Hekowi is aCT47 ketch currently on the hard near Colon Panama.
Sept 12th, 2016. And so it begins again. Last year I had a wedding to attend... Oh I did not mention that? Well my wife and my daughter mentioned it, erh several times. This prevented me from just mounting a second effort to move Hekowi last year. This wedding also set the schedule earlier into heavy weather. This year we will move Hekowi to Florida in APRIL. I will go down in Jan, work on Hekowi and also work at the yard, for about 10 weeks. The exact schedule will be set as soon as I can buy an air ticket for mid January. I just moved some funds that were in the retirement fund, dammit, I am going to Florida!
There is no alternate plan to that of moving the vessel, no wedding sitting out there. Florida or bust. With more than 2 months to straighten out every little thing on the vessel. This year I will move the vessel to the water first, this makes the engine and electrical operations the first things to be brought to life. That was a serious mistake last year. The engine was seized, and by the time we got it rotating and operating, the crew had all arrived and time was ticking away... We did not get the new batteries that would have helped, and we hammered the old engine oil route plumbing into submission out near Providentialises (sp) I swear to GOD, we will have 20 quarts of spare oil and 4 gallons of antifreeze, enough to double fill the engine in case of fluid loss, IF I HAVE TO SLEEP WITH THE OIL and ANTIFREEZE CONTAINERS IN MY BERTH
**** OK, all of the 2017 movement planning stuff is above this line ****
March 24, 2016 Well, Hekowi has moved about 100 meters in the Shelter Bay yard... Long story... To summarize, we had an Apollo 13 week. The young couple that was with us had listed previous charters. But it turned out that those were a day at a time, sailing to islands that you could see when you started out. So about 1/2 a day into the heavy Northerlies that blow in February into Panama, she fell ill. I mean really ill. Down and out and cannot eat or drink. Both had previously worked their butts off to get Hekowi clean, you cannot fault their effort. We were also smashing thru significant seas and taking water upon the deck. Said water was running back and forth on the deck and finding a deck leak here and there. So water was dropping into the main salon, for one thing, onto the bedding for instance. So wet and miserable, about three days out, we start thinking that maybe we had better get the sick girl to a dock, before she drops dead on us, and we try to get into the Island of Providencia. We attempt a Southern entrance, abandoning a lot of Northern progress made, and get hit by a pretty good squall at about 25 knots. We are also getting swept into shallow water, you can easily see the bottom, and the Island is getting a lot closer, so we address the entire situation by turning and running back to the East of Providencia and trying to get to the "turning point" where we can turn West, and be running downwind.
In the middle of the following night I am awakened with the report "The oil pressure is at zero". We put in all the spare oil, and resurrect an oil pressure, but we cannot see the oil on the dipstick. Obviously, we have a pressure leak.
Now Perkins has a couple of components on the engine (3 actually) that are classified as "Pipe, flexible". They are not PIPES. They are hoses with pipe like fittings on each end. They look like pipes wrapped with protection, but they are HOSES. These have never been replaced, because, they are like, pipes.
Well we limped back into Panama, sailing downwind. Because we dare not start the engine, we went primarily with manual steering, 2 1/2 fairly nice days with sunshine.
Turned out we could get the hoses fixed, the first one for $42.00.
The couple jumped up and said goodbye in the first day back. With only two of us, and oh yeah, we have broken 1/2 of the forestay bail, it was time for a reconsideration. John said goodbye on the third day back, and I worked for 10 days on Hekowi. I slowly changed from near depression, to enthusiasm for repairing the vessel. I did a great job of completely reinstalling the windows. it took about 4 days, and It took about 7 deliberate steps. I took care to measure and get the part numbers of lots of things that would need to be addressed next year.
So, no one is hurt, the vessel is again being repaired, and several things are already on next years agenda. Meet some great people, and they are still down there, and will check on the boat.
