Ambassadors for all we America was. Apologists for all America is.

Drying out after two hurricane passes …or Look, mom, we’re sailing …. We’re sailing!

After passes from hurricanes Odile and Polo,  both of which grazed Barra de Navidad, we finally had two back-to-back days of sunlight.

If you do not live on a boat … this may not have meaning for you , but for us it means we get to dry everything out.  We have sails that have been wet for weeks inside the sail covers.  We have cockpit cushions that have gotten wet repeatedly.  Even though they are covered with outdoor sunbrella cloth, they can still get wet if left sitting in water long enough.

Our cockpit doubles, thanks to a clever modification suggested by Carolyn, as a sleeping area.  It is now configured like a very expensive (if you count the coast of the boat under it) camping tent.  Add four fans for night-time ventilation and mosquito/ bug mesh,  and it is pretty comfortable at night.  We sleep in it in winds and rain up to about 40 knots before having to go below decks.

The boat also sports three ‘boom tents’ or probably more accurately two actual boom tents and a circus tent at the stern over the cockpit.  They provide sun and limited rain protection, as well as replenishing our fresh water needs with rainwater.

The last two storms, most notably Odile which became a full-fledged hurricane as it held position for three days off the coast just south and west of us, hit winds of above 45-50 knots for about 24-30 solid hours accompanied by heavy horizontal rains of the tropical variety.  The second hurricane had 6-8 hours of high winds, peaking at 56 knots sustained.

What does all this mean?  It means (1) we get wet and stay that way, (2) you must have all your deck stuff secured–as in lashed-down, (3) all the hatches will be closed for prolonged periods ( so no ventilation), (4) the boat’s air conditioner gets a workout as a dehumidifier in the afternoons, in addition to its normal cooling function, and (5) no matter how good the material of the sail cover or boom tent, everything eventually gets soaked.

So, the first truly sunny day that comes along ….. you do this.


No wind … nice sun … lots of things to do!  If you ever worry about your ‘golden years’ with all that time on your hands … just go buy a boat.  That will take care of the ‘time on your hands’ problem.  If you look at the other side of the boat … you will see what I mean.  Multitasking at its most basic.


Look with a better ‘eye’ and you will see (1) a kayak being dried out, (2) the famed ‘circus tent’ drying on the dock readying it for a good scrubbing, (3) the mizzen sail-cover waiting to be scrubbed, (4) 10 bottles of agua purificado being emptied into the boat’s freshwater tanks, (5) the solar oven cooking beans (frijoles del sol), oh, and (6) the sails up after being washed in a solution of hydrogen peroxide (agua oxygenado) and now drying in the sunlight before being flaked and put back into the sail covers.  All this and it is only about 10 o’clock in the morning.

We had been inside the boat for days in the rain and wind … leaving little to do but cook, eat, read … and not everyone was happy.


This is the quartermaster after several days inside the boat … it was Baja Taco night … fish tacos … Perhaps it’s time to take her to breakfast away from the boat!

Barra de Navidad has so far proven to be a good hurricane hole in many basic ways.  The most obvious reason seems the simplest.  The storms spin-up off our part of the coast of Mexico BUT generally don’t reach full force here.  They spin off to the northwest towards the Baja peninsula.  As they pass Barra they are both offshore a bit and not yet fully organized.  This plus the fact they have not yet had days over hot water means less force.  Hurricane Odile was scary because it just stopped off the coast and sat there gathering steam before heading north … for almost three days you could not tell where it was going to go.  And it got bigger and bigger.  Finally as it started moving, we got a night and a day’s worth of the edge winds … strong but not lethal.

It did make us finish all our hurricane prep before it passed here.

Having the drying sails up was the closest thing we have done to sailing in three months, but that is part of cruising , too.  Took two very full days to get the boat dried out and back ready for the rains … which started again tonight.

Carolyn and I were just talking yesterday about the fact that I may have sailed more when I was day-sailing the boat near Newport, Oregon before we retired.  I averaged three days a week sailing for half the year.  Now that we are cruising, I think we sail less than that … more miles, but less days of sailing.  Will have to sit down and look at the logs.

Not a complaint at all about cruising …  we are enjoying the pace … or lack of it.  Now about those golden years?

One response

  1. Sounds like a lot of wind !

    Did you take Spiritus out for a sail three months ago ? I can’t remember if you spent any time out in the anchorage or if you stayed in the marina ever since we left ?

    What are your ‘plans’ for the winter ? We’ll be hauling and getting bottom paint in November and after that we head towards Panama where we will turn left.

    Stay warm !

    September 24, 2014 at 11:16 am

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