Acapulco Mexico Cruising Photos

On August 28, 2010, in Cruising Notes, Photos, by Aaron

Our final destination after transiting the Panama Canal was Acapulco Mexico.  The owner of the 98′ Leonardo Azimut still keeps the boat at the Acapulco Yacht Club. This Pacific Ocean harbor can keep the yachtsmen entertained for quite some time. Below are some photos of my time in the Acapulco Harbor.

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On August 28, 2010, in Boat Building, Photos, by Aaron

I’ve chosen to go with several thin strips of 16″ (0.8″ X 0.45″) teak for the outboard cap rail/rub rail.  The Glen-L plans for Lo-Voltage call for mahogany over 1″ in various sizes.

Using smaller strips is more time consuming, but very easy to work with when you are doing the job alone. Best of all, it yields a stronger finished laminate beam if you use proper epoxy glue and clamps.

I found it’s very hard to stem and clamp into place a 16″ strip of wood before it cools. For example, in the photo below, the plans call for a single (1 1/4″ x 1″) strip where I am using 6 laminates producing relatively the same size rub rail.

First layer of 3 laminates.

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Painted and flipped

On August 21, 2010, in Boat Building, Photos, by Aaron

After the epoxy hardened, I applied 2 coats of Interlux 2 part epoxy primer/barrier coat and sanded. Next, I applied 2 coats of flag blue, Interlux 2 part and reduced Perfection paint using the roll and tip method. I am happy with the result, but I did need some fairing.

Next, I will start on the teak cap rail.

I’ve built a rolling dolly so I can move the boat around the shop.


Vineyard Haven Marina

On August 19, 2010, in 61 Marlow, Cruising Notes, Photos, by Aaron

The Vineyard Haven Marina is the very best marina in the Haven.  It has an amazing staff and is a good facility overall. Perhaps the only advice I can offer is to try for a slip close to the beach and have your bow to the shore or the sea.  It was a little rocky just behind the T-head, but now that I am on the face dock with my bow to the beach, it’s perfect.  In fact, I’m going to leave my boat here for a week while I fly home. The Dockmaster is always checking everyone’s lines and fenders, and I’m sure I can get one of the dock crew to check on my boat while I am away. It’s the kind of place you don’t really worry about security and let’s face it, if Obama is arriving later today for a 10 day vacation then the island is pretty well secured. Be aware however, that if the wind decides to swing around from the NE, then the harbor will get quite bumpy.

There are some strange liquor laws here in the Haven, but there is a second floor self-service bar at the end of the dock. There is a good mix of both big boat crew and owner operators, but everyone is very friendly.

If you really love this place, then it’s for sale  for just over $4,000,000.00.

The Haven is by far one of the best stops on your way North.

Our Marlow in VH

Office and Club House

I’ve added a short video of  a bad day in the Vineyard Haven Harbor. In this short clip the wind speed is 22knots and we have swells rolling in the bay and marina. This is rare here but it does happen, when it does, move to a slip that allows ou to spring your boat off the dock.

Oriental S.C. Fireworks

On August 15, 2010, in Cruising Notes, Photos, by Aaron

Oriental is a very small town located in South Carolina on the ICW and it was a surprising great stop over for July 4th. The town hosts a community fair and if you lay alongside outside of the seawall in the Oriental Marina, you’ll have front row seats to a very good fireworks display.

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Megafend or Megafailure?

On August 15, 2010, in Captain's Rants, by Aaron

Inflatable yacht fenders in so many ways are simply fantastic! Well, when they work. Recently I ordered 3 large Megafend brand fenders from West Marine online ( and after 12 hours they were all deflated, and my Marolw 61 was smashing against the floating docks at Charleston City Marina.

Now, I will say, I have been using inflatable fenders for years now and I have never had a failure of any kind and I will continue to use them, however there are two rants here about customer service.   First and foremost, West Marine took almost a month to respond to my email to their customer service department. That’s just embarrassing! I’ll never order from West Marine online ever again. The second point is that the people at Megafend responded to my email the very next day and they knew some of their fenders had defects, but would send me replacements as soon as they had some on hand. That was the right thing to do, however, it’s about two months later now I haven’t heard from them yet.