Preparations for 2016 movement below
Dec 1st, Crew applications accepted. If you want to go, please familiarize yourself with this entire site and send me an email that shows relevant experience and reason for applying. Hiking, camping experience as well as boating experience, a plus. I am a seasoned sailing instructor and charter operator, ex 100 ton captain, I can make a sailor out of you, but I cannot instill resolution, that is up to you. This is a common adventure contract, I am not hiring crew, you are not booking passage. On Dec 31st, we will shut down the application process, and start making concrete plans per the crew.
Oct 26th, start working on the checklist.
Checklist 1. New battery and charger for IBM thinkpad. This is the old chartplotter with the old vector charts, left on the boat. I will hand carry to the boat. CHECK
Checklist 2. New charts for the Carribean for the newer laptop. Buy and test the proper cables to connect to a Garmin GPS which I fortunately brought home. Windows 10 upgrade all running together CHECK
Checklist 3. Clevis pin for the genoa. Reaching pole end. Label tape, #4 screws for the overhead. Little stainless carabineer All found in general cleanup CHECK
Checklist 4. New USCG documentation good till 10/16/2016 and Beacon Registration showing Port St Lucie as our new base good till Oct 16, 2017 CHECK
Sept 9th, 2015. Well this is the year that we get home. The target is Port St Lucie Florida, via the following method.
Jan10th or so to Feb 15th I will be in Colon shaking out the various problems with the boat.
Feb 15th 2016 push off for Isla De Guanaja, Honduras. 609 Nautical Miles
Feb 22nd 2016 push off for Isla Coszumel Cancun. 251 Nautical Miles
Feb 29th 2016 push off for Havana 339 Nautical Miles
March 7th push off for push off for Hopetown 463 Nautical Miles
March 15th-29th party in Hopetown
March 29th push off for Port St Lucie, Florida - cupcake run!!! 216 Nautical Miles
2015 detail below
Sat Feb 28th. We finish the Panama Canal and hole up at Shelter Bay Marina, across the North entrance from Colon
Capt Don has successfully found another Caribbean hell hole. The rooms start at $140, but the slips start at $60. We have 3 in our boat and we use the pool daily.
The bottom held up great over 1 months sailing. The bimini is carefully stored in position, the storm jib is below
The windlass gear box came free as we departed the Pacific anchorage
The top works are all fine. Maxwell is aware that the deck thru spacer can rot away, and sells a replacement for $200. Next years project
We are about to drop the final 27 feet. The last lock has three chambers that total 85 feet. The pictures cannot capture the impact of looking ahead and realizing that you are far above the ocean ahead
We are 85 feet above the Caribbean. this drop is accomplished in three chambers over 3000 horizontal feet
The locks work with between 45 and 75 feet of water in the chambers. At first we are raised up to the level of the water in Lake gatun. The natural body of water trapped between the mountain ranges inland in Panama. The whole idea in the first place was to use the lake to traverse the mountains
This is the enormous bridge 240 feet of water clearance so that freighters can pass into the first lock
Now it is February 25th. We fought winds the whole way, but we are now at anchor in the private yacht area of the Panama Pacific Anchorage near Flamingo Isla
Now it is Feb 19th. We are in Golfito, Costa Rica. We hit no wind, then a storm way out at sea, and we ran further, and then the wind did not blow for 5 straight days. We blew a engine cooling hose, which overheated everything, and we ended up losing the forward main seal of the transmission. so we had to cycle atf fluid thru the transmission every 30 minutes until that went kinda runny. We have accomplished miraculous repairs. I will post pictures as this very slow connection allows..
Golfito pictures below
we lost a topping lift. The bad shiv below apparently sheared it. The other shiv is the main halyard, and the center is not round. Luckily a very good machine shop was just 2 buildings from the banana marina bar and restaurant
We burned up the main seal. Tranny went next door for a new seal and an elusive giant O Ring
Gauge was bad. Another several thousand bee bodies, and a couple of new wires, and now we can see the engine temperature
Mexico pictures below
table top was so messed up I redid it
Bees had moved in. The yard killed them with chemicals. But there were thousands of bee bodies and combs and wasp nests when ever I tried to fix any thing or even open a cabinet or storage compartment
OK it is now jan 15th 2015.
