And just like that it was over…

This adventure started on Sunday October 2nd wrapped up today, Thursday November 17th, six weeks and five days later.

The crew varied with Vicki getting the most time aboard at 32 days and she was a tremendous help. The energizer bunny of the crew, she was in the water twice a day snorkeling or diving and when aboard never stopped finding some way to help out. Wow, I feel so lucky to have her along.

My niece was there just one day less and she brought youth and game play aboard. Never in my life have I seen anyone play as much cribbage, Mexican train, farkle, and gin rummy as Janis. It was clear I was overmatched and my win-lose percentage was an embarrassment. But still fun times that made the adventure that much more memorable – even if they are painful memories… I joke.

Harrison (a friend of Janis) joined us in Cabo and brought a keen since of adventure and together with Janis created some beautiful art. He was stuck often helping to raise the anchor and was a great last minute addition. A pacific puddle jump on Strikhedonia is likely in his future.

Late in the game my wife Jean and her sister Julie came aboard for a fantastic week of swimming with sea lions, hiking, kayaking, and aqua jogging. I’m so happy to have been able to share the experience and have them add their energy and excitement to trip. The last night we all talked about what we learned, most enjoyed, and took away from the trip. It was great to hear everyone’s answers.

The salty crew

Alas it is a boat and while we had a great sail with very little issues, the trip did end with stress, anxiety, and frustration. First the issues that cropped up enroute:
1. Sail drive seal failure, requiring new shafts and seals
2. Rudder vibration due to worn out rudder bearings
3. First the star board raw water pump belt was found to be damaged followed a week later by the port side. Clearly catamarans do double the parts to fix…
4. Cabinet door knobs – we had a stretch of random failures where the metal knob broke off the plastic latch, so now there are four to replace
5. Locker latch broke, not sure how but one morning we found the pieces.
6. Auto Pilot acted up a few times (would disconnect frequently) and ultimately I disconnected it from the rest of the electronics. It worked nearly flawlessly after that, albeit only in heading mode.
7. Dinghy engine has a carb float issue, didn’t burn us but something that needs to be addressed
8. Anchor bridle failed, kind of important but dock lines worked in a pinch
9. Not broken but the Gori prop zincs eroded to nothing on the triangular zinc and 50% on the ring zincs in six weeks. We hardly stayed in marinas (only six days) so I’m scratching my head on this one. Worried we might have a stray electrical problem to resolve.

Other than the top two items, the list is very minor after 1,200 miles of sailing. I think the exhausting prep work I put into the boat paid dividends in a great set of passages.

Strikhedonia at Marina Cortez

First stop was a visit to the cruisers coffee at the Marina Palimar. Great people and suggestions led me first to Atalanta Boatyard. Unfortunately, they did not have the ability to haul cats. El Palimar was next and while they could handle the haul out and two month storage the price was nearly $3,000 – yes US dollars! Last chance was Marina Singlar (Marina Fonatur La Paz). Way north and up a very narrow dredged channel sits Singlar.

A fairly new facility that is at the edge of town turned out to be the ticket. About $1,000 for the haul out and storage, plus they would help me drop the rudders plus they approved my removal of the rudder bearings in the yard.

Somewhat tricky haul out dock for a 21.5 foot catamaran

Other than some odd paperwork requirements (pictures of drivers license for both my wife (who was back in Minnesota now) and me) the staff was great, professional, attentive, and flexible. Thus far I highly recommend them.

Always nerve racking

After the haul out, the dropping of the rudders went as I expected – super quick and easy. Maybe 20 minutes and both rudders were on the ground.

Rudder safely removed

The rudder bearings are another story. I had reached out to Seawind for advice on how to remove them and was told hitting them with a hammer should break loose the bearing from the epoxy. This proved to not be the case. After spending four hours and a number of different strategies I gave up in a heap of frustration and soaked in sweat. Thankfully my fellow Seawind owner Dave (Nimrod) while he was waiting to clear customs in Australia after 10 days off the grid responded to my panicked email with the phone number and name of the yard that did the work for him early this year. A call the Watson Marine Engineering gave me the process to get those buggers out. I owe those guys some beers when I get to the Gold Coast, crazy helpful and friendly. My detailed post to help other Seawind owners who take on this project themselves can be found here.

Bottom line, the trip was awesome and I’m so happy with the crew who joined me and the adventure I was able to experience. I’m looking forward to the next leg, exploring the Sea of Cortez at a much more deep and much slower speed.

As a post script, new the 950 watts of solar and lithium battery bank was awesome! No issue and plenty of power, even for energy hogs with lots of electronic gadgets. Definitely glad I made this upgrade.

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