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Sailing A Catamaran from San Carlos, Mexico to Puerto Penasco, Mexico

The planning continues while I am still in Georgia.

I will admit to being a ‘wee’ bit nervous about sailing a 16 year old boat that hasn’t been sailed in over three year 300 miles north in a foreign country with spotty communication services and add to that I’ve never sailed a Gemini Catamaran a day in my life AND I’ll have an inexperienced or non-existent crew. AH- the good times! I have to remind myself that compared to our forefathers sailing without GPS, without depth sounders, without VHF, without auxillary power- I have it easy!

It is surprising HOW HARD it has been to find good charts and information on sailing the Sea of Cortez. I did find a website that has a similar trip in a catamaran. Here’s the link to Gato Loco’s website, go down about half the page to the “HOME FOR THE SUMMER” San Carlos to Puerto Penasco entry. These guys brought their 33′ catamaran (ours is 34′ hmph!) back from San Carlos to Puerto Penasco in 5 leisurely days about the same time of year. It should be a good example for routing.

After searching long and hard I have picked a cruising guide. The Sea of Cortez cruising guide appears to be exactly what I’m looking for with a combination of ‘chartlets’ on the local areas and detailed information on anchorages and more. I’m optimistic that it will be able to handle my needs for this trip. I’m ordering it online and having it shipped to Arizona to be there by the time I’m ready to head south of the border.

The boat will need a few days of prep work to get her ready for sailing. I don’t know if the fridge will work after being shut down for so long. I don’t know about the seals on the head. I don’t know if the dink outboard works either (it was stored in a shed for a few years). I’m planning on bringing a WIDE assortment of tools and sailboat equipment with me that I accumulated from working on our monohull. I’m even planning on bringing our little 2.5hp Mercury outboard that was generously given to us in Key West to insure I have some auxillary auxillary form of propulsion (the engine on sailboats is considered ‘auxillary’ because the sails are the main form of power, so another outboard is ‘auxillary’ to the ‘auxillary’). I figure, being a simple kind of guy, a can rough it without a fridge for five days. I can resort to the ‘bucket’ method for the head as a worst case scenario.

I’m excited about the trip. From what little I’ve seen firsthand, the water is beautiful, the fish plentiful, and the winds ‘should’ be mild coming out of the south this time of year giving me a beam or a run for most of the trip. There appears to be only one LONG sailing day in the 5 day trip with some time for sightseeing and leisure activity.

It is going to be HOT HOT HOT! Temps were in the low 100’s when I was there for the inspection and they said AUgust and September are the hottest months of the year. I’m hoping we will have 5-15 knots of wind to keep the sail bearable and the boat moving.

I leave Georgia in about 5 days to drive to Arizona. There, I will put the final touches on the trailer to haul the catamaran back to Georgia, do some repairs on the 1999 Suburban 6.5l TD 4×4, and wrap up the paperwork for the insurance, wide load permits, and mexican transportation before we head south.

Let the adventure again.

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.

8 comments to Sailing A Catamaran from San Carlos, Mexico to Puerto Penasco, Mexico

  • Davina and Matt

    Would like to say that we are jealous!!! Sounds like an adventure, at least! Hopefully all we go as smooth as possible for you. Is anyone going to be onboard with you? Matt and I are sending positive vibes your way. Good luck and we look forward to following your trip. We are heading to Destin this weekend to camp and sail on our friend’s 27′ sailboat for the weekend. We are dying for sand between the toes!!

  • Mike Vogdes

    Good luck with your adventure, I’m sure you will win and get your new boat back to the U.S. safely… I read your updates regularly and enjoy them. Your positive outlook on life is refreshing and a welcome change with all the negative stuff in our world nowadays.

  • big cheese

    Thank You.

    Sometimes it is tough to shake off the naysayers, but otherwise I feel lucky to be given the opportunity to have an adventure with supportive friends, family, a loving (pregnant) wife, and a beautiful daughter.

  • big cheese

    Life is like sailing. When you’re not making any more headway in one direction, you just gotta TACK in the other direction.

    I think my father will (begrudgingly) be my second mate is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Maybe I can change his impression of sailing with our new (to us) catamaran. Fast and Upright!

    Enjoy your trip, Put the toe in the water!
    (A sailing phrase that means to sail hard to weather heeled over so the toe rail is actually underwater. Thrilling in nice weather, terrifying of bad weather.)


  • There are several cat owners that live in San Carlos.I don’t know them,but have seen there web sites.They should be able to give you some help for your trip.I live in Puerto Penasco and sail a 42 foot cat.Maybe I can answer any questions.

  • big cheese

    Wow, thanks!

    I went down (from Tucson) to look at Puerto Penasco as a base since it is so close to Tucson and couldn’t find a reasonable place to keep the boat to live aboard. There was the two docks in the bay but they ranged from $400-500 for slips, which we just don’t have right now.

    I really liked Chollo Bay. Very pretty and quiet (off season). I can see us sailing up to Chollo Bay and spending some time there. The Gemini draws only 18″ which makes it a good shallow draft boat.

    How do you like living there and what are some of your recommendations?

    Thanks for the comments.


  • Sorry it took so long to respond.I was up in the states(california)becoming a grandfather.A baby boy.
    I love living down here,most of the time.I miss Home Depots and Wallmarts.
    It’s hard to find things down here.But thats the beauty of it.Right?
    I like your Gemini sounds like it was a steal.You mentioned that she only draws 18″.Wow thats great mine draws 26″.
    The best advise I can give you is watch the tides.REALLY BIG.Down by San Carlos not as bad as up here.Winds will be from the south for about two more months.Then it slowly changes from west and then from the north untill late spring.
    Don’t let the Sea of Cortez fool you she can get really pissed off sometimes.
    Your correct my slip fees are 420.
    Seems high for Mexico huh?Nice slip
    brand new dock with water and power.Anyway,as always I’m talking to much.Let me know if you are coming up my way and you can stop by and say hi
    See Ya

  • big cheese

    Congratulations on the grandbaby!

    We’re pretty excited about the Gemini. With the new baby coming in November, it’s likely we won’t be moving around too much the first 6 months. Besides, I’ll probably be spending the first few months fixing up the boat,

    Thanks for all the good advice,