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Hurricane Season on the Hard in Guaymas

Whew, things have gotten busy.

Good news.  My mother has a contract to sell her house in Georgia.  Bad news.  This is the only time we’ll have to get over there and collect what’s left of our meager belongings before we hit the road for the summer season.

Hil, my Dad, and the two kids took a flight to Jacksonville  to get started on the hopeless task of packing, sorting, tossing, and the like.

I headed south back to Mexico to get the boat situated for hurricane season.  The dilemma becomes where to put the boat?  Right there in San Carlos is a dry storage yard but it is not cheap and they are big into rules there.  Lot’s of “DO NOT’s” in the contract.  I know I’ll need to do some work on the boat next year before we put her back in the water so I wanted a place I could work on the boat.

Just south there are two storage yards in Guaymas.  Guaymas is the main shipping port and they have a lovely new state operated marina on one side of the bay and the bastard step child dirt storage yard on the other.  You can guess which is cheaper.

I checked around and decided that Guaymas marina seca (the cheap dirt yard) was my best bet at $100 a month storage.

The next problem- getting the boat to Guaymas.  Guaymas is about a 30 minute car ride, but a 4 hour boat ride.  We hadn’t anticipated sailing the boat this year.  I had to tighten all the rigging, check the sails and do some light repairs, rig an anchor ‘just in case’, and spend the rest of my time working on the outboard which has been unreliable after sitting for three years.

We have a Honda 4 stroke outboard on the Gemini.  It’s 25 hp and plenty strong for such a light boat.  The Honda’s are incredibly fuel efficient, BUT they have such small jets in the carbs (all three of them) that if fuel is left in the carbs for any amount of time they get clogged up and the engine won’t run properly.

I’d been working on them trying to clean the carbs without taking the carbs off the engine (while in the water) and she was running much better but not perfect.

Maria offered to join me on the sail to Guaymas as an extra hand.  I’m thankful because one more person makes a world of difference.  We set out on a lovely morning with about 8kn of wind.  I was so nervous I thought I was going to throw up.  The inlet to San Carlos is not particularly treacherous, but with traffic and a questionable engine I was more than a little nervous.

The engine wouldn’t stay running under power.  In the end, Maria had to tape the electric choke button closed to keep the choke on in order to keep the engine running while we were in gear.  Necessity is the mother if invention.

We made it out of the inlet just fine and pointed the boat out 140 degrees with full sail.  I turned off the engine and we we’re sailing!  The wind was light at hit 8kn at the most.  We made a tack to get around the point and then the wind started dying down in the afternoon.  We soon had to start the iron genny and motored along at 4kn enjoying the scenery and keeping hydrated with Modelo Especial and mintless mojito’s (Maria forgot the mint, but they were very refreshing).

The scenery was spectacular. Maria put pictures up on her website- click here

On the point to Guaymas bay, an outcropping had 20-30 sea lions.  Being from the East coast, we don’t see sea lions at all.  They were barking up a storm.  In the flat seas and almost non-existent wind, I brought the boat in close to the outcropping and the water still over 100 feet deep.

We brought the boat into Guaymas bay, which is turpid compared to the clear blue water in the Sea of Cortez, and tied off the boat to the Marina Seca dock for the night.

Ran into a Chum with a Bottle of Rum…

As luck would have it, we ran into a friend of Maria’s, Ted, who is rebuilding an 86 year old wooden boat in the yard.  Ted is a refrigeration expert and picks up jobs to support his boat habit.  Ted also happens to be a tequila expert.  We sampled some truly exquisite tequila straight from Tequila, Mexico.  That then led to buying some home brew beer from an expat named Max that was quite tasty as well.  One thing led to another and we ended up having dinner on Ted’s boat before crashing back on Splish Splash after having a little too much tequila.

I awoke at five in morning with the sun and took Maria back to San Carlos.  The yard workers were already at the yard and said they wanted to haul out the boat at seven.  Maria and I had a coffee at Barracuda Bob’s before we said our goodbyes and I trudged back to Guaymas not feeling my best to prep the boat for haul out.

Typical Mexican timing, the boat was hauled out around 9 am.  That was fine with me, I was moving slow and I was able to get all the sails off, boom taken down, anchor stored, and port-a-bote dismantled and lashed to my roof rack on the Suburban.

Splish Splash looked pretty good, all things considered, when they pulled her out of the water.  No major problems and no signs of any cracks on the hull.  The rudder were gunked up from sea life and I didn’t even bother trying to check out the drop keels this trip.  The Gemini draws about a foot with the rudders up and they stored her on railroad ties.  I like that she’s so low to ground to minimize windage during a storm.  There’s also no boat jacks that could slip and damage the boat to worry about.

By noon I was sweating like a dog packing the truck to get ready for my drive back to Tucson.  I pulled the batteries, the propane tanks, the auxillary fuel tank, and everything else that might have caused a problem on the boat just to be safe.  When we come back in October/November, I’ll have the bottom painted, some fiberglass work done on the gel coat cracks, change the name, and work on the drop keels.  I’ll also take the opportunity to clean the Honda and/or get a mechanic out to tune it up.

In about 4 hours, I head to the airport to fly to Jacksonville and load a truck to drive her back to Tucson.  We’ll be closing the book on that chapter of our life and starting a new one as we head out to Utah for our summer season selling donuts at fairs and festivals.

You know an ICE COLD draft beer in Mexico is a very affordable price of approximately $1.25! Click Here to Buy Us a Beer.

4 comments to Hurricane Season on the Hard in Guaymas

  • Glad you got to take her for a sail! Pictures look great over on Maria’s blog.

  • Thanks for letting me crew. It was fun!

  • big cheese

    Hi Bill-

    Boy was I nervous getting the boat out of the harbor! Super light winds that day, but better than the opposite. I’m looking forward to November when we can get her back in the water!


  • You could certainly see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.