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Old 05-20-2022, 10:06 PM   #1
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Weebles Refit - what happened today.

No idea if this will be interesting, but thought I'd keep a log of day-to-day activities in the closing 6-months or so of my refit. Most days are pretty boring - I will be in Ensenada for another 2-weeks.

Today:
Organized some parts in my storage locker. I have a fairly large storage locker ("Bodega") where I keep spares and parts that will eventually be returned to the boat. I organized my electrical toolbag today. Pending are spare screws, toolbags for plumbing, mechanical, painting, etc.

Programmed the two solar MPPT controllers. They seem to be working fine. I have four 200W panels on my hardtop separated into two: starboard and port. I had to reset one of the controllers which is sort of a pain as it requires all power be removed. Seemed easy until I removed the two pairs of leads (one to the battery, one to the panels) and realized they were both hot. Caution.....

Orlando, the head mechanical guy, was working on the saloon A/C. I had ductwork constructed by Juan (carpenter/fiberglass) but the Webasto 16 Btu A/C needs installation. This requires 5" diameter insulated ductwork which is unusual. I ended up buying a 25-foot coil from Suremarine in the Seattle area but asked that they only ship the 2-feet I actually need. The rest I have no use for. Happens a lot on a project like this.

The Cutless Bearing has been pulled so I will need to pickup a replacement. I am on a first-name basis with the good people at San Diego Marine Exchange (SDMX) 80-miles north. I make the run every week or so. Pain in the ass.

Our dinghy is in. Meaning it has arrived at a freight terminal at Otay Mesa, a commercial area several miles east of San Diego. I need to get it from there to Ensenada, over the Border and Mexican customs. I have no idea how this will work out. Not even sure it will fit in my RV/Camper van. No idea about a lot of things. But I guess we'll figure it out next week. Scary.

Dinner at Wendlandt Brewpub which is a 20-min walk from our apartment. Ensenada is Mexico's top brew-pub region, and Wendlandt won top honors for the IPA a couple years ago. Really good beer. And their ceviche is fantastic. I had three beers, my other half had two. Two Ceviche tostadas and Mac & Cheese in the company of two adorable barmaids who have become friends. $510 pesos ($26 USD, plus tip). We stopped for ice cream on the way home ($43 pesos, $2.25 USD, for a cone).

I gave notice today at my work that I am done in 2-weeks. They want me to stay for a while longer for a couple small projects which I am happy to do, but there is now an expiration date stamped on my ass that clearly has a mid-2022 date. I like my work, I like the people I work with. Miraculously, they seem to like me and want me to stay. But its time to move on.

I'll try to inclide some pictures along the way. No offense taken if you find this boring. And no offense if anyone wants to take pot-shots. Just know it's a decent life here if you're into a bit of grit. Street tacos are amazing.

More as I feel the reason to write.

Peter
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Old 05-20-2022, 11:23 PM   #2
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"I'll try to inclide some pictures along the way. No offense taken if you find this boring. And no offense if anyone wants to take pot-shots"

To the contrary. Keep it coming. That we have no useful comment doesn't mean it isn't read with interest.
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Old 05-21-2022, 10:35 AM   #3
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For me, a daily diary beats reading the rants and off-topic scribblings that too often get posted here. Think of your posts as a travel adventure…fixing boats in exotic places kind of theme ;-)
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Old 05-21-2022, 11:20 AM   #4
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This is what dezincification of bronze looks like. This castellated bronze prop locking nut had a visible crack. The nut was able to be broken easily by hand.

The problem is the weakness is very well hidden. Bronze is an alloy of several metals, commonly copper, zinc, nickel, etc. The least "noble" metal will deteriorate first meaning the metal is weakening from the inside if left unprotected.

Why wasn't this protected? Self inflicted wound I'm embarrassed to say. A while back, my shaft brush broke and I just didn't get around to repairing it so the shaft was left unprotected. My prop has some minor damage but I'm not too worried. I have a spare and I will probably use that instead. I decided to replace the shaft anyway as it's not very expensive - about $700 - and while the shaft is fine, the threads for the nuts does have some damage. Easy enough to do right now. I'll add about 3/4" to the shaft length to allow for a donut-zinc instead of relying on a shaft brush.

Decent article from Steve D on cathodic protection.

https://stevedmarineconsulting.com/b...on-prevention/

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Old 05-21-2022, 01:04 PM   #5
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Two pics attached.

One shows wasted threads on prop shaft due to corrosion. Second is installing AIS antenna on flybridge. If you look closely, there is a technician inside the enclosure behind the helm.

The black "paint" is some sort of primer. This will be repainted as last step.
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Old 05-21-2022, 01:17 PM   #6
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love your posts in general. thank you for your contribution.

as i understand it you are doing this for someone else. didn't know that.

that must be a crazy expensive venture for the owner.

you are certainly the right man for the job. my boat will be in Ensenada next year. Ill give you a call
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Old 05-21-2022, 01:21 PM   #7
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Don’t leave it black like the primer. I would paint it white inside so that if you are working in there the light will reflect and light it up better.
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Old 05-21-2022, 02:15 PM   #8
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love your posts in general. thank you for your contribution.



as i understand it you are doing this for someone else. didn't know that.



that must be a crazy expensive venture for the owner.



you are certainly the right man for the job. my boat will be in Ensenada next year. Ill give you a call
I am the owner. And it's a stupid expense. I cannot justify it except to say I decided that I can do one frivolous thing every decade or two and not imperil my retirement. We've had this boat for almost 25 years. And we'd now like to cruise her. I have some ideas on what works best for us and I'm thrilled to be doing it. And thirlled to have someone else do the work. A treat as it's always been me doing the actual work.

Burn rate on the small team doing the work is around $200 USD per day. So labor is affordable, though they lack some of the tools that would make them efficient. Keeping up with parts is a challenge. I'm about to run our for hose-NPT adapters. A couple weeks ago finding 5/16" JIC to 3/8" NPT was a huge challenge (thank goodness for Parker store).

Peter
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Old 05-21-2022, 02:21 PM   #9
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Don’t leave it black like the primer. I would paint it white inside so that if you are working in there the light will reflect and light it up better.
I'll be curious to see how this all works out. The boat was painted a year ago and will need significant touchup before it's done. The 32-ish sailboat next to me was just painted and looks very nice. You can see Weebles on right, just out of picture. They are in the process of buffing for final right now, reinstalling winches, etc.

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Old 05-22-2022, 07:02 AM   #10
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WARNING for boat-centric readers. Today, Sunday, is more about logistics and living in Ensenada than Weebles.

Mexico generally works a half-day on Saturday, so Sunday is a pretty big family day. For example, in anything resembling decent weather, the beaches are packed with large groups of extended family and friends. Not so much “party” but “fiesta.” Now, these are not your dream-beaches of Cancun – the water is cold and rough, but kids still build sandcastles and chase waves in/out of the surf. Definitely has a good vibe to it. (Pictures of Playa La Mison below).

This stretch of Pacific Coast is just entering a summer cycle of weather. In the morning, the marine layer is thick and slowly retreats offshore, though by next month, it may not entirely disappear meaning obscured sunshine all day long. Weather forecasters call it “coastal fog.” In Southern California it’s called June Gloom. Definitely not a Chamber of Commerce highlight. Forecast high temperature today for Ensenada is 68-degrees (F) with a low of 57F. Pretty cool weather – Mediterranean. I have been here since March 5th and it has rained exactly once, and that was barely a smattering.

For my wife and I, today is parts-run day. I order a lot of stuff from Defender, Hodges, and Amazon, and it all comes to a UPS Store post-office box just over the border in San Ysidro CA, which is about 75-miles from Ensenada. The first 74-miles is easy and scenic (see attached pic). The last 1-mile can easily be a 2-hour wait for US CPB inspection (pic of traffic below - on right are the "SENTRI" lanes - the fast-pass which we use and isn't always fast). San Diego is about 20-miles north of San Ysidro so if we only make a parts-run to our PO box, preference is the Autobus del ABC. It's about $11USD per person, each way. We've never taken the San Diego Trolley so may do that today too (picture at the Tijuana bus station below).

Parts’ Run has dwindled to a few difficult to source items. Last week a long-ago back-ordered roll of ½” fuel line from Defender showed-up. Had I remembered it was on back-order I would have cancelled it as I sourced the hose elsewhere. But it will get used somewhere – I have a Reverso oil-change pump (gear pump) and am adding a 3-port manifold to easily change all oils. I figure if it’s easy, it will get done. Truth is, I have an inner ‘lazy’ core.

I have a love-hate relationship with details. I’m good with them when someone else has to track them. Not so much when I’m the quartermaster. What that means for today is I’m not exactly sure what has arrived at the PO Box. I know there are a pair of thermostats for the custom fridge and separate freezer; and I know there are a pair of handlebars for my bike. Also arrived are ladder-rack brackets for my van to pick-up the dinghy later this week. But beyond that, it will be Christmas Morning.

Peter

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Old 05-22-2022, 10:42 AM   #11
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Peter, your Ensenada posts evoke some good memories of my own 6 month long
haul out at Baja Naval around 20 years ago.
My 'drop-off' crew and I took the ABC bus to the border and the trolley into San
Diego to connect with the Amtrak Surfrider back to L.A.
I was able to commute to B. N. every other weekend and spent those Saturday
nights on the boat. As you might guess, it was a far cry from on-site supervision.
That experience was certainly educational and I would do it differently today.
Twenty-plus years later there likely are few of the same people still at Baja Naval,
so no criticism of the current staff is meant.

Keep the stories coming!
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Old 05-22-2022, 05:39 PM   #12
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Peter--

Will be down at Baja Naval June 5th for a month or so....New cockpit/flybridge deck, new flooring in saloon.....misc other issues addressed.....

Sounds like I will miss you this time....Good luck ....

Steve...San Diego
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Old 05-23-2022, 01:45 PM   #13
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Great narrative and photos, Peter!


Cheers,
Mrs. Trombley
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Old 05-26-2022, 08:04 AM   #14
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It's been a slow week. Parts at PO box were mostly personal items. I really like the ebike I purchased a couple months ago but wanted slightly more upright handlebars and a suspension seatpost. It's really fantastic transportation but way to heavy to use on a boat in my opinion. There are better options for small, lightweight ebikes that are a severe compromise for weight and large tires, but small and light enough for a cruising boat.

But not a lot of progress on Weebles this week. Most of the work left is carpentry, then final paint touchup. Carpenter was pulled to do a rush-job for the Port Captains boat. And I go to San Diego tomorrow to pickup a new prop shaft and the AB RIB I ordered from Defender.

Fallow weeks are difficult and really show the cultural differences of Americans vs Mexicans. As a whole, most Americans are fairly aggressive a out getting things done - "squeaky wheel gets the grease." Unfortunately, that doesn't work well in Mexico. A good chunk of my career was spent advising Wall Street investment banks and financial institutions, so I'm perfectly comfortable in the sharp-elbowed world. There is a saying in Mexico "as you give, you will receive." I have found there are subtle ways to express concerns that are more effective here. I also try to take the long view - a day or two is meaningless these days. Week or two is a much different matter. And I worry a out burn-out. Workers getting tired of working on the same boat all the time.

Burn-out is a common term, but I find it meaningless. Does it mean boredom? Monotony? What I worry most about is disenfranchisement - where people were not vested in the work, not vested in me, not vested in the sense of pride of completion. I've managed small project teams for the last 20 years and rarely had direct hire/fire responsibilities so have had to find "soft" ways to motivate them. I really want people to be part of a vision - something they tell their family about.

On the down-side, this leads to sometimes being taken advantage of. I normally give people the benefit of the doubt (which was indeed a major factor in why my relationship with Niza failed). But in the end, I'm not a micro-manager because I simply do not believe that's the path to getting the best outcome. And sometimes I've had "bad hiring decisions" that I should have caught earlier. Not bad enough to toss baby out with bathwater and revert to wild arm-waving about lack of progress today.

Tomorrow is a really, really big day for us mainly due to uncertainty. The AB Dinghy was shipped to a freight terminal and I have no idea if it will fit in the back of my van - I'd say chances are less than 50:50 (van has a camper conversion). The dinghy is 128 lbs and not sure how my wife and I will maneuver it so am hoping a fistful of $10-$20 bills will smooth the way. Then, not sure what happens at the Mexican border. The dinghy (and new outboard) will of course not be registered but will be titled in my name so theoretically it should be a non-issue. But it will be brand new so may pique some enhanced interest. Might be a case of some more $20-bills. Who knows. I have contingency plans but not are great. Mostly, I'll have to hope for the best and just absorb whatever body blows come my way.

Peter
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Old 05-26-2022, 08:16 AM   #15
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Peter ,
For what it’s worth, my AB AL fit in my van with room to spare. However I do have a cargo van. Ford E250.

Rob
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Old 05-26-2022, 08:26 AM   #16
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Peter ,

For what it’s worth, my AB AL fit in my van with room to spare. However I do have a cargo van. Ford E250.



Rob
Thanks Rob. My van - an E150 -has a camper conversion, sort of like the old VW Westfalia. So there is some cabinetry. I am picking up a cheap ladder rack as backup just in case it won't fit. Good news the freight terminal is just a couple miles from border crossing at Otay Mesa - CHP might have more concerns about roof mounted Dinghy than Mexico will.

But thanks. Fingers crossed.

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Old 05-26-2022, 11:38 AM   #17
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I'm out of town tomorrow but in the future if you need a hand heaving heavy stuff or anything else shoot me a pm - I'm near downtown San Diego & work from home, so am often available to lend a hand.

Also happy to hold parts in my garage if you need a US shipping address!
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:19 PM   #18
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Looks like beautiful work following the rule if done right it’s one and done. We just finished our refit except removing carpet and replacing with synthetic. In spite of it being in the shed with a list generated from survey all winter it still took 3 weeks additional to get out of there. I kept finding things. You have a great advantage. First you’re there. Second you have the skills and experience to know what’s needed to be done and able to do most of it. Third when that’s not the case you have inexpensive labor and can supervise to make sure it’s done correctly.
No this isn’t a dumb move. It’s genius. Get exactly the boat you want for short money.
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Old 05-26-2022, 02:28 PM   #19
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Thanks for the words of encouragement Hippocampus. "Genius" is hyperbole but I appreciate the sentiment.

