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Sailing Mexico, day 2: preparing for the journey through practice drills.

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Part 1

Sailboat terminology.

For your convenience, I wireframed a side view and top-down view of the Pacifico. I’ll be using these terms throughout the rest of this blog series, so use these two wires as reference.

Boat side view
Side View of the Pacifico.

Boat top view
Top-down view of the Pacifico.

Preparing the boat for maritime sailing.

On day two, Captain Graham gave Alex and I “Pacifico” shirts. We were officially part of the crew! We went to a nearby restaurant for some heart breakfast.

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I had myself a menu item called “divorced eggs” because of the two different red and green sauces.

After that, we headed back to the boat. The first thing we needed to do was refill the fuel and water tanks. We took Pacifico off her lines and sailed down to the gas station near the end of the harbor.

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There were three separate gas tanks: 250 liters (main), 100 liters, and 100 liters. Alex threw the nozzle back to the dock worker, but it fell short and landed in the water. The worker was not happy, and we apologized.

We then cleaned the entire boat inside and out, filled up the water tanks, and shopped for more food. One of the most memorable events of the workday was hoisting Alex up the 80-foot mast. Alex had to change the flag from Mexico to USA, as well as do some work at the top. Cranking him up took a while. But s’all good, you know, with me being buff… strong… manly… muscular… alpha… athletic guy and all. And good looking. Okay next.

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We finally finished prepping the boat late afternoon, washed up, prepared for evening fun!

Dinner on the coastline.

We hailed a taxi to the hotel & restaurant row along the waterfront.

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We walked along the beach, scouting for any restaurant with vacancies on the sand. Virtually everyone was a foreigner; Cabo is a tourist getaway, after all. We soon found ourselves seated on the sand. I’m already a huge fan of dining outdoors and love European countries for embracing that lifestyle, but eating on the sand is a next level experience. Picture live music with a DJ and singer, the distant sound of waves crashing along the coast, watching the sunset along a majestic bay, and watching a plethora of sailboats, yachts, and catamarans go by. That is the ambiance of a good night.

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I sipped on two Miami Vices through dinner. Alex ate a whole fish, while I had fish tacos for dinner. Captain Graham had a burger with some romaine salad. They prepared the salad in front of us. The outcome was unique: the lettuce was whole, but with the garnish on top. It was extremely delicious for being so basic.

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The infamous party boat anchored itself near us, and we could hear the music coming from their speakers. Sorry fellas, but I prefer this dining experience over a eardrum busting, claustrophobic one.

After dinner, we went back to the Giggling Marlin for some more drinks. Similar to the first night, Captain Graham eventually left Alex and I, and we had some more fun before heading back to the boat.

I recall a small woman loitering outside Dock H that night. When we walked by, she asked us if we wanted any drugs, and I remember her offering marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy. We declined. She then asked if we wanted sexual favors, and I remember her asking “blowjob?” We ignored her and moved on. A couple of young guys had also tried to sell us drugs earlier in the day. No thank you.

Good morning, day three! Practice drills in the bay.

Captain Graham woke us up at 6:30am. Coffee and the rising sunshine was all that got us started. Atmosphere knows exactly how I was feeling at that moment.

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The goal was to spend a few hours conducting some drills in Cabo Bay before taking off, including:

  • Raising and lowering the main sail. When raising and lowering the sails, you want to be sailing straight into the wind. If the wind is blowing against the port or starboard side, then the sails will catch the wind and add resistance. That’s 80 feet of struggles we do not want to deal with.
  • Anchoring. When anchoring, you want the anchor to be going straight down the water at a 90 degree angle. Else, the boat will drift around. It is the job of a caller (me) to visually see the anchor dropping straight down. When drifting off course, I have to communicate to the middle-man (Alex) to tell the steerer (Captain Graham) to adjust directions to maintain a perpendicular drop.
  • Man overboard. Captain Graham called this the M.O.B. drill because “man overboard sounds frightening.” The first goal is to completely turn off the engine motor and threw all the seat cushions out into the water. Nobody else should ever jump into the water. Turn the boat straight around, but not directly at the person, and drift to them.

Alex and I were complete newbies at sailing, so this was our opportunity to ask questions and mess up with less risk. It was quite fun, being out on the water for the first time.

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We watched the sun rise over time behind an approaching cruise ship.

In July, the waters are warm, and Manta Rays frequently jumped out of the waters for fun. I believe it’s also part of a mating ritual. We saw several of them jump out, a spectacular sight indeed.

We also almost hit the cliffs. Captain Graham was explaining some dense stuff to us, and we were drifting extraordinarily close to the cliffs.

Me: Hey Captain, are we supposed to be this close to the rocks?

*Alex and Captain Graham glance at the rocks*

Captain Graham: Holy crap!

*Jumps into the cockpit, fires up the engine, and steers us away*

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Note: this was *not* the incident where I helped save our lives. That comes 12 hours later. Also we were probably 30 feet from the cliffs — I wasn’t stupid enough to actually take a picture in lieu of a crisis.

Goodbye Cabo, hello Pacific Ocean!

With morning drills done, we were ready to take off. By referencing the map above, you can see that Cabo San Lucas is the southern-most point of Baja California Sur. After curving around the bay, we would be heading north the entire trip. The Pacific current goes south, and the wind blows east, so we would need the engine on virtually the whole time.

We sailed by the famous Cabo San Lucas Arch — high tides during this time, so here’s a side by side comparison: one of Captain Graham, and one of Google Images.

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I was unfamiliar with “Go Bears, beat Stanford!”at this time.

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What next?

This first day on the water was the toughest of our trip. We almost died (but actually). Reference the wireframes and understand the location of the following words: boom, boom vang, binnacle, cockpit, wench, jackline.

Hint: binnacle, boom vang, and one wench was destroyed.

Part 3 of this Sailing Mexico series will be posted soon!

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6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Sailing the western coast of Baja California, Mexico (Part 1). | Andy Cheng

  2. Pingback: Sailing Mexico, part 3: the “night of terror” where we almost, could have, and should have died. But didn’t. | Andy Cheng

  3. Pingback: Sailing Mexico, day 4 & 5: barren marshlands, remote beaches, and giant sand dollars. | Andy Cheng

  4. Pingback: Sailing Mexico, day 6, 7, & 8: remote Mexican towns of Turtle Bay and Cedros Island | Andy Cheng

  5. Pingback: Sailing Mexico, day 9 & 10: The Sea of Vizcaina & Ensenada. | Andy Cheng

  6. Pingback: Sailing Mexico, day 11 & 12: home sweet home in San Diego and Long Beach. | Andy Cheng

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