Friday, May 19, 2023

Hauled Out and Laying Up

Puerto Peñasco, Sonora

The Puerto Peñasco shrimp fishing fleet

Intermezzo was hauled out yesterday and I began tackling my lay up To-Do list today. I had some reservations about storing and working on the boat in the Cabrales boatyard, but I'm feeling more comfortable about the place.

We weighed anchor in San Felipe around 5:30pm on Tuesday (May 16th), the sun soon setting behind us. We sailed on a close reach with southeast winds most of the night. Then, around 2am, the wind went crazy, blowing from the northeast at 20 knots, then from the southeast at 8, then from the northeast again at 15. It was not fun adjusting course and sail trim every 15 minutes at that time of night. Eventually the wind settled to blow lightly from the southeast and we motor sailed the rest of the way to Puerto Peñasco, dodging a couple of fishing boats for a couple of hours before sunrise.

Sunrise approach Puerto Peñasco

As we approached the entrance to the Puerto Peñasco harbor, I sent text messages to a couple of the marinas there, asking if they had space for us. I was pleased and relieved when Frederico's Marina replied affirmatively. However, when I arrived, there was another catamaran at the end tie dock. Frederico's told me they would be leaving soon and to temporarily dock at the abandoned marina next door.

The temporary dock was disgusting, completely covered and stinking with pelican guano, scattered with smelly, dead, dried fish. It was truly the most horrible dock I have ever encountered. It stank, my dock lines got covered with the guano and my fondness for pelicans took a steep temporary nosedive. Fortunately, we only had to endure the horror for twenty minutes. Unfortunately, when we were docked at Frederico's, the wind blew the horrible smell from the horrible dock right at us.
I spent the rest of Wednesday catching up on sleep after the overnight passage and getting the boat ready to be hauled out the next morning.

My old friends from Phoenix, Wayne and Heidi, arrived yesterday morning to help handle lines for the haul out. I had made friends with Mark, whose boat Chaos was scheduled to be hauled out right after us, and he offered to serve as a third line handler. We waited for the tide to rise and the Travelift to be ready for us and, around 11:30am, proceeded into the haul out slip.

The haul out slip at the Cabrales yard is scary looking, constructed of very rough stone walls, medieval-like. One false move and one could do some serious fiberglass damage. Fortunately, the wind was calm, I handled the boat well, my crew performed flawlessly, and the Cabrales crew did likewise.

The medieval haul out slip at low tide

Approaching the haul out slip at high tide

Wayne The Line Handler

We rode, suspended from the Travelift, across a road to the north storage yard and then were lowered onto blocking and jack stands. When I was satisfied that Intermezzo was properly supported and secure, Wayne, Heidi and I went out to lunch at a nearby restaurant and spent a few hours catching up on the past couple of decades. It was a very enjoyable visit.

Returning to the boat, I took stock of the surroundings. I had been concerned that the storage yard was dirty and that Intermezzo would be sitting on sand. The yard is actually surfaced with compacted gravel, much more to my liking. My spirits are also buoyed by interactions with the Cabreles, father and son, Salvador II and Salvador III, and the helpful, friendly community of cruisers at the yard.

The boatyard was founded in the 1940's by Salvador I, building steel shrimp fishing boats. The market for these boats steadily declined over the years and Salvador III has led the transition to focusing on serving the pleasure boat market. He's friendly, an excellent communicator and very helpful. Salvador II is moving along with the change, a friendly gentleman who keeps watch over what's going on and is an expert Travelift operator. The Cabrales yard encourages DIY work by boat owners and helps by providing equipment, facilities and supporting a WhatsApp chat group where boat owners can help each other out. I have suddenly changed from solitary singlehander to social butterfly in the boatyard.

I went out to dinner with newly made friends yesterday evening and slept last night on Intermezzo, my last night aboard. I rose fairly early this morning, picked up my rental car, bought some engine oil, and then set to work on  preparing the engines for storage, changing the oil and oil filters, changing the primary and secondary fuel filters and flushing the raw water cooling system with fresh water. This evening I checked into my Airbnb, my lodgings for the next week.

Tomorrow mechanical work continues as  I tackle the dinghy outboard, portable generator and anchor windlass.