Skip to content

Off Season on the Vallarta Coast

Philo Hayward, rocking out on his 68th and on the 12th anniversary of his music studio/bar/restaurant.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The plan was for Profligate to be relaunched at the Riviera Nayarit Shipyard about a week ago, and for the Wanderer and Doña de Mallorca to do a two-person Dash/Bash up to San Diego. But then the TraveLift had to be taken out of service for a few days for maintenance. Knowing that idle hands are the devil’s workshop, the Wanderer had Peter and his crew at the Shipyard do a little job. They did it so well that another job was ordered up. And another and another, each one bigger than the one before. So Profligate, brand new bottom job and all, is now disassembled for numerous jobs we wish had been properly done when she was launched 16 years ago. We’ll have more on the nasty projects in a future ‘Lectronic. As of now, we’re hoping to be able to head north in a month.

Being stuck on Banderas Bay in the early off season isn’t bad at all. Not bad at all! Up until about the the third week in June, the weather was fabulous. Not too warm, not too humid, and no rain. Since then it’s gotten warmer and more humid, but it’s still very bearable if you’ve got good fans and like to swim. And it’s started to rain a couple of hours a day most days. And when it rains down here in the summer, it pours, and is accompanied by tremendous amounts of lightning and boat-shaking thunder.  Some days it’s blowing 20 and pouring rain at 9 a.m., but by 1 p.m. it’s the kind of beach day Southern Californians can only dream about. A week after the first rain, the jungle vegetation suddenly turned green. Fabulous!

Naturally the cruisers celebrate Fourth of July in Mexico. There will be swimming pool volleyball and more traditional activities at the Marina Riviera Nayarit, and big doings at Paradise Marina, too.

Has anybody noticed there is something about guitar players that seems to attract women? Philo with Doña de Mallorca of Profligate, Isabel of Sayulita and St. Barth, and Rochelle of Sayulita and St. Martin.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Last week Philo Hayward of Philo’s Music Studio, Bar and Restaurant held his annual birthday party and 12th anniversary party at his place in La Cruz. He says he’s 68 but plays and acts like he’s 49. We don’t know where all the people came from, but the place was packed. Originally from Mendocino, Philo came south with the 2000 Ha-Ha aboard his Cal 36 Cherokee. The minute he strolled the streets of La Cruz, he fell so much in love that he immediately bought the place that has become Philo’s. He continued on across the Pacific the next two summers before selling his boat in New Caledonia, and spent the winters getting the music studio and bar going. It’s now long been a Riviera Nayarit institution.

Tropical storms bring great conditions to the entire north shore . . . of Punta Mita. Stinkys and the other spots featured long lines, endless waves and uncrowed conditions. The water temp? About 82.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Summer means tropical storms and hurricanes off the coast of Mexico, which also means great surf. About two weeks ago there was a five-day swell that locals said was the biggest in three years. It peaked with 8- to 10-ft waves at places like the Mexican Malibu, Stinkys, Pachucos, La Launcha, Burros and the break just to the east of the Marina Riviera Nayarit. There were way more waves than surfers, and it was so light and warm people were out until 9 p.m.

The Bettingham-Moore family of Tasmania. From left to right, Ben, Nick, Melissa and Huon.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

There are still a few boats at the anchorages at La Cruz and Punta Mita, but not many. Among the last was the Lagoon 440 cat Sonrisa belonging to the Bettingham-Moore family — Nick, Melissa, Benjamin, 6, and Huon, 3 — of Tasmania, Australia. After a career running powerboats without budgets and living the flash life in the Med, Melissa got pregnant, so they decided to call it a career. They decided what they really wanted was a family and the very simple life aboard a Lagoon 440 catamaran they bought new in La Rochelle, France. Ever since 2007, they’ve been headed home to Tasmania, and figure they’ll get there in about five more years. This is the family’s second year in Mexico, and they’re loving it. They find the Mexican people to be just wonderful, and don’t miss the high life of the Med in the least. A few days ago they headed north to spend a second summer in the Sea of Cortez. We’ll have much more on the Bettingham-Moore family in a future issue of Latitude.

The Bettingham-Moores are big into nutrition and health, so Nick and Melissa almost always kayak the half-mile or so to shore. Ben and young Huon just hop on the front or back of the kayak, dragging their boogie boards behinds. When coming ashore through the surf, mom just pitches the boys overboard, and they clambor aboard themselves.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

For those who have waited to do the Bash, there have been some excellent weather windows. Bill Lily gave the following report from his Newport Beach-based Lagoon 470 Moontide:

"As of 2 p.m. on Monday July 1, we are a bit north of Punta Baja. I don’t want to jinx Judy and myself, but here is what we’ve have had for weather since we left Cabo:

"Cabo Bay to Cabo Falso —  22+ knots on the nose with bouncy seas for about four miles. We had to drop down to 3 knots for a bit.

"Abeam Falso — 12 knots WNW.

"Two hours north of Falso — 6 to 8 knots from the NW.

"The rest of the way to Bahia Santa Maria — Less than 8 knots.

"BSM to Turtle Bay — Never more than 6 knots.

"Turtle Bay to Cedros — 12-14 knots from the NW for 30 minutes, then down to under 10 knots the rest of the way.

"Cedros to San Carlos — Under 12 knots, mostly from the SW.

"San Carlos to Punta Baja — Less than 10 knots from the E to SSW.

"The forecasts have been calling for such benign weather that we’ve been stopping at night instead of continuing on in placid conditions. Our plan is to overnight to Ensenada, have dinner at Sano’s tomorrow night, then run up to San Diego in time to clear Customs by 9 a.m. so we can get a spot to anchor in La Playa Cove on the Fourth of July. But so far the weather has been so mellow that I’m telling Judy that she doesn’t get to count it as a real Bash."

A short time later Lily reported that the wind had come up to 16 to 18 knots . . . out of the south! "It was almost worth putting up a chute," he said.

And Moontide wasn’t the only boat that had an easy Bash. Patsy ‘La Reina del Mar’ Verhoeven of the La Paz-based Gulfstar 50 Talion reports that she and crew Bob Martin and Bruce Bloch had an "easy trip" from La Paz to San Diego, which is about 880 miles. "We made it in seven days, and that included spending two nights in Turtle Bay."

Our World Headquarters will be closed on Thursday and Friday, so no matter where you all, all of us at Latitude 38 wish you a wonderful — and safe — day of sailing on the Fourth!

We can never post too many photos of beautiful women, so why not a gratuitous shot of Isabel, de Mallorca and Rochelle from Philo’s birthday party?

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Leave a Comment

While most sailors are getting ready for casual Fourth of July fun on their boats, five Mini 6.50 sailors are amping up for the July 6 start of the Mini 650 Pacific Challenge.