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Has anybody done a harbor-hop trip up or down the Pacific Coast of Baja California?  I know lots of folks do Baja ha-Ha's, but they only stop 2-3x. I'm trying to gather some specifics about the possibility of going down the coast with stops every 40-100 miles.  It's been suggested to me by a couple of folks that it's doable, and looking through Google Earth suggests that it is, but 'tain' nothing like experience.

This is a POSSIBLE "Plan B" in case the SHTP doesn't work out ' cause of COVID. If I did it, it'd probably be in late October..

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Yes, certainly possible. I've sailed down twice, only stopping at Turtle Bay and Mag Bay each time. They are very well protected except Turtle Bay in a rare W/SW blow. There are lots of other spots that are sheltered from the prevailing NW wind/waves. I also know lots of people that did the Baja Bash this way.

I think people only hit a few spots on the way south because they are trying to get into Mexico as fast as possible - but in 1995 we spent 2+ weeks in Turtle Bay. A quiet little dusty town but we liked it. Got to be pals with 2 local fisherman. They brought us fish and we baked them fresh chocolate chip cookies. At the time you couldn't easily buy chocolate chips in Baja so they were well received.. Also got invited to an Quinceañera at the local school gym. Half the town went. A bottle of tequila on every table. 

Some stops, starting at the US border, heading South:

Ensenada or the bay behind Cabo Banda about 12 miles to the south.

Punta Colonet

Cabo San Quintin (just south of Lazaro Cardenas)

Punta Baja

etc etc. Just look on google maps sat views for all the hooked bays behind capes.

Probably only leg beyond 100 miles is the leg north of Cabo San Lucas. There is nothing for shelter for about 130 n.m.

image.png.fa28c54261c0922714463f1ce721bd66.png

 

Get a copy of the Baja Bash book. https://www.mexicoboating.com/baja-bash-2/ if you are heading north.

Charlie's Charts details most (?) of the minor anchorages.

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Alan,

There are a number of do-able daylight passages to reasonable anchorages along the Baja West coast; however, you may want to plan for one overnight heading south from Bahia Santa Maria or Mag Bay to Cabo.    After Ensenada we had good luck at San Quintin, Cedros, Turtle Bay, Asuncion, Abreojos, Bahia Santa Maria and Mag Bay with all providing good holding and protection.  Our experience with stopping along the way was restful and far more memorable.  Recommend that you pick up a couple of the excellent available cruising guides to compare their descriptions and recommendations.     

 

 

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Very do-able. Most anchorages require the prevailing NW weather. Be prepared for a forced overnight. If caught out overnight set a heading away from shore. After 5 miles there is nothing out there. Don’t fool with things like Sacramento Reef in reduced viz. 

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I put this together with just looking over Google Maps. I'll get Charlies Charts and the other guides if this is a GO.

I'm figuring on 9 - 11 days to get from SF Bay Area to San  Diego.

==========

 


Now, head down to Baja.

San Diego to Ensenada is about 60-70 miles. I’m thinking that once you’re 20 miles south of San Diego the commercial shipping is much reduced but the fishing boats are still out there.  So this should be an easy one-day sail, dawn to dusk @ 5 knots and Ensenada is a big commercial center with marinas and a boatyard. So if something goes wrong, I can get more help there.  If the nephews want to go, I’d probably take them from Long Beach to Ensenada…a three-day sail. I’ve never been to Ensenada, so let’s spend a day there. That’s day 12 and 13.

It’s about 150 miles down to the lagoon at Rancho de los Pinos, which has a sheltered bay and lagoon.  The entrance to the lagoon looks pretty easily accessible so it should be easy to tuck up under a windward beach and hang out. There’s Day 14, and a good 30-hour-plus sail.  Not sure if Bahia Colonet is a good place to stop if I’m really exhausted. There’s a blog post by S/V Madrone - https://svmadrone.com/2018/11/19/punta-colonet/. And their photos make it look pretty benign.  So lets say that Day 14 is to Bahia Colonet and Day 15 is to Rancho de los Pinos and Bahia Soledad.  That makes Day 15 a 42 mile sail. No problem.

Bahia Soledad looks really interesting and I might want to grab a beer in Molino Vejo, and hike to the top of the Volcano, so Day 16 and 17 are spent here. This is now a week after leaving San Diego +/-.

Now it’s about 170 miles down to the harbor at Isla de Cedros. Winds are likely to be pretty light, now so odds are that’s two full days sail, so days 18 and 19.  I will want to rest and hang out and hike while I’m there, so that’s day 20.

Day 21 is easy, to Bahia Tortugas, maybe 35 miles. There’s a good anchorage.  The town is tiny.

