Been a while, thought I would do a photo essay to bring some of it up to date…
Been a while, thought I would do a photo essay to bring some of it up to date…
Jess has been discussing, within my ear sight, solar power for the apartment in Denver for a while now. I have been selectively ignoring the whispers that make it through to my ears until recently. Quarantine and all…
So we ordered a bunch of parts from Ali Express et. al. and waited a hand full of weeks and voila, batteries and BMS parts arrived.
Of course, if we are to check these batteries out properly we would need some other “tools”.
Ahhhh many trips to the essential “hardware stores”.
I made a list:
|4 pcs/lot DIY 3.2V 200Ah lithium iron phosphate battery 200Ah for electric car solar system UPS|
|4PCS Lifepo4 3.2v200ah new lifepo4 rechargeable battery 3.2v200ah battery, suitable for 12v200ah solar rv ev marine eu US duty f|
|Deligreen 8S 24V 15A 20A 30A 40A 50A 60A BMS for lithium LiNCM LiFePO4 Battery Pack|
|Daly 18650 BMS 4S 12V 15A 20A 30A 40A 50A 60A Waterproof BMS For Rechargeable Lifepo4 Battery With Same Port for lithium battery|
|dykb 3S 100A 200A 300A 12V Li-ion Lithium Battery Protection Board High Current 3 CELL RV Inverter BMS charging W Balance|
|DYKB 4S 80A 100A 200A 12V LiFePO4 Lithium Battery Protection Board High Current Ebike Balance 3.2V 4 Cell Pack Charger PCB BMS|
|DC Power Supply Variable 3 Digital LED Display Adjustable Regulated Switching Power Supply Digital with Leads Power Cord (30V 10A)|
|100Amp DC Circuit Breaker Car Auto Marine Stereo Audio Fuse 12V 100A|
|Nilight 6 AWG 20-Inch Battery Power Inverter Cables with Terminals,Red + Black Tinned Copper Battery Inverter Cables for Motorcycle, Automotive, Marine Boats, Solar, 2 Year Warranty|
|LotFancy 6 AWG 20 Inches Battery Cables Set with Terminals, 3/8-Inch Lugs (Positive and Negative) for Motorcycle, Automotive, Marine, Solar, ATV, RV, Mower, Oxygen-Free|
|MNJ Motor Digital Voltage Multimeter – DC 6.5-100V 0-100A Volt Watt Power Energy Meter Ammeter Voltmeter – LCD Digital Display with 100A 75mV Shunt|
|Digital Power Monitor Meter Usage Saving Energy Watt Amp Volt KWh Electricity Analyzer Monitoring Device Equipment System Wall Socket Outlet|
|Onkuey 10Pcs 8S JST-XH 9Pin 26AWG Balance Extention Lead Wire for RC Lipo Battery|
|WINGONEER Digital RC Battery Capacity Tester with Backlight LCD for LiPo Life Li-ion NiMH Nicd Battery|
|MR JAW Hammer Lug Crimper Tool Combo Battery terminal Wire and Cable with insulation tape 20m heat shrink tube 20pcs with 5 years warranty|
|AIRIC 6 Gauge Wire Lugs 10pcs UL Heavy Duty Cable Lugs 6 AWG 1/4″ Stud Cable Ends Tinned Copper Tubular Lugs Ring Terminal Connectors DIN 46235|
|135 PCS Assorted Insulated Ring Wire Connectors Electrical Crimp Terminals|
|5V/12V/24V DC AC 1A-10A-30A-50A-70A Switching Power Supply For LED Strip||16.33|
|LDK Soldering Iron Kit Electric 60W 110V Adjustable Temperature Soldering Gun Welding Tools, 5pcs Replacement Tips and Solder Wire Tube (Basic)||8.99|
|DC 120v 100A 300A 500A Voltmeter Ammeter KWh Watt Energy Meter 12v 24v 48v 96V Battery Capacity Power monitoring||24.12|
|20Pcs 22-16 AWG M6 Assorted Insulated Fork Spade Wire Crimp Connector Terminals Assortment Red||3.99|
|OCGIG Digital Caliper Carbon Fiber Vernier Caliper 0-6 Inches 150mm with Large Clear LCD Screen Inch/Millimeter Conversion||8.99|
|2 of Comidox Set of 5 100W Watt Shell Power Aluminum Housed Case Wirewound Resistor 4R Ohm||17.60|
|Fielect Ceramic Wirewound Potentiometer Linear Rotary Resistor Rheostat with Knob 1Pcs 100W 5R||18.00|
|Elenco Helping Hands with 2 .5″ Magnifying Glass | Work Bench Must Have | Case-Iron Base | Chrome Plated for Long Life | Glass Lens||6.78|
|8 in 1 150W usb meter Digital battery capacity tester voltmeter adjustable constant current electronic load charger indicator||28.58|
|#10 wire – 25 ft Red and 25 ft black, #16 wire 25 ft red genuinedealz.com||34.61|
|2 of LICTOP 5/16” Stud Premium Remote Battery Power Junction Post Connector Terminal Kit,Pack of 2 (8mm Red & Black)||20.63|
|AIRIC 30PCS 12-10 Gauge 1/4″ Stud DIN 46235 Cable Lugs Heavy Duty Tinned Copper Tubular Lugs Ring Terminal Connectors||10.50|
|Power Inverter Pure Sine Wave 1200W 12V to 110V~120V USA Transistor+4.5m remote|
When we put batteries in the boat a few years back, we spent around $3200 for nominal 400 amp hour 12 volt capacity. The above list contains a bunch of stuff not needed “on boat” but handy for the home hobby shop and totals around $1300. The eight 200 amp hour cells will make a 400 amp hour 12 volt battery.
Eight 3.2V prismatic LiFePO4 battery cells we can make a (2p4s) 12 volt battery or an (8s) 24 volt battery, (2P4S – two parallel, four series) or (8S – eight serial) .
Really great things about LiFePO4 cells; they are very safe, you can repeatably get an incredible 90 plus percent of the stored energy from the batteries. These batteries should perform for over one thousand complete charge/discharge cycles with less than 20 percent loss of capacity and if you operate between 90 percent and 20 percent state of charge (at less than 0.3C) you may be able to obtain many thousands of cycles. In a 12v configuration they operate between 13.15 volts and 12.7 volts which is perfect for typical 12 volt loads in a marine vessel or recreational vehicle.
I did some things very wrong. Tried to use a cheap, $16, 12volt – 33 amp power supply for a charger and smoked it. Tried to build a resistance load device and decided it gets too hot. I did pick up a nice 1200/2400 watt Giandel Pure Sine Wave 12v/120v power inverter for $140 and am using it for DC loading the batteries for capacity testing.
Did a few things right to okay! The batteries did no come with terminal connection straps, so I had to make some, turns out that at Home Depot the copper pipe hangers flatten to pretty much the correct dimensions for these cells and 5 pieces cost under $3.00:
The power meters we got were inexpensive and work well:
First test is in the record books and we got 200.86 Amp Hours from the 12 volt four cell configuration (2751 watt hours) at nominal 12.8 volts. The 4 battery cells combined weigh 16 Kg and produce an energy density of 160.7 Wh/Kg, wow!
We use 35 Wh/Kg for lead acid batteries!
Some photos of the batteries we waited for 5 weeks to arrive:
Way happy with the 200 Amp Hour test, so happy we will do it again!
This kind of testing is so hard to do on the boat because you are also using the batteries while you are discharging them. It is almost impossible to find a time where you can completely discharge the batteries!
An interesting note, at 10.5 volts (low voltage), the Giandel 1200 watt pure sine inverter was still cranking out 400 watts!
So where to go from here?
Assuming the pandemic will continue, duh? We will charge and discharge the cells a few times and record the results here in some table or what ever!
PS: The price on 8 cells has gone down!
We got back in Denver March 25th after a couple weeks in Marina Mazatlan, where we left s/vHajime for the season(?). A a bus from Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta and a plane ride to Denver and we were greeted by a deserted Denver International Airport and our best friend Tracy who came to pick us up!
Last days in Mazatlan and arrival in Denver:
Home sweet home at the dojo in Denver. Turns out there might have been some roof leakage after our 2008 roof repairs. Oh boy a hobby for March and April:
Did some miscellaneous maintenance and repair work. Thinking power conservation, replaced my old 400 watt computer with an Intel NUK consumes around 18 watts/hr average over 24 hours. Did some work on, son, AJ’s car ( struts, hubs-bearings, brakes and rotors, etc.) . Put in a work bench in back of dojo. Added some square footage to the deck area on the dojo roof.
Jess has been making masks, feeding us incredibly well,
And the biggest event ever (almost) was acquiring a daughter in law, getting to see daughter, son in law and grandson all in town for the event…
The wedding link:
Next up will be the LiFePO4 battery hobby blog post… Stay tuned!
We also had some nice large line FIDS and smaller whipping line if needed (have not needed it yet). Also brought some heat shrink for a diameter for 5/16 line (the kind without adhesive) and the heat gun. We have used some polyester 1/8 inch line to add chafe guard to the shrouds where jib sheets or other lines tend to rub.
Found out that the convention is to put the LH threaded toggle LOWER in a build leaving the RH threaded for the swedge fitting end.
Important to know, just in case we brought to Mexico both RH and LH toggles for the upper end of each of the seven turnbuckles… And a spare of each size turnbuckle complete. Turned out only one of the 5/8 turnbuckles needed replaced after a rough disassembly…
And yes, in order to get the lengths pretty good, we did our best figuring and still had to shorten all the stays/shrouds by 3 to 5 inches in order to get them short enough to adjust with the turnbuckles. So far we have only removed and replaced the original splices at the thimbles one time on each line.
We do like the way the 316 SS spacers worked, however we could not fit them and thimbles side by side in the lower shroud connection plates just under the spreader on the mast. So we ended up with one on a pin only, and one on a spacer only. both without thimbles. Word in the literature is that as long as the pin is AT LEAST THE DIAMETER of the line that is brummel spliced around it, then the failure will be elsewhere in the line/connector system!!!
We have been through some pretty poor seas/weather since launch and are very happy with the synthetics so far!
The red mark in photo above was our best guess of the insertion nearest to the thimble for the brummel splices, we of course added length around the thimble and bury length to this mark. We estimated 3 inches construction contraction in the line lengths and thought we could pull them out with the jib sheet winches.
When we were done constructing the stays/shrouds, with the turnbuckles mostly at full extension, it was EASY to step the mast and make it secure. The next day we re-spliced each end individually and added the 1/8 whipping line to the system.
After sailing some and working more and more of the construction contraction from the splices, we have gotten to the point where four of the 7 lines have no whipping needed and we still have takeup in those four turnbuckles. Woohoo!
We may re-splice the side stay/shroud one day since a couple rotations of the turnbuckles un-load them completely. The backstay, however will probably always want the whipping since the rig wants to move forward when we release tension on this line and it takes over 35 full turns on the turnbuckle to un-load it…
Matachen Bay was great, as always, we got to see friends at Playa Hermosa restaurant. Alisia and Varo keep cuatomers happy! Same place we always stop for great food and friendship!
