Month: January 2015

Matt’s TOP 10 Gizmos and Gadgets

Shortly after purchasing YOLO, I realized that I didn’t know jack about shit (boats) and all of the associated systems. A year later…I still have A LOT to learn but feel like I have a much better grasp of what makes a boat float and function. The following is a list of items that have proven to be VERY helpful, if not essential, to all of the work I (we…CoCo has been working too) have accomplished so far. Here they are in no particular order. Simply click the image and you will go directly to the Amazon page and the exact item. ***If you do purchase from the links we have provided, we get a TINY kickback from Amazon that goes towards the kids boat-schooling fund.***

This may be the most used tool on the boat. Really handy when you are deep in the engine room and realize you need the flat head instead of the phillips, or a different size! I think I have to give credit to Michael on s/v Del Viento for suggesting this tool on his blog.

Kinda like the CHAMWOW but mucho mejor and excellent for just about anything that needs mopping up, cleaning, etc. It really is amazing how much water this thing can hold.

Have used this on countless occasions to label all kinds of stuff: cockpit instruments, engine limitations, thru-hull identifiers, electrical panel, etc. We got ours at Costco but this one looks pretty similar.

Yup, gotta have this on a boat, no question about it. Remember, you have 12V and 110V systems that will require troubleshooting and testing.

If you want WIFI on the boat, then this is one of the better options out there.  There are a few more components to this, so email me with questions about YOLO’s WIFI and hotspot setup. Also, my friend Matt at has a great article on this particular setup with some instructions as well.

The almighty heat gun. Since we can’t have a gun on the boat in Mexico, this was our next best option. NO, not really. But if you are trying to slip a sewer hose off of a fitting that was installed in 1986…you gotta have this. Also nice for heat shrinking waterproof electrical connections.

If you have to do any kind of electrical wire work, then step up to a ratcheting crimper. World’s apart from a basic set of crimps.

 Goes along with the crimpers and heat gun above. Nice assortment of waterproof heat-shrink terminal connectors.

Stainless Steel screw assortment. It seems that Mexicans do not believe in stainless steel hardware. 98% of the hardware stores down south do not carry stainless steel. Not sure why, particularly in these coastal towns. Back in the states, Harbor Freight is another good option to find variety packs of stainless hardware, though not sure how long they would last.

I call this the MPD Mastclimber. I was too cheap to pay for the one that is sold as a nice kit, under the name ATN Mastclimber, so I made my own.  if you don’t trust your First Mate to safely get you up the mast…this is a must have. There are a few more bits and pieces to create this, email if interested.

I started out with an Energizer “El Cheepo” headlamp. It just didn’t cut it. This is the one to have if you like to light it up.

So I guess I am a little over the TOP 10 count. But here are a few other things to have on your list, most of which I sourced on Ebay:

  • Large assortment of Stainless steel hose clamps
  • LED lightbulbs to retrofit your boat lighting…make sure you figure out what kind of bulb, base, etc they are
  • Viber app on iPhone or Android. Great way to make nearly free international calls.
  • Ratcheting pivot wrenches. Pretty expensive but can really make certain jobs a lot easier…still on my wishlist.

We may just have a weather window tomorrow! Will post an update via Facebook if we are a go.

Holiday Fun, Boat Projects Galore & Lots of Beginner’s Mistakes

We suck!  There is really no good excuse for our lack of blogging, other than the fact that we’ve been completely bogged down in boat projects and our internet was terrible.  We are novices at this and did not realize that an internet booster is a MUST!

We’ve spent the last month elbow deep in boat projects.  Installing heads, changing engine oil, and cleaning bird’s nests out of the boom, to name a few.  Who knew getting a boat ready to cross the Sea of Cortez would be so much work!?


In the midst of all of the boat project frenzy, a red tide rolled in.  For those who aren’t familiar, a red tide is an algae produced by temperature changes in the water.  It strips the water of oxygen and kills multitudes of sea life.  It begins by turning the water all kinds of greens and reds.  Hundreds of fish dangle at the top of the water gasping for oxygen.  Slowly, the fish begin to die and the stench is awful.  Thousands of dead fish, several dead dolphins, and hundreds of ducks die.  The fishermen stand at the edge of the piers and cast nets in the water catching half dead red snappers.  The next day they’ll show up at your boat selling cheap red snapper (no thanks).  Tracking the different types of dead sea-snakes and fish entertained the kids for hours, so it wasn’t all bad.

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We had always planned to head back to Phoenix for the holidays, so we loaded the car up the day before Christmas Eve and drove the 9 hours (feels like 25 with the children) from San Carlos to Phoenix.  Matt was able to work a few gigs to fill up the coffers again and the kids said one more goodbye to all their friends.  It snowed on and off for two days (yes it snows in Phoenix) and after a great holiday vacation we are safely back home on YOLO.20150101_072010 20150101_071957


The kids were persistent in returning to their favorite sand dune beach, so despite windy/choppy conditions, we took the dinghy on the 2 mile jaunt.  We noticed the seas picking up, but we’re beginners, so we stuck around, played in the sand, read, and even had lunch.  When we were finally ready to leave, it was too late.  There were 25 mph winds and as we were pushing the dinghy back in the water, I was slammed into the boat head first and nearly knocked out.  I of course looked around out of sheer humiliation.  Yes, everyone had seen it.  As I righted myself, waves were pounding the dinghy and filling it with water.  We turned the engine on and attempted to leave the beach, grounding the prop in the process.  The waves were still pounding the dinghy and literally filling it with water.  The engine couldn’t handle the weight and the kids were screaming and crying looking like drowned rats.  We were not #winning.  Matt turned the dinghy around and headed back to the beach.   He dropped the kids and I off and we were finally able to get him off the shore without filling the boat with water.  Moral of the story…dinghies and 25 mph winds/waves don’t mix well.

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Just when we thought things were settling down, Colter ran his scooter into the water (this is the second time a scooter has wound up in the marina)!  Matt and I both proposed the other dive for it.  When neither of us jumped at the opportunity, we hired a diver (for $20 bucks) to find it.  The marina water is less than sterile.  I’ve seen many a turd drift by, not to mention the permanent layer of oil/gas/chemicals that sits on the surface.

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YOLO is finally feeling like home.  The weather has been in the 70’s/80’s (boy did we miss the sunshine) and we are tying up all our loose ends in anticipation for our upcoming Sea of Cortez crossing!

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