Day 22 is down to Bahia Asuncion,  looks like about 40 miles.  Day 24 and another 40 miles gets me to Laguna San Ignacio, which looks REALLY cool!!!  I will definitely get the inflatable kayak out and tour the little islands. There’s Day 25.  I get lots of sleep that night.

Now it’s about  60 miles to the headland at San Juanico and the little town.  Day 26.  90 miles +/- down to San Carlos and Magdalena Bay, which is a pretty big town on Day 27.   It would be really easy to spend a day or two in Magdalena Bay, that’s where the gray whales overwinter!  So call that day 28, and heck…day 29. I can tank up on water and gas, here.

Now it’s an easy  25 mile daysail down to the inland side of Isla San Margarita to Puerto Cortes, with a hike across the island to the ENORMOUS beach.  Day 30.  Get lots of sleep!

Now it’s about 130-140 miles…an overnight sail with essentially nowhere to stop…it’s all open beach, down to Cabo San Lucas.  Day 31..

Anchor out in Cabo San Lucas, the marina’s are killer expensive. Day 32.

Now sail 40  miles up to the anchorage at Villa los Frailes.  Day 33, Rest on Day 34 in the anchorage.

Now sail 40 miles up to the anchorage at Ensenada de Muertos, Bahia de Muertos.  Day 35.

Now,  Day 36 sail to 10 miles  to La Ventana, and work with Phil to haul out the boat….OR

.. sail about 50 miles up to Pichilinque, or any of the Bays or marinas around La  Paz. Day 37. Might be kickass windy around La Ventana, it’s a kitesurfing spot.

Hang out in La Paz for 3 days.  Days  37, 38, 39.  Day 40, pull the boat up on the launch ramp, store the boat, pack up.

Day 41 fly back to the USA.  10-11 days on the USA California coast and 30 days on the Mexican Baja California coast.

 

ay 40 fly back to the USA.  10-11 days on the USA California coast and 30 days on the Mexican Baja California coast.

CONCLUSION —  THIS IS DOABLE

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I keep reading about Turtle Bay, it finally sunk into my thick skull....Bahia Tortuga. Duh.

42 days is a lot to take off of work.  SHTP would require more like 24-25 days.

All this is just for estimation purposes. Odds are good that I would cut the trip short at San Carlos / Magdalena Bay. If I add 3 days of "flex" to all that time coming down the coast, because of whim and weather, I'd get to Magdalena Bay roughly on Day 30. Spend two days in Mag Bay, then haul the boat on a trailer on Day 31... Trailer to La Paz.  I read that it's a 3-hour drive from San Carlos to La Paz.    Day 32, 33, 34 are spent in La Paz. Day 35 is spent putting the boat away in whatever dry storage I can figure out, and fly home on day 36.   I just have to get a trailer down to La Paz, first.

 

It wouldn't be a cushy trip, it's be like beach camping, but doable.

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Better places on the east coast of Cedros than that dismal harbor. I’ve spent many days anchored all along that island. The fishermen will bring lobsters.

Your plan is reasonable, if a bit unadventurous. And liable to get thrown out at any one of the capes. 

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I think what you describe is possible and folks have done it but there's a reason the HaHa stops only a couple of places.   If you can make it work that's great but I think the reality is that you would be better off following the HaHa approach and spending more of your total time post Cabo.  It is more remote, colder and often windier than you might realize on the Baja Pacific coast.

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The two HAHA's I've been on had some nice cross country hikes at the two rally stops.  The first is turtle bay were you can hike up the mountain behind and to the south of town to the big beach to the SE, (where the haha has a big party).  The second is a few fishing shacks just north of Mag by tucked behind the prominent point.  Its labeled on Google maps as "Capilla de Angel De La Toba Dominguez dedicada a Virgen de Guadalupe".   Two hikes there.  One; the prominent mountain ridge out towards that point in a Southerly direction.  Get up on the ridge top after the road/track runs out and run the ridge.   Sporadic evidence of faint trail here and there, might be more since my last trip in 2013.  The second is along the river road then up and over the isthmus to the long sand beach to the north.  Its a wild seeming place.   Bring lots of water & sturdy shoes.  I don't know if they are around but I've never seen any snakes on those hikes.  I'll add that I'm an experienced off trail hiker but its all pretty straight forward.

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33 minutes ago, ExOmo said:

I think what you describe is possible and folks have done it but there's a reason the HaHa stops only a couple of places.   If you can make it work that's great but I think the reality is that you would be better off following the HaHa approach and spending more of your total time post Cabo.  It is more remote, colder and often windier than you might realize on the Baja Pacific coast.