We only spent a couple days in Matanchen this year, we will probably get back there! Before March. Met new friends at anchor as always happens here, s/v Pandion.
We got to Puerto Vallarta area and anchored at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle around the end of January 2020. After Matachen Bay near San Blas, we did an overnight passage and anchored out front of Marina Riveria Nayarit. A beautiful place, and there are around 50 boats here in the anchorage. Maybe more than we have seen here since first arriving in Jan 2013.
Been doing little projects, made some covers for fuel cans the companion way. We have nice access to the town via the dingy dock. I think that last year it was like 40 peso a day to use the dock and drop trash, etc. This year it’s 80 pesos, still less than $4 USD so who can complain!!!
We settled in and Jim started a dental procedure for a crown after getting the temp filling the day before we left San Carlos a month ago. A crown here is $4700 pesos or around $250 USD. No temporary, the dentist ground down the broken tooth and took impressions and in a week we went back for the crown. Not fancy but seems to work out well.
As always a picture is worth a thousand words!
Local iguana in the Huanacastle tree in the town square…
Great food, educational and fun events…
Boaty boat is doing well, had some weather since installing the dyneema stays and have to say that I would do it again if opportunity came up. We tend to set and forget our standing rigging when we put in the Stainless wire rigging. With the dyneems, since it is new we are checking it a lot more and it gives us a good feeling for rig integrity! Thi sstuff is stronger than steel and our adjustment period is probably coming to an end, two months. Today we lubricated the turn buckles with some chain lube and will be checking on them regularly since when we removed the steel rig, one of the turn buckles seized up and was very very difficult to remove. A big yes vote for dyneema.
Boaty Boat was all dark and scary on Saturday 2/1/2020 when we got up. Not knowing what the H___? We turned off all power usages and sources and then turned the battery master over to the starter batteries and then fired up the DC panel again. Starters were fine at 12.8 Volts, and now the house LiFePO4’s were at 11.8 volts from not supplying any voltage at all…
Decided to make coffee on the outdoor grill, since the propane solenoid uses one amp, and then decide on a plan of action to address the situation…
Not knowing how or why.
The Victron battery monitor was reset to 100 percent and zero amp hours used. And when we got up, there was no power available from the attached house batteries, the 400 amp hour bank of LiFePO4’s?
We had our coffee, then emptied the lazarette to get access to the house batteries. Checked the 4 batteries individually and each was showing 11.9 volts. (I just now realized in writing this that I did not disconnect them from the parallel connection harness to do this check, big oops). So the next couple days work may have been in done under questionable assumptions…
The next couple days, assuming:
Our plan was to bring up the DC necessary uses on the boat using the starter battery bank of two 100 amp hour lead acid batteries testing at full (12.8 volts) and start the motor. If the system monitor panels were showing no excessive explainable loads we would charge via the diesel alternator at around 70 amps.
Since it was a dark and cloudy morning and forecast was for more of the same for 3 or 4 days, we decided to go to dock at the marina and figure out what happened…
On dock, at Marina Riveria Nayarit, we are thinking the boat battery monitor when not having seen battery full in a few weeks got lost on the amp hour in and out calculations. We were not paying due attention to the voltage readout readout and he 5 amp draw on the refrigerator took the system voltage to 11.5 where the BMS on the LiFePO4’s did their job and said “NEVER MORE”.
After running the motor in the anchorage for an hour+ and motoring into the marina we discharged the house bank completely:
After discharge we used the shore charger and charged up, shore charger was set on a very conservative profile and amps dropped from the 30 amp charger capacity initially obtained down to 10 amps over 17 hours :
We then turned everything we have on board, ON, and discharged the house bank:
Almost looks like we are missing a battery? Have to dive the lazarette again and disconnect the parallel harness and check each battery when disconnected from the harness…
Did that today and all 4 100Amp Hour batteries are reading exactly the same voltage as have always done…
So our original theory is holding and we just blew through the bottom of the battery minimum voltage threshold on the BMS!!!
We are a bit concerned at the capacity number down to 290 from 310 Ah a couple of years ago… So we ran a second capacity test before leaving dock and got 290 Amp Hours again. A 6% loss from original testing 3 or 4 years ago. Not great, but bet we would be replacing our lead acid batteries about now if we had gone that way.
Bottom line, we just did not watch the voltage the way we should have and the LiFePO4’s got run down to below 11.5 Volts so the on board battery monitor shut them off!
We left dock all charged up and the sun is out so we are doing well!
Not a lot to tell.
We did plan the departure for the high tide at 9:57AM Monday January 13. Plans plans plans. Plan was to get fuel at the Fonatur docks but the attendant never showed up? We called the El Cid fuel dock and they were more than happy to sell us our 160 liters of diesel for $198 USD. $1.24 a liter or $4.70 a gallon. Includes the marine surcharge what ever that is? On the street the posted price for diesel is like 21 pesos…
El Cid is right at the harbor mouth and we had no problems leaving. The dredge was not operating at 10:45 when we finally left.
We left Mazatlan in a lack of a huff, seas were calm sun was out whales were playing:
Overnight was fairly pleasant, we double reefed the main and used it to sail down wind in an 18 to 20 knot northerly. Motor sailed some of the time to help smooth out the lumps.
As we PASSED Isla Isabela we counted 5 sailing vessels in the east anchorage and three in the south. Long distance photo…
And now we are in Matanchen bay, south of San Blas and plan to pick up some banana bread, see friends Varo and Alicia at their palapa restaurant on shore.
FIN for now
Hi All, and yes you guessed it, especially to you two!
