January 26. After a restless night of strong easterlies churning up the outlying anchorages of Banderas Bay, we decided to take advantage of the untypical breeze and continue on our journey south. Anchored in Punta Mita for the last few days, enjoying some splendid paddle surfing with friends, it can be very hard to make the final decision on when to leave. The surf was great, the company was even better, but at some point the “just one more-itis” has to stop, and destinations further down the horizon have a stronger draw than catching the next set of waves. Besides, I had already over served myself over the past few days with too large a helping of orgasmic liquid hills to slide down, and now my body (shoulder) was paying the price. Two days before, I had consulted with Rob on s/v Shindig, and all weather indicators were saying that a Monday (Jan. 26) departure should be a good day to head south. Shindig then headed to La Cruz for one last dock party, which we avoided, if only because we would have to yet again pry ourselves away from the money spending good time that is La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.
Out in Punta de Mita, we are out of VHF range from La Cruz where a very informative morning radio net happens six days a week. Unable to catch the weather, and unable to communicate with my fellow boat friends who talked about heading out Monday morning, I made the decision to weigh anchor and start the nearly 100 mile sail south to Chamela Bay hoping we would run into our friends enroute. Instantly, we caught the easterly winds that blew hard all night and raced out to the Tres Marietas islands, where unfortunately, the wind just died. I took the opportunity to cook myself a good breakfast, and learned through some very spotty radio reception, that our friends decided to wait until Tuesday to leave La Cruz. We thought about turning around. We had no new weather info onboard to consult, but thought that maybe our friends received a more recent forecast which swayed their decision to stay. We continued on our way, but not without second guessing the decision at least 100 times. The wind stayed light enough for the next three hours, that when coupled with the overcast conditions causing us to be low on battery power, we decided to motor sail for a while, and hope for the best. A bit over two hours later, the wind filled in, the engine was shut down, the upside down spinnaker was hoist between the masts, and we gradually sped up, with the sides of my shit eating grin proportionally getting higher with each knot in speed we gained.
Punta Ipala is a potential anchorage to use on this otherwise long and exposed section of coast if one wants to break up the long trip to Bahia Chamela. It is a small, and often rolly anchorage that we had entertained stopping at if sailing much slower than anticipated. Luckily, as we approached the Ipala area, the wind had filled in so nicely, we decided to drop the spinnaker and continue on what was starting to become a FAST downhill sled ride. From about 3pm, just outside of Ipala, until 9 pm, when we dropped the hook in Chamela, the sail south was out of this world! We were catching surf after surf after surf! In between surfs, my speed never dropped much below 8 knots, and while skidding down the freshly formed slopes, we would sustain speeds over 13 knots for what seemed an eternity! We covered nearly 60 miles in the last 6 hours…which is a DAMNFAST average for this 36′ cat! We horizon jobbed another boat faster than we’ve ever witnessed before. A “horizon job” is when you see a boat on the distant horizon, catch it and watch it disappear from sight on the horizon behind you. In the world of sailing, sometimes a “horizon job” can take days and days. This one lasted 2&1/2 hours. …at this point my cheeks were really starting to burn…😁
At sunset a couple of reefs were tucked into the sails without ever changing our course, heading straight downwind and downswell. We barely slowed our pace at all. I’m continuously astounded by C2F’s ability to easily sail deep and/or dead downwind and catch surf after surf, often times sailing DDW faster than the wind itself. This is generally impossible with most sailboats, and really, the conditions have to be just perfect for this to happen on C2F. Having the hook down by 9pm afforded a perfect night’s sleep.
Coming up…the Nowegians in Bahia Chamela…