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Old 11-23-2023, 10:54 AM   #1
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Weebles heads to Mazatlán

We’ve been anchored off La Paz’s Malecon for 8-days. The anchorage is wide-open with quite a bit of wind and current so while not awful, isn’t an idyllic Baja anchorage. By far, the most attractive part is Marina de La Paz, an incredibly cruiser-friendly marina with large dinghy dock and purified water. Home to Club Cruceros with its small club house daily yoga sessions, morning coffee, and VHF Net.

As much as we’ve enjoyed La Paz, it’s time to move on. Boredom Alert – following goes pretty deep into passage planning.

I’ll start with a sobering thought: With undulations and islands, this chartlet probably includes close to 1000 miles of coastline. With exception of islands near La Paz, this chart shows every anchorage or town of consequence - all 5 of them (gulp!). I’ll say it another way: this chart covers roughly 40k square miles and 1000 miles of coastline. Between La Paz and Mazatlán , there are three feasible route options with a total of five reliable places to stop between.

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Option 1 – Topolobampo and La Perla. This was our first choice but was discarded. At 100nms, it’s the shortest distance to cross the Sea of Cortez, and both Topolobampo and La Perla would immerse us deeper into Mexico vs Baja which is heavily gringo. However, it’s about 200nms to Mazatlán with only one stop mid-way – a total of three 100nm legs. Plus, Topolobampo and La Perla have 6-10nm entrance channels which greatly complicates arrival and departure planning.

Option 2. Frailes to Mazatlán. From La Paz, 55nms to Muertos, then another 45nms to Frailes. Both are good anchorages, the typical open bay common along California and Baja. At 165nms, this is the shortest crossing to Mazatlán on the lower Baja. For us, a 26-hour run so we’d probably depart before dawn (6am) for a mid-morning arrival into Mazatlán the next day. On the downside, requires a 7-hour run from Muertos to Frailes, and also puts the forecast seas directly on our beam (though seas are forecast light, and we are stabilized).

Option 3. Muertos to Mazatlán. Jump direct from Muertos anchorage to Mazatlán. This adds 4-5 hours to our crossing which, given the remoteness, seems daunting. On the plus side, it gives us a slightly better angle to the beam seas and saves us one travel day.

In a few hours we depart for Muertos and will make our final decision along the way between Option 2 or Option 3, but definitely leaning towards the “Rip-the-Band-Aid-Off” Option 3.

Weather Routing. Forecast is superb. Very light winds, seas around 1-meter at 9-12 seconds. I’ve been using PredictWind and PassageWeather.com lately, with smattering of Windy for quick reference. An important caveat: the local winds are totally missing from forecasts. These can be substantial – the winds in La Paz can blow a consistent 20-kts which, given sufficient time and fetch, can develop a pretty annoying chop.

Health and wellbeing. We are both doing pretty well. Cheryll was originally worried about overnight passages but that seems to have dissipated into a necessary evil. Our watch-schedule leverages our individual tendencies. She takes 8PM-11PM; I take 11PM-2AM; she’s on 2AM-4AM; and I take 4AM to 7AM. Now if I can ease her into ignoring choppy seas…….

Happy Thanksgiving!

Peter

Additional Pictures

Hurricane a few weeks ago put 43 boats on the beach. This one is in 60-feet of water. My understanding is it was in a nearby marina, was in trouble, and headed out. Unfortunately, it had been holed and sank.
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Panga Fisherman with helpers this morning
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Last night in La Paz
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Old 11-23-2023, 11:29 AM   #2
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Best to you and Cheryll!!!

We hope to connect again when our paths cross downwind!



Vicky sends her fond farewell!
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Old 11-23-2023, 11:44 AM   #3
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Wishing you a FUN trip
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Old 11-23-2023, 04:38 PM   #4
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Old 11-24-2023, 02:41 AM   #5
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We arrived at Muertos anchorage yesterday afternoon, 3pm local time. Unfortunately, there was a 3-foot swell running through the anchorage so sleep was evasive even with flopper stoppers out (the mono-sailboats were incredibly active).

We decided on Option 3, a straight run of 195 nms to Mazatlan. Weather looks decent and we left at midnight to get us into Mazatlan early tomorrow morning at high tide; a 30-hour run. I just after a 9-kt boat (Nordhavn 57 at 9-kts 6gph is still my dream boat) that would do this crossing on around 20 hours.

We have started to work really well together. Retrieving the flopper stoppers takes some coordination which we now do well, even in the dark. For anchoring and retrieval, Cheryll drives and I'm on the foredeck. It too is pretty seamless.

To leave an anchorage at night, I'll calculate a bearing the night before to steer until the autopilot can be engaged (todays bearing was 112M degrees). Cheryll runs the console while I stow lines and gear. Her night vision is not as good as mine but she seems comfortable nonetheless.

Even though our flybridge has no enclosure, it's well protected by a substantial venturi so a nice place to stand watch in nice weather such as tonight's low 70s temps. Our heading to Mazatlan is 105M, more or less ESE. Wind is variable, maybe 5 kts from the south. Current sea state is a 3 foot swell at 7 seconds, well forward of the starboard beam, a couple points off the bow so with a strong easterly component. My hunch is these wrap around the tip of Baja and will become more southerly as the day goes by, likely ending up on our starboard beam.