This is Jasmine, the niece of the landlord. Her college major is English!! Bang zoom, we have a built in interpretor at my little apartment.
this is floor one of the building. I live upstairs. Tomorrow I will bum a ride to Puerto Chiapas and see what is left of Hekowi. She has been on the hard for one year unattended,
In Tapachula MX Jan 2015
Nov 14th 2014 - The time has finally come. Next week I will be sending out email to prospective crew members. We still have room for more adventurers!!! Reply now or do not complain sitting in traffic in a snow storm in February...
Nov 17 out my kitchen window
Above is Hekowi in San Pedro with the new dodger in place before the 2014 departure
New year!! It is Sept already, time to start figuring this out for 2015. I will complete the website level plan by Oct 15th, at which time I will advertise for crew again. Previous crew members will be given priority. On Nov 15th, we will begin considering crew applicants. On Dec 15th, crew invitations will go out. By Dec 31st, the trip will be booked, and on Feb 1st, Crew can begin to arrive in Mexico, for a Feb 7th departure
2015 plan follows 2014 trip details
Update March 5th, 2014. Hekowi is on the hard in Mexico. We covered more than 2000 nautical miles made good, and maybe 2750 or so total.
We ran out of time more than money. My 2 month leave of absense was winding down. It was apparent that the canal would take a minumum of 2 weeks. This plus 4 more weeks of sailing would put us at April 15th or so.
So we declared a "1/2 victory" and disbanded. Annie and Colin walked off to see Tikal, actually pretty close to the Mexico Guatemala border. Nathan flew back to LA to see his sweetheart. Preston and Peggy had bailed out earlier.
Lesson learned... everyone who stayed till the end was 29 years old except me. everyone who bailed earlier was much older. I am searching for the meaning here in selecting next years crew. 6 was too many, 4 or 5 would be best, depending upon if there are couples.
We encountered no rain but this also led to many low wind days. Our troubles were minor but persistent and time consuming. We monkeyed with the alternator several times. The engine overheated several times. Neither problem was a show stopper, but enough to cause us to run slower. We have a new alternator, and we believe the engine exchanger is cleaned out, pressure tested, and the shower hot water exchanger is working as well.
2014 synopsis. We stopped at Ensenada. Checked into Mexico, insurance, temporary import permit and my laptop went kaput
and Cabo San Lucas, where the stop lasted long enuff to turn the vessel around in tight quarters and depart, we did not set foot upon land or dock... what a zoo.
and San Jose del Cabo San Lucas, which I now realise must mean San Jose somewhere near Cabo San Lucas. This was really nice/expensive, but we did some repair and left with a mexican rock band playing knockin on heavens door - you had to be there
Two days out of Acapulco, winds were slight, so we stopped at Zihautanajo. Worked on engine heating and alternator for three days, nice stop..
Stopped in Acapulco, and just picked up diesel
Stopped in Huatulco, to get a weather report. no wind was expected, and left after a 4 hour stay
Major wind pickup in the gulf of Tuhautepec, Pretty steady 25 knots gusting much higher. Motored into Salinas Cruz, we were celebrities, boarded 7 times by armed forces, what a gas. Winds in the throat of this natural canyon wind (from the Carribean) vortec got up to about 50 as we fought our way into the harbor. Spent three days, and did sail and sail cover sewing, the furled Genoa had been flapping about, the drum line was too short to allow a complete furl in the high winds.
proceeded to Puerto Chiapas, last mexican port, near the Guatamala border
Puerto Chiapas is a relatively new marina, set up to accomodate the first/last stop in mexico entries and exits. The Mexicans got this right. This is a first class facility with a big travel lift and a secure yard. The prices are less than Costa Rica or California. So Hekowi will be safe while I save money and prepare for the next effort.
2015 plan: Improvement parts will flown in with me. I will pay baggage fees galore. There is a Walmart and a home depot in Tapachula, so nuts and bolts and wiring things will be available. I will set aside a 2 weeks on the hard and a week in the water before departure.
