Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Docpal last won the day on April 7 2018

Docpal had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

15 Good

About Docpal

Supporting Member
  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 07/17/1945

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Nopolo, Baja California Sur, Mexico
  • Supporting Member Since

Recent Profile Visitors

6,225 profile views
  1. Hi, Been awhile as I have been in Summer migration mode and spent much of the time in the mountains of Northern Ca. Petunia now has an older, smaller Sister- "Daphne" who is a Drascombe Dabber . She will probably spend much of her career down in Baja as a Panga, but we're still working on developing a small , all species , sail boat fleet down there so I'll probably get a chance to try a lug sail as well. While recently RE-reading Paul's capsize story and the followups I had a few thoughts about a "turtle stopper" per se. I called and spoke to Alan and got some numbers to play with regarding my specific concerns; I was a "Mk 1. xxx with a trunk cabin" so I sort of fall between the "MK 1's and MK 3's " in terms of windage, weight, etc. Alan gave me a target of 25 pounds buoyancy at the masthead and I was trying to figure out how to do that without adding ANY more rigging to what is now there, so that eliminated the hoisting a gold fish idea. I had already installed pool noodles inside both masts while building in the hopes of stopping such an event, but to date I have never really done "the Test". Now what I am now thinking of trying is to open one of those square seat cushions we ALL have lying around and using the thin, flat ,foam panels they are made of to create shaped (tri angular most likely) panels which would then be inserted into pockets at the head of BOTH sails....Why only have flotation on ONE mast? A few of my own prior capsizes would have probably wiped out something mounted on the mast head so I'd rather have something I know is going to be able to take the fall . These panels shouldn't be thick enough to alter performance, and they "should" roll /fold nicely within the sail. The one disadvantage ( if it is one) I can foresee is that if you are reefed/double reefed your buoyancy is lowered with the head of the sail. Not sure how that would all play out. Any ideas? If you DO open up a cushion as I have ( and will show below) you'll see that they are nicely packaged with ten small panels, 5 per side with a plastic separator. Half of a cushion is a little over 1.25" thick without being compressed. The panels themselves are about 15"by 15". Here is where I am hoping I/We can figure out the actual buoyancy of said panels. If a throw cushion can keep "an adult"afloat, and "an adult life jacket for more than 90 pounds" are true, then how much of that foam is needed to get the 25-35 pounds we seem to be looking for? ( Or half if we do BOTH masts) The standard life jacket pictured below is ALSO made up of nice, thin panels as well and supposedly supports almost 4 times what we are looking for. The concept is to see what it will take in terms of volume, and then add two triangular pockets at the head of BOTH sails which mimic the existing angle. Taller/joined foam sections would let you come down further in thinner stacks, etc. A fuller mast head sail section of an added 1.25"on either side wouldn't be very noticeable (since I have tan bark sails it might NOT be noticed at all ...). SO, I have this idea, I have the cushions/jackets/foam panels, extra tan bark sail cloth, BUT Petunia and her sails are sitting 1500 miles away down in Baja, MX which means I won't even get down there for at least another 3-4 weeks so if anyone gets a chance, and wants to try this, go for it. Doing a double float test is one of the first things on my agenda when I do get back to Baja as I need to see if either of my pool noodle masts leak air, and if so are they sealable? Then we'll try putting her over and see how my current foam flotation compartment scheme holds her. I'm throwing this idea out now because I'd like to hear if there are other options to the idea of an unobtrusive, reliable, uncomplicated method to keep from rolling beyond the recovery zone we can all be working toward. BTW- Does anyone know what the CG uses as a bench mark when they say "adult" ? ( at least weight wise....). Side note- I'm sort of glad that I have a hybrid center board as well in that I added some lead to her lower end to get her to drop quickly, but I also have the hold down release cleat in play so theoretically the board should NOT retract if she's on her side. Please feel free to pick this idea apart or reconstitute any of it's content as if in an "open source flotation project"... Bill P Docpal
  2. Paul/tfrei, I think it was Paul Jost who came up with the idea of using a ring on the mizzen sprit to change the angle of the sheets and get them above the motor. I use this on Petunia and it works very well. Duckworks has nice bronze rings too.... https://jostboats.blogspot.com/ If you scroll down to changes he shows the ring...
  3. Docpal