The defect was a very slow air leak at the seams and you can see in the photos where I have sprayed a soap- water solution and the bubbles illustrate the leak.

Cruising New York Harbor at Night

On August 11, 2010, in Cruising Notes, Photos, by Aaron

It’s hard to keep your eyes on the road and radar with all of the splendor of the NYC skyline at night, but use caution.  It’s a busy place to cruise.

General traffic is the most obvious issue here.  There are the rapid ferry services, tour boats, other yachts and giant barges that have little ability to quickly maneuver in the swift 3+ knots of current. Losing track of vessels in the background light is text book here in the harbor and compounding the matter are the many tour and ferry boats that almost never use any sound signals when coming off the dock or maneuvering. A big tip is to steer clear of the ferry terminals.   They come blasting out of their slips with no signals and the captain’s eyes are not adjusted to the light change as they hit the gas towards New Jersey.

There are three main security zones that are notable to a yacht’s night cruise in NYC harbor.  One and two are clearly marked on your navigation chart, which are the zones around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.   You can get fairly close here and it’s not really a concern. The other zone is around the aircraft carrier and submarine museum on the Hudson around mid-town.  This 1,000 yard zone is monitored by a security guard who can activate a very loud, and not to mention embarrassing siren, announcement for half of the city to hear.

Night cruising in New York Harbor is a perfect example where AIS is your biggest savior.  Most of all the commercial traffic is transmitting and are easily visible on your scope and the same goes for your vessel if you are transmitting. I can’t say this enough that all boats should have an AIS transceiver!  Buy it, install it and learn how to use it.  It’s easy, trust me!  The same goes for the dinosaurs that are running yachts.  You know these guys, the captains that sit around the yacht club bar, but don’t know how to respond to a text message from their twelve year old daughter.  These are the same captains that have no problem telling you that “I’ve been a captain for twenty-five years, I don’t need that gadget” all the while their nuclear powered pacemaker is keeping them alive.

Surprisingly, there is little or no official security presence here in the NYC harbor and there are no special regulations for cruising the harbor for US flagged vessels. Since the rules are always changing for larger yachts and foreign flagged yachts, always check with official and current sources for any changes, not just a google search or by asking the dockamster.

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On our journey to Acapulco, Mexico via the Panama Canal on Litos a 98′ Azimut Leonardo, we spent a month in Roatan, Honduras. The best marina choice is Barefoot Marina and resort. A small key on a private island with plenty of water. Run by a nervous couple from America, they have some great villas for rent, a restaurant, pool and  likely the best little spot on the island.

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LED rope light is the only choice for yachts. Lower energy consumption, longer lifespan and very low heat. In the past, LED rope light has gotten a bad rap, here’s why.

1) If you want the same color (color temperature) as traditional incandescent rope light, make sure you order “warm white” not “cool white”

2) This is important, there are two ways LED rope light is made. First, let’s start with the most common and cheap ( THE WRONG STUFF).  This stuff has the LED’s at a 90 degree angle to the rope and this causes problems if projecting beams of light. You will either drive yourself crazy trying to twist the rope so that all of the LED’s are projecting in the same direction, or just end up with an uneven glow.

The Wrong Stuff

The proper LED rope lighting for our purpose is hard to find and it’s even harder to find in 12 or 24VDC. In the photo below you can see the LED’s shoot this light along the rope, which casts an even glow around the rope.

The Good Stuff

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Aging Rope Lights, Fire Risk!

On August 3, 2010, in 61 Marlow, Yacht Engineering, by Aaron

After about 6 years of use on our 2003 Marlow yacht, all of our rope lighting is due for replacement. In the photo, you can see the plastic is actually burnt and the wiring is dripping with green rust slime. Compounding the problem, the power source is 110VAC which makes it a real fire risk.

The burning color is simply due to the age of the rope light and I’m sure today’s plastic is better suited for this application; yielding a longer and safer lifespan.

Green slime?  Yes!  The dripping green slime is because of the high humidity in the marine environment. Many boats have problems with accelerated corrosion in the ship’s electrical system, which is mainly attributed to poor grounding.

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