Close Encounter of the friendly kind…

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We didn’t have much wind yesterday for our 24 mile sail from Puerto Ballandra to Caleta San Juanico. It started off with barely anything, then we started getting a bit of a NE breeze. At times we were sailing in excess of 6 knots with no seas at all. Very pleasant conditions. Then the wind decided to ease off, leaving us drifting along at just over 1 knot. I was able to use the spinnaker and we started seeing 2.5-3 knots again. I figured we’d start motoring when necessary to make sure we arrived at our destination before dark. We always try to sail rather than motor whenever possible. Not only is it a much more quiet an pleasant experience, it is absolutely free!
So here we are, drifting along at the pace of a turtle, music on, Deidre and I are chit chatting away, when suddenly I hear the hum of a motor behind us. I turn around and to my surprise, there is a 45′ (or so) vessel motor/sailing only a couple of boat lengths behind us, and heading right for us! I jumped up in shock, readying to alter course so as to avoid a collision, when I recognized this unique, junk-rigged, steel ketch as s/v BellaVia and our friends Jack and Monica, whom I hadn’t seen since the beginning of the month down in Punta de Mita. What a pleasant surprise! Putting their motor into neutral, we drifted along together and exchanged brief stories about where we had been, and where we were going. With Caleta San Juanico as the common destination for the night, we made a date to hang out, and have a few drinks. They slipped their boat into gear and we watched them as they slowly pulled away from us. We kept sailing (drifting) and hoping for the wind to pick up. It never did, so by 3 pm, we dropped the spinnaker and started motoring to our destination so we could arrive by 5 pm.
Cat2Fold is equipped with 2 – 9.9hp Yamaha outboard motors, and we can carry about 35 gallons of fuel. With both motors at full tilt we can cruise at just over 8 knots, but with only one going, we can still make over 6 knots while burning half the fuel. So, unless we are in an extreme hurry, or we need the maneuverability of running both, we almost always use one motor at a time, switching back and forth on different days to try and keep the hours just about even. On top of that, we try our damndest to sail to all of our destinations without even turning on a motor.
On the 20,000 lb , things are a bit different. She is equipped with a large diesel motor and 200 gallons of fuel on board. With two junk rigged sails made of plastic tarps, she doesn’t necessarily sail very well, however with their motor running at just above idle speed, Jack and Monica can cruise very efficiently at 5 knots. In fact, while motoring nearly everywhere, they haven’t had to refill their fuel since they started this cruise in Guaymas last fall! For us, trying to sail everywhere we go, we have probably gone through the same amount of gasoline as they have diesel. Interesting comparison there!
After dinner, Jack and Monica came over to Cat2Fold, where we had drinks and caught up with each other for a few hours. They are Canadians from north Vancouver Island. Jack is originally from South Africa, but moved to Canada when he was 16. I think I mentioned this somewhere here before, but Jack is probably the biggest fan of Cat2Fold that I have met. Having built his own boat, and having designed several others, he could really appreciate the amount of time, effort and engineering involved with creating this comfortable, trailerable catamaran.
Waking up to a glorious sunrise, BellaVia was already gone. Just as swiftly and quickly as they caught up to us yesterday, they silently slipped away, chasing the sunrise across the Sea of Cortez on their way to put the boat away and head back home to earn more “freedom chips”, as many of us still have to do. I’m not sure exactly when or where…maybe in Guaymas, maybe Jackson Hole, maybe up in Canada, hell, maybe only in some version of an afterlife, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing this young spirited couple once again. Cheers!