Friday, November 6, 2015

Shakedown cruise in the Sea of Cortez

Sailing Anna for the first time by ourselves was a milestone.  The fact that this was in Mexico was a little surreal. Mexico is awesome, but we felt a little exposed as brand new boat owners with no Coast Guard to bail us out if we goofed up. Joe the former owner met us there to go over systems and Anna's care and feeding, which was a big help.  We had a the plan down--Meet with Joe to learn about the boat, buy the food, store it, shove off and sail to Bahia Balandra 10 miles away to anchor for the night, sail to a new Bahia every day for the next week, and come back to the slip in 6 days .
Who knew the hardest  part would be shoving off!?!  There's actually a big difference between owning and hanging out on this boat and really going somewhere on her. Finally at 3:00 we untied the docklines and we actually made it to our destination per plan with only one driver error (corrected prior to running aground!) trying to stay in the long weird  La Paz channel. 
We had a great week cruising around Espiritu Santo, Isla Partida, Isla San Francisco, and Los Islotes, and were on  our way back to Marina Palmira safely. 
The last night at anchor we felt like such seasoned sailors having safely navigated this beautiful area.  We tucked ourselves back into Bahia Balandra again anchoring in the same safe spot we had on night one, which protected us from the southerly Corumel winds before.  A calm dinner and sunset were followed at 11:00 by the predicted Corumel, and we smugly scoffed at boats not as sheltered as we were.  They'll learn in time.... but then what's this?  At 2 AM we now get 15-20 knots from the North and we are taking this right from the open mouth of the bay, which soon becomes 3-5 foot swells and a lee shore!  Welcome to cruising.   The boat is rolling A LOT, no sleep, anchor watch, head visits, ready to scram,  hoping we can up anchor in the dark if needed.... a long night.  We left at dawn and got to our amazing slip by 10 AM and took a well deserved nap.  I spite of that one rough night Anna performed perfectly and we can now relax and start getting her ready for shipment to Victoria on Seven Star in 2-3 weeks.  Ironically, we do intend to sail her back to La Paz in 2017, but that's what this whole thing is about. 






Meet Anna

Anna is a  center cockpit Norseman 447,  hull number 53.  She was launched in 1985 at the Ta Shing Shipyard in Taiwan ROC, just two short years after Jan and I were married in Newport Beach California.  I've dreamed of owning a strong and capable cruising boat for a long, long time, and many plans have circled about for the last 30 years of how to pull off buying a boat like this, and then taking her on an extended cruise.  Dreams can be the most powerful of motivators, and in March 2015 she became ours. Now the fun begins!




We found her on Yachtworld but she was for sale in La Paz.  After looking for easier boats to buy and finding none we liked, we booked our trip to Cabo and took the 3 hour bus ride to La Paz to see her in person.  Here's how it all went down-- We saw the boat and were impressed, met the owner, Joe--super nice, then we had tacos and Pacificos while we watched the Seahawks beat the Packers in a crazy NFC title game, then went back to Anna for a sea trial at sunset in 12 knots of warm breeze on flat water reaching in and out of the channel from Marina Palmira in a mild state of euphoria.  After many other signs that this was the boat for us, we went home to go through the mechanics of making it official.  Next step-- come back to La Paz for a week of sailing on Anna by ourselves in April.