Friday, August 29, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tropical Storm Julio moves on

Looking north from the GF the remnants of TS Julio blanket the mountains.

The 10-15 inches of rain we got in the last two days pressure washed the hull interior so I don't have to now.

But it means I'll have to get out the machete and the weed eater.
... and I did mention that tarps just don't cut it sometime ago.

Here's the FLASH looking like the Ghost Ship.

back to the blog...
I spent the day picking up after TS Julio drove through the area, flooding roads and filling them with debris. I climbed up through La Jungla and pumped the water out and drilled holes in areas where water was trapped, so that it could drain to the bilge pump. The generator warmed up fine after awhile, and put more juice into my battery bank.

I also started my war against the stinging ants around the area. They were building rather large mounds under the plywood scraps lying on the ground. I wanted to try using BIO-BLAST, a naturally occurring spore that attacks termites, ticks, and ants (I think ants, anyway) and turns them into more food for the spores. The small ants feel like mosquito bites, the larger ants feel like getting hit with a BB gun, or stabbed with a large sewing needle (like a #22). The nests are around and under my new workbench, so they have to go.

Sun Protection
I have some Sunbrella awning material I may sew up for tarp over the workbench, and some heavy shadecloth I found for a couple of bucks at The White Elephant in Green Valley, Errorzona.

What's next?
Well, I sent a check off to Michigan for the 15kw Westerbeke generator that will provide the electric half to the diesel-electric side of the equation, and I'm learning about variable frequency speed controllers for AC motors before I plop down the bucks for the drive motor. I got a bid on to bring it to Nogales, AZ to where my friend (and landlord) has a warehouse. Then the process of getting it down here and installed and soundproofed...

I am searching the internet for diesel fuel tanks that may fit the boat (I'd like to have about 100 gallons or so onboard). And I'm still researching foam core material- I'd like to find somebody in AZ who has some in stock I can play with. In the last trip north, I managed to bring down the last of the electrical connector supply I purchased at an 80% discount from a Radio Shack that was going out of business (that was 4 years ago, before I ever thought about a boat project like this). I've learned to always trust my instincts.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Just because I've been staying away from the Flash until we get a weather break, I've been busy. We drove the pickup north to Amado, Errorzona, where we've been storing our 1986 VW Westphalia camper. The camper has a remanufactured engine with 500 miles on and a blown head.
So, we purchased a towbar at Harbor Freight, some magnetic trailer lights at Walmart, and dragged it down and put it under the carport at the front of the house, where I've been installing the replacement head.

And to make things a little more interesting, and to help in sorting out all the visual clutter in the the engine compartment, I've been cleaning and painting parts. It is. IMHO, the nicest looking non-functional motor in Mexico. The last of the parts (I hope) are here and perhaps I'll get this vehicle running again. I really love driving this car-
BTW- there's more pix to come on this car.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Too darn hot!!

Like the song from the old movie, "Kiss Me Kate," (now there's a trivia hit), it's way too warm right now to spend much time out in the ranchos on the FLASH... although the temps are only around 100, the "feels like" temp is hovering near 117° at times due to the high humidity.

Weather isn't just idle chat to sailors- many times our lives and homes (if living aboard) depends on good weather data. But enough of that.

We have been discussing the financial side of the FLASH, now that we're facing outlays for the propulsion system and the costly structural foam planned for the boat. My feeling is that we should go ahead and move on the generator (since it's a one-of-a-kind deal and open to someone else buying it from under us) and postpone the foam until later... they'll still be making it years from now, and there's still much we can do without it... like what, you say?

Well, there's the planning of space for tanks (drinking water, diesel, waste); for equipment (generator, watermaker, propulsion motor, pumps, electrical controllers, etc.); galley, berths, heads, etc. The tanks need to be researched for the best possible (and affordable) materials in addition to placement and construction (also depending on material) so you can see there's a lot of decisions to be made.

The generator is going to be the single heaviest piece of gear going into the boat (at 875 lbs) so the placement of that is crucial to the balance (the trim) of the vessel. I would prefer it to be forward, but it will probably be right where the diesel engine was located... the center of the boat. I plan to soundproof the genset to the point where it's virtually silent. It is watercooled, but I would also like to add central air conditioning nearby (also watercooled, if possible) to maintain reasonable temperatures in the sound enclosure and for the propulsion motor and cabin as well.

Looks like I'm going to earn my keep on this one.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

What a difference a Blade makes...

I've been using fiberglass reinforced composite blades on my grinder for what? To cut fibreglass composites! Trouble is, the blades wear down and you have to stop and put another one on. So, while waiting for my haircut at Maru's Est├ętica, I drove over to the ferreteria (hardware, not ferrets) to buy more blades. They cost about $2.50 each, but I found a metal and diamond blade for $8 and thought I'd give it a go... and go it does. Cuts mild steel, too, without diminishing in size. So I went through the starboard side of the boat cutting out all the tabs still on the hull, then I cut out the bathtub and I cut out the double berth in the stern, too. Then I cut out a part of the deck for the last upright beam and installed it.

Then I set up part of my alternative electrical system... the photo shows from left to right: my thumb, a portable guitar amp I use to run my iPod through, two deep cycle 6 volt batteries, a marine battery charger and my 2000 watt inverter (converts 12 volts dc to 120 volt ac). Next week, after I get back from Errorzona, I'll install the wind generator. It generates almost half a kilowatt per hour and feeds it directly into the batteries. And I'll start on the port side of the boat, getting stuff cut out. I hope to be starting construction this month, and I'll bring in some help.

Now that the temps are getting higher, I added another shade cloth to the existing setup to knock down more of the heat. You can see it in the above photo. I also sprinkle water inside the boat periodically. It cuts down dust and cools the air. Oh, and the haircut? Show you next time.