I just returned from a quick stop - not everything gets done correctly and today was a case-in-point. I forgot my phone/camera which is too bad as I wish I could share a picture. For the A/C in the main saloon, I had originally considered the condensate gizmo rather than a separate thru-hull (recall I started a thread on this topic a couple weeks ago). Based on feedback from the TF Bigger Brain, I abandoned that idea and decided to go traditional. When I got to the boat today, they had installed the thru-hull inline with some other thru-hulls for shower-discharge, etc. Problem is that placed the thru-hull above the level of the A/C drain pan!

In years past, punching a hole in the wrong place would really piss me off. Seriously, pretty amateurish mistake. But now, seeing how good these guys are with fiberglass (and how inexpensive labor is), my reaction is pretty relaxed "No es correcto - mas abajo por favor." (It is not correct, lower please). Before someone asks, yes, I will pay to correct the mistake. In my experience, better to give people the latitude to make a mistake (even encourage it) as it's cheaper/faster than instillling so much caution into their actions that they freeze.

I probably have the details wrong on this, but bear with me: When Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinkley, he was rushed to Walter Reed - he was in rough shape. I think it was James Baker who was Chief of Staff at the time and he figures out pretty quickly that Reagan isn't getting great emergency care because the attending doctors were too timid - they were scared to make a mistake with POTUS.

Peter
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Old 05-26-2022, 02:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Fallow weeks are difficult and really show the cultural differences of Americans vs Mexicans. As a whole, most Americans are fairly aggressive a out getting things done - "squeaky wheel gets the grease." Unfortunately, that doesn't work well in Mexico. A good chunk of my career was spent advising Wall Street investment banks and financial institutions, so I'm perfectly comfortable in the sharp-elbowed world. There is a saying in Mexico "as you give, you will receive." I have found there are subtle ways to express concerns that are more effective here. I also try to take the long view - a day or two is meaningless these days. Week or two is a much different matter. And I worry a out burn-out. Workers getting tired of working on the same boat all the time.

Burn-out is a common term, but I find it meaningless. Does it mean boredom? Monotony? What I worry most about is disenfranchisement - where people were not vested in the work, not vested in me, not vested in the sense of pride of completion. I've managed small project teams for the last 20 years and rarely had direct hire/fire responsibilities so have had to find "soft" ways to motivate them. I really want people to be part of a vision - something they tell their family about.

On the down-side, this leads to sometimes being taken advantage of. I normally give people the benefit of the doubt (which was indeed a major factor in why my relationship with Niza failed). But in the end, I'm not a micro-manager because I simply do not believe that's the path to getting the best outcome. And sometimes I've had "bad hiring decisions" that I should have caught earlier. Not bad enough to toss baby out with bathwater and revert to wild arm-waving about lack of progress today.

Peter
Some interesting concepts. You don't have to go to Mexico to encounter the cultural differences. They exist in the US, although less than they once did. As a manager, I spoke "Southern." Indirect often. Thinks like saying to a direct report, "It would be very nice if you could have this to me by Wednesday. Do you think that would be possible?" and then on Wednesday morning asking "How is the report coming?" Even writing software doesn't like that style. I had a great conversation with a New Yorker over how many wasted words that entailed. Over the years I learned something very important too and that was that those talking faster and more direct weren't necessarily mean or rude, just had different speech patterns. However, for those who don't know, the harsher style just won't work and the aggressive US style won't work in Mexico. Similarly, you have to adapt to other areas of the world.

As to managing those who required constant supervision and harshness, I'm capable, but miserable doing so. I had to always move them over time to someone else.

Now, detailed schedules and time lines and monitoring I will do. In manufacturing, they're key, and late is unacceptable to me although seems quite acceptable to many. However, I don't micro-manage, but I have others in roles and they know the expectations.

You do hit on a key, the hiring decision. Hire right and you won't have to fire. That carries over to your most recent yard situation.

As to dealing with late yards, builders, etc. I very definitely could not do so as well as you. Therefore, it's imperative on me to select carefully and to have some sort of on site management, but of which were impossible for you due to Covid 19. I admire those like Twisted Tree and others who love Nordhavn. I'd have extreme difficullty with their lack of hitting schedules. As a manager, important to know who you're managing, but also to recognize yourself. When I hired, I use to have those who had long worked for me also interview and would tell them to warn the candidate about me, give the good and the bad so the person can really understand.
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