Life goes on and we are doing pretty well at shaking out all the stuff that goes along with a long night at sea, at least I hope we are!
I almost forgot about the anchor we hauled up when we were leaving Bahia Falsa near La Paz, Baja Sur.
While hauling up the anchor there was more resistance than we usually have and then there would be a growling and vibration from out anchor chain… Before calling “KRACKEN!” and “abandon ship”, Jessica said “there is something on top of our anchor chain”. Of course, I said “No!” and went forward to prove her wrong…
We hand lifted the chain a bit and since there was not too much resistance, we continued to let the windlass do most of the work. The growling and vibrating and close LOOK OUT for eyes and tentacles continued for a bit.
Whew, put away the life raft! Just a crusty old anchor and rode…
We lifted it off our anchor after we got it on board and let it fall back into the sea . There was a rode attached and it felt as if the rode was attached to the sea floor.
Jess thinks it may have been an OMEN that it was NOT a good time to attempt a crossing of the Gulf of California…
Here is a photo of what we found,
AND, what we expected to find…
We are hanging out and waiting for a weather window to head a bit farther south. Looks like another week or so right now.
Charging LiFePO4 cells:
Links to aliexpress USA warehouse NEW LiFePO4 cells 100AH set for under $500 USD :
How to assemble inexpensive cells:
Hello All (again), and you two again!
Here is one way to start the New Year. Take a little journey with me from La Paz, Baja California Sur, to Mazatlan, across the Sea of Cortez, aboard the gallant sailing vessel Hajime.
We left La Paz in the morning and had thought to take Cerralvo passage. This started off mild and then shifted to wild, not in a good way. It turns out that Cerralvo is like the golden gate, it turns into a narrow funnel which wind and wave and tide can make into a horrible passage, stacked with high waves and a howling wind in, of course, the wrong direction. So we did an about-face, got back to the top of Isla Cerralvo, and started across the Sea of Cortez.
The water was lumpy, stirred up by contrary winds and not yet finding itself a quiet moment. I was queasy, but our first overnight was not so bad. We said happy new year as we changed watches, and saw the moon through clouds, and the stars hardly at all. I picked up my second night watch at 0400 and had a single luminous dolphin in the middle of the Sea of Cortez for my pains, and thought it was a wonderful gift.
My weather gribs, which we had pulled an hour before our departure, showed a south flow of wind along the mainland coast until close to 0200 the morning of the 2nd, and my considered opinion was that I didn’t want to be in it. Jim and I agreed to turn right and do our southing there in the middle. We hit a flat calm. No problem, expected from the gribs, then the wind and waves freshened from the west and we shifted course towards our goal and we were moving along at sundown, which was when we heard a mayday.
Now, I had no desire to deal with this. Jim had no desire to deal with this. My mind was already in Mazatlan, where I was promising myself all sorts of earthly delights—massage, dinner at Angelina’s Kitchen, all the things that would motivate me to keep my chin up in sketchy weather and uncertain passage. We would be there at sunrise.
But there was a mayday, and we heard it and so we answered. The call was from a boat called Green Dragon 2, which was taking on water. They were 26 or so miles north of us, which is at the outside edge of normal radio transmission. There were lightning storms up there. I could see them. Damn it, I hate the idea of lightning when I’m on the boat. But we turned north with the wind now coming out of the west and the seas getting rowdier, and continued to call for the Mexican Navy, relaying for the boat in distress. Ominously, no one responded. There was complete radio silence.
We used our Garmin InReach to text my brother Alex to call the US coast guard. This is, by the way, one of the most frustrating modes of communication it has ever been my experience to deal with. It’s supposed to be linked by bluetooth to my phone, but that connexion is not really clean, it’s hard to add in new numbers, and sometimes it just didn’t seem to work. Jim wound up having to do most of it, and had to do it using the Garmin, which has no keyboard, only an alphabet panel and a directional pointer, which is hard to use properly when the boat is moving in all directions at once.
The CG told us that they had received the EPIRB alert (That’s a satellite distress call) from the boat and alerted the Mexican Navy. At this point, communications screwed up. They said that the Mexican Navy had dispatched a unit, causing us to heave a sigh of relief. But we kept going because Mazatlan was 80 miles south of us, and that’s a long way off in water time. Even a fast boat only does 20 knots. How long does it take a boat to sink?
The wind turned to the north, so we were fighting 8 foot seas of 5-8 seconds period, and everything inside the boat was shaken, not stirred. Nothing stayed put. However, we’ve been in worse seas, and we know our boat is tough. We were ‘walking’ the boat, standing behind the wheel and moving from foot to foot as the waves threw the boat from side to side, and holding on to whatever handholds we could as we motored on, through lightning storms on either side of us, and looked anxiously for a boat. Any boat, where the hell was the navy?
Very close to midnight on the 1st of the year, we approached our target. We could finally see her, lit up with her running lights and masthead. This in spite of the fact that the water was reported to have reached the battery level at about 10:00 pm. We had been in intermittent radio contact with Green Dragon, who reported water still rising, they could not figure out where the water was coming in from, they were prepared to abandon ship.
The scene became surreal. We approached the boat. We turned on our deck lights, to give us some idea of what was going on. We had been asking ourselves how we intended to do this, and we knew that in these seas we could not come along side. There was too much movement, and if we banged into them we could both need rescue. We circled once, assessing the scene, the seas, the situation. The boat itself was low in the water, down at the nose, like a dejected donkey. They had the life raft deployed behind the boat, and it was a terrifying thing. It is essentially an igloo, inflated rubber in the bottom and a fabric tent roof over it, and it made me want to puke just looking at it moving in the water. It was an orange and black bubble of hope and horror.
