Saturday, January 13, 2018

Day 597 to 602 of the Third Voyage: In which we prepare to go north so that we may go south.

We wanted to go south. We REALLY wanted to go south. South puts us closer to the Caribbean, our ultimate destination. And, more importantly, it puts us closer to our OTHER destination which is out of the hurricane box. A place we need to be out of by June—a scant 20 weeks away. And even though we should never, EVER, put ourselves on a time table, we really, REALLY, want to be in El Salvador by April 1st—which is an even scanter 11 weeks away. Figuring in two weeks for a haul out, we have nine weeks. Editor’s Note:  That seems like a lot, but the official Raven algorithm for determining an ETA is thusly: Take the total nautical miles to be travelled, divide by 5 knots average speed, multiply by the likelihood of something going wrong (which is holding steady at 87%), add a zero to represent the likelihood that this figure will change, divide by 24 hours in a day, multiply by two because each day seems to take twice as long, put the whole thing in a cocktail shaker, and then pour it onto a calendar because who knows what day we’ll actually leave. By this equation, we need 32 weeks to get to El Salvador, give or take a year.

But the prudent thing is to go north, even though it adds another week of travel time. North is Banderas Bay aka Puerto Vallarta and vicinity. There we can find haul out yards, paint, parts, and skilled workers. We’re familiar with the area, we know people there, and our favorite steak place is in Nuevo Vallarta—so it’s a no-brainer really. Plus, if one more major thing goes wrong, there are lots of boat brokers there as well.

The Captain sees this as a setback of sorts. But lots of cruisers go back north to haul out, so I’m trying to look at it as a 270-nm round trip detour—the mother of all scenic routes as it were. Once there, we’ll have the bottom painted, the roller furling fixed, and take care of a couple other little issues while we’re in the yard. The alternative would have been to make for Chiapas—750 miles to the south—but with our two primary sails out of commission, we were a little nervous about setting out without knowing what kind of services we might find there. A bottom job is one thing; finding a rigger who knows something about first generation electric furling systems is another. So a detour it is, but we’re not going to rush it. We’re going to stop in Tenacatita—the anchorage we had to blow off on the way down because the gears were acting up. We’ll anchor in Chamela and see if we can spend more than 10 minutes ashore this time. And we’ll tuck in to Ipala where last time we didn’t make it to shore at all. Who knows? Maybe we’ll finally, FINALLY, have a good cruising experience. It could happen.

Since this post is shorter than usual, please enjoy the following filler:
Tiny truck.
 Tiny bus.
Tiny slice of heaven.