Mobetah in St. Pete Beach Florida just prior to leaving for the Northwestern Caribbean

Mobetah in St. Pete Beach Florida just prior to leaving for the Northwestern Caribbean

About Us

Until his retirement, Bill Was a Landscape Architect for the National Park Service and Pat was a Physical Therapist.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Our Cruise to Punto Allen Mexico

We left Marina El Cid in Puerto Morelos, Mexico bound for Punta Allen (about 75 miles south) about 3:00pm on last Friday with our buddy boat Wind Shift with Bob and Robin (a New Zealand couple) aboard. We went overnight and motorsailed into a SE wind and a current of 1 to 2 1/2 kts. for most of the night. Suddenly, the motor started to overheat, however, if we slowed down a little it would cool down a little, so we continued on and planned to fix whatever the problem was when we reached Punta Allen. 17 miles north of Punta Allen, we were three miles east of the rhumb line, so we attempted to tack. The wind was building to about 20 kts., the waves were about 6 to 8 ft., and we still had some current against us. To make a long story short, when we tried to use the engine to punch through the waves, it immediately overheated and we were making no headway. After going east and getting back on the rhumb line, we then found ourselves 21 miles away from Punta Allen, and the wind was building and shifting more to the south, which was making it more and more difficult to get where we were going. We decided to turn around and head back to Marina El Cid and fix the problem, while we waited for more favorable winds.

Our buddy boat had gone on ahead of us, and they were having VHF radio problems, so we counld not tell them about our decision to turn back. We were very worried that they would get to Punta Allen, realize that we were no where in sight or radio range, and call the local authorities and report us overdue or missing.

We made it back to El Cid in record time (for us) because the wind, waves and current were all in our favor. A couple of times our speed was as high as 9.4 kts., and I believe if we had had an engine we could have hit 10 kts - just to say we had done it. For those non-sailors, our average speed is 5.5 to 6 kts/hr.

We made it back to Marina El Cid just before nightfall on Saturday. About an hour later, we heard our buddy boat on the radio. They had lost their engine (starter problems) right outside of Punta Allen and had also decided to turn back to where they could have the required mechanic work done. (There are not many marine services available along the south Mexican coast.) After our attempts to find someone to tow them into the marina were unsuccessful, since the night crew at the marina only spoke Spanish, they decided to sail on back up to Isla Mujeres and not attempt to enter the El Cid marina at night without an engine. We later learned that they made it back to Isla Mujeres and were towed into Marina Paraiso.

When we were coming into the marina, we noticed that the engine vibrated when we reached about 2,000 rpms, and we were very slow considering the wind and waves were behind us.

Today Pat (aka Patsy Cousteau) dove down to check beneath the boat and found a large piece of nylon fishing net wrapped around the propeller and shaft, which was what made us so slow and the engine overheat. She cut the net away and scraped a few barnacles off the propeller, and now we are ready to try it again.

Stay tuned for more adventures of the Sailing Vessel Mobetah.