2011 OCT – Baja Haha (missed it)


2011 OCT – BAJA HAHA preparations … (missed it!)

Missed the HaHa but had prepped the boat anyway in anticipation:  WHAT I BOUGHT in 2011: Total – $6,144

My mother is 84 this year and I worry that we may not have very many years left together. And even though I call her every weekend, I seldom see her because she lives in South Africa and I am in San Francisco.

So I thought – I have 2 things that are top of my bucket list: (1) spend 2 or 3 months on my boat cruising around wherever I fancy, and (2) spend some extended quality time with my mother.

Mom is pretty fit for 84 so I thought why not kill two birds with one stone and do the 2011 Baja Haha with Mom as crew!  So at the beginning of the year that was my plan.

I asked my mother if she would come with me, since she vehemently declared in 2008 that she would never ever set foot on a small craft ever ever again, after we hit a few big waves coming up from Ensenada. Fortunately time seems to have dimmed the memory because she readily agreed.

Mom was worried that she didn’t know how to sail, which effectively put me in singlehanded status. I told Mom that she didn’t need to learn to sail because when I went to sleep I would simply shut down the boat leaving just the tiniest bit of sail up to keep us underway. And she could keep watch while I slept. She must, however, learn to turn on the engines, drive the boat, manage the GPS, and use the VHF. And wake me for anything else.

Mom must be keen, or bored, because she immediately went on a strict food regimen and lost 20 lbs. She also started doing weights – well it is just 2 full coke cans that she carries, one in each hand, as she walks – but hey, she is 84 – what did you expect? Schwarzenegger dumbbells?

Since Mom went into high gear so rapidly I decided (in February) that I better start prepping the boat.  The Baja HaHa fleet leaves San Diego in October, so I have enough time to do the upgrades that I think are necessary.  I made a list of Things-I-Absolutely-Must-Do and started in with enthusiasm.

I started thinking about the requirements of my boat for an extended sea voyage. I have a lot of equipment on the boat but most of it is 10 years old and starting to wear out. The dinghy is sad and even though I spent hundreds of dollars repairing it last summer, I would not want to be out on any waves, however benign, in that thing. So I need a new dinghy.

My fridge works on shore power, but not on 12V power and hopefully that is just a blown fuse. One of my solar panels gave up the ghost, and needs to be replaced. My hot water maker is also on the blink and needs to be repaired or replaced because my mother refuses to take cold showers, and one cannot entirely rely on my sun shower. And I need to unpickle my water maker and check that it still works.

Also the EPIRB is past its prime and I’m told that the Coast Guard no longer monitor whatever wavelength it is transmitting to, so that must be replaced with a new EPIRB. I would also like a personal EPIRB for my mother – if I go overboard she will never figure out how to find me so she can activate the boat’s EPIRB for her safety and I’ll float around and wait for help. But if she goes overboard I would like to be able to track and retrieve her as fast as possible.

So lots of (expensive) work to do this summer to prep the boat for the Haha, which come to think of the expense is no laughing matter. Haha – not.

UPDATE OCTOBER : Besides the big ticket items listed in PROJECTS, I also spent another $6,000 on sundry upgrades to the boat prepping it for the upcoming ocean voyage. But my brother called me in August and said that my mother was very sickly and while her spirit was willing, her flesh was weak. He said that at his BBQ on the previous weekend, it had taken 2 men to help hoist her out of the reclining chair. He also suggested that I skip the HaHa and fly to visit Mom before its too late.

During my weekly calls to my mother she had never even hinted that she was anything but game to go?! So on my next call I said that I was thinking of skipping the HaHa and visiting her instead, and what did she think? My mother was thrilled. She admitted that I was so excited at the thought of an ocean trip with her, that she didn’t want to disappoint, but she really wasn’t up to it.

So I skipped the HaHA and went to South Africa for 2 months instead.

Below is the general list of additional upgrades and costs during 2011.

