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Thursday, December 18, 1997

December 19, 1997-A Day On My Own

Hi folks,

Yesterday I was awake at first light but I stayed in my bunk reading, until, looking through the aft hatch, I saw sunlight shining on the boat bringing it's welcome warmth after a cool night.

Judy is away for a while helping her sister in San Diego and I don't feel much need to have any kind of schedule, so I didn't move until 7:30 when I finally got up and walked to the veggie truck to buy some fresh bread and eggs.

The veggie truck driver charges a little more than I pay at the supermarket, but his stuff is very fresh, particularly the bread which is often still warm from the oven.

After eating breakfast and washing up I started on my project for the day: a sail belonging to another cruiser which needed a new leech tape sewed on. I worked on that sail all morning and it still wasn't done. It is hard work pushing and pulling a big genoa down through Wing's bow hatch and through the sewing machine to put on a new leech, and by noon the day had turned hot, with a clear sky and bright sun, even though rain was predicted, and I was sweaty and tired. I took a break and went over to Far Niente to see what Carl and Joann were doing.

They too had been hard at work on their own boat projects, and were ready for a beer, so we all sat down in the shade of their awning and took a breather. We drank our cold Pacifico’s and watched the activity in the marina.

Lots of boats should be coming and going these days, since the weather has calmed down from last week's northerly blow, and Far Niente's cockpit affords a front row seat for any action. Of course at noon on a hot day in Mexico things get a little subdued. In fact, in the heat and blindingly bright sunlight nobody seems to be moving anywhere, no boats coming in, just a few people shuffling along the quay with their big hats on and heads tilted down to shield their eyes from the sun.

Even sounds seem subdued at this time of day, so it was a very peaceful show we were observing.

Afterwards it was back to work and then in the early afternoon, just as I finally finished the job, Guillermo showed up and helped me fold the sail. We also folded one other big sail I'd worked on the previous day. We had a cold beer and talked a while. Guillermo is our bow man when we race here, and he works on Landfall, a big old wooden ketch owned by a guy from Acapulco. He likes to come by Wings where he thinks he can practice English while I practice my Spanish and we can talk about racing.

Neither Guillermo or I are too good at the other's language, but we get by, and besides, it is mostly an excuse to drink Pacifico's. Yesterday Guillermo talked about whether he would be able to finish the varnishing of Landfall's cabin sole before the owner shows up this weekend, he had one coat drying already, and he was worried about rain, since he had removed the floorboards and was varnishing them on deck.

I didn't know what to say, so we both shrugged our shoulders and took a long pull on our beers.

Then Guillermo told me about the discos he was going to most nights and we talked about music a little. He told me about a radio station in Mazatlan which plays a mix of Spanish music and modern US rock and roll, which I immediately tuned in; a nice find in my opinion.

After Guillermo left I showered and caught a bus to town. I'd been working long hours for the past week, hadn't taken time to shop, and I had no food on board. I wound up at the Central Market because that was where the first bus which came by took me and there I found most everything on my list except liquid dish soup (liquido para platos). Plus I was hungry and I'd decided to eat out rather than come home and cook, so I headed out in search for taco stands and a store which had dish soap.

I probably covered three miles wandering back and forth through the old town between the market and the beach and I found my dish soap as well as several good taco stands.

These stands sell small tacos for about $.50 and I sampled several. Usually I stand behind the crowd and watch what people order. Sometimes you have to order what you want by name, and I knew "Taco", "Gordito", "Vampiro", "Gringa" and some others. I usually stick with what I know, or if it looks good I just point.

Some places just have one item, and all you have to do is tell them how many. My favorite is a "Vampiro" which is a toasted corn taco with melted white cheese, charcoal grilled beef, and salsa. Yummy! Finally I caught a bus for home; it was 7:30 P.M. I watched Mexican TV for a while and at 10:00 P.M. I turned off the light. All in all it was a pretty nice day, but I still wish Judy was back.

Fred (by himself), SV Wings, Mazatlan


Monday, December 01, 1997

December 2, 1997-Passing The days in Mazatlan

WINGS rests peacefully in her slip in Marina Mazatlan with winter clouds overhead and a light rain spitting occasionally, the slight impact of a cold front which swept it's storms over the Pacific Coast and was grand enough to swing all the way down to this part of Mexico. Other than this hopefully brief spell of cooler weather (mid 70's) we've had endless days of warm sun and gentle breezes combined with cool nights. The weather has really been nice and so has been our stay in Mazatlan.

We had Thanksgiving here with a lot of the cruisers, contrasting to our last Thanksgiving which was spent with just the two of us in Ensenada. Yes, we've been a year in Mexico now, and those of you watching our trip from home must be quite bored with our lack of progress or new exotic places to report. Well, that's the reality of cruising...months of relaxing and short passages to the next port. After all, we do have years to do this, don't we?

We have been sailing often here and we even sailed in one race, of sorts. It was the Revolution Day Regatta put on by the Mazatlan Sailing Club. There were two local boats out of about twelve which made the start, three visiting yachts, and one sloop from the sailing school at El Cid. The big competition for WINGS was Black Swan, a 44' registered from Seward Alaska and owned by friends Darrell and Sandy.

After a week of build-up, and lots of preparation, the race itself, other than being a great day of sailing, was a little of a let down since the windward mark sank somewhere out in the blue Pacific and the exact place of rounding was left to each yacht's observance of a GPS location. WINGS led the way around and finished 1:15 ahead but Black Swan (or the Dark Duck, as they call themselves sometimes) was credited with the win on corrected time allowance. The other boats trailed in over a period of about an hour and everyone thought it was a lot of fun. This was the first race WINGS sailed in in Mexico where there actually was good competition all the way around and it was a lot of fun holding off the Black Swan guys on the downwind leg but seeing 2nd on the results board put us all in a blue funk. We dismissed the whole thing due to there being no windward mark.

We had a fun crew though, a real multicultural experience. There were four people from other cruising boats (three with experience), and three young Mexican men with little or no experience or English. We selected the crew for fun rather than looking for the hottest talent available (not to discredit Joann, Carl, and Pat who are experienced racers,) so in addition to no-one knowing where we were going all day we didn't know what we were doing either, but luckily no foul-ups or broken equipment although Guillerimo got his neck in a jib sheet and while he saved his head he lost his beloved "Tilly" hat. It put new meaning to the directive, "keep your head in the boat".

We all went out to dinner and the boys had "all you can eat ribs" while us old folks had normal menu items. Some things about sail boat crews never change; take a twenty year old male to dinner and they always want the biggest meal they can get when the skipper is paying.

Tomorrow Judy is heading north to stay with her sister Margie and help arround the house. Margie's husband is home from the hospital and needs a lot of care and Margie could use the help for a while. Judy plans to be back in time for us to go to Guadalajara for Christmas.

So that is about it for now. We hope you all are having a nice quiet winter up north and wish you were here in the sun with us.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mazatlan

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