    Alex, Good idea ! Maybe even styrofoam peanut packing pieces....? Someone still in the building process feel like taking one for the team here?
  4. Docpal


    Paul, It wasn't easy/fun stuffing the standard masts with the noodles...! I had to slit them, and cut off some of the overlaps which is why I resorted to the aluminum tape to keep them in a small, tight shape. Since the upper 6 inches of the masts are wooden plugs it wasn't a complete fill. I too thought about the 2 part foam, but from my experience it would have expanded partially down the tube and then blocked further access (although air tight 'compartments' might not have been bad either...) At the time I think the web said that each noodle could support 40-50 pounds ( about the weight of a young kid I suppose) , so I got the equivalent of maybe 2-2 1/2 noodles smushed inside after they were all carved/wrapped. Here's a shot of how it looked: the white wire was installed with the idea that I might sometime in the future want to mount a mast head VHF antenna , still hasn't happened... I guess the simplest "test" of this concept would be to get just the masts down to the water and see if they float on their own, but due to their length I'll have to trailer the entire boat down there rather than hang them off the top of my SUV...
  5. Docpal


    Paul, Well written, and worthy of concern. I too "went over" a few weeks ago, but not in "Petunia" . I was sailing with a friend in his boat and after a great day of sailing toward an off shore island we headed home and like you had a snag in the main (sheet) which kept the main from coming across on a tack, and splash.... Since we both had gone through prior capsizes in our lives we knew the drill and while she was somewhere between 90-115 degrees over we swam to the mast, unfastened the halyard, pulled the sail down as far as we could, and then stood on the centerboard. Nothing happened..... It was then we realized that we couldn't really get a good hold of the side deck as there was nothing there to grab...She was also a bit beamier than any of the CS boats which made that distance a bit further to reach. Luckily the water we went over in was somewhat protected from current/waves, but we still had wind to contend with. And being May the water down here was warm enough to spend time in without sapping our strength (at 73 I was the junior crew member...). We tried just about everything we could with what we had on hand and were about to take off our life jackets as a way to get the mast head to break the surface when we saw a kid on a jet ski watching us from the beach, so we hailed her and she jetted out to help. It was only with her lifting the mast head to 90 degrees that we were able to both stand on the board and get the boat back on it's feet. If this had happened 30 minutes earlier we could easily have been on our way to El Salvador as there is no Coast guard, Sea tow, etc. in this area... After getting back to the beach and collecting our gear and ourselves we both started making up 'the list' of things we both needed to do in the event of a capsize in less favorable conditions. First thing I did was to add a mid ship cleat on both sides of the cabin, and then rigged a rescue line that could be reached from the water, or while standing on the center board (see pix) . Then I sorted out a way to have my boarding ladder rigged/ready for deployment from the water (pix to follow as I am re varnishing ALL wood on the boat due to a poor choice of coatings, more in a later post...). Both of my masts are stuffed with pool noodles wrapped in aluminum foil (possibly a better radar reflector) so now I need to get back in the water and do the real capsize test to see how long they help keep me on my beam ends, if at all. And since I always keep at least one anchor in the cockpit ready to deploy I would also now be sure I had enough line clear so I could try to get the anchor down while doing some of the acrobatics required in this situation instead of being caught in a current that would only add to the excitement. I've also thought of a trailing line just in case this happened and when back on her feet she decided she didn't need human help to continue on her own. I am VERY impressed that the both of you were able to re-board a runaway boat !!! Thanks for starting this thread as it could help somebody save their boat/life.... Bill P.
  6. Graham, Not a tough choice between the fires/rain of Northern CA., and here...Gonna give her a good working over while i have the facilities and then try to hit some new places in convoy with a few other small boat owners. No need to go too far for that... Reports to follow. OH- one bit of "survival gear" we tested on this last coastal trip might be of interest to anyone who might potentially get stranded. We used a "Steripen" ( https://www.katadyn.com/us/us/products/steripen#/1/filter?categories=46025) UV water purifier to clean up some stream water whose origin was of question...Tested it against iodine tabs, and clorox bleach , and it tasted great (in all fairness compared to the others, anything would have tasted better even though we went strictly by the instructions AND used more tabs that were supposed to erase the iodine taste...) . No ill effects from any of the 8 riders who drank it either. Katadyn seems to have absorbed many of their competitors and one can only hope the prices of their desal units drop soon too.
