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Friday, May 06, 2016

May 6, 2016-Going Off The Grid

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Pool at Puerto Bonita

Two days ago we left La Paz and set sail north, just a few miles to Caleta Lobo, where we were to meet Alert, with Anastasiia, Oliver, Emily, and Nate, our friends from La Cruz. The sailing was really nice and we were engrossed in it, especially after I noticed another sloop beating the same way ahead of us. The wind was light and we were not powered up with our #4 jib but we were still making ground on that boat. I have to credit Judy, however, for selecting that #4. Even though it was smallish for the light stuff at the beginning when the wind filled in it was certainly the right sail and soon we had 18kts of wind and were sailing high and fast. That boat we saw was Compass Rose and when the wind built they changed down to a smaller, hanked-on, jib, during which time we got quite a ways ahead. That sail change looked tough, sails were flapping for a long time. Wings is easy to sail and we really love sailing it, and when we compare it to many other cruising boats it does stand out. Here we are effortlessly sailing higher and faster with a small headsail which Judy and I can easily handle and which doesn't have to be changed when the wind builds from 6 to 16. Nor do have to compromise with the shape of a partially rolled in roller reefing genoa because we don't have roller furling. Maybe we should, but, as it is, this boat suits us well. Most cruising boats have a lot of compromises to make operating them less effort or more convenient, but many of those compromises affect the sailing ability. With so many compromises which affect their sailing ability, even to the point of making it difficult to set sail, many cruisers must find it just too much trouble. I can understand that and so I can understand why so many cruisers don't sail much, but then why have a sail boat? Our Wings might be ordinary on the race course surrounded by other racing boats, but out here on the cruising circuit, because it is really easy to sail, it stands out, sailing is fun for us, and we do often.

It is so unusual to see boats sailing that we take note of it when it happens. Anchored in Caleta Partida we noticed a tall sloop outside the harbor beating south. Then it tacked towards the opening. Now that is really unusual, nearly all cruising boats motor everywhere, and never go to windward. We watched the big blue sloop as it came nearer, tack on tack. An older boat, but nicely sailed, except that the jib seemed slow to come in after the tacks. Then we realized it was being single handed. That makes it hard to get a big genoa in, so we had more admiration for the skipper, who we met, Brant. The boat is Carina, a 43' Sparkman and Stevens from the mid 60's. It shows a lot of influence from the 12 meter boats they were designing back then, down to the trim tab on the end of the keel. But the story should be more about the sailor than the boat. Unfortunately I did not get a photo of Brant; I'll do so next time, but he is a nice guy and real sailor.

This may be our last stop this year in La Paz, but we enjoyed being back here for the first time since 1997. It hasn't changed much. Maybe we can come back in future years.

jim slosson image
Jock Budelman talks to us, with Pat

But in other news, we took a ferry (and bus) trip to Mazatlan to spend a week with Jim and Pat Slosson at the beautiful Puerto Bonita Emerald Bay resort. We had a wonderful time chatting with Jim and Pat for a week. Jim and I go way back, to college, and we covered a lot of ground in our talks. We also had lots of good food and drinks, and the pool (one of four) was fantastic. Thanks to Jim and Pat.

That trip was interesting, particularly the overnight ferry each way and even the bus from the ferry to Mazatlan and back was an adventure. While in Mazatlan we went to Old Town to hear Jock Budelman play at Pedro and Lola's. We met Jock in Mazatlan in 1997. He and his then girl friend drove us around town in a ford Van with the side and back doors open and we shared the back with some cruiser friends and a big Harley. Jock was a sailor and a biker and a musician (his boat then and still now, was Chaunson, now based in the NW) and he played in clubs around Mazatlan. Now 86, he's still at it, and he still drives a van with a big bike in the back.

But a real highlight was the dawn arrival in Topolobambo, where the ferry lands. The water was sparkling and the sun was a huge yellow ball. I'm sorry I didn't have my camera because the views of the hills and water and the rising sun over the inland sea there were stunning. We plan to go back there in Wings in a couple of weeks so then we can do some photography.

But now we are off to go cruising on the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez, in the company of the Alert family, and we'll be away from Internet and email for a few weeks. Don't worry, we'll be back.

Click here for a few more photos.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Baja California

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