They weren’t in the life raft yet. We circled again. We had agreed, by radio, that they would get in the life raft and stay tethered to Green Dragon while moving away from the mother ship and hopefully towards us. This is more easily said than done. The waves and water were moving, foam flecked, the wind was howling at 20 knots, and the lightning was occasional illuminating everything like a flashbulb. Water birds were strafing something just beyond the reach of our brilliant deck lights, looking like restless and relentless ghosts as they flickered into shadow.
Jim was piloting the boat, while I was scampering around on deck trying to get good visuals and ready to catch a throw line. I was clipped onto the jack lines, in my lifevest, and swearing at how restrictive the bloody tether was. Somewhere around the fifth pass, they were in the life raft and heading our way. I cannot imagine what courage it took to actually step into that thing. I’m not sure I could do it.
The first throw of the throw line fell short. We were moving past them, as we had to keep the engine moving to keep some way on in order to have a hope of piloting rather than drifting. We circled back around and tried again. I tried to catch the next toss, and damn near went overboard. Jim’s voice came from the cockpit. “Jessica! Don’t go off the boat!” We are not all very smart about coaching when stressed. I believe I swore a lot while ignoring him and getting the boat hook and trying to get the line. A third throw of the line went across the foredeck, and then we had some control.
Ever tried to winch in someone from the water, with a multi-ton vessel on one side and your bare hands on the other? Cleating them off, pulling, swearing, cajoling the gods, till the man got a hand up, couldn’t get around, got pulled off, pulled back on, heaved himself heavily up the ladder. “Welcome aboard,” I said formally. He moved aside and his wife handed up a bag, and then tried to get on the ladder. Both hands slipped and she fell back into the life raft, and it slipped away.
“We’ll come for you!” yelled Jim, and we did, and he grabbed something, some sort of handle on the life raft tent roof, which ripped away. Loosing her. Loosing the raft. It was a moment of quivering fear. “Line, throw a line,” he told me. There was one he had prepared at hand, the heavy nylon rode of our spare anchor.
I’m not a good aim. I tossed it left handed because of the lay and the situation and because I’m a bad aim on either side. It somehow landed where it needed to go, and she grabbed it. We started pulling it in. “I can’t hang on,” she said breathlessly. “Just hold on a moment,” and she did, and we got her alongside, and she reached, one handed, for the ladder. I had elbowed her husband aside for space, for my agility, and I’d be damned if I’d see her slip again. I caught her wrist. Reached down, other hand, grabbed a handful of jacket and life vest and hauled up. “I’m caught, my ankle is caught!” she said. I decided that whatever in the life raft was holding onto her could just come with her. Changed grip down to her trousers at the base of the spine, thank heavens she had on foulies that wouldn’t rip, and hauled. Jim abandoned his post to grab something, and we rolled her aboard, with some part of the sleeve of her jacket snared on the ladder pin. A fuss for a knife. A screech of metal as Hajime’s bow hit the aft end of the sinking vessel. Jim says he saw their dinghy engine, which had been clipped to the aft rail, flip up through the air as we pried it off with our prow like someone prying off a the cap of a bottle. He backed us off and took control of Hajime, I cut the sleeve to free her, and we spent a moment or two collecting ourselves back into the cockpit.
That was when the engine overheated. We turned it off, and let her drift. It was almost peaceful, the wind pushing us away from catastrophe, nothing of urgency for the moment. Two dripping castaways on our deck.
The rest was not as bad. Granted, the queasiness that had been dogging me for days took over. I went below to get our guests water. I came back on deck and made for the lee rail and made my donation to Neptune. I went below to get towels. I came back up, and did the same thing. Went below to start tea, ran back for the lee rail. There were a lot of repeats on that theme.
We nattered about the engine. The wind was pushing us, with bare poles, where we wanted to go. We were making three knots. . . so we weren’t overly stressed. The engine has been overheating this season, this was the third time, but it was always when we’d been running at low rpms. We decided that we could try starting up again. Running at normal revs, we were moving enough water through the system that everything stayed in normal range. We headed for Mazatlan.
Meanwhile, there were communications. Coast Guard said that they had been informed that Mexican Navy was already on site. We told them, and it would have been tartly, if we could have mustered it through the Garmin In-Reach, that they were nowhere to be found.
We got our guests below, in dry clothes, and tucked into our bunk. We don’t often sleep there during passage, preferring the quarter berth. I took helm, Jim took the Garmin for communications, which were mostly “We have them, the boat is abandoned, headed for Mazatlan,” which was enough to make him want to hug the lee rail for a bit. Small screen, frustrating letter-by-letter hunt and peck, while the boat is doing her downwind wallow with a twist in the tail. Still, it was an easier ride running with the wind than it had been coming up. I stopped puking, but then the adrenaline crash made me shake and shiver like I was going into shock. I found some Dramamine left over from our guests last summer, gave Jim one, took half myself, then went below and honestly slept for an hour and a half. I don’t think I’d actually done that since we left La Paz. I woke up and came up and let Jim come down for the same.
There was another lightning storm between us and Mazatlan, an evil thunderhead blocking the stars. I, alone on deck, eyed it grimly and told myself that we hadn’t been hit yet, and if it was going to hit us there was nothing I could do about it. Carry on, sailor. And yet, yes, the wind was moderating, and the seas were starting to lay down a bit, and just maybe we could carry a jib and get home a little sooner.