Remote is good!  Cold and windy....*meh*!

NOTE: I'd be doing this solo, in my 26 foot S2 7.9.

If I put in a couple of overnights and just hit the big lagoons, I could easily pare this down to 4-5 stops from San Diego  to Mag Bay.

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Baja Boaters guide by Jack Williams is pretty good for the outside.  It's old and some stuff is obviously dated but alot of good info.  We got our first copy from a guy who did the coast in a tiny boat in the 60's, gave it away swapping guidebooks along time ago and just picked another one up in Nicaragua. Patti Raines info Info is good but a bit much for the whole book.

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Very do able. I did it in about three week in 1996.  I felt the Ha Ha would be going to fast and I wanted to travel at my pace, I'm glad we did.  We checked in Ensenada, be sure to give your self enough time for that.  We hooked up with another boat and ended up buddy boating down the coast,  this too can be helpful. I never entered a Port, bay or anchorage after dark.  That said we spent maybe three nights at sea.  Your chart guides are your friend, use them heavily.  One of the nights we were underway was off Sacramento reef,  I chose to be approximately twenty, twenty five miles off shore looking at typography I could see that it could be a washing machine, a number of boats were getting the S  kicked out them five miles off shore,  I had about five boats checking in with me on half hour bases, we were sailing great. So don't be afraid to put a little distance between you and the shore, for comfort if need be. Your out there to enjoy yourself.  If your having a good time someplace and the weather is good spend the extra time what's the rush.  

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OK, so doable.... overnights at sea are no problem for me.  Sacramento Reef, huh?  I will have to look this up.

 

IF this happens...if, if.... and I'd much rather do the SHTP..... I'm not in a "rush" exactly, but I'm not totally open-ended, either. I'll still be employed this coming October (hopefully).  My boss knows about SHTP and knows that I want to take 22-24 days off of work in June-July. I could probably stretch that to 30 or 32.  42 days is a LOT more, thus my interest in maybe stopping the trip in Mag Bay. Doing a few overnights and skipping a couple of anchorages would move things along.  I'm not a surfer so sticking around somewhere for a week to savor a particularly fantastic point break isn't on my agenda. Exploring estuaries by kayak is definitely on my agenda.

 

The thing about the S2 7.9 is that while it's really small for a trip like this, it can do this:

pics279ha.jpg

 

and this...

pics279105b.jpg

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14 minutes ago, Alan H said:

OK, so doable.... overnights at sea are no problem for me.  Sacramento Reef, huh?  I will have to look this up.

Reading this thread with interest as I look at possible alternatives for a trip south next year (considering Vancouver-Hawaii and return, 2-3 months?), but your Baja Mex coastal idea is intriguing me.

Anyway, re: Sacramento Reef, plenty on the web about it.  But interesting to see that avid fishermen also consider it a great fishing spot.  All that to say - instead of just regarding this reef as a danger to avoid —which it is— also maybe see it as something to explore, at a costal stop, to go out and fish at, as you head south?  I’m no fisherman, but it looks cool.

See: https://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/threads/k-m-sacramento-reef-trip-part1.265044/

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I would advise against getting anywhere near Sacramento Reef. Unless one has an as yet unknown accurate chart. It is a mess of scattered, exposed and hidden rocks. Especially so for those sailors trying to cut inside (why do that?). Plenty of fish elsewhere. We once had a million dollars of yellowtail around the boat anchored behind Cedros. Get a license before going. 

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1 hour ago, Alan H said:

The thing about the S2 7.9 is that while it's really small for a trip like this, it can do this:

pics279ha.jpg

 

and this...

pics279105b.jpg

Not to de-rail your thread from your proposed coastal voyage, but tell me more about your S2 7.9.  I’m intrigued!  I miss my Cal 20, as cramped as she was sometimes...capable sea boat, properly outfitted, but no daggerboard, so much harder to trailer voyage, as you’re talking about.  (I’d earlier considered, and started outfitting for the SHTP in my Cal 20 before deciding to focus on my 33’ boat for longer distance cruising.). Would the S2 be your SHTP boat too? (Wonder if this one for sale in Polynesia was sailed there?!)

Don’t want to de-rail your thread here - have you talked more specifically about your S2 7.9 in another thread (in SA instead of CA)?

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1 hour ago, Alan H said:

Ah, I see that what I've been calling Bahia Soledad is actually Bahia San  Quintin.

Don't skip this stop. One of my favorite spots and ideal for a boat like the s2. 

