Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Leaving Ensenada

Notice the retractable bowsprit on this classic woodie.

Yesterday we traveled to the wine country in the Guadalupe Valley. I won't go into the details of each winery we visited but one that stood out was Adobe Guadalupe. The architecture of the buildings is distinctive as are their wines, and the tour was informative and entertaining. Another unique winery was JC Bravo. This is a small place, still under construction, but they are producing a red and a white that were quite good. At Bravo, wine is made the old fashioned way, with dry farmed grapes and old style equipment. Needless to say, we returned to the boat loaded down with a variety of interesting wines.

We decided to stay in Ensenada one more day so I had time to wander around the marina and look at some boats. This time of year is a slow season for the marina. Most of the boats that migrate south from the US and Canada to cruise in Mexico have come and gone, and it's not yet the season for northbound boats to arrive. So most of the boats here are more or less permanent. Or they are like Finisterra, getting a late start on the cruising season in Mexico. As I wandered the docks I noticed that cruising boats seem to be acquiring more and more gear: Solar panels, wind generators, various antennas, dinghy davits and racks, etc.  Below are some photos to illustrate what I mean.

This pretty little cruiser is overloaded with steel-work and stuff. I would not like to be caught out in a blow on this boat, which is an otherwise seaworthy vessel. Notice that she's down by the stern and has a pronounced list to port.

Nereida, Jeanne Socrates' boat was on our gangway and looks pretty good for a boat that has recently been around the world non-stop.

At the far end of the marina I spotted a MacGregor 65. It had been heavily modified for cruising, but I question whether it would ever be a good cruising  boat regardless of what equipment is added to it. M65's are very quick boats downwind but they are not well suited for cruising because they don't have the load carrying capability or structural strength for the work of a 65 foot cruising yacht. Of course M65's have been cruised successfully but I'd wager that their owners kept the heavy cruising toys to a minimum.

Too much stuff on this M65? Notice that it's down by the stern and listing to starboard.

I paid careful attention to the weight and location of all the equipment, supplies and provisions we put aboard Finisterra. Still, fully loaded she is down by the stern about an inch and lists to starboard about half a degree. But her decks are relatively uncluttered and she's easy to move around on, and her sailing qualities haven't been compromised too much by a lot of steel-work and extra weight above the deck.

We have a nice weather window opening up so we're leaving Ensenada tomorrow, headed for Turtle Bay. If sailing conditions  remain good we'll continue on to Bahia Santa Maria, or Los Cabos.

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