Arrive Tapachula Jan 14 or so I am renting a room. Rental cars are very expensive, I am considering buying a bicycle for my daily commute. There is a Sams Club as well as a walmart.
Work to be done on the hard.
1. Shaft work. Remove shaft reinstall with a new prop (the autoprop pictured), and new cutlass bearing and a dripless seal. Engineer an access door in aft cabin to make this all easy to review and maintain. If I cannot fit the dripless seal, I will just repack carefully
2. Starter work We have new starter studs and nuts to reinstall the primary starter, so that we will get a clean gear engagement every time. The new hotshot high torque starter will be relegated to a spare. The rebuilt original starter will be put back in place.
3. Cleanup and paint bottom. Paint boot stripe and sheer line stripe. clean fill and barrier coat major above the waterline hull scratches and scrapes
4. Start in the yard before travel lift
The improvement pile includes dripless seal, another set of binoculars, new speargun rubbers, alternator, cutlass bearing and autoprop sitting on the new bimini in box. Not pictured, starter studs, new flashlites, telescoping aluminum tubes and forespar ends to fabricate a custom reaching strut.
Put vessel into the water more or less Jan 28th and then do the following
1. Alternator work. Install and test big new alternator which is controlled by the three step charge controller. Review batteries, wire around 1/2/both engine switch, make it into all or disconnect. test charge cycle by lighting per 12 VDC at night and running the engine 1 hour in the morning
2. Bimini work. Install cheapo canvas bimini in such a manner as to shield the cockpit, allow full range of sailing maneuver, and not really be connected to the dodger at all. and to the doghouse. This will be rigged so that when the helmsman is standing, you can see over the doghouse, but below the bimini
3. Dinghy refresh. Repair and test out the two ribs and the two outboards in the harbor. use the repair kits on the vessel, and refresh gasoline in tanks and in storage. Fix the yamaha 8 to run better with the carburetor repair kit. Mount the new reaching strut on deck.
Crew to start arriving per their schedules the week of Feb 1st The crew can stay on the vessel. There may be some projects that I could use a little help with, but also there are very legitimate tourist attractions on the Guatamala border.
Depart more or less Feb 7th for Costa Rica
The first stop is Puntarenas, Costa Rica yacht club. distance of 633 nm. Travel time estimated 4-6 days. Once in Costa Rica, make progress contact with our canal agent, make final payment by credit card, and depart as is appropriate for Panama.
All the physical charts and all the CDs are safe on the boat inside zip locks as appropriate. Unfortunately my PC at home which had copies of everything died. So my little charts on this website will have to be google earth per the Pacific.
The second stop is the Pacific Side of the Panama canal 550 nm. We will have a script and a canal agent direct us thru whatever we have to do and sign. We know the vessel will need to be "weighed", which I believe is a formality with small craft, but we will be visited and evaluated.
Panama Pacifc side
Event: Transit Panama, R&R restock and refuel as necessary, motoring assumed 38 nm Panama Canal North Entrance, Panama Event expected to take Feb 21st to Feb 28th
Event: Leg 7 Sail Hekowi to Montego Bay Jamaica apprx 600 nm
Event R&R stop checkin checkout, Montego Bay Jamaica. Expected arrival Mar 7
Event Leg 8 Sail Hekowi to Tahiti Beach, Elbow Cay Bahamas, (Hopetown) apprx 715 nm Other stopping points considered. I do know the harbor at Matthewtown, Inagua, Bahamas. Other Bahama ports to be considered per timetable to be developed
This is a you tube link to Tahiti Beach. What they are not saying is that the sand bar is caused by the Atlantic current flowing on and off the Bahamas plateau. One of the most iconic and picturesque spots in the Bahamas, We will picnic here and then another 30 minutes to Hopetown. Good luck to us with our 6 foot 6 inch draft!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMioU1y4B8Y
I am trying to paste a screen print of the chart of elbow cay here If we ignore several federal and international copyright laws, I can break the trip into legs and paste the legs onto this page!!!
Event R&R check into Bahamas/USA Mar 14 to Mar 21st