 

Another hidden gem on the path less traveled is San benito outside cedros. Super remote, but kinda magic. Pretty far offshore for your boat, but if the weather dictates, it's good to have options

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While a trip down the outside of the Baja would be fun, getting back is not as much fun. 

If you have a trailerable boat and suitable tow vehicle I would certainly trailer it to Bahia Los Angeles or Loreto in late October, sail around that area for 2-1/2 weeks and trailer home. Totally makes it doable with your schedule. AND then you are not worrying about making a schedule.

Oh - late October is dicing with late season hurricanes so do consider that. The water will still be warm though.

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15 hours ago, Alan H said:

Remote is good!  Cold and windy....*meh*!

NOTE: I'd be doing this solo, in my 26 foot S2 7.9.

I have experience along Baja California. Racing, delivering, cruising, surfing, powerboats, sailboats, cars, truck, both sides. First trip 1983. It's no joke.

https://www.patagonia.com/product/the-voyage-of-the-cormorant-a-memoir-of-the-changeable-sea-by-christian-beamish/BK227.html 

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1 minute ago, Zonker said:

While a trip down the outside of the Baja would be fun, getting back is not as much fun. 

If you have a trailerable boat and suitable tow vehicle I would certainly trailer it to Bahia Los Angeles or Loreto in late October, sail around that area for 2-1/2 weeks and trailer home. Totally makes it doable with your schedule. AND then you are not worrying about making a schedule.

Oh - late October is dicing with late season hurricanes so do consider that. The water will still be warm though.

That is a much better idea.

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9 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Not to de-rail your thread from your proposed coastal voyage, but tell me more about your S2 7.9.  I’m intrigued!  I miss my Cal 20, as cramped as she was sometimes...capable sea boat, properly outfitted, but no daggerboard, so much harder to trailer voyage, as you’re talking about.  (I’d earlier considered, and started outfitting for the SHTP in my Cal 20 before deciding to focus on my 33’ boat for longer distance cruising.). Would the S2 be your SHTP boat too? (Wonder if this one for sale in Polynesia was sailed there?!)

Don’t want to de-rail your thread here - have you talked more specifically about your S2 7.9 in another thread (in SA instead of CA)?

Well, a quick search of SA for S-2 7.9 will reveal that there's a hardcore following for the boat, especially around the Chesapeake and on the Great Lakes.  S2 made over 500 of them, which is a pretty darned good run. An S2 7.9 did the Doublehanded Pac Cup.  When I first got into mine, sitting on a trailer in a lot about 90 minutes south of me, I was seriously impressed by the glass work. I'm used to looking at "Santa Cruz ultralight" glass work and this was just as good. I bought the boat on the strength of the preposterous price I got it for ($5K including the trailer)... the avid accolades that I kept reading about the boat on SA...and the fact that the cockpit was well laid out for shorthanding.

 The Daggerboard lifts with a winch and tackle arrangement and gets pinned into a very substantial floor-to-overhead case for trailering.  There's 600 pounds of lead in the bilge.  The Hull is classic 80's MORC, it's just like an Olson 911-S or the other  Graham-and-Schlageter S2 boat, the 9.1.  Some of the S2 designed boats were pretty hideous. Some were nice.  G&S was a very smart design team, so the S2 9.1 and the S-2 7.9 sail really well. I have only one complaint about the boat. You can NOT let go of the tiller....not for one second, or it will head for the leeward side and you will round up. You HAVE to control the tiller ALL the time, there is NO..none, zero directional stability. The rudder never loads up, you can steer with three fingers through a huge stall out, rail-under-water roundup,  but even going to windward, you MUST control the tiller.

 

One downside is that the full-height daggerboard  case really compromises the interior.  To starboard is the permanently-installed head. It's a glorified porta-potti, but with a pump-out. it originally came with a door to the compartment, but you have to be a midget to use the head with the door on it, so pretty sure that most people just take it off. On the other hand, tying the cabintop and the floors together with that case is silly-strong construction. The sink is utterly useless, it drains into the bilge on my boat. The water tank  holds about two gallons. The ice box drains into the bilge, and it's good for weekend stuff but not more than that.  There is no stove, you'll have to make/buy a gimballed stove.

The boat has a huge mainsail and a pretty small foretriangle.  Spinnakers are easy to handle.  The rudder is outboard on pintles and gudgeons, which is either good or bad depending on your perspective. The One Design rudder is "kick up" and pivots on a substantial bolt between aluminum rudder cheeks. This is fine for nearshore work, I built a non-kick up, doug-fir-core rudder for offshore, as the One Design rudder has a track record of failing in strenuous situations.

 

Upshot...it's  a GREAT MORC-derived overnight racer for solo or doublehanded. It's a TRULY great non-ultralight, MORC day racer for 4-5 crew. I would "cruise" it for a week with one other person, but you're not sleeping together, as it's a PITFA to get into the forepeak.  I, personally am good with camping for days, weeks on end, so me taking it solo to Mexico sounds like a blast to me.  To someone with a "real" cruising boat, it might sound like a nightmare.

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On 3/7/2021 at 6:57 PM, Alan H said:

I, personally am good with camping for days, weeks on end, so me taking it solo to Mexico sounds like a blast to me.  To someone with a "real" cruising boat, it might sound like a nightmare.

Thanks for all the details.  Sounds like a great boat for this particular mission -trailer it back  Versatile boat.  (But No Shoes, above, might think it too big :-) - looks like, from his very cool-sounding booked her wrote that he linked to above, he took a Drascombe Lugger or similar open boat.)  I miss my Cal 20, but never liked dealing with the fixed keel.  

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37 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Thanks for all the details.  Sounds like a great boat for this particular mission -trailer it back  Versatile boat.  (But No Shoes, above, might think it too big :-) - looks like, from his very cool-sounding booked her wrote that he linked to above, he took a Drascombe Lugger or similar open boat.)  I miss my Cal 20, but never liked dealing with the fixed keel.  

Stupid iPhone autocorrect.

Above, read: “cool-sounding book he wrote”

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On 3/7/2021 at 11:54 AM, no shoes said:

I have experience along Baja California. Racing, delivering, cruising, surfing, powerboats, sailboats, cars, truck, both sides. First trip 1983. It's no joke.

https://www.patagonia.com/product/the-voyage-of-the-cormorant-a-memoir-of-the-changeable-sea-by-christian-beamish/BK227.html

Which of Iain Oughtread’s designs did you build, Christian? I think I read that the boat you took is 18’ long - sounds like maybe the 18’ Swampscott Dory or 19’ 6” Caledonia Yawl?

(It tweaked my memory/imagination - after passing along my Cal 20 to some keen, young sailors a few years ago [and currently outfitting a 33’er for extended voyaging...money and systems-heavy!] - I’ve long toyed with the idea of a boat like that for around here in summer, the BC coast/Georgia Strait/Salish Sea.  No engine or small electric if wanted, nice rower, boom tent to sleep under, etc.  I’m not gutsy or experienced enough to take it on the open ocean/exposed coast...but seems perfect for solo or doublehanded summer voyages on this coast, or trailer south to the Sea of Cortez.)

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2 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Which of Iain Oughtread’s designs did you build, Christian? I think I read that the boat you took is 18’ long - sounds like maybe the 18’ Swampscott Dory or 19’ 6” Caledonia Yawl?

(It tweaked my memory/imagination - after passing along my Cal 20 to some keen, young sailors a few years ago [and currently outfitting a 33’er for extended voyaging...money and systems-heavy!] - I’ve long toyed with the idea of a boat like that for around here in summer, the BC coast/Georgia Strait/Salish Sea.  No engine or small electric if wanted, nice rower, boom tent to sleep under, etc.  I’m not gutsy or experienced enough to take it on the open ocean/exposed coast...but seems perfect for solo or doublehanded summer voyages on this coast, or trailer south to the Sea of Cortez.)

Uhhh. I'm not the guy in the video. Just posted it to show the difference between the dream and the reality. I've done it in boats from 24 feet to 143 feet. Maybe 30 times. So you'll excuse me if I'm not impressed by this plan. 

Baja is no joke. I don't think a $5000 centerboard S2 with a bungee cord autopilot, singlehanded, is an appropriate vessel for the voyage proposed. He's got no water, his sink drains into his bilge, no stove, no idea the lengths of the legs. (Oh I'll sail the 40 miles of Los Frailes in one day).That plan is preposterous, and you guys that have done know it. Hell, he just found Turtle Bay (ya know the big one). It's easier to sail to Hawaii than to sail to Baja and stop every night. You day sailing, San Francisco guys, crack me up. Oh I sail in San Francisco Bay and I don't sail at night, so I'll just cruise down to Baja in my centerboard 26 foot boat by my self and anchor every night. It's will be easy. I'll wait for Alans yelp review of Baja. "I give Baja California 1 star, the fuel pier in San Carlos would not take my discover card" He loves to rant. 

Also, El Boracho, ( "the drunk" for you non Spanish speakers) says, after five miles, theres no one out there.  Uhhhh. for all you single handers, I'm out there. Don't worry, I'll stay on watch for you. 

I agree with Zonk, Loreto. I have trailered a boat there. Spectacular. Hey, he will get to use that lifting rig Scott built him. 

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30 minutes ago, no shoes said:

Also, El Boracho, ( "the drunk" for you non Spanish speakers) says, after five miles, theres no one out there.  Uhhhh. for all you single handers, I'm out there. Don't worry, I'll stay on watch for you.

That's what I am counting on: you watching and worrying for me. Thanks. However anyone who has sailed out there knows that "nothing out there" is closer to the reality than constantly plotting CPA and calling traffic. I encounter more traffic between SF and Honolulu than offshore along the Baja. 

I agree with your opinion that it is easier to sail to Hawaii than to do what @Alan H plans. However I think it will be a great adventure. Not particularly unsafe. Far better than dying in a Barcalounger with unrealized dreams. Alan should abandon trying to plan the legs in favor of making certain that the sailor and vessel are ready for the situations that may arise. And buy a guidebook and the several charts...

 

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58 minutes ago, El Borracho said:

That's what I am counting on: you watching and worrying for me. Thanks. However anyone who has sailed out there knows that "nothing out there" is closer to the reality than constantly plotting CPA and calling traffic. I encounter more traffic between SF and Honolulu than offshore along the Baja. 

Wow. There it is. How would you know about the traffic? You're sleeping. Have another beer and take a look at rule 5. My experienced crew of privateers will be looking for you.

HA! My wife just came in the pilothouse and said " are you preparing for your meeting today with the Mason 63 owner going to Mexico this fall?" I said "no, arguing on the internet with the drunk and Alan H about sailing to Baja" She said "for free?" 

I didn't have an answer for that. Gotta go. See you out there, but you won't see me. 

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It's the schedule that's the problem. Especially the getting back part of the equation. Time pressure makes you do dumb things.

We were just arriving in Tonga and I said "Hey when do Mark and Val fly to meet us in Fiji" - quick check of the calendar. OH FUCK.

So 1300 miles from Aitutaki (Cook Islands) to Tonga, 3 days enjoying Tonga, and then another 400 miles passage to Fiji. That was a clear instance of a calendar running our lives. Thankfully the weather was benign so it was not that big a deal. Really would have liked to stay longer in Tonga.

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2 minutes ago, no shoes said:

Wow. There it is. How would you know about the traffic? You're sleeping. Have another beer and take a look at rule 5. My experienced crew of privateers will be looking for you.

HA! My wife just came in the pilothouse and said " are you preparing for your meeting today with the Mason 63 owner going to Mexico this fall?" I said "no, arguing on the internet with the drunk and Alan H about sailing to Baja" She said "for free?" 

I didn't have an answer for that. Gotta go. See you out there, but you won't see me. 

Yeah, I passed you out there. You were in the pilothouse on watch but had your head down in a book and never saw me. Later I noticed that you left your boat at anchor to go ashore without leaving anyone on watch: Check your ego, get a grip, live a little, and take a look at Rule 5. 

 

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Santa Cruz 50 with the little jib right? I saw you. We keep 3 on watch at all times. Armed shore watch, in port, at anchor. Come on aboard buddy. 

Rule 5. Check out the part where it says "at all times" 

Check my ego? Yeah you're right. 

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On 3/6/2021 at 7:49 PM, ExOmo said:

I think what you describe is possible and folks have done it but there's a reason the HaHa stops only a couple of places.   If you can make it work that's great but I think the reality is that you would be better off following the HaHa approach and spending more of your total time post Cabo.  It is more remote, colder and often windier than you might realize on the Baja Pacific coast.

This ^ plus the fact that fuel is still a hot commodity. Venture in these more remote places and you risk not having the essentials you may need.

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If you think remote is good, try the Baja coast that’s east of Cedros Island. I’ve been in at Santa Rosailiita. There are several small anchorage along there. Hidden Baja.

 

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What to do about water, when your sink reservoir is maybe two gallons, at most.

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"San Francisco Bay Area Sailors who never sail at night"...um.  I've done three LongPac, a four-night sail  in September to qualify for this SHTP (if it happens)  and two, 16-day passages to Hawaii.  What I have NOT done is harbor-hop down a coastline that I don't know at all, with just a couple of overnight passages.   So you know, before I jumped in and committed to that, I thought it might be wise to ask some folks who HAVE done it.  Besides, it might not happen anyway.  The Mrs. is making significant noises about being scared about me going alone.

It appears that I have "no shoes" on ignore, but I can see all you folks responses to him.  He seems like a very unhappy person.
 

