Posted by: powellpjc | June 4, 2009

Starting to look like a Sailboat

Getting down to the final details now. I made a job list yesterday and it topped out at 31 items. Last week it was 20. Christ.

As you can see from the picture below, la Rosa is starting to look like a sailboat. Winch beds, winch covers (I inherited them), a bimini (that’s the overhead cockpit cover), new sheets installed to the sails and a hundred other things not visible.

Evening in the Willamette River.

Evening in the Willamette River.


La Rosa comes together.

La Rosa comes together.

Still left to go are some pretty important deals: working on the engine today to eliminate the air ingestion; have to go up the mast again today to adjust the roller-furling top fitting; an electronics guy is coming by Friday to re-solder my VHF cable; will attach my backstay high voltage antenna; need to buy more rope; rig my lazyjacks and another 25 jobs too picayune to mention.

I am relying on other people in some cases and that is always difficult to schedule. I can’t do it all by myself (lack of knowledge, experience and skill).

I purchased a Johnson 6 horse outboard (for the dinghy) two months ago, used and looking in good shape. I had 7 days to return the item so I fired it up in a 45-gallon barrel and checked the start-ability and gear shifting. Baby ran like a top. I left it alone until last week and tried it again on my new dinghy. Wouldn’t start. Nobody could get it to go. Bought a fuel pump diaphragm kit and put it in. Wouldn’t cough. Just about threw it in the river until I recalled tales of the vicious Oregon eco-police spies. My dad used to call our runabout at Loon Lake the ‘boat and the damn motor’. My brother grew up thinking that was the proper name. Now I know why.

A piece of shit.

A piece of shit.


I drove 5 miles and bought a shiny new 3.5 Merc. Planes the dinghy, weighs 35 pounds (vs. 55) and starts on the first pull. The used one cost me $570, the new one $790—which means the new one costs $1360. Live and learn.

The new 'Freddie Merc'.

The new 'Freddie Merc'.

Going up the mast is easier with my mast steps and I have the gear necessary for going aloft from my climbing days. Normally one needs someone at the mast winch to haul you up on a spare halyard but I can do it alone with a climbing harness, a jumar and unlimited courage. I tested the gear on Bob Roeker.

Bob is my rigger. He measured three times, cut twice and billed me once. Bob is a great guy and was a true joy to work with. A perfectionista with immense experience, vast knowledge and great skill. He wanted to try out my steps and I breathed a sigh of relief. Better him than me.

Bob at the top. All 50 feet of it.

Bob at the top. All 50 feet of it.


Oh, I should mention, Bob is 79 years old today and 80 in a couple of months. If he can do it…

Bob Roeker, my rigger.

Bob Roeker, my rigger.

I have been up 5 times since Bob proved the gear. The mast creaks and bends and I wish I were grocery shopping but the jobs get done.

The yard boys were down on the boat today soldering and wiring. I had my radar screen moved, new dedicated starter battery added to the 4 storage ‘house’ batteries and installed a battery monitor to keep an eye on things.


We changed some parts on my primary fuel filter (Racor 500FG for you gear heads), added a check valve to the fuel supply and fired my 44 horse Yanmar. Ran like a top with no apparent air sucking. We shall see.

I took this fuel filter (Racor 500 FG) apart and ultimately fucked it up.

I took this fuel filter (Racor 500 FG) apart and ultimately fucked it up.

I have pegged this weekend as D day and have my fingers crossed. I’d not be in such a press except for the fact that the eastern Pacific hurricane season off Mexico is just warming up and later this summer will be difficult to skirt so it’s time to let go.



  1. Blast those motors. Ken Ritchie always had one that wouldn’t start. His whole life. Now John Ritchie has ones that won’t fail. Period.
    I will be thinking about you on D-Day. Talk soon and all the best.

  2. Pdro , Your used outboard story sounds pretty much par for the course (at least for me) & of course your candor is refreshing to say the least – it takes a rare human to be able to make such huge admissions especially on a more or less daily basis ! If I were attempting this every story would be the old outboard simply parts or pieces slightly altered to attempt to protect my non-existent reputation.Your blog is hilarious — keep up the proverbial chin as I am certain that you will soon be doing a wee bit of very serious sailing . RELAXXXXXXXXX, Z

  3. Pdro , I forgot to ask for a personal favour — please let us all know when you spot your first Palm tree or trees . RELAXXXXXXXXX, Z

  4. Pedro,Reef down sooner rather than later & keep your bilge dry for the taking on of copious amounts of W.A.shiraz.Great stuff—- keep us armchair sailors posted!

  5. thesis finished and submitted. Am now ready to be a sailor. Sounds as if you are the man.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: