Hello!

Welcome to our mid-life crisis! These are the chronicles of Laura and Patrick, their young son Jack, and their goofball Labrador Retriever named Evinrude (Rudy), as they travelled the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico in their catamaran. We went cruising in search of a change of pace, a closer knit family, and peace of mind. We found all three and more. The fun all started in October, 2008 and nearly four years later the Mexican adventure came to an end August 3rd, 2012. With our mid-life crisis cured in Mexico, we are excited to start a new adventure - life back in America.

Patrick has since joined the Sales Team of Marine Servicenter as a boat broker. Whether you are looking to make your dream of sailing away come true, or ready to sell your boat he can help. He can be reached at http://marinesc.com/about/crew/patrick-harrigan

Candeleros Chico

Candeleros Chico
Just another beautiful day at anchor on the Baja. 2010

Dolphins at play in the bow wake 2011

Dolphins at play in the bow wake  2011

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Poor Man's Sandblasting

House-sitting gets a bit boring after a few days.  Especially if you are a teenager.  So what did Jack and I do to pass the time and liven things up?  We went chain draggin'!  In Texas they have truck pulls, Iowa has cow tipping, and here in the Baja we go chain dragging.
The rusty chain getting unloaded.
 
Actually it all started because we desperately needed to do something about our anchor chain getting rustier and rustier.   Going on four years of nearly constant anchoring, the chain was getting bad.  The solution is to either buy new chain or get the old chain re-galvanized.  A new chain in the States would run over $1000.00 dollars and then we would have to get it here. Here in Mexico, you would be hard pressed to find the right type of chain and the quality would be suspect. Anchor chain comes in specific sizes that fit the gypsy on the windlass, which hoist the chain and anchor off the bottom. For all those reasons, re-galvanizing was the right thing to do. Anyway, to ship it with a local trucking company, have it acid-bathed and dipped should cost about $250.00, so it seemed a no-brainer.  There is a galvanization plant in Mexicali, Mexico up near the border that can "dip" our chain in a vat of hot molten galvanization and make it like new. 

Since we were land-locked for a couple of weeks and not using the anchor, it seemed the perfect time to get this taken care of.  However, the chain was really rusty and it ideally should be sand blasted first.   Paying for sand-blasting is expensive, but leave it to cheap cruisers to come up with an alternative.  I do not know where I first heard of the idea but I know I didn't come up with it on my own.  Somewhere, some cruiser did it first and told another.  I think I heard about it from Hal on Airborne.  Anyway, chain dragging is an inexpensive,  innovative poor man's approach to sand blasting. 

Hotel California's Rick enjoying "male time."

Jack and I grabbed our friend Ricky on Hotel California and the three of us hauled the 200' of rusty 3/8" chain off the boat, tossed it in the back of the Volvo wagon and headed for the desert.  We drove way out, because we figured we needed to get out of populated areas due to the violent dust storm we were anticipating creating.  We selected a power line road, unloaded the chain, and strapped it to the rear bumper.  Killing two birds with one stone, we let Jack drive so he could get some driving time in.  With Jack at the helm we took off in to the desert Chain Dragging. 

It was quite impressive!  The chain was heavy enough to bog the car down in some of the sandier spots.   When we got going 30 mph or so it would dig into the surface and disappear three or more inches under the sand.  Corners were tough towing 200' of chain but Jack managed well and we only took out a few acres of brush, but no cactus were damaged.  And the results were beautiful.  The chain was shiny when we were done and it was tempting just to toss it back on the boat.  But off we went to Castores, the local trucking company and they put it on a pallet and whisked it away promising it would be in Mexicali (almost a thousand miles away) in two days.  Well nine days later I was getting worried but last night we had confirmation that our chain had just arrived in Mexicali at the Galvanization plant.  Now lets hope it makes it back.

11 comments:

  1. This is fantastic. Love it!! Here in Australia, we had a friend do the same by dragging the chain behind a truck as the drove down the beach (legal in some places). The local shop would galvanize, but you had to bring the chain in clean first. Necessity is the mother of invention...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Behan!
      I let the boys take care of this one and didn't participate. It was a male bonding moment. They all had a great time, especially Jack. He loves driving.
      Laura

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  2. Wow! Who would have guessed that was a viable option for sandblasting the anchor chain?!? It seems perfectly reasonable that the cruising community has found a low-cost work around. :) Nice driving Jack!

    Katie and Mark

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    Replies
    1. Hi Katie,
      Yes, and fun, too! Judging by all the photos in which they are smiling ear to ear, it's obvious that a new past-time has been discovered. Men!
      Laura

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  6. Informative read! Thanks for the useful info. Great share!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Brian,
      Happy you found something useful in it.
      Merry Christmas,
      Laura

      Delete
  7. Hah, chain savings $500, transmission cost $1500, male bonding - priceless

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your comment was priceless! Thanks for posting.

      Delete