1982 Formosa 51ft Pilot House Ketch

20 November 2015 | La Manzanilla, Jalisco, MX
20 November 2015 | La Manzanilla, Jalisco, MX
19 November 2015 | Tenacatita
19 November 2015 | Tenacatita
18 November 2015 | Tenacatita, Jalisco, Mx
18 November 2015 | Paraiso, Jalisco, Mx
17 November 2015 | Paraiso, Jalisco, MX
17 November 2015
16 November 2015 | Chamala, Jalisco, MX
15 November 2015 | Bandaras Bay
09 April 2015 | Banderas Bay
09 April 2015 | Banderas Bay
05 April 2015 | Punta de Mita
05 April 2015
05 April 2015 | Punta De Mita, Mexico
12 December 2014 | La Cruz
05 December 2014 | Chacala
04 December 2014 | Chacala
03 December 2014 | Chacala
02 December 2014 | Chacala

Land Ahoy!

26 April 2013 | Guaymas
Leaving Topolobampo with another 220 miles to go towards Guaymas meant 36 hours at sea. It is good to see that we can handle Fantasia easily between us on such a long passage even though there were a couple of times she tried to get away! We try not to push her too hard and there seems a very tender line between going like a train and suddenly being overpowered. Somewhere around 20 knots we need to start reefing but this always seems to creep up on us leaving us to struggle to get everything in with so much power in every sail and sheet. We are so lucky to have a roller main sail system which makes getting the sails away so much easier. We have managed to sail most days and from Topo we had southerly winds enabling us to make good progress with mizzen and cruising chute. Don't we just love to see that 20 foot high Fantasia hippo emblazoned on our chute!

The wind dropped about 10pm and we enjoyed one of the most perfect night watches with a fantastic full moon with us throughout. We were amazed to hear people on the VHF radio from the other side of the sea and recognised some boat names. We heard the names Heavy Metal and Cat2Fold both of which we have caught up with several times over the last few months. A little later we were quite disappointed to hear of a pot luck in Ramona Cove, it sounded like a great party but we were over 100 miles away! We also heard Lungta on the Sonrisa net following us up the coast a couple of days behind. We had met them in Nuevo Vallarta when we had had an impromptu sundowners party on Fantasia and e-mailed them from Topolobampo to give them our anchoring coordinates. We hope to catch up with them in a day or so when they expect to arrive in Guaymas.

The following day the wind had dropped and we had flat calm all morning during which we saw the largest pod of dolphins we have ever seen. There were hundreds and hundreds of them and we managed to get some great pictures as well as some film as they swam, leapt and dived right across in front of us. I think both of us would agree that it is the natural surprises that make every day so special in Mexico.

The afternoon breeze eventually kicked in and by the time we could see the entrance to Guaymas harbour we were being headed by 20 knots from the north west. With a short choppy sea our movement was as much up and down as forward and we decided to take in the sails and motor the last few miles. Rather than go right into the harbour we chose to anchor in Catalina Cove where we had dragged anchor nearly six months before. Whilst in La Cruz we had managed to obtain a 75 lb anchor for coconuts to replace the 60 lb CQR which we have never quite been able to trust. With 75 lbs of steel and substantially more than the recommended amount of half inch chain on the bottom we are a lot happier and Fantasia did not move an inch this time.

Back in Catalina Cove we listened to the morning Sonrisa net and heard of a yacht called Jazz en route between Bandaras Bay and Mazatlan that had put out a distress call and was thought to have gone aground. We recognised the boat name after hearing it the radio while we were in La Cruz. No further information was available and we have been thinking about the single hander all day unsure as to whether anyone responded to his distress call. Here in Mexico you cannot take it for granted that if you press the red button you will alert the rescue services.

It is no mean feat to make a journey such as the one we have just completed. Relatively few boats make the trip of over 550 miles between Bandaras Bay and Guaymas along the Mexican mainland coast. There are few places to stop and many of the anchorages would be foolhardy to attempt at night. In many instances the charts are inaccurate and even where the information is more up to date, moving shoals and sandbanks can mean it is unsafe to enter a harbour without research. Shoals extend up to 5 miles offshore and we have seen standing waves offshore where the water is very shallow. Long lines also extend several miles out and have proved a menace for many cruising boats when they have got caught around a yacht's keel, rudder or prop. However, with a long keel and vicious rope cutter on our prop we are pretty confident that we can slip right over a line without mishap. We took advantage of a broad weather window and we had no plans to take chances with very limited rescue services. During our 5 days at sea we saw half a dozen shrimpers and no sailing yachts at all. It was an amazing trip which we have both really enjoyed. The plan is to sail around the corner another 17 miles to San Carlos where we are being hauled out before flying back to Europe to spend the summer at our house in France.
Vessel Name: Fantasia
Vessel Make/Model: Formosa 51
Hailing Port: Puerto Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico
Crew: Stuart Cooper and Karen Key
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Fantasia's Photos -

Who: Stuart Cooper and Karen Key
Port: Puerto Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico