Milagro Goes To Shore

(Or, let’s see how many expensive surprises we can find)

On Monday, December 9, 2019, we plucked the good ship Milagro from her watery home and deposited her in the work yard at Marina el Palmar. Routine haul outs are a regular part of boating life and this one had been put off long enough. It was time to have a good look under the water line and apply a fresh coat of anti fouling paint. When this happens it is possible to discover issues needing attention that weren’t known of or planned for. Of course, you hope that’s not the case or, if so, they’re minor in nature and not so very expensive. We weren’t quite so lucky.

The planned work scope included replacing the cutlass bearing and reinstalling our folding propeller. It had been removed last summer when one of its component parts had failed. With that piece now replaced, it would be going back on. And, of course, prepping the bottom for fresh paint and then applying it.

We were hoping there would be no surprises however, we found two. One being a lower rudder bearing that was unacceptably loose and the other some delamination of the moisture barrier on the keel.

The keel issue was dealt with by stripping and grinding the keel down to the fiberglass, fairing it all for smoothness then applying fresh barrier coat followed by the anti fouling bottom paint. Not a complicated process but quite labor intensive, requiring several days to complete. I should note that “speed” while working finds a slightly different definition in these here parts.

The rudder bearing required removal of the rudder and fabrication of a new bearing. The bearing is made of a type of plastic and is secured to the hull with a bonding agent (marine goo) and a couple of lag screws from inside the hull. This whole process, too, added to the overall time in the stands.

So, we went in expecting to be back in the water on Friday morning, but didn’t get to splash until the following Monday afternoon. 8 full days on the hard. The good news being that Milagro is in good shape and ready for several more years of cruising. The not so good news is that these surprises nearly doubled the planned budget.

During Milagro’s stay ashore, her crew rented a small, nearby apartment and stayed ashore as well. It is possible and permitted, to stay in the boat while she’s in the stands but there are many limitations to that which we find unappealing. One of those is the 10′ ladder climb to get aboard. Many of you know of Judy’s shyness around even the shortest ladder so that, alone, would have ended the discussion for us. Even so, Miss Judy DID manage to climb her way up that ladder and into the cockpit on launching day. She did that while making it clear that it was a one way trip – she was NOT climbing back down.

Once again, Milagro is swimming happily on her mooring at La Paz while we lick our wounds and enjoy the very active social side of Christmas Season in La Paz. We’re not entirely sure of our next move but we’ll let you know.

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