The sun came up. Coffee happened. The storm dissipated. Our guests woke and were fed a real breakfast, at least, all the eggs that hadn’t smashed on the deck during our run north to save them. The skies cleared and a pod of dolphins played around us. Jim saw a whale in the distance. The sea started to boil with fish feeding, birds wheeling overhead, all the celebration of life that is the heart of Mazatlan.
We made it into port at 16:30, welcomed by the marina office, who graciously agreed, to my exhausted pleas, to explain to the port captain, who had been looking for us, that we would be happy to talk to him tomorrow.
Jim’s expert pilotage in heavy seas deserves high praise. His unhesitating willingness to change course in spite of personal desire was admirable. His patience in assessing the scene and having ready lines to throw was important in this rescue. Having me as an able deck hand was also critical. Being a judo player and knowing that bodies move when hauled upon was important, having that visceral knowledge that I can hold and move a person, that was important. Knowing what to grab and haul without thinking about it. . .all of this contributed to the relative smoothness of this event.
We did take some damage: The second anchor roller, which we never use, is bent straight up at a ludicrous angle. The lower pulpit rail got bent up as well. The shaking and beating we took on the run north appears to have worked loose a chain plate seal, causing water to come in and drown Jim’s computer, and dampen some cushions and books, All of this is cheap at the price of two lives.
This is tomorrow. Our guests are bound back for the US, the port captain, who sent a pair of men to take their data and ours, is happy with us. The communication glitches with the coast guard were that the Mexican Navy was attending a different boat in distress. Then they couldn’t get out to our station because of adverse weather conditions. I find no fault with that assessment. And now the sun is out in Mazatlan and the world is holding still, and if we can do this for a couple more days I may be willing to go to sea again. In fair weather. At least, until it turns foul.
The plan was:
Jessica studied GRIBs and we decided to take a southward tack to avoid the possible coastal weather, whew!…
At 7:30PM ish we took the MAYDAY VHF call from Green Dragon 2 and headed for their reported LAT/LONG…
All over by 1:00AM ish and heading to Mazatlan to arrive next day at 4:00PM… Note the due south bit at the start of the track below the yellow X, Jim set our route for Isla Isabela instead of Isla Venados, oops!
Note ALSO in these there is a waypoint labeled “SIESTA” . Turns out sv Siesta was in trouble earlier in the night and had called for help, Mexican Navy went out and the story we “heard” is that sv Siesta had rudder problems but were not in danger of sinking so the rescue was put off until the next day. We helped relay the VHF call between Siesta and the Mexican Navy in the morning in order to get the LAT/LONG from Siesta to the Navy. Siesta was towed into Mazatlan after that. We are thinking there was confusion on the part of the Navy since there were TWO MAYDAY calls from the same area at the same time… I don’t think we will ever really know.
REVISION 03/05/2020: Found Latitude 38 published article above from Jess submission, she told them to contact the Greens and get approval prior to publishing…
the rescue of green dragon II
It was 7:30 in the evening on the second day of a two-day cross- ing aboard our Tartan 38 Hajime from La Paz to Mazatlan, when we Hajime from La Paz to Mazatlan, when we Hajime heard the mayday call. The skies were cloudy with distant storms on the horizon. We had set course to avoid the weather system for the next 12 hours, but knew we were likely to catch a little short-period wind swell, as well as some wind. Out of nowhere, a scratchy voice came onto channel 16 and said, “Pan-pan, this is sailing vessel Green Dragon II. We are taking on water . . .” We were missing every other word, but the urgency was undeniable. Now, I had no desire to deal with this. Jim had no desire to deal with this. My mind was already in Mazatlan, where I was promising myself all sorts of earthly delights to motivate me to keep my chin up in sketchy weather and uncertain passage. We would be there at sunrise. Except there was this call. It was a mayday, and we heard it and so we answered. There were lightning storms up there. The seas were getting rowdier, and we knew the wind would swing from west to north. We headed north anyway, relaying the distress call to anyone at all. Ominously, no one responded. There was complete radio silence. We used our Garmin InReach to text my brother to call the US Coast Guard, who told us they’d received an EPIRB alert and had passed it on to the Mexican Navy. The USCG said the Mexican Navy had dispatched a unit, causing us to heave a sigh of relief. But we kept going, because Mazatlan was 80 miles south of us, and that’s a long way off in water time. Even a fast boat only does 20 knots. How long does it take a boat to sink? The wind turned north, so we were ﬁghting eight-foot seas of a ﬁ ve- to eight-second period, and everything inside the boat was shaken, not stirred. We were ‘walking’ the boat — standing behind the wheel and moving from foot to foot as the waves threw the boat from side to side — and holding on to whatever handholds we could as we motored on, through lightning storms on either side of us. We looked anxiously for a boat. Any boat. And where the hell was the navy? Very close to midnight on the 1st of the year, we approached our target. We could ﬁnally see her, lit up with her running lights and masthead, in spite of the fact that the water was reported to have reached the battery level at about 10 p.m. We had been in intermittent radio contact with Green Dragon, who reported water still rising; they could not ﬁ gure out where the water was coming in from, and they were prepared to abandon ship.
