Friday, December 31, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Work has begun, again...

Today I dressed for fiberglass.
After practicing guitar and fetching drinking water for the house, I stopped at one of the many convenience stores and bought a bag of ice and a couple cans of Arizona Ice Tea (Green Tea with honey), a bottle of acetone and headed for the FLASH.

Regardless of what plan emerges between me and my friend Mike, the hull/deck joint will become pivotal in the construction. When I tore off the old cabin and decking,  "Pastries and Heavy Lifting", the bare hull joint was exposed. The previous owner had used thick applications of polysulfide to seal the two (deck and hull) and it has to be removed before I can make my own mess of things. That's the picture on the left.

I found that a heat gun helps a little to soften it up, but only special chemicals not available (and costly if they were) in Mexico. The acetone didn't work. It has to be a "mechanical" removal. I tried using an air chisel with a broad, sharp edge and it cleaned off this stuff pretty well if I leaned into the job. I didn't even power up the chisel, just started scraping with it.

After scraping off the cured goo, I finished the cleaning job with a Makita grinder with a coarse wire brush. It kicks up a little fiberglass dust but it's manageable. In 2 hours I got about 40% of the joint cleaned off.

The design has me extending the sheer (the side of the boat) up, and this is the area that supports much of the new structure. It has to be cleaned up to provide a strong bond. It will have to reinforced here and there with marine plywood to support stanchions (posts for lifelines) and sail handling attachments.

The red line on the drawing above shows the hull/deck joint and the stuff above it is what I have to build.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's really all about a philosophy of life, isn't it?

For a couple of years now, I've been sort of stuck in a place where many of us find ourselves... questioning whether I have enough time left on this planet to finish the projects I've started.

I know one thing for certain: I will die with some things unfinished.

This morning I awoke feeling really good and serene, and I felt like somehow my pondering and my affliction of mental paralysis has resolved itself. And my future had opened its doors to me at last.

The answer for me is simple (thank God):
I will plan to live past a hundred. Whether I do or not is unimportant.
And now I don't have to concern myself with my age and my burgeoning project list.

The Green Flash:
I am inspired by the following video to design the Flash as a solar-powered vessel as well as a fast sailboat.

Back-up power will still be supplied by a 15 kilowatt diesel generator bought for this boat a couple of years ago, but the solar thing is just what I needed to get off Square One. I'm not planning the energy storage system at this point in time since that whole thing is a moving target... but space will be allocated. Getting the boat built with the solar cells installed is a huge first step.
I have been in contact with a Chinese manufacturer of carbon fiber and epoxy resin offering prices I can actually afford (sort of). With some planning and "help from my friends" I think we can match the finish of this vessel. I, and the 1st Mate, love the colors in this picture, too.

Now I have to notify my friend, Michael, the naval architect, what I have in mind.

Oh, and another thing... I'm exploring a touch-screen interface for all the boat's operations and systems. That sounds like fun. Maybe a prototype on Bliss, first...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Why I love Mexico

Lookit this desktop weather gadget I have on my home page... I just came back from the ranchitos and the Green Flash workyard because it was getting too warm to work!

I was sitting out on the patio this morning with my guitar and it was too warm to play out there. Here is the 1st Mate stringing the Christmas lights (appropriately shaped as red peppers).

Through the window it appears there's actual flowers outside, so let's go see...

And next to the bougainvillea there's the orange tree and the fountain...
OK, 'nuff said.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Getting Serious, sort of...

Today I lost my first adult tooth.
Not bad, at the age of 65.

The lower right molar was still solidly rooted to its location, but was giving me such pain that I opted for the extraction. The maxillary nerve was inflamed and I had lost my appetite, and most of my sleep, and all of my patience in the several days preceding. Pain pills couldn't get the job done. So I'm back on antibiotics again, and most of the pain is gone along with the tooth. My dentista, Doctora Maria in the town of Empalme, is a fine person as well as the area's best dentist. A deep cleaning and the extraction was about $50 US.

The veneers are ready for my two front teeth. These teeth were cracking down the middle, lengthwise, and would eventually break and cause pain and a general ugliness.  They had already absorbed years of tannic acid stains from my coffee addiction and looked pretty bad to begin with. Dra. Maria charged me about $250 each for these dental caps and all the associated labor. If I want, I can go in tomorrow and have them installed. All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.

Tomorrow night is a benefit concert produced by my two friends, Bobby and Leslie Sahlen. It might be nice to have my smile fixed for that. The 1st Mate and I are getting comp tickets because we'll be performing in their concert in January or February. We've already starting selecting the three melodies we'll do. We like the song, "It's Probably Me" by Sting, even though it's not jazz... but I'm working on an arrangement that will push it in that direction a little. The concerts are designed to benefit local orphanages.

On the Flash front...
I've hired Beto, a 15 year old boy from Guaymas to help me on the Flash. Right now we're cutting brush and weeds that popped up after the rains. Today I also got the 1971 VW van running. It, with the pickup truck, have been stored on the ranchito lot since last fall when I sailed Bliss south to Zihuatanejo.

Also, a naval architect/mechanical engineer is volunteering some design work on the Flash. Mike Capitain read my post about the Flash on and my plans to employ a diesel-electric propulsion system. He's been sending me some 3d renderings and he's offering his expertise for the time being. I've also had offers of help from some gringo carpenters who are interested in the project.

I'm staying in San Carlos this winter to put some time and energy into the Flash and it looks promising.