as well as your shipmates. This goes back to 1986. What fun it is to look back on some of those early years and see where we went and who came with us (and to see what broke and how we fixed it).

Now I’m working on fixing our car. Mostly, that means taking it to various shops to get one thing or another done. When you are trying to keep a 19 year old car in good condition this is required,

As for the rest of our boat projects? We have more boat painting to do, and some water tank work to finish, and several broken boat parts to repair or replace, and so the list goes on.

Writing this blog entry was one of the items on my list, and now I can cross that off.

Click here for a couple more photos.

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

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Saturday, August 08, 2020

August 8, 2020-Dr. Anthony Faucet


wingssail images-Judy jensen
Dr. Anthony Faucet

Big crisis in Wings’ galley on Wednesday: our faucet broke, suddenly and finally. Well, we could still use the manual foot pump (cold water only) but no water in the head or shower.

Not something we wanted to endure for long.

On the other hand, going under the galley sink to undo the broken faucet and pipes was not a job I relished tackling. Nor the unlikely chance that we’d find a replacement we liked in the Vallarta area.

But, no choice really. So off we headed in the car to find a new faucet. Every plumbing store or fancy kitchen shop was on the list, Home Depot included.

Ah Ha! A ferreteria (hardware store) at the Light House Plaza strip mall had quite a few, and one which we sort-of liked. I asked the clerk if they had them in stock?

“Yes”, he said, and went into the back room. When he came out it was not with that model which was on display at all, but a totally different one which was very much more acceptable to us. And cheap. It was cute. We named it Dr. Anthony Faucet.

But not being positive, and having many more shops to visit, we said we might be back and went on our route.

Well, we found nothing we liked as well, and most that we thought might work were four times as much money.

Back to the Light House Plaza where we dished out the required pesos and adopted Dr Faucet.

Now, back at the boat, we had to install the bugger. Oops! Too late in the day. We put it off to the next day.

Good thing too, because it took all day to do it, and almost every tool I had. Cutting was involved. Metal cutting. Wood cutting. Lots of working on my back under the sink, stretching my arms up at full length into a tiny space which I could not see into. UGH!

I took hourly breaks to shake the stiffness out of my arms.

Final tightening was the hardest. I could only get about 1/8 of a turn at a time and knuckles were skinned frequently. Judy stood at the sink.

I asked, “Is it tight yet?”

“Nope, still wiggles.”

“Oh God, When will this be over?”

It makes toilet pipe jobs seem easy.

Finally Dr Faucet was standing proudly over the sink, which now looks slightly small but, never mind, he’s staying.

I never want to do this again. The last one lasted for 10 years. I am moving off this boat before 10 years rather than do that again.

Click here for another photo.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz

Oh! During a break we replaced the oil pressure sending unit on the engine. It’s been a busy three days.

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Thursday, July 16, 2020

July 16, 2020-Storm Brings Rain, and Mercury Gets Check up

The humid tropical air settles over Banderas Bay and and in the afternoon thunderclouds rise to the troposphere. Those thunderclouds beget thunder storms. Lightning and wind and rain follow. This is the summer.

When we hear the storm coming we make sure the boat is secure, the awning lashed well enough, and the pipes to fill the water tanks are ready.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Lightning

Lightning cracks and thunder roars, then the rain comes and our big awning collects the clear cool rain water.

Meanwhile, down in the cabin we do our boat work projects.

Today Fred is giving the Mercury a check up. Some items on this wonderful motor, after 20 years, can use a little attention: The pivot needs grease, the kill switch doesn't kill anymore, and the "in-gear lock out" for the starter needs adjustment. So while the weather outside roars Fred is happily fiddling.

wingssail images-judy jensen
Mercury gets Check up

This is our summer: thunder storms and boat projects.

Click here for a couple more photos

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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