ON THE DOG WATCH
October 2005With the tropical hurricane season in full swing, and the threat of storms developing on the waters I normally travel through, yacht deliveries tend to get slow for me during this time of year. Racing in Puerto Vallarta can become hazardous as well because wind strengths are generally higher, even in the protected waters of Banderas Bay—as evidenced by the dismasting of S/V BELAT in the September Capri 37 regatta—when she was hit by a squall traveling over the race course.
During the months of September and October, I will refuse to move any boat unless it is a well maintained motor yacht with good long-range communications equipment and the speed to outrun bad weather. Most tropical storms originating along the Pacific coast of Mexico tend travel in a westerly to northerly direction, and can develop speeds of ten to fifteen knots when they become hurricane force. As a result, I only was able to complete one delivery in the last quarter of 2005. Fortunately it was a good experience. Below is the story of that delivery.
26 October to 3 November 2005, M/Y HERCULES, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to Ventura, California.I won’t say that long-time client and Ventura developer, Ted Lapadakis, is a fanatic when it comes to maintaining his boats, but he’s borderline. I really think the joy for Ted is more about working on his boats--restoring them--sometimes making them better than new. Even more than taking them to sea, keeping them in Bristol condition is his passion. And he loves Strikers, those wonderful welded aluminum hulled, sport fishers, that were custom built in various parts of the world. He even has the original sales brochure for this boat, and he has restored several others. In my experience, no one knows Strikers as well as Ted Lapadakis.
HERCULES is a 44 ft Flybridge Sportfisherman originally built in Omastrand Hardanger, Norway, in 1971. I had done an insurance survey on the boat in July of 2004, and found it to be in excellent condition, fully restored, as only Ted can do it. The boat had been moored in front of his winter home in Puerto Vallarta for several years, and we began to discuss taking it back to California. By the end of hurricane season, 2005, Ted was ready..
HERCULES docked in Marina Vallarta
Being part Norwegian and Danish myself, I’m always impressed with Scandinavian craftsmanship. Most Strikers of this vintage have either twin Detroit or Cummins diesels. Power for HERCULES is provided by twin 430 horsepower Cummins model: 6CTA8.3-M w/ ZF marine transmissions. Ted had just serviced the machinery and the engine room was so clean you could almost eat off the engine room floor. In spite of the meticulous attention he had given in preparing the boat, he gave me a list of every idiosyncrasy he could think of before he entrusted his baby to me and my crew for the 1,180 mile delivery.
Of course, the crew for this trip was Leon Stewart and Scott Brietag, both veterans of many Mexico deliveries originating in Puerto Vallarta and ending in California.
Scott owns a Downeast 38 sailboat and lives on it in Puerto Vallarta. He is experienced with both sailboats and power and has crewed for me on numerous voyages since June 2002—from as far south as Panama to as far north as San Francisco, CA. He’s also a good electrician.
Leon has over 25 years experience maintaining diesel equipment. He has also refurbished several large yachts and is knowledgeable about repairing the many systems found on board private vessels. He is currently restoring a 46ft Pan Oceanic Cutter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He has crewed for me, primarily on motor yachts over 50ft, since 2003. He is also a good cook.
The three of us make a good team. When it comes to watch keeping and monitoring the ship’s systems, we have a routine that has developed over the years—we know we can rely on each other to keep the boat safe and get it to it’s destination in better condition than when we picked it up—given the Bristol condition of HERCULES, that might prove to be a challenge.
Below is an excerpt from my Delivery Report, given to Ted at the end of the trip.
On a long trip like this we usually run slow to save on fuel consumption, pushing the rpm’s up at the end of each watch to blow out the turbos. The above report is pretty typical minor stuff and it shows that, even with a vessel as well maintained as HERCULES, things do go wrong on a long delivery. It can’t be helped, is no reflection on the owner, and usually results from the punishment taken from bashing into wind and seas as we make our way north along the Baja Peninsula. This is where a pre-departure check list comes in handy. I always like it when the owner has enough spares on board so we can make repairs underway. With HERCULES, this wasn’t a problem.
- For a printable version of my powerboat check list, click here
- For a printable version of my sailboat check list, click here
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- March - Rediscovering The Once Forgotten Middle
- May - Bringing The Boat Back From Mexico
- July - New Regulations for Private Vessels Moving From Port To Port in Mexico
- August - Six Yacht Deliveries
- October - 26 October to 3 November 2005, M/Y HERCULES, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to Ventura, California
- September - October - Sailing and Writing
- August - 29 July to 5 August 2008, M/Y ORIANA, Mazatlan, Mexico, to San Diego, California
- January - April - three very different yacht deliveries.
- October - Climbing the Hill: “Rounding the Cape.” and Climbing the Hill: “Up to Mag Bay, then on to San Diego.”
- September - SEFERINA: “Astoria, OR, to Port McNeill, BC.”
- December - BELLALOU: “Tortola to Florida.”
- May - ENSENADA, THE EASIEST PLACE TO CHECK INTO MEXICO
- May-June - WHAT A LIFE: “Newport Beach, CA, to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.”