Preparing  DREAMCATCHER  for the voyage
Mexico Preparations-Next STop Marquesas


Puerto Vallarta Mexico

March/April 2004

For those who think that cruising is a lot about lounging around with a book between cocktail
hours….. here’s a snapshot of the final 4 week count-down preparation of a 46 ft boat, prior to
a Pacific crossing.  Clearly, things will vary for different boats and people depending on age,
budget and commitment…. This is our perspective: of a well maintained, 25 year old boat, with
lots of new equipment aboard and two similarly maintained 50-somethings.  Assumptions are
that this preparation takes place outside the home port (in this case, Puerta Vallarta, Mexico),
without the benefits of a phone, vehicle, and most importantly a support crew of friends.  All of
the logistics were done by walking miles in 90 degree heat, or catching bone-rattler local
buses.  This is, in fact, stage 3 of our passage preparation: stage 2 took place during the 12
days of non stop work in San Diego and the longest and most significant phase during
2003/2004 during major refitting work in San Francisco.

-        Canvas awning: check hose fittings and buy rain hose
-        Shroud guards: walk 1 mile to Nth Sails to investigate shroud guards
-        Add electrical bus bars/SSB
-        Beef up Refrigeration insulation
-        Re-fix life line box to stern rails
-        Tighten all port lights
-        Check all cleats: install additional
-        Dinghy mountings: get carpet pieces in place for chafe
-        Reefing on main sail: re plan, re-reeve, move mast blocks
-        Get shear-pins custom made for autopilot mech drive
-        Assemble excess wordly goods for sale
-        Sew toweling covers for all salon bunks & cushions
-        Dispose broken Microwave oven, buy & install new one.
-        Attend Puddle Jump meetings (1 per week)

-        Inspect all connections : bus bars, electrical
-        Lubricate binnacle chain
-        Set up stern anchor chain, rode system
-        Re-pack Lazerette (this happens 3 times during final month). During this, find split in
main exhaust hose.  Locate replacement, walk 2 miles with large black rubber hose
under arm thru upmarket shopping area.  Find hose clamps to fit same (not avail from
hose supplier).  Re-install.
-        Set up Drogue (buy line, get Nth Sails to thimble splice)
-        Check/clean pumps: fresh water & bilge
-        Re-fasten fwd head to base, fix light (still not complete)
-        Review position for placement of 4 diesel & 2 gas cans, & fix
-        Install fire alarm in galley
-        Change engine oil/filter/install new engine zinc
-        Remove, check, invert & shake all fire extinguishers
-        Re-bundle some electrical wiring in engine room
-        Serviced mechanical drive for autopilot

GO SAILING (Actually, we did this for 9 days)
-        Sail at least 20 miles a day
-        Each day, reef and de-reef twice, heave to 3 times
-        Anchor in a different place each night, do not deploy the dinghy, do not get off the boat.
Live like cruisers.
-        Push the boat to the limits, look for the weak spots
-        Review, revise, practice  processes
-        Set and drop the spinnaker 12 times in each kite session
-        Develop a new list to fix the stuff you broke

-        Honda outboard, oil change and contact Honda dealer for oil, zincs, filters (contact,
means, walk a mile each way 3 times
-        Re-tune the rig with Mike/North Sails
-        Mainsail: replace the headsail slider ties, retrieve the halyard we jammed up there (ok,
-        Check the cooling system seeking new 90deg hose: discover that fr water exchange &  
manifold seriously corroded: take cooling system apart, take all parts to PV machine
shop to “boil”, re-grind.   Finish the job with 3 dousings of muriatic acid on the dock.
-        Service 11 batteries, top off with water & verify connections
-        Discover leak in propane gas hose: no hose fitting avail for purchase or fab locally –
order it, chase DHL for days, it arrives wrong, re-order, chase DHL again.  Install, check
it every 4 hrs for 7 days before re-instituting propane system again.
-        Get propane tank filled
-        Get bottom cleaned, new zincs installed, thoroughly wash boat
-        Remove all sheets, halyards lines, de-salt in fr soapy water, rinse in Downy, dry on
lifelines.  Re-install end-for-end to move chafe.
-        Replace bow roller with new s/steel fabricated one: old as spare.
-        Fit Sat Phone bracket
-        Contract Commander Wx systems, outline needs & agree process.
-        Finalise all land-based email
-        Charge all electrical devices
-        Download all latest s/ware upgrades (AirMail, TideComp 2000 etc)
-        Do major laundry day before departure
-        Remove cockpit cushion covers, stow sail covers
-        Clean and vinegar heads
-        Re-install spinnaker blocks, lines, install jack-lines
-        Flush holding tank with fr water
-        Fill water tanks
-        Re-varnish (quick & dirty job) toe & hand rails, 3 coats.
-        Contract for gel-coat touch up work.
-        Provisioning for 4 months: bus to Walmart, fill 2 trolleys, empty them on checkout roller,
re-fill trolley to wheel to  taxi, empty trolleys into taxi trunk, drive 3 miles to marina and
unload on head dock, re-load onto marina managers golf cart, unload 200 yards later
onto dock gate, go get dinghy, load all into dinghy & drive to slip (2 trips), unload all
onto dock, upload onto boat deck and then below decks, sort, label, stow. Collapse,
exhausted. Repeat tomorrow at Sams  Club, and the day after for fresh produce.
-        Prepare 5 days’ meals & freeze for passaging
-        Make 5 jars Mango Chutney (as cannot find any in markets)
-        Wash all fresh fruit/veg in bleach & hardboil 1 doz eggs, Vaseline the other 2 doz
-        Make pre-departure personal phone calls
-        Money: buy Euros and USD from money exchangers
-        Assemble all navigation equipment/charts in order of passage plan, insert waypoints to
-        Finalise all stowage, find places for everything
-        Copy additional charts, make up passage log book
-        Host farewell cocktail soiree with dock neighbours
-        Finalise Marina costs, check out of Mexico Paperwork (Paperman)
-        Fill up with diesel, gasoline (on way out)

START PACIFIC CROSSING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ensure the reefing system
works properly.
What a sight!
The feeling
of light air
moving the
heavy boat is
Last shopping expedition. We
should have bought much more
beer!  Corona that is!!!!!
Location and Sail Plan
The Honda geting it's final
check up from "Tea Pot Tony"
Leaving Puerto Vallarta for the Marquesas, with
Jack driving.
"Jack" is what we call our autopilot, since
DREAMCATCHER  was at Jack London Square for
4 years.  In fact, she was within 50 yards of
Last Chance Saloon, where Jack London  drank
more than a few drinks. What a legacy!!  Did you
know that Jack built a boat in the Alameda
Estuary, and sailed it to the South Pacific?
Let's make that bed for the last
time before leaving. Who needs
The tender is secured.
All canvas in order, and  we
know where all  the pieces go.
The autopilot drive unit getting a
final check up and lube.