  7. Petunia and I decided to spend more time in Baja, MX this year so I found a big old funky house where I will be able to catch up on some over due maintenance and hardware changes. Since she is now sitting on her trailer next to my casa instead of her mooring, I don't have to worry about running down to the marina (19 miles) daily to check on her. And we have a fairly functional; ramp only half a mile from the new place. This has given me a chance to scout out some new areas for sailing as there are now a few people with various small sail boats interested in 'going someplace' as a convoy. One of the people who kept trying to get me down here has been running kayak/bike/mule trips in Baja for 35 years . SO when she asked if I wanted to jump in on a group riding mules down the Southern Baja coast I gladly joined in. My lack of time on a mule was a little disconcerting as the last few trips I did showed me that after riding a mule for a day I was able to feel pain in places I didn't even know I had the day before...BUT I figured that we should be able to get into some places unreachable by land other wise so I asked Trudi to show me some of her favorite secluded beaches that she had been taking her kayakers for the last 35 years, and she did. And I'm glad as I learned a lot. We spent a few days running down the coast South of Agua Verde, Baja. 8 riders/mules, 3 pack donkeys, 1 dog, 1 puppy..Donkeys carried enough supplies/water to get us a few days down the coast. Then I processed a bunch using my Steripen from some mountain streams Trudi knew about. Otherwise you couldn't even consider being back in there as water IS life. Desert ranchers we met were hand digging their SECOND 28 meter deep water well as the first one they dug dried up after last Fall's 6.5 quake. Mules are cool beyond belief. They not only carry huge amounts of people/gear/water but they don't need to carry any food for themselves as they will eat most of the desert if allowed. We carried more food for the puppy than the mules.....They will also drink the water without me having to process it... Natural arroyos/deltas channel rare rains such as hurricanes when they happen. But so far this year we've only had 0.05"of rain...This means the arroyos become safe and easier to travel in than riding through some thick brush, as everything in Baja can slice,dice,rip,tear your flesh as your mule plods through it all. Easy to see why the real Vaqueros wear custom leather, some of which is designed for easy in/out, on/off, horse/mule without wearing chaps. Beaches aren't white,sandy places, but various layers of shell,sand,rocks dependent on when the last Norther blew through. Since ALL of the East coast of Baja becomes a lee shore during the Winter, the tides/swells/and what the locals call 'dumpers' can make beach launching/retrieving a dicey event. Kayaks still have the easiest time because of their agility, and lack of draft. Some beaches drop off gradually, while others are pretty severe,suddenly. Between islands it can get REAL deep too. What I learned was that is some of these places you almost have to wait for a low tide to check out the low lying reefs,and shelves which sit just below the surface at a higher tide and could tear out a bottom on something larger/heavier than a kayak. Most of the "cruising guides" for Baja don't deal with the interface of sea/land , dealing with areas to anchor/moor larger boats. That's also probably because small sailboats aren't the norm here. The few marinas that exist want larger boats, and launch ramps are both expensive and awkward ( none have a floating dock, etc. to tie to after you launch). A few of us are trying to instigate some sort of boat building program for kids down here , but so far not much interest. Probably not gonna have Petunia ready to go over the mountains and try sailing the lagoons of Adolfo Lopez Mateos before the whales come down this year, so that might be a Spring trip as we can't sail in the lagoons while the whales are breeding. But she needs, and deserves, a good over haul so I'm gonna work on her for the next few weeks and see if I can tart her up a bit. I'll try to attach some pix of the mule trip and Agua Verde coastline ...