WHAT I BOUGHT in 2011 for the Baja Haha: Total – $6,144

2011 March – DINGHY ($2800 + $400 shipping): I bought an Aria 8′ 4″ grey hypalon inflatable. They didnt have the 9ft at the time I ordered – but they added it to their product line 6 months later.  Darn – I would have preferred the 9ft.  It was manufactured by AB and has a rigid unpainted aluminum hull, nonskid deck, single rubrail, aluminum oars with interior storage; bow D-ring, 3 point davit lifting rings, wood rowing seat, hand pump, and repair kit. It holds 4 people and weighs only 68 lbs.

BINOCULARS ($167 on sale): List price is $446.95, I bought 7×50 Nikon 7442 with special UCC Coating, Ultra Clear Coat multicoating process yields 95% net light transmission; 100% Waterproof and Fogproof; New brighter optics; Long eye relief for eyeglass wearers; Porro Prism; BaK4 high index prisms. Deluxe, heavy-gauge neoprene floating strap included metal body construction; shockproof; Housed in a rubber-armored body; 7.5° Angle of View, Broad 7.1 mm exit pupil and 18mm of eye relief, the 7×50 gives an easily-observed image no matter the conditions of lighting or sea,

GUITAR ($326): Bought entry level acoustic guitar, carry bag, electronic tuner, and DVD on HowToPlay.

SEA ANCHOR ($100): I bought a 12 ft diameter heavy duty sea anchor from a cruiser who was lucky enough to never need it. The sea anchor was hand made from a “drogue chute” used in the USAF to pull vehicles out of the back of a low flying plane. Airmen use the term differently than seafarers, since in airmen’s lingo a “drogue parachute” is used to deploy a large working parachute or to slow something down until it’s moving slow enough for large chutes to be deployed without destroying them. The parachute sea anchor I have was born as a 12 ft diameter “drogue chute” that is enormously strong to take shock loads from being deployed at speeds upwards of 200 mph as it pulls vehicles out of low flying aircraft. For decades it was this chute that was converted for use as the standard small boat para-anchor, long before specialized and expensive purpose-built sea anchors came on the market (maybe 15 – 20 years ago). Standard human-sized parachutes will hold a boat in place in the water, but not for long since they are nowhere near strong enough to withstand the forces imposed on it. My converted chute is incredibly strong. I’m sure you can read about these in the DDDB, but they are not sold on the open market. In fact, they are no longer available as military surplus and the original supply has been used up, so they’ve become more valuable.

WINCHRITE ($618): Electrify all of your winches with this cordless electric winch handle. The durable lightweight unit works on all single and two speed winches where a standard eight point handle is utilized. The socket drive cannot unthread, this allows all winches to be operated in both directions. The WinchRite® was designed with a 0-120+ RPM gear set resulting in less bog and longer battery life with greater torque. The handle will pull away from you if torque or resistance is too great. Light, weight: 6.4lb, Torque: 130nm/1150inlb-TESTED, Battery: 21.6 DC Lit-ion 2.8ah, Charger: 110/220 AC & 12v DC, RPM: 0-120+ Reversible Motor, Length 15.5″, Quick charging device, 100-240 volt shore power, 12 volt Trickle charging device, Storage tote bag

GENERAL – Bought at West Marine, Defender, Sail shows, Craigslist, etc:.

$3200 Dinghy

$167 binoculars

$326 Guitar

$100 sea anchor

$136 Vessel Assist,

$250 MOB alarm system

$25 SSB book for idi-yachts

$25 BBQ dish

$45 Wool sweater

$40 Storm drogue

$45 100ft webbing

$327 Costco

$200 nesting pots

$60 stacking bowls

$135 DVDs

$618 Winchrite

$17 sprouts tray

$35 sprouts seeds

$164 ditchbag/contents

$25 splicing tools

$16 4 x scissors

$54 spices/racks

$30 fire extinguisher

$44 dinghy inflator

Sum of EXPENDITURE: $6,144




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