The scene became surreal. We approached the boat and turned on our deck lights. We had been asking ourselves how we were going to do this, and we knew that in these seas, we could not come alongside. There was too much movement, and if we banged into them we could both need rescue. We circled once, assessing the scene, the seas, the situation. The boat itself was low in the water, down at the nose, like a dejected donkey. They had the liferaft deployed behind the boat, and it was a terrifying thing, rolling slickly with the waves. They weren’t in the life raft yet. We circled again. We had agreed, by radio, that they would get in the life raft and stay tethered to Green Dragon while moving away from the mother Green Dragon while moving away from the mother Green Dragon ship and hopefully toward us. This is more easily said than done. The waves and water were moving, foam-ﬂecked, the wind was howling at 20 knots, and the lightning was occasionally illuminating everything like a ﬂashbulb. Waterbirds were straﬁ ng something just beyond the reach of our brilliant deck lights, looking like restless and relentless ghosts as they ﬂickered into shadow
Jim was piloting the boat, while I was scampering around on deck, hoping to catch the throw line. The ﬁ rst throw fell short. We circled back around and tried again. I tried to catch the next toss, and damn near went overboard. A third throw went across the foredeck, and then we had some control. Ever tried to winch in someone from the water, with a multi-ton vessel on one side and your bare hands on the other? Cleating them off, pulling, swearing, cajoling the gods, till the man got a hand up, couldn’t get around, got pulled off, pulled back on, heaved himself heavily up the ladder. “Welcome aboard,” I said formally. He moved aside and his wife handed up a bag, and then tried to get on the ladder. Both hands slipped and she fell back into the life raft. Jim grabbed onto some of the fabric of the cowling, but a wave grabbed onto some of the fabric of the cowling, but a wave fell away, and the fabric ripped. He had a strip of fabric in fell away, and the fabric ripped. He had a strip of fabric in his hand, and the raft drifted away. “We’ll come for you!” yelled Jim, and we did, but it was a moment of quivering fear. “Line, throw a line,” he told me. There was one he had prepared at hand, the heavy nylon rode of our spare anchor.
I don’t have a good aim. I tossed it and it somehow landed where it needed to go, and she grabbed it. We started pulling it in. “I can’t hang on,” she said breathlessly. We got her alongside, and I had elbowed her husband aside for space, for my agility, and I’d be damned if I’d see her slip again. I caught her wrist. Reached down, other hand, grabbed a handful of jacket and life vest and hauled up. “I’m caught, my ankle is caught!” she cried. I decided that whatever in the life raft was holding onto her could just come with her. I changed grip down to her trousers at the base of the spine, and hauled. Jim abandoned his post at the helm to grab her shoulder, and we rolled her aboard, with some part of the sleeve of her jacket snared on the ladder pin. A fuss for a knife. A screech of metal as Hajime’s bow hit the aft end Hajime’s bow hit the aft end Hajime’s of the sinking vessel. Jim says he saw their dinghy engine, which had been clipped to the aft rail, ﬂ ip up through the air as we pried it off with our prow like the cap of a bottle. He backed us off and took control of Hajime, I cut the sleeve to free her, and we spent a moment or two collecting ourselves back into the cockpit. That was when the engine overheated. We turned it off, and let the boat drift. It was almost peaceful, the wind push- ing us away from catastrophe, nothing of urgency for the moment. Two dripping castaways on our deck. We nattered about the engine. The wind was pushing us, with bare poles, at three knots. The overheating was a known issue we’d been intermittently chasing. We decided that we could try starting up again. She behaved this time. We set course for Mazatlan. Meanwhile, there were communications. The Coast Guard said they’d been informed that the Mexican Navy was al- ready on site. We told them, and it would have been tartly if we could have mustered it through the Garmin, that they were nowhere to be found. We got our guests below, into dry clothes, and tucked into our bunk. I went below and honestly slept for an hour and a half. I don’t think I’d actually done that since we left La Paz. I woke up and relieved Jim, who came below to do the same. There was another lightning storm between ourselves and Mazatlan — an evil thunderhead blocking the stars. I, alone on deck, eyed it grimly and told myself that we hadn’t been hit yet, and if it was going to hit us there was nothing I could do about it. Carry on, sailor. And yet, yes, the wind was moderating, and the seas were starting to lie down a bit. Maybe, just maybe, we could carry a jib and get home a little sooner. The sun came up. Coffee happened. The storm dissipated. Our guests woke and were fed a real breakfast. The skies cleared and a pod of dolphins played around us. Jim saw a whale in the distance. The sea started to boil with ﬁsh feeding, birds wheeling overhead, all the celebration of life that is the heart of Mazatlan. We made it into port at 16:30, welcomed by the marina ofﬁ ce, who graciously agreed, to my exhausted pleas, to ex- plain to the port captain, who had been looking for us, that we would be happy to talk to him tomorrow. Jim’s expert pilotage in heavy seas deserves high praise. His unhesitating willingness to change course in spite of personal desire was admirable. His patience in assessing the scene and having ready lines to throw was important in this rescue. We were also fortunate not to have fouled with Green Dragon II more than we did. Skill and luck saved us, more than we did. Skill and luck saved us, and saved the Greens. — jessica lockfeld
FIN for now!
PS: boats similar to GD2, Beneteau First 44 deep keel, drafts 8.5 feet.
We launched s/v Hajime from Marina Seca Guaymas last Saturday, Nov 30, spent a few days on the docks at Marina Fonatur Guaymas and then sailed up to San Carlos Bay Thursday December 5th. The bay is way nice. It gets windy this time of year, but it’s a sweet place to drop an anchor for a while.
Jim has a doctors appointment Monday Dec. 9th then we should be looking for a window to head across the Sea of Cortez for the east shore of Baja California, MX.
We heard an interesting factoid on the local net here in San Carlos Bay (VHF ch 74 8:00AM) involving weather forecasting. The factoid is that 24 hours after the Santa Ana’s start up in the Los Angeles area the el Norte will start up here in the Sea of Cortez. The high pressure area over four corners in the USA that helps create the Santa Ana winds in LA also interacts with the lower pressures in the southern Sea of Cortez to kick up the Norther blows, sometimes lasting more than a week. Lots of info on this on the Web too! What was kinda neat was that before all the data gear we all have now they used a transistor radio and kept an ear turned towards the LA radio stations for the info…
Docks are nice in Guaymas at the Fonatur Marina:
We got some work done;
We installed support brackets on dinghy transom for wheels, planned the star board spacer blocks to allow the stock Davis Instruments wheel kit to mount on the aluminum hard bottom RIB.