 

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10 hours ago, El Borracho said:

 

I agree with your opinion that it is easier to sail to Hawaii than to do what @Alan H plans. However I think it will be a great adventure. Not particularly unsafe. Far better than dying in a Barcalounger with unrealized dreams. Alan should abandon trying to plan the legs in favor of making certain that the sailor and vessel are ready for the situations that may arise. And buy a guidebook and the several charts...

 

So, I'm not a "cruiser" but I'm not stupid, either!  LOL  I'd buy Charlie's Charts and a couple of Baja guidebooks.  I'd print charts that cover the whole coastline...hard copy and take them.  I will have 4 GPS's on the boat, three of which are mapping...oh, and there's GPS on the installed VHF and on the handheld, too.

I budget for a gallon of water a day, so I'd carry something like 20 gallons and figure that I could only fill up once or maybe twice on the way down.  The boat has an outboard motor, I'd probably carry about 9 gallons of gas, which should  move me and the boat about 100 miles, more or less. I'd figure on only being able to get gas once, maybe on the trip.

I have one anchor, with rode.  It's a Danforth.   That gets double-checked and the length of chain probably would get doubled.  I'd buy another  anchor, probably a Bruce.... and  150 feet  of  nylon rode with 50 feet of chain.  Can I haul that up by hand?  Yes.  The standing rigging is 3 years old. I'll have new halyards and a mess of spare line.  I even have....I know this is insane but I'm serious.....three pieces of aluminum tubing and the necessary wire such that if I'm dismasted, I can rig up a 20 foot stick and put on some little dinky sails.     I'll have some sort of shore dinghy, though it  might be an inflatable kayak.    I have an emergency rudder, if I lose the real one.  I have an EPIRB so, God Forbid, if I have to I can scream for someone else to come save my ass.  I have a Garmin tracker so the wife knows where I am.  I'd probably rent a satellite phone so I can phone home.    I have storm sails. I have light air sails.  I have one autopilot, would probably add a second one.  I have  100 W worth of  solar panels.

If I can....

Sail
Figure out where I am.
Have something to eat every day.
Have enough water to stay hydrated.
Anchor

Get to shore

take a dump

Have a place to sleep on the boat

Then not sure what else is necessary for a trip like this.  But I'm willing to listen!  That's why I'm asking!
 

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I'm hearing what's being said about the schedule being the most dangerous part of the whole thing....that schedules and calendars can dupe you into doing stupid stuff.  

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I have also filed away the suggestion made up a 'ways....that if I have a trailer for the boat, then haul it down to Loreto, drop it in the Sea, and just fart around for 2-3 weeks.Then haul it back out again and drive home.

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Check out "Anchor Geekdom" on CA for anchor testing and results. The Bruce may not be the best choice. I'm not a believer in lots of chain. I have never used more than 15 feet of it and I've cruised all over including where you are going. I currently use a 13 pound Mantus with about 10 feet of chain on a very light and aerodynamic 32 foot cat. I have also used the Viking anchor and like that one. Both reasonably priced. Good to have a Danforth where you are going, and something else if that doesn't hold, but lots of chain? not so sure. I anchored in quite a few "nooks" doing the Baja bash years ago. I'd love to do that coast again.

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You would seem to be plenty qualified and experienced. The Baja shore is harsh. Rocky shorelines and unapproachable beaches is the norm. Weather is unexpectedly foggy and chilly. Coming down from SF one finds improving weather at each cape expecting that to continue. But the dream abruptly ends S of the border until Cabo Falso. One fine evening a desert gale came up that forced a broad reach offshore. Blew until dawn found me and the red dust encrusted ship 100 miles offshore. Expect plan-changers like that and you will be fine.

Charlie's Charts is what I have always used. You can figure if an anchorage is not mentioned therein then it probably is not usable. The traffic along the coast is almost entirely cape-to-cape. Cruise ships, tankers, large fishing boats, sport fishers, and grumpy shoeless sailors will be on those lines. So avoid in poor visibility. The frequent tugs-and-tows crossing to Isla Cedros are a thrill to find in the fog. But those are on another well-defined line. Cellular internet connectivity is surprisingly good near shore. Ensenada is by far the best place to check in and out. Take plenty of yummy snacks to offer to your new amigos for when they give you lobster. Very basic food is available in most villages: like rice and eggs to go with your fish. Probably should bring your own kale and tofu :)

Trailer sailing the Sea is a fantastic idea and a completely different experience than the Pacific coast. Very hot in the summer.

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Okay Alan, you might not see this, because you have me on ignore. So, to the group.....

That was harsh and I respect the sailing he's done, so I take it back. 

