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November 19, 2007

Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz Accepting Boats

It just looks like the new locks for the Panama Canal, but is actually the slip where the Travel-Lift will haul boats at the new Riviera Nayarit Marina at La Cruz.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Even as 600 workers toil to complete the Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz — plus boatyard and fuel dock — Manager and Partner Christian Mancebo has begun accepting boats. It’s a good thing, too, because finding a slip on Banderas Bay has been all but impossible.

Over at Paradise Marina, Harbormaster Dick Markie is working like a madman shuffling boats to get everyone in that he promised he’d get in. If Markie wanted, he could have the easy life, and be like a lot of Harbormasters, saying, "Sorry, no room for you." But there are two things Dick loves. One is helping as many cruisers out as possible, the other is having a full marina. So cut him a little slack as he works things out.

Manager Christian Mancebo, to help mariners out, has begun opening up slips at the Riviera Nayarit Marina in La Cruz. There is no water or electricity as yet, and the slips aren’t cheap, but there are lots of them, particularly in the biggest sizes.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Fortunately, Mancebo and Marina Riviera Nayarit have been able to take the some of the pressure off. Although the marina isn’t finished — watch out for the stray rebar, big holes in the streets, and huge trucks — its a godsend for people who must have slips.

The big jacks provide the ultimate protection for the marina, and also the perimeter of what will surely be a very popular malecon for the La Cruz community.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The progress at the marina in the last few months has been tremendous. Mancebo expects to have nearly 300 slips ready for boats by the end of February.

Attacks on American Tourists in Mexico

In recent weeks there have been reports in both the San Diego papers and CNN on some very violent attacks on American tourists in Mexico, mostly surfers in northern Baja, but also including some RV owners elsewhere in Mexico. As such, a number of readers have inquired whether we think it’s safe to cruise south of the border.

To our knowledge, there have been no attacks on cruisers, and in the 30 years we’ve been going there, we’ve never had a bad incident, let alone been attacked. But things can and do change. For instance, there is a serious meth problem on the Baja peninsula and, as anyone in law enforcement can assure you, meth and crime — in fact any drugs and crime — go hand and hand.

Surfers on remote beaches, as well as motorhomes that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, make for easy targets. Cruising boats, on the other hand, would seem to be less attractive. For one thing, if they are anchored out, a criminal has to get to them. And if they are in marinas, there is generally very good security.

As such, we think cruisers are most vulnerable when ashore. So when you do go ashore, we recommend the regular precautions — use common sense about where you go, be nice to everyone, and don’t flaunt your affluence.

We’ve been cruising in Mexico for three weeks already this year, and felt fine. We’ll be returning in a week for another two weeks, and aren’t particularly concerned. Like always, however, we will take the normal precautions.

If anybody hears of any attacks on cruisers, please let us know so that we can pass the word along.

Oil Spill Survey

The oil spill on November 7 has left Bay Area residents (and politicians) asking some tough questions — How did it happen? Whose fault is it? What will be the long-term effects?

Now we’d like to ask our readers some questions. How soon after the spill did you go sailing and did you notice any sheen? What happened at your marina? Was your boat stained by the oil? If so, have you tried cleaning it? Have you filed a claim for reimbursment?

We know emotions are running high right now and everyone has their opinion on the spill but please limit your responses to how the spill affected your boating. Email them to LaDonna.

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers Festivities Begin

A total of 240 yachts from 27 countries are gathering in Las Palmas a week prior to the start of the 22nd annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) from the Canaries to St. Lucia in the West Indies. This is a record number of boats for the granddaddy of all cruising rallies. The only West Coast entry is Jerry and Karen Eaton’s Belvedere-based Hallberg-Rassy 43 Blue Heron. Having put in 14,000 miles on the boat in Europe, Karen will be sitting the crossing out, leaving it to Jerry and his buddies.

Hundreds of boats will leave Las Palmas next Sunday bound for St. Lucia.

© Andrew Dare Photography

We did the 10th ARC and had a blast. Here’s to everyone having a fast, fun and safe passage!

A Wealth of Info for Southbound Cruisers

With the Central American cruising season now in full swing, current and future cruisers will be interested to note that a highly informative Yahoo Group website has been set up and is accepting new members.

Many of the cruisers found in the Zihua anchorage last winter would eventually head south to Central and South America.

©2007 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Similar in scope to the Pacific Puddle Jump group site referred to in October’s Latitude 38 magazine, the Southbounder site contains a wealth of relevant info on cruising grounds from San Diego to South America, including the Galapagos Islands.

With updates being posted daily, this non-commercial site gives cruiser feedback on anchorages, marinas, clearance procedures, shopping tips and more, making it an incredible informational tool for modern cruisers. It also contains a database of current southbound sailors, some of whom will eventually ‘transit the ditch’ into the Caribbean or hang a right and head for the South Pacific.

To request membership in the group send a blank email or you can check it out first at (but only the homepage is visible to non-members).

Singlar’s Fidepaz Marina is Open and Getting Great Reviews

This photo of the rooftop pool and jacuzzi at Marina Fidepaz is the first one ever to not include a female member of his crew.

© 2007 Bill Lilly

"Having just taken a berth at the new Singlar Fidepaz Marina on the north side of La Paz," writes Bill Lilly of the Newport Beach-based Lagoon 470 Moontide, "I’d like to pass the following information on to other cruisers — especially to those looking for a slip in the La Paz area.

"The marina has the capacity for about 40 boats, plus or minus depending on how they use the end-ties. The good news for people looking for berthing in La Paz is that, as of yesterday, there were still only 18 boats in the marina.

"One downside of the marina is its location, which is a bit outside of the main part of town — in much the way that Marina Costa Baja and Marina Palmira are a little out of town on the other side of La Paz. However, a six peso or 60 cent bus ride solves that problem.

Moontide follows another boat that follows the marina’s panga guideboat into the Fidepaz Marina.

© 2007 Bill Lilly

"Getting to the marina involved a straight shot up the north shore of the bay, a leg for which there were no channel markers, followed by another straight shot down a well-marked and dredged private channel. The chart on my plotter perfectly matched with their GPS positions, and I never saw less than 12.5 feet in the main bay and 13 feet in the private channel. Nonetheless, the marina happily sends a panga out to guide in all boats.

"I found the Fidepaz staff to be very friendly and professional. In fact, I don’t want to name names, but I was surprised to find the folks at this new government operation to be a lot more professional than at one of the older and much loved marinas in town.

"The Fidepaz facilites are extensive — including a lap pool with a Jacuzzi on the upper deck of the administration building! There’s also a community room (locked while I was there) and free Wi-Fi service, although the latter curiously gets turned off when the staff goes home for the night. I meant to talk to them about it. Showers are $1 and there is a laundry on site.

"At this point, most of the boats in the marina seemed to be there for storage, as it was pretty quiet. But then the season is just starting. A 100-ft powercat is being built next door for booze cruises, which should liven things up when it gets done.

"I attended the Governor’s Cup festivities for the Ha-Ha boats and other cruisers at Marina Costa Baja in La Paz over the weekend, and can report that about 100 showed up for the fun. The beer truck got lost or broke down, so they only had water and soft drinks! But what a good spread of food — beef, chicken, shrimp and pork — and none of it overcooked, as often happens in Mexico. There were even clams on the shell.

"At end of dinner, the Costa Baja folks showed the film Ocean Oasis, which is about the Sea of Cortez and sealife. It was both interesting and educational, with lots of great underwater footage. It was originally filmed for IMAX theaters, so the production and sound were great. All in all, it was a great welcome to cruisers by La Paz officials and the Costa Baja.

"As for La Paz in general, the local ex-pats are still pretty much the same, with most being helpful with a few radio nazis and snobs making their presence known. I think it’s pretty sad when a station is trying to help another boat figure out the entrance buoys and someone starts clicking their mic because they think its inappropriate to use the 22 hailing channel for that. To my thinking, the hailing channel is appropriate for immediate safe navigation advice. The boats in question weren’t abusing the hailing channel, but I suppose some of the people with 15,000 miles experience in 100 years might disagree.
"Anyway, it’s been very pleasant down here with great weather."

Stockton’s Ni Orsi and his crew sailed more than 6,000 miles to reach this anchorage at Corsica that has a strong resemblance to The Baths in the British Virgin Islands.
A little over a week after the 902-ft Cosco Busan sideswipped the Bay Bridge, spilling 58,000 gallons of heavy-duty bunker oil into the Bay, the focus on oil recovery has moved from the water to the shoreline.
With the Ha-Ha having ended last Saturday, more than 150 cruising boats are now fanning out all over Mexico, from far up in the Sea of Cortez to way down at Acapulco.
Remember how great the last America’s Cup was? The close racing, the exciting TV coverage on the Versus channel, the good feeling that it was finally an event worthy of sailing’s oldest trophy?