Ambassadors for all we America was. Apologists for all America is.

Spiritus gets a new pair of undies!

There is nothing more heart rending than seeing something beached that lives in or on the ocean. In that way, boats are a lot like living creatures of the deep.

They breathe the wind … move in and with the waters … rock gently at night in the cradle of the arms of the sea.  Spiritus is such a creature of the oceans.  She is only happy when moving in water.

We just got her back to the dock from five days out of the water.  It had been more than 6 years since her bottom got painted.  And we have never had her out of the water since we had the initial survey.  That, by the way, was done with her hanging in the slings of the travel lift at a shipyard in Winchester Bay, Oregon in 2009.  I thought that was scary.  It was nothing to seeing her totally out of the water in a desert environment on stands.

IMG0006A  IMG0013AIMG0007AIMG0015B  IMG0019B

The shipyard, Atalanta, here in La Paz is unusual in that they do not use rails or a traditional travel lift.  They have a flat bed trailer like device with six attenuating arms that cradle the boat and once in the cradle, they ‘drive’ or pull the trailer up out of the water and move the boat to a set of stands on the sandy lot of the shipyard.

DSC_0058aThis is Atalanta. I just wanted to know what happened to the rest of the ship behind the figure head.  Yes, I am the original nervous boat owner.

The shipyard staff was very, very, very professional.  They office staff worked to make sure I understood in English, what the contract I was signing was all about.  We talked about the process of moving the boat from the water to the stands.  I met the operators and foremen who would be working with the boat.  I used Atalanta because unlike many shipyards, I could bring my own work crew to paint the boat.  I had a local who I trust and who had worked as a bottom painter and in a ship yard for five years.  I met him at the marina La Paz docks and over that last year have come to rely on him and those who he trusts to work with me on the boat.

We arranged a date.  The 14th of November because the weather was finally cool enough to keep the boat and its contents from overheating in the La Paz sun.  With a verbal contract with my workers and a written contract with the yard I fired up the engines that morning at 7:00 am to travel the three miles or so from where we have a slip to the ship yard which is near the entrance to the harbor.  I let them know about ten minutes out that I was in bound.  It was a flood tide because Spiritus is a full keel and draws 5’6″ of water.  The haul out slot is smallish and narrow with rocky banks.  And, you have to have 40 feet of line on each side of the boat at both ends.

Al went as planned … I was so nervous I forgot to take pics but one of the workers took some with his phone so I hope to put a couple of them here in the blog when he sends them.  Took nearly an hour and a half to get her up and out of the water then onto stands.

She weighs about 28,000 lbs empty and she is not empty.  Also, since we live and travel on the boat .. everything we own in the world is for this brief time balancing on small metal stands.

It looks something like this as we start.  I had her bottom cleaned of what remained of her previous two coats of ablative paint by a diver the day before we pulled her out.  She is three colored as various layers of paint have worn off.


We were scheduled for four days.  In that time, she was to get two coats of Comex AF-30 ablative, anti-fouling, copper based (40%)paint.  This is a paint made in Mexico and it took a bit of research to figure out all its benefits.  It is not cheap at about 2,700 pesos a gallon.  You have to shake it for a full 20 minutes and use it immediately of the copper will settle out.  Took three gallons.

Full two coats on all of hull.  Four coats on bow.  Four coats on rudder because of wake turbulence and engine thrust wear.  New black on black boot stripe.

No blisters … yay!

I also scheduled a friend to come work with me on the thru hulls which seemed dry to me.  They are (I thought) the older bronze tapered version.  They actually only heeded to be cleaned and lubricated and adjusted.  Big sigh here!  Only problem we found is that the valve that controlled the pump-to-sea had frozen. Was probably because we seem to always pump to the holding tanks and then have them pumped out.

I replaced that back in the Marina.

They were also tightened slightly (ever so slightly) in their beds.

Short version.  Below is the finished project.


Her bottom is now encased in soft, black, clingy, form-flattering …. hmmm … maybe I need to get off the boat more.

It was really nice to not have any bad news.  I think this is the first time everything has gone as planned instead of taking on a life of its own.

Black ablative paint.  The underwear that is fun-to-wear!

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