  8. Rattus, I will gladly embrace the suckiness of Baja.... This might be my last cruise of the season due to our untimely displacement into the Puerto Escondido marina mooring field. I am easily the smallest boat in the marina. The moorings are about 3-400 yards away, and usually upwind of the dinghy dock and I only have my 2.5 hp Suzuki down here this trip so it's a case of motoring out to Petunia, swapping the motor over to her, motoring outside ( they don't "allow" sailing in/out of the marina so I have to motor through the channel which isn't always easy due to the narrowness and velocity of tides), and then reversing the process when I get back into the marina. Royal PIA... However NEXT season the plan is to rig a tabernacle for the masts to facilitate raising/lowering them, and then taking Petunia for a "tour" of the peninsula. Lopes Mateos lagoon on the Pacific side with it's sand dunes on one side, and mangoves on the other is particularly interesting as long as I get there before the gray whales do and it is then closed to private boat traffic. And then there's Bahia Concepcion which could be a week or more of beach hopping, and Cabo San Jose down off the tip of the peninsula, etc., etc. I am fortunate to have a good friend down here who was the sailing master for NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership Schools) for many years so he knows every small boat beach within 300 miles. Winter winds can be limiting since the entire Sea of Cortez side becomes a lee shore, and beach landings aren't always graceful depending on how much gravel/rock has been deposited after the Summer storms/hurricanes. That also limits beach launchings in many areas as you have probably learned that the standard "rules of tire deflation" mean dumping over 50% of your air to make it across the sand to even GET to the beach. And then you have to reinflate when you get back onto hard pan, etc. SO, while the water side of things is obviously wonderful it's access TO the water that we spend a lot of time dealing with. Luckily there are SO many islands within 20 miles that we can usually find a place to hide from the "Nortes", but this Winter some of them lasted 7-8 days with winds exceeding 40+ mph and sizeable swells in the channels (water depths can run to 1,000 feet between islands....). This Winter was exploratory and I learned a lot. Next Winter I hope to use some of that knowledge and expand our range.... Hasta,
  9. Seasons are starting to change down here, and there are less 'Nortes' to deal with. Temps are also starting to rise again (90+ yesterday). Took a short 3 day cruise to some of the local islands near Puerto Escondido and camped out on their beaches.One great thing about desert beach camping is the lack of bugs. We also timed the cruise so tides weren't too extreme either. First day was a short run over to Isla Carmen and a spot called 'Bahia Marquer". Wide open beach that gave us protection from the SE winds that day, but not a lot of shade to keep the Sun off of us (next cruise will include a foldable 'cabana' style shelter....). Second day we spent all of our time trying to beat against wind/tide through the pass between Isla Carmen and Isla Danzante. 7 miles in 7 hours in 90 degrees.... By the time we made it through and found the second camp site we were whupped. BUT the second camp site was pretty spectacular! Too small for larger boats, but protected from winds in 3 directions with large over hanging cliffs/caves for protection. As you can see from the attached pix having a small, beachable boat opens up big territory. We would anchor fore/aft in a way we could adjust our distance off the beach in case of weather, and in the worst case scenario we could still swim out to the boat and haul ourselves beyond the surf line. A Bruce anchor worked well on the bow, while a Danforth type was perfect as the beach anchor as it really dug deeply into the sand. Bottoms here can be rocky but if you make an exploratory pass before anchoring you can usually spot sandy patches as the water is SO clear. At night we could hear dolphin swimming off the beach, and near dusk we could see the "blows" from Finback whales running through the channel. But we missed the Blue whale by a few weeks. Since the ONLY way to get out to these locations is by boat, and it IS a national marine park there wasn't the usual tourist trash. Instead we'd find skeletons of prior sea life occupants. last day of the cruise we finally got to run downwind for hours on end, but as we neared the marina the wind shifted again, and the 10 knot breezes went to over 20 in a heart beat. We just pinched along until we got under the lee of the headland and then got the sails down to motor into the marina. Looooong political story but ALL of us who were moored outside the marina were 'evicted' last month as the marina decided it wanted to "expand", so we were all given 3 months of free mooring inside the marina. Next season I will probably be trailer sailing Petunia down here which will open up my range tremendously.... Gonna leave her down here for the Summer while I drive North to Mendocino and finish off 'Rancho Palumbo'. Then I have to fly back East load up a U haul with the rest of my tools/gear and drive it back West. Rented a house down here for next year which will allow me to work on Petunia a little and do some maintenance work she is deserving of...
  10. Awhile back I owned a marine towing/salvage company in Key West. In nine years we never towed in a boat with a Yamaha on it...
  11. Steve, For some reason this just popped up on FB and it seemed appropriate to drop it here: http://www.rhinegold.co.uk/music_teacher/jazz-hands/
  12. Ken, They put new wheels on it too ! What NICE people....!
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.