Alan, If you choose to go to Baja this fall, I'll see you there. I'm going to sail that Mason 63, (Covid willing) to PV via a stop at the Seven Sisters and a few other places for some surfing. My friend has a house at Punta San Andreas. We will be keeping a proper watch at sea, an anchor watch at anchor and shore watch in port. Its how we roll. 

I admit, I didn't dig your rant on my friend Scott Easom and his business. But, I guess, you can't please everyone all the time. You seem like a hard customer to please. I hope your inflatable thing works out, and your credit union gets your money back from Russia or whatever. 

In general, I think single handed sailing is not good seamanship. I'm not talking about going sailing by yourself. I'm talking about voyaging under sail alone, leaving the rest of us to look out for you while you do not keep a watch. SHTP and other perhaps organized, well publicized events maybe excepted because everyone is aware of the event taking place. Perhaps, because the Mexican fishermen I have met, don't follow sailing races. I know, single handed sailing is not going anywhere. It's been going on since humans have gone to sea, but I can't be the only one who is kinda pissed these guys are not keeping a proper watch. I guess Rule 5 is optional or open to interpretation, or somehow not for single handed sailors.  So, I guess that gets to me. Maybe I'm the only one, so if I am, I'll HTFU.

Baja is no joke. Even El Borracho, who maybe I own an apology to, ( I haven't decided), agrees; it's easier to stow your outboard, leave San Francisco, and follow the contrails, and listen for Hawaiian music and RDF your way in, than it is to do what you propose. Going to Baja, alone, in a 26 foot S2 centerboarder, with an outboard motor, a couple jerries of water, a couple of jerries of gas, your racing anchor, some beans and your beefed up rudder, well it's just not for me mate and I can't recommend it.  I, myself, have been over 30 times by boat. Once, some Sea Scout friends (oldest guy on the boast was 20) and I thought it would be cool to sail a Freedom 33 cat ketch to Cedros Island. It wasn't. Not all the way, every time, but lots of miles there, East and West coast. Catalina 30 to the Santa Cruz 70, Blondie. I've driven the length many times. In everything from a 1986 Toyota SR5 shitbox to a BMWX6.  Fucking. Scary. Every. Time. Lost 4 surfboards when a truck made so much wind the both of the forward straps failed. Punta Santa Rosalillita, the seven sisters, K55, K38, are my high school memories. I bought my first surfboard above Hussongs cantina (a San Miguel thruster). I was lucky enough to camp, alone with a woman before all the violence. I've paid mortida, been boarded, arrested (deserved), got waves on surfboards and sailboats. Pre GPS I've been lost, in a different cove I thought I was in because every thing looks the same, quickly overpowered. I've been camped surfing at Alejandros, it was so fucking windy we packed up and went to LA Bay. It requires a high degree of self sufficiency. There are long stretches between "harbors" that don't offer much in the way of supplies. There is no water, little fuel, little food, no vessel assist. Your little jug above is not going to cut it. The weather is cold, windy, the northwesterly is relentless, waves legit. Every PV race veteran has his Cedros Island story. I've got a few. It's my opinion, (which I understand, you don't need to take on board with you, but you asked, if anyone here has done it) that your itinerary is absurd.

Your cavalier *meh* about being windy and cold also struck me the wrong way. If you'd ever hunkered down at "The Wall" you would never say such a thing. So, perhaps It got to me, so I apologize. 

Living in San Diego, I've seen lots of cruisers from the north and talk about how they are looking forward to an easy, warm sail to Mexico. The reality is different. In my opinion, which you are free to not take on board, while you may be up for it, maybe your boat is not the right one. I would follow Zonkers advice.

Why would you drive an empty trailer to La Paz? Pack up your centerboarder and take it to Loreto. Isla Danzante, Isla Monserrate, Playa Blanco, etc. are spectacular. The sailing is warm, pretty flat water most of the time. Supplies although, still tight, are more available. Splash in Loreto, hire a local to drive your trailer to La Paz, and work your way down. It's way more doable. 

If you choose the outside and you need something I'll be keeping a radio watch on 16. I mean it.

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  • 1 month later...

After parsing all this and reading some cruising guies, my conclusion is that...

1.) My S2 is a tich small for the trip. Not that it can't DO it, just that after a month that little boat is going to get uncomfortable for this old guy.

2.) The sailing part of the trip is doable, but it would mean that I'd have to buy a trailer and haul it down to Baja, then haul the whole damn thing back to the SF Bay Area.  Do I want to do that drive, twice?  Answer is "no".   If I DID do something like this, I'd probably pick a smaller, lighter boat that's easier to trailer, and launch in the Sea of Cortez.

So I'm opting for a Delta trip instead.

Thanks for all the information, team. Y'all helped me think this through.

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