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Old 12-20-2009, 07:07 PM   #1
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It has been awhile since we last updated our status. This is because we had some technical difficulties with Trim when leaving Mazatlan on Saturday morning.

After only two days in Mazatlan, we were ready to head 80 nautical miles further South to Isla Isabela to visit the Blue Footed Boobies. I like Boobies and wanted to spend as much time as possible looking at them and taking pictures. I mean how often do you come across an entire island full of Boobies?

We departed Mazatlan at 5:00 AM on Saturday and had some good early morning breeze to sail by. We decided to motorsail since we need to get to Isabela before dark in order to find anchorage...this is especially the case since the guide book says that Isabela is over a mile off the charted position. One would think that in this modern age we could at least get the GPS position of an Island correct.

About 15 miles out while I was below preparing to send out a Ham radio email, a sudden loud squealing noise rang out from the engine compartment. This is the type of sound you never want to hear coming from your engine compartment. Lori quickly put the engine in neutral and backed down on the throttle. When I opened the hatch to the engine compartment, everything seemed to be in order...no oil spraying, no water or steam etc. Nothing seemed to be wrong. I had Lori shift into forward and the squealing began again. I then had her put it in reverse and it was even worse sounding...oh geeze, not good. Then, I noticed that the prop shaft wasn't turning when we were in gear...OH sh&one&t...this is not good at all I thought.

I climbed back into the cockpit and delivered the news to Lori that we had transmission problems and that we didn't have forward or reverse to get us to where we want to go. Her face went blank and paled for a moment. We then quickly decided that we needed to turn around and take advantage of whatever wind we had while it lasted. Well, it only lasted an hour before it started to die. We decided that we could lower the dinghy with the 9.9 hp motor and tie-off to the side of the boat to see what we could do. Since we didn't want to slow the boat any, we did all this while the sails were up and we were still moving along at around 4 knots. Lori climbed into the dinghy while it was hanging from the davits and she pulled the small 3.5 hp motor off the transom of the dinghy, handed it to me and I then handed her the heavy 9.9 hp motor. She installed the larger motor while still hanging 6 feet in the air on the davits. We then proceeded to lower her and the dinghy into the water while still moving. It all worked out quite smoothly, but I don't think I'd ever try it again.

Once tied-off to the port side of the boat, we were able to keep Trim moving at 3.5 knots without any wind...not even a ripple. At this point we still had 12 miles to travel back to the anchorage. Since the 9.9 Mercury is a two stroke, it sucks fuel like I sweat. Fortunately, we had over 10 gallons of gasoline onboard, so I handed one of the Gerry cans down to Lori in the dinghy and she proceeded to use a hand pump to transfer gasoline into the outboard fuel tank while motoring and mixing 2-stoke oil. The autopilot onboard Trim kept us pointed in the right direction. All Lori had to do was keep the outboard throttle at full board and pump fuel with the other hand. I watched and took pictures. I knew my turn to labor was coming soon.

Of course we had one additional hurdle thrown at us during all this. It seems that in the time we sailed South, a long line fishing Panga with two men in it had laid a long line across our path back to the anchorage. They could see us coming straight for their line and I stood on the deck looking at them and pointing at the dinghy pushing us. One of the men was yelling turn around and as I shook my head no, the other guy pulled up the line and cut it to let us pass through. This time I thanked them for their assistance.

Two and a half hours later, when we were just outside the entry to Mazatlan Harbor, another cruiser with his 25 hp Honda came out and tied-off to the starboard side and helped us position Trim while I dropped anchor. All was well back on anchor. Now to figure out what was wrong.

The next morning we rose bright and early to pull the transmission out. Quite surprisingly, Lori and I were able to remove the transmission and reduction gear in under two hours. We drained both of oil and inspected them...nothing obvious was wrong. We could not see anything in the perfectly clean oil that would suggest an internal failure of either part. I talked to several people back in the US via Sat phone and they both thought it was most likely the dampening plate attached to the flywheel. So, the following morning, we pulled the bell housing and the dampening plate to find absolutely nothing wrong with the plate, splines or springs...all was in good working order. Now we were baffled because it isn't normal for the transmission to loose both forward and reverse at the same time...and especially not leave a trace amount of debris in the oil.

Last night we discovered the problem. Looking closer at the reduction gear, I noticed that I could turn the gear without turning the flange on the output shaft. Ah ha! The output flange had stripped its splines somehow (probably wrapped another long line) and therefore the transmission was still in good working order. We just need to get the flange removed and hope that the shaft splines are still in good condition.

In the meantime, Lori and I are having a great time during our extended stay here in Mazatlan. Together with Chrokeva who is here through January since they will be getting hauled out, surveyed and painted, we have been traveling around Mazatlan via the public bus system which costs only 6 pesos per person (50 cents US) to go anywhere in the city. Each bus is a different experience unto itself. Some are thrashed pieces of trash with a maniac driver while others are new and driven by a nice English speaking individual who wants to show you everything in Mazatlan. Some of the buses are even air conditioned, but they cost an extra 3 pesos! The really great thing about the buses is that the come right down to the anchorage every 10 minutes.

Yesterday, we discovered the local market. This experience changed everything for us during our stay here in Mazatlan. Prior to this time, we have been taking the bus half way across town to Mega or Walmart to buy food and supplies. Both of which have prices higher than in the US. Lori and I struggle with the idea that the locals would be able to pay such high prices for food.

The local market is a huge indoor bizarre of various foods, and products...most importantly, it is air conditioned. Inside you will find numerous butcher stands with complete sides of beef hanging from hooks, whole chickens hanging from their necks, and fish stands as far as you can see with every type of fish you can imagine. The produce is picked that day fresh...better than the US. The prices are great! Just for example, we purchased two rib-eye steaks cut to our requested thickness of 1.5 inches which totaled around 2.5 pounds of beef for only 89 pesos = $6.90 US. We also bought 1 kilo of giant shrimp for $9.00US. Apparently Mazatlan is the shrimp capital of the world...I did not know that. Everywhere you go there is shrimp, shrimp and more shrimp. We have eaten shrimp nearly everyday that we have been here.

In many ways we are glad to have returned to Mazatlan to spend more time getting to know the place. It actually has a lot to offer and it isn't Americanized..."Yet"
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Old 12-20-2009, 07:44 PM   #2
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Great read - thanks Ken. Hope your repairs go well - I'm sure they will.

Keep in touch.
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:01 AM   #3
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Hi Ken and Lori,

Hope your repairs are speedy for peace of mind.

Going with the mantra of "wherever you go, there you are".... you're in a lovely spot to enjoy Mexico for a bit--and in good company, too
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:16 PM   #4
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Well, the problem was the flange on the output shaft. The splines stripped and the bearings and seal needed to be replaced. This could have resulted from a long line wrap. The parts should be here via DHL tomorrow or Wednesday depending of customs clearance.

We are having a great time with Chrokeva and it would have been a mistake to blow through Mazatlan like we had originally planned. The culture and people here are wonderful. The place really comes to life at night in the old town Mazatlan. All the local artists and musicians congregate around the old town square at around 8:00 pm after most of the cruisers have gone to sleep. They take Christmas very seriously here...which is difficult for me to understand since I have beads of sweat poring from my forehead by 8:00 am each day. The weather is humid and warm. I can’t imagine what it must be like during the summer.

Picture is of the Old Town Anchorage taken from the worlds highest lighthouse at the entry to Mazatlan Harbor. FYI...Lori has me climbing to the top of this thing every morning.

DSC_0090small.jpg
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Old 12-23-2009, 04:30 PM   #5
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We're so glad that you're having such a good time in Mazatlan! We also envy you your cruising company as there couldn't be more generous and good-hearted folks than Mark, Jackie, and Amanda aboard Chrokeva. Enjoy!
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Old 12-24-2009, 06:40 PM   #6
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We will be having Christmas dinner onboard Chrokeva...will post photos.

The parts remain in Mexican customs and will not hear what is needed to release them till Monday the 28th.
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Old 12-24-2009, 07:27 PM   #7
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A Merry Christmas to you both!
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Old 12-26-2009, 01:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trim50 View Post
We will be having Christmas dinner onboard Chrokeva...will post photos.

The parts remain in Mexican customs and will not hear what is needed to release them till Monday the 28th.
Oh, just rub it in . Merry Christmas to the crews of both Chrokeva and Trim.

Hope your parts come in good order. Our windlass brake just got here--wrong part Lucky us--we had a local welder fab something for us in trade for some computer work!

Fair winds,

Brenda and David
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:13 PM   #9
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We have decided to resort hop each day till the parts arrive. We have about 20 high quality resorts to hit with swim trunks and towels in hand.
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Old 12-27-2009, 07:25 PM   #10
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Sounds like fun!
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Old 12-27-2009, 09:27 PM   #11
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Have fun.

Happy New Year.
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:48 PM   #12
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Wow what a girl you got there...."yea for Lori"! Glad you guys made it safe and sound to Mazatlan and hope all works out with the new parts!

So throw some shrimp on the barbi and enjoy your stay! Where is the next destination? XOXOXO Booty
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