- Anna Welscott
The Excitement Never Ends: We Blew Out a Sail on our way to Puerto Angel
We had a nice time in Zihuatanejo, but we were both ready to leave, raise the sails, and get to a new place. Our next destination was Puerto Angel, which is a small fishing town, 320 miles south of Zihuatanejo. The place looked incredible, so I had been looking forward to getting there for sometime now.
We decided we would break up the passage and do a day sail to Papanoa, spend the night, and carry on the next day. Papanoa was a quaint little place with a bunch of palapa restaurants bordering the bay, some with water-slides right into the water. I believe there were more restaurants than houses in that tiny town!
As we left Papanoa the following day, our friends on Tantalus snapped some pictures of us leaving.
On our way to Puerto Angel we had some light wind days, so we decided to fly the Asymmetrical Spinnaker, aka the bag of fear. An asymmetrical sail is a massive sail made out of very light weight material, similar to a parachute. Many things can go wrong when flying an Asymmetrical Spinnaker, which is why we kindly call it the bag of fear. The first day everything went well and we were looking forward to using it again the following day…however things didn't go as smoothly as the day before and we no longer have an asymmetrical sail.
The sail has a dousing sock, and as we raised the sock and deployed the sail, we noticed something did not look quite right at the very top, but it seemed to "fix" it's self as we adjusted the sheets. We had it up for several hours and we were making good speed.
The wind began to increase, so we decided it was time to take the sail down, and this is when the excitement started. Doug went forward to lower the sock, but it seemed to be jammed on something at the very top. He tried and tried and tried. Doug came back to the cockpit to discuss our other options of getting it down. With the wind picking up and having such a massive sail out we were starting to heel quite a bit. We got on our life-jackets and clipped in as we both needed to go forward to try to wrangle the beast of a sail. We both tried to pull the sock down again, but it was not budging. Next we released some sheet out in hopes it would fly forward and the sock would work…but nothing. As we discussed our next course of action, Doug pointed out two small tears at the bottom of the sail. Within a matter of seconds, the entire sail began ripping in every direction, it was crazy, everything happened so quickly! Half of the shredded sail went on one side of the boat and the other on the opposite side. This caused the sail to go under Karuna along with all the sheets. We quickly lowered what was left of the sail, using the halyard and then started wrestling it back on deck. The wet sail was heavy and since it was under the boat, it made for a very difficult situation. Somehow, we both kept calm and got the sail and sheets back on board and stuffed it back into the bag of fear. We were exhausted.
Since the sail and all the sheets were under Karuna, we needed to make sure nothing had wrapped our prop or caught the rudder. So, Doug tied a GoPro onto the end of a boat hook and lowered it down to check the bottom of the boat. All looked well, so that was very fortunate!
We were still two days out before getting to Puerto Angel. We could have stopped in Acapulco, however we had heard it was a sketchy place right now with multiple reports of gun fire, so we sailed on by as the sun was raising.
On a side note, on our three day sail, we must have spotted at least 100 sea turtles floating by, they must be migrating.
We arrived to Puerto Angel in the evening of April 3rd. It's a tight anchorage with rocky cliffs and fishing pangas moored throughout the bay. We were able to find a place we were happy with and went to bed, to get some much needed rest! The next day we went to shore. The town is split into two lobes with a rocky path connecting the two. Both lobes have a nice beach, and the water was clear and beautiful.
We needed to get our laundry done, so we found Alonzo's Lavandaria on the map. Once we arrived, we realized we were at Alonzo's house…well we came this far, so we dropped it off and were told to come back the following day. Sometimes I just laugh at the things we have come accustomed to doing.
We spent a few days in Puerto Angel; walked the town, had a beach day, and made water. While at the beach we met Jose, who is the local oyster diver. He chatted with us for awhile, which was great to practice our conversational Spanish. When we got back to our dinghy he had left a shell, which means I can make more Concha Nacar.
We finished up our time at Puerto Angel having drinks with our friends on Tantalus.
Next up we sail further south to explore the Huatulco National Park.