We used Adele's car to run provisioning errands today. Our first planned stop was at Minney's in Costa Mesa (or maybe it's Newport Beach). So we headed up the PCH through Laguna Beach, Corona Del Mar and Newport Beach. It was a beautiful drive. The weather was bright, sunny and in the 70s. The Southern Californians were all good-looking, tan, and fit. All the cars were shiny-clean and new. Lots of convertibles, Ferraris, Jags, etc. I know that I was looking through rose-colored glasses but this is how it all appeared to me. Lulu, too. By the time we returned to Dana Point later in the afternoon, after driving among these folks all day, a little of the shine had worn off.
Minney's is a must-visit place for any sailors who get even close to Newport Beach. When we were down in San Diego on Friday, one of the guys at Downwind Marine told us that we really needed to go to Minney's. he was right.
This place was absolutely stuffed with marine surplus items. They have acres of sails and vow to never charge more then $1500 for even the newest, largest, most exotic sail in their inventory. Of course, most of the used sails are much cheaper than that. As we were wandering through looking at all the boat candy, all I could think was that Newport Beach sailors have it WAY too easy. With a resource like this a guy could save thousands of dollars.
One of the things I've been wanting is an extra autopilot. An autopilot is like an extra crew member as we found out during the first leg of our trip south when ours wasn't working. Granted, we have the windvane but I have yet to really master that device and besides, the autopilot works so much better when we're motoring. We have an older model Raymarine Autohelm 800. I wanted to get either an Autohelm 800 or 1000 of about the same vintage since it would plug right into the existing socket. I had very little hope of ever finding one. Figured that I'd probably have to find some other brand/model and install a separate electrical socket in parallel.
So, I'm perusing the shelves. I've been through the entire downstairs and almost the whole upstairs when I look up on an upper shelf. There, tangled up in a bunch of cables, wires, and other electronic devices are 2 tiller-mount autopilots. The first one I picked up was a Navico brand. The electrical connection actually looked like it would match up with my existing socket. Amazing! Looking closer, there were a few signs of tough use: a trim pot with a boogered-up adjusting slot and some spots that had been goobered up with silicone. But still, at $125, probably not a bad deal. Brand new units go for about $700. I hung on to the Navico while I extracted the other unit from the tangle. Damn! It's an older model Raymarine Autohelm 800, just like the one I already have! Can't be, but it is. And it doesn't look any the worse for wear than the one on the boat. I check the tag and it says "$95 As-Is".
"As-is"? Now what does that mean exactly? I carried it downstairs and talked to the folks at the counter. I told them that I know what "as-is" means but did they know if the unit even worked? They said that they don't test the stuff that comes in. They offered to let me take it back to the boat and, if it didn't work and I returned it today, they'd give me my money back. That wasn't going to work as we were in a borrowed car and still had lots more thing to do than we had time to do them without an extra round trip between Dana Point and Newport. Then, the guy told me which wire was positive and which was negative. "And by the way, there's a battery upstairs." I asked if that meant that I could test it. "I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that there's a battery upstairs." Is there any wire? "I don't know, all I know is that there's a battery upstairs." Well, you don't have to hit me with a 2x4 ( a 2x2, maybe). I went up stairs, fished through a few boxes to find some wire, bared the ends, connected them to the battery and then held the connections to the autopilot while I had Lulu press buttons. And, guess what. IT WORKED!!! Hot-diggity-damn! We now have a spare autopilot, an exact replica of our existing autopilot. And we saved enough money to make the purchase of new line for sheets and a mainsail halyard much less painful, even though we also got good deals on them.
After a stop at West Marine for some new zincs, we headed to Ralph's for groceries. It's been awhile since we've done a big shopping trip and we were really appreciative of Adele's car. We got some prescriptions filled and made a bunch of copies of all of our important papers for use while checking into Mexico. Then we returned the car to Adele.
It was greta to visit with Adele and Vince yesterday and again this morning and this evening. They've really made our stay in Dana Point enjoyable and totally painless.
And to make our stay even nicer, when we got back to the boat this evening we got a real nice e-mail from some folks here in the marina who saw our boat when they went out for a daysail today and then happened across our blog later this evening. Pretty cool.
Tomorrow we'll spend our time getting ready to head out again. That includes installing some of the stuff we've purchased the last 2 days as well as general clean-up and stowing.
But that's tomorrow.