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Thursday, June 25, 2015

June 23, 2015-Summer Fun in Banderas Bay

Last week's clouds and thunderstorms made us think that with the coming of summer the good sailing was over but recent days have shown us that even in June the Banderas Bay thermals can still occur given a clear sky and a bright sun. In those conditions the bay continues to be great for sailing.

Sunday was one of those days, and when the breeze started to fill at noon we decided we'd go out. It was a snap decision. No planning, no discussion, just go.

I guess we just can't get enough sailing because just the day before we had competed in the "Downwind Umbrella" race, part of the marina's Summer Sailstice festival, not in Wings but in Mike's old yellow snark, which we borrowed and sailed to a clear victory. We had a new umbrella (from Walmart), color coded shirts, and hell, we even practiced the day before, so maybe we should have won, but it was Judy's faultless steering and the boat itself which gave us the victory; the snark has a centerboard and a rudder, and when the race turned into a reach the kayaks and dingys just slid off to leeward. Judy held us high and we glided to the finish line first.

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Downwind Umbrella Race Video

It was all part of the grand Summer 'Sailstice' festivity put on the marina and organized by Katrina and by Mike Danielson of PV Sailing. Oh, it was fun! Paddle board racing, giant paddle board racing, live music, Thai food cart for those who feel Mexican isn't hot enough, prizes galore, musical chairs competition, and the headline event, the downwind umbrella race for any dingy, kayak, or other craft powered by an umbrella or other homemade wind capturing device. Wally, from the yacht Stella Blue, sewed a square sail out of women's underwear and rigged it on his kayak, which looked cumbersome to me with all of its top/bottom hamper and rigging and sure enough, he and Antoinette, his crew, broached spectacularly right after the start. They got the wipe-out prize.

But we got a prize for first place, Judy got second place prize for her speed and agility in musical chairs, and we ate Thai food and drank beer and had a good time. Thank you Marina Riviera Nayarit and Mike and Katrina.

But Sunday!

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Judy Trims the Jib

Sunday was spectacular. Clear and hot, totally blue sky, beautiful blue ocean with white caps showing, and a great breeze in the high teens. The conditions were stunning. There is nowhere as beautiful for sailing as Banderas Bay on a nice day. We set sail and sheeted in on starboard and sailed upwind along the north shore. We held a big lift all the way up to Punta de Mita. After a pass through the anchorage there we turned downwind and set the spinnaker, executed a perfect jibe, and reached for home. The wind built to the low twenties and with the pole on the headstay and a long swell we were charging. The high speed for the day was 9.25 knots and I made Judy nervous by steering with one hand while taking photos with the other. But it was alright and when we got back to La Cruz we'd covered 27 miles. A good day's sailing!

Well, they say life is a reach and then you have to do a take-down. "No problem," I said. We turned downwind and put the sail in the lee of the main and dropped it on the foredeck. It went perfectly until I took the halyard off and then a wind gust blew the whole sail over the side into the water. We had to turn upwind to slow the boat and pull it back on board, and of course besides being soaking wet there is a pretty good hole in it. Dang! Well, I have a few sewing projects on the list already, I'll add that one.

Oh, then the engine overheated. Whew, another item on the project list.

So that's the report from La Cruz, despite everything, it was great.

Click here for more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle, Mexico

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 14, 2014-Looking for the Good Light.

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Flowers and Still Water

It’s getting hotter here in La Cruz but we’re doing fine; we’ve lived in hotter places. Like everyone who has chosen to stay here during the summer we spend a lot of time sheltering from the heat.

Mornings and evenings are cooler however, and cloudy days are also good, and we do what we need to do outside, even on the hot days. Normally, however, we hang out where there is an air-conditioner, in Wings’ cabin, for instance.

We also know that sailing will be rare for us this summer because it is really a lot of work in this heat, but we’ll go out occasionally despite the heat if it is a perfect day and we know we’ll like it when we do.

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Some days I grab the Nikon around sunset and venture out. That’s when the light gets good for photography. I am often surprised at how many people are out at that time. During the day it is a ghost town around here but in the evenings you find Mexican chicas jogging along the Malacon with their pony tails flying and Mexican families playing in the surf over at the beach. There are always the boys playing soccer. The locals know how to cope with the heat. To that extent, I guess we do too.

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Hurrican Blanca

Meanwhile we have hurricanes to think about. This is hurricane season and they have already started brewing. Blanco went by already, and Andreas before that, and both missed us. The local experts say that the hurricanes always miss us in Banderas Bay, but Carlos, the next one, seems to be curving right towards us. People are preparing. We are watching closely. So this season will be interesting I guess.

Click here for more photos, including the projected track for Carlos!

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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