We mounted emergency anchor…
We replaced block on traveler with newer version, the old on on the port side was getting ready to give up, it’s sister gave up years ago and we put on the Harken then…
We washed the boat, took on water dock fresh water in one tank (55 gal.) for dishes and people washing and potable (30 gal.) in the other tank. Filled the diesel tank ( 38 liters) and then filled the three 20 liter jerry cans stored on deck. We put 7.3 liters of gasoline in the carry tank for the Mercury 5 HP dinghy motor.
We had a lovely sail, we left guaymas at 7:00 AM on Thursday and dodged about 20 fishing pangas on the way out the harbor. It is about 4 hours sail or motor north to San Carlos Bay/Marina from San Carlos on a good day. It was a perfect day and we anchored in the bay about 11:00 AM…
Installed a new hull vent for the water lank vent lines, the old one got sanded off by the painters…
Need to give a “best burger” award to Koyotl restaurant close to Marina Guaymas. Weighing in at 0.44 pounds and dressed in all the best attire for the season, Gabriel’s restaurant is awarded the s/v Hajie “Best Burger 2019 award” for the Koyotl Burger! And by the way two of the best beers we have had in a long time are on the menu at Koyotl, the Fauna -Lycan Lupus, an IPA and The Fauna – Dark Lycan, a black IPA!
On top of the mast we have 48 inches of flexible bits ( VHF antenna ) and 15 inches of Non flexible bits, ( anemometer and rigid bits of lights and VHF antenna bases ).
So re-stepping the mast went easy breezy, HOWEVER, we made all the stays and shrouds too long. (Better too long than too short.) They tightened up okay for stepping and moving around the yard but the turn buckles are all bottomed out on all the shrouds and stays except for the back stay where we put in the 10 inches of whipping line (just in case) HA! Not sure If I’m going to re-splice the bottom thimbles with whipping allowance or try for the turn buckle top toggle pins again. Let you know! (Note: we now have some whipping in all the stay lines and will see if they continue to stretch out the construction shrinkage or if it’s mostly gone???)
PAINT – We are having the bottom and free board re-painted by the yard in Guaymas at Marina Guaymas.
Est (all USD) $1500 + $350 plus materials, $1000 for the IMRON paint + $450 for the paint= $3300 was the expected (quoted) price. And if we adjust the actual invoice by the extra repairs, $4520 actual total invoice – $420 extra materials – $400 est. extra labor = $3700. So the actual cost was not that much more than originally quoted.
Five months rent in the yard, un-stepping and re-stepping the mast, staying on the boat for a week+, launching the boat total cost was $1,005 USD.
FIN for now
Saturday at 7:00 AM we were scheduled to be first in line to be lifted by the yard travel lift and placed into the bay here in Guaymas, Sonora MX. We made it just before 9:00 AM after another boat made the trip. Not sure how schedules and actual(s) happen but we float and that is what is important.
You can see in the propeller photo we tried, again, some silicone on the prop and shaft in order to try to dissuade the barnacles from calling it home!
Marina Fonatur in Guaymas has a 7 peso per foot per day slip rate. Makes it around $13.50 USD per day for out 37 foot s/v Hajime. The docks in San Blas are cheaper at 5.5 peso/foot/day and the no-see-ums are free! There is an almost free dock is near the city too and it’s like $50 peso a day, but no water or power on those docks and no real transportation out there either.
Our list when we hit the docks was :
After the initial stepping of the mast, all the stays and shrouds tightened well but some of the turn buckles bottomed out (closed completely so there was no more adjustment). We had to open the end splices and shorten all seven lines by 3 to 5 inches. Now we have pretty short sections of the 3 mm whipping line in each stay/shroud. My hope is that the lines still have some elongation left in them and that we will be able to pin them to the turn buckles one of these days. Only time will tell…
We left the boat with 13.5 or so volts reading on the house bank of 4 each LifePO4 100 amp hour batteries and when we started up the boat after sitting disconnected for 7 months the batteries were at 13.3 volts. Woohoo!
With the new alternator remote regulator installed, we started the engine. Batteries were mostly full at 13.6 volts. I could turn the regulator adjustment to obtain from 50 to 0 amps from the alternator. I set it at system voltage of 13.6 to 13.7 so that the alternator produced zero to 3 amps above current usage of 5 amps, our meter is cumulative of produced and used amps. We will keep an eye on this, but now it is easier to get at for adjustment, The one we replaced was on the alternator and we had to remove the alternator to get access to the adjustment screw.
Have a doctors appointment this week so we are still on dock until after and then the winds are suppose to kick up for a few more days. Soon as it settles, we hope to head over to the Baja and work our way down the coast.
No PSA… Jajaja
So it’s been twenty days since seeing the urologist, Dr Mesias, and 5 days since the end of the Cipro antibiotic and the Dr had told us to go back to the lab for a second PSA test. We did this AM. I forgot the prescription the doctor wrote and the lab ran the test just for the asking, $210 Pesos, and we picked up the results this afternoon. My PSA is now 2.05 and if luck holds the UTI won’t return. We have an appointment with the urologist for
The Cirpo may have given me side effect of joint pain and inflammation. My right knee and foot were swelling and lots of joints were pretty sore the last few days of the 14 day course of cipro. All seem to be improving with time.