2017 DEC – BOAT PREP… and prep… and prep

December 2017 – Boat Prep

I have been away 18 months and am sad to see that FASTALLEY has been left to her own devices.

I did employ an expensive boat service for about a year and he sent me photos of the work he said he was doing. But the photos had a suspicious sameness to them so I fired him. And if the condition of the boat is anything to go by, he didn’t actually do anything for the money.

Then I hired another boat service; he lasted two months. This time i decided that clearly common sense was not a flower that grew in my garden, so I called and asked for a status on the boat. He said, “The boat is fine, I walk by it every day”. He hadn’t checked the batteries, or checked for leaks, or aired the boat out. Just ambled past and saw it was still floating. So I fired him.

My side has clean sheets – too hot for a blanket. Smells sweet now,


FASTALLEY is understandably dirty so I started on the cleaning. Today I got partway through washing the dishes, the cutlery, and wiping down all the kitchen surfaces. I bought a handful of groceries and turned on the refrigerator, and much to my relief it works, although I had to read every connection on the navigation station board before I remembered which switch to flick to activate the fridge.

I am finding that my memory is not what it used to be. Also I am finding that my memory is not what it used to be.

Amazingly all the dry food, like rice and sugar and popcorn and cereal, that I had stored in airtight containers still looks good, not that I’m going to chance cooking or eating any of it.

Cockpit cushions etc on the crew bunk

The boat inside is dank which is to be expected in a humid environment. Heat and condensation are a bad combination, so I bought a few bottles of vinegar to wipe everything down. I wiped all the walls. And the ceilings. And the surfaces….. I exercised more today than in the last year! And the kitchen is only partly done.

By the end of Day 1 on the boat I figure I need a Cafe-mocha-vodka-Valium-latte to recover.
The second day I remembered I had fans all over the boat and after studying the nav station board, I flicked the switch to activate them all. It took a few hours but with all the vents open and the fans blasting away, that dank smell has gone.

Then I manhandled my mattress outside into the sun to air it. And the sofa cushions were piled out in the sun. Then I piled all the clothes I had left behind on the boat into a cart – which I forgot I had – and dragged it all to the laundry. I then sprayed vinegar over every surface on my side of the boat (the other side is for crew or guests), and wiped down all the surfaces. If the sun keeps shining brightly all day, my side should smell sweet by tonight.

They say muscles have a memory. Well, my muscles forgot. After an extreme full body workout from scrubbing and cleaning, and brushing and wiping, and clambering all over the boat, in and out, and up and down, my body aches. And I have walked for miles, so my feet ache. The showers are easily a 15 minute walk away – I was docked right beside them before but I guess they gave my spot to people living onboard in the marina. The plaza is 10 minutes away and I have walked back and forth at least 12 times. I gotta start making lists instead of this back and forth!

Beautiful 10 minute walk to the plaza. Definitely no hardship!


So much to do…. no desire to do it.
Ever since I arrived I have been calling all the recommended diesel mechanics but it’s high season here and none are available for at least 3 weeks. I’m getting desperate. Some cruisers from Seattle recommended Gilberto, so I called him. I need
– my impeller changed
– my oil changed
– my outboard started. I am worried about it because the bus laid it on its side, and upside down, and outboards like being upright.
The mechanic will come over tomorrow – and I spent the day just lazing around. I am supposed to be on vacation after all…!

Paradise Resort and Marina – just gorgeous

The mechanic arrived and Google translate works great! Neither of us spoke the others language, but Google did. Pretty soon he had removed a piece of the engine and said he would be back in 2-3 days.

Meanwhile I dug out my Westerns DVDs and played my favorites as background noise, as I continue to find new places to wipe down.
Well the Mexican mechanic finally arrived some days later…. mañana time, and $175 for his labor and parts. Right. These Mexicans charge way more than a Californian mechanic – and the CA guys are qualified!
And the engine won’t start. The Mechanic says his impeller works great, it’s probably the starter motor. I said maybe it’s the batteries – we should at least start there? No, it’s the starter motor, he says,nit needs to be replaced. I told him I would call him (don’t call me), and sent him off, $175 richer.

In the yacht club I found the business card of an American mechanic living in the area. He says he will come right over and take a look. Which he did. His gauge indicates my starter battery is dead, and of the 4 house batteries, only 2 are barely functional. Ed says most likely the distilled water in the batteries was allowed to run dry – which destroyed my entire battery bank. Gee, I love Mexican Boat Management services. That’s the second set of brand new batteries ruined in Mexico.

We went to AutoZone but they didn’t have marine deep cycle batteries, so I took the bus to PV downtown but the huge marine store is closed. Xmas is coming, so it’s party time for the next few days.
Xmas has come and gone, maybe I will find new batteries this week?
Yay. Found a matching set of 5 new batteries.
Not yay… It’s my third set of brand new batteries.
Not yay… And I’m down another $700.

Ed installed the batteries and the engine still won’t start. Ed traced it to the starter motor which the previous mechanic had hot wired directly to the engine starter battery, bypassing the careful electrical checks of the boat. Consequently the starter motor took a hit. It’s gone off to the machine shop to see if they can rebuild it.

Truly, B.O.A.T. stands for Break Out Another Thousand.



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