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Fixing What's Broken (February and March 2017)

Quick Review

Track of Hurricane Newton September 2016As recounted here, on September 7 2016 while Hoku Pa'a was stored on land Hurricane Newton plowed over top of Guaymas, toppling our boat into the mud. Damages included a bent mast, hull gouges, and various bent stainless steel bits including the propshaft, strut, pulpit, a stanchion, and our tea kettle. Our insurance company felt it would cost more to repair the damage than the boat was worth, so they wrote her off. We bought it back with the intention of making most of the repairs ourselves. A couple visits to the boatyard (Sep and Dec 2016) later and we had the beginnings of a plan to restore Hoku Pa'a to sailing condition.

On the Home Front

The bent mast was unusable, based on the opinions of several experts, so we had to locate a replacement. Calls and emails to most of the mast manufacturers in N. America led to a short list of three candidates for a new mast. Searching for a replacement took over three months, and we were just about ready to commit to having a new one made when a call from Klacko Spars took us by surprise. This company was the manufacturer of the original masts for our model of boat. The owner was reviewing the contents of their back storage lot. He had just come across a used mast from a Niagara 35 received as a trade-in some years ago, and he recalled an earlier phone call we'd had with him, expressing interest in a replacement mast for our boat. Happy conincidence! Several emails later we had confirmed that the mast was in good conditiona and we agreed on a price. Yay!

Scratched HullLocating a mast was great, but Klacko Spars is in Oakville Ontario, which is a loooong distance and two countries away from where our boat was sitting. How would we get a 51-foot aluminum stick transported down to Mexico? One option was driving it on a trailer. It's been done before, and what seemed like the cheapest option was certainly worth investigating. It turns out though, that some US states have limits on the length of a trailered load shorter than our mast, so routing to avoid these states would be challenging. We also weren't keen on driving the first part of the route in winter, and any part of the route with a very long load that would limit where we could stop for the night, or even turn around.

More phone calls and emails and internet sleuthing led to James M., a very helpful fellow at Keypoint Carriers in Woodstock, Ontario. His company has experience in bringing assorted loads from Canada to Mexico, and as a bonus, James is a sailor and so had sympathy and understanding of the special requirements for shipping a mast. It wouldn't be cheap (transportation actually cost about the same as the used mast alone did), but he would be able to deliver it to our boat. This was great, and we tentatively arranged a schedule that would have the mast arrive while we were at the boat, in Feb/Mar 2017. A whole host of other considerations were in play, and if you want to read a more detailed account about transporting and importing a mast into Mexico, you can read it in our Info section, here.

Time To Execute Operation "Fix It"

Beach Along Oregon CoastWe had made as many preparations and plans as we could at home. We had stocked up on spares and replacement parts, booked two months off work, and we had set in motion the wheels that would get our mast down to Mexico. The car was loaded with supplies, including a new prop shaft, and we headed off for the scenic drive down the coast. Though this was going to be a working vacation, we did want to sprinkle in some fun too. In addition to the great ocean vistas, we also had the pleasure of stopping in to see our friends from S/V Yare in Seattle, and from S/V Freebird in southern California.

The road trip portion, which included the stops to visit with friends, as well as a day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a drive through the Redwood forest, and a stay in a yurt in a wet Oregon campground, eventually approached Sonora Mexico, and our thoughts turned to the upcoming work. We won't in this article detail all the tasks we worked on, but some of the larger ones included: rebuilding the rudder; installing the propshaft; repairing the pulpit; rebedding chainplates; fibreglassing and gelcoating damaged portions of the hull; replacing several throughulls; overhauling the steering; and removing and rebedding the keel. A longer account of the keel work is found here, and we'll leave you with a few photos of a small part of the work. Our next journal entry fills in some more details and picks up with our spring 2018 visit...enjoy!

Hoku Pa'a with Rudder Removed Prop Shaft and Strut Broken Portlight
Barb working on Rudder RudderPost Fixed Rudder

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