I'll stand the first watch from 0000-0300. Then grab a couple hours sleep.

Peter

Pictures
Flopper stoppers - one side deployed, other side stowed.

Picture of our wake at 6.4 kts (SL = 1.15 or so).
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Old 11-24-2023, 08:04 AM   #6
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Safe travels, hope its an uneventful trip across! We really enjoyed our two stays at El Cid and exploring colonial Mazatlan and its markets. Will you stop at Isla Isabel on your way south? We had a rolly few nights there, even with the flopper stopper, but the wildlife and hiking were well worth it. A constant whale show from the anchorage and incredible bird life ashore.
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Old 11-24-2023, 08:48 AM   #7
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Was going to wait until you were idle to ask for details on the stoppers; mounting backing, business end etc.
Also more on the fabrication of the hardtop. But the last pictures pushed my curiosity over the edge!
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Old 11-24-2023, 10:48 AM   #8
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The flopper stopper poles are from Forespar. Originally I planned to have the pole fittings fabricated, but the Forespar kit is nicely designed and about $1k each which was cheaper than I could have it fabricated even in Mexico. The plates themselves are Magna. I forget how much they were, maybe $500 each?

There isn't a ton of pressure on the rig. The base is attached to my flybridge with a 6"x6" GPO3 backing plate. I bought a bunch of shackles and line online and spent a couple evenings making the rigging.

Hardtop is 1-inch closed foam with several layers of fiberglass over. I don't know the specific construction. It's a bit heavier than best, but I wanted to make sure it could support solar panels and a person to install and service. It replaced a mast and some additional fiberglass bench seating so there was some offset, but I certainly added a few hundred pounds including solar. But it makes a world of difference in usability, especially in warmer climates such as I'm in now.

Peter
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Old 11-24-2023, 10:54 AM   #9
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Sure enjoyed our time with you and Cheryl. Miss you like crazy already. We are still doing repair stuff here. Fridge still won't get below 40. Really like it to be 37... maybe it is on the lower part, need to move the thermometer and see. We finally think we may have found the hydraulic leak... I'm hopeful. Just keep ticking away at the list. Fix enough and then I think we will take off for the islands for awhile.

Hope the seas were smooth for you all... and you aren't too exhausted.
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Old 11-24-2023, 11:19 AM   #10
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Sure enjoyed our time with you and Cheryl. Miss you like crazy already. We are still doing repair stuff here. Fridge still won't get below 40. Really like it to be 37... maybe it is on the lower part, need to move the thermometer and see. We finally think we may have found the hydraulic leak... I'm hopeful. Just keep ticking away at the list. Fix enough and then I think we will take off for the islands for awhile.

Hope the seas were smooth for you all... and you aren't too exhausted.
We enjoyed getting to know you guys too Laura. It's always odd to spend a fair amount of time with folks and then a day comes where paths diverge, at least for a while. It was fun to meet Kevin (Ksanders) and Bill on Domino (Klee Wyck) also of TF. Good luck on the repairs.

We are a third of the way across the SoC to Mazatlan. We have passed one vessel (San Jorge local supply shop) - we miss seeing Muirgen's AIS icon on the screen.

Peter
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Old 11-25-2023, 01:28 PM   #11
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We landed in Mazatlan this morning after a 31 hour run from lower Baja penninsula. I accidentally added my morning massive to my la Paz thread but no matter.

It's about 200 nms of open ocean from Baja to Mazatlan. Psychologically important for us as a cruising couple. Cheryll still has a bit of standard fear of being that from land; and to be bluntly honest, I worry a bit about being a single engine boat far, far from anything. It was a good confidence builder for us both.

Marina Mazatlan is a bit rustic with some deferred maintenance issues. It's been almost a month since we had to dig out the shore power cord. Mostly a cruiser marina, though not as overt as Marina de La Paz which sets a very high bar for cruiser friendly. Rates right now are about $22/foot for monthly stay (less if 3-months or more). But there are a cluster of shops and restaurants right here which is handy. Cheryll has already scoped out taking a bus into the city of Mazatlan to search out tacos. Some folks come to Mexico for diving, we seek out tacos.

Thanks everyone for the kind words. We're having a good time overall. Oddly, although we've owned Weebles for over 25 years and used to take her all over, we didn't know what this would be like so didn't have a firm expectation which I think is the right approach for us. Sort of a chrysalis phase I suppose.

Peter
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Old 11-25-2023, 05:36 PM   #12
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Great read! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11-27-2023, 02:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
The flopper stopper poles are from Forespar. Originally I planned to have the pole fittings fabricated, but the Forespar kit is nicely designed and about $1k each which was cheaper than I could have it fabricated even in Mexico. The plates themselves are Magna. I forget how much they were, maybe $500 each?

There isn't a ton of pressure on the rig. The base is attached to my flybridge with a 6"x6" GPO3 backing plate. I bought a bunch of shackles and line online and spent a couple evenings making the rigging.

Hardtop is 1-inch closed foam with several layers of fiberglass over. I don't know the specific construction. It's a bit heavier than best, but I wanted to make sure it could support solar panels and a person to install and service. It replaced a mast and some additional fiberglass bench seating so there was some offset, but I certainly added a few hundred pounds including solar. But it makes a world of difference in usability, especially in warmer climates such as I'm in now.

Peter
Hi Peter,
I tried all kinds of flopper stoppers on my Mexico and pacific voyage.
I had the same one you have and what I found is that requires about foot or more of travel up and down to activate and work properly.
I made some different ones while I was in LaPaz. They were incredible and did not allow the boat to roll in pretty good swell. The secret is the light and small baffles. I made them in such way that they can be disassembled and store pretty easy down below.

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Old 11-28-2023, 12:00 AM   #14
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Hi Peter,
I tried all kinds of flopper stoppers on my Mexico and pacific voyage.
I had the same one you have and what I found is that requires about foot or more of travel up and down to activate and work properly.
I made some different ones while I was in LaPaz. They were incredible and did not allow the boat to roll in pretty good swell. The secret is the light and small baffles. I made them in such way that they can be disassembled and store pretty easy down below.

I have looked at that style and wondered if clicked and clacked at night.
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Old 11-28-2023, 10:18 AM   #15
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I have looked at that style and wondered if clicked and clacked at night.
Non sense! No noise what so ever. I used these for years. They open and close so smooth in a matter of few inches travel up and down which makes them very much more effective than any other kind. That short motion does not give the boat enough rolling momentum and with greater pressure on the flopper stoppers due to their larger square footage and immediate reaction the boat roll gets stopped before it can develop.
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Old 11-28-2023, 10:28 AM   #16
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I can certainly see how the small shutter style is more effective. But at $1k each, not worth the extra cost to me. The magma ones I have work pretty well and are easily stored in my boat. The Flop Stopper shows them disassembled, but not sure the effort to do so.

https://www.flopstopper.com/FlopStopper/Order.html

Steve Dashew did a comparison of the magma style vs the diaphragm style which is no longer available and preferred the magma style. I had the diaphragm style and they worked fine, but I could not stow them easily so swapped for magma ones.

Peter.
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Old 11-28-2023, 10:48 AM   #17
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Conch engineering. 2-5 gallon buckets with a couple of rocks. Sometimes esthetics drive over engineering in the over developed world.
Thanks for the detail photos. I am repurposing some poles and the mountings are the challenge.
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Old 11-28-2023, 11:03 AM   #18
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I can certainly see how the small shutter style is more effective. But at $1k each, not worth the extra cost to me. The magma ones I have work pretty well and are easily stored in my boat. The Flop Stopper shows them disassembled, but not sure the effort to do so.

https://www.flopstopper.com/FlopStopper/Order.html

Steve Dashew did a comparison of the magma style vs the diaphragm style which is no longer available and preferred the magma style. I had the diaphragm style and they worked fine, but I could not stow them easily so swapped for magma ones.

Peter.
I have a pair of the flop stoppers. Expensive but our anchorages are really roll-y. They work really well, no noise. They assemble and disassemble in a minute or two once you understand how they go together.

They are really well made.
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Old 11-28-2023, 11:06 AM   #19
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Conch engineering. 2-5 gallon buckets with a couple of rocks. Sometimes esthetics drive over engineering in the over developed world.
Thanks for the detail photos. I am repurposing some poles and the mountings are the challenge.
Willingness to spend money for a system vs cobbling an oddball one together depends on how much time you spend in open roadstead anchorages and how badly you value sleep. Pacific Coast is dominated by such anchorages. A possible workaround is to set a stern anchor to hold the bow to the swell, but this isn't always possible if there are other boats around. Plus it can be a PITA to set a stern anchor.

Easiest would be one or two poles stored upright - simplifies the hinge. But on most boats, it's ugly. If desire is to stow horizontal along flybridge bonnet such as I did, requires a more complicated hinge knuckle. The Forespar one is very nicely done.

For folks unfamiliar with how rolly a West Coast anchorage can be, it's breathtaking. Choice to move to another one isn't always possible. For weekenders, my guess many just pack up and go home.

Peter
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Old 11-28-2023, 11:25 AM   #20
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Willingness to spend money for a system vs cobbling an oddball one together depends on how much time you spend in open roadstead anchorages and how badly you value sleep. Pacific Coast is dominated by such anchorages. A possible workaround is to set a stern anchor to hold the bow to the swell, but this isn't always possible if there are other boats around. Plus it can be a PITA to set a stern anchor.

Easiest would be one or two poles stored upright - simplifies the hinge. But on most boats, it's ugly. If desire is to stow horizontal along flybridge bonnet such as I did, requires a more complicated hinge knuckle. The Forespar one is very nicely done.

For folks unfamiliar with how rolly a West Coast anchorage can be, it's breathtaking. Choice to move to another one isn't always possible. For weekenders, my guess many just pack up and go home.

Peter

Peter, did you just call our boat UGLY?
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