Originally posted on November 10 2010.
San Felipe needs a sailing club. Hobie Cat International races are already held here each spring. Mexico’s long range plan is to establish a series of ports up-and-down the Sea of Cortez. They would be capable of handling cruise ships and private craft. We have a new, well-sheltered marina; we have new slips and a fuel dock; we have good weather ………. all we need are a few boats.
A couple of STAR-class 22-foot sloops (sailboats) would make excellent teaching craft as well as being perfect for our local wind conditions. The Star has been around for about 100 years and is still raced in over 30 countries. It has been featured in the Olympics since the early 30’s. Since so many have been produced, you can often find a fairly well-equipped one in the $2,000 to $2,500 range (including trailer). Only drawing about 3-feet of water with several keel options, it would do well in our variable tides. My first exposure to sailing was with a Star-Class in Barnegat Bay, NJ, in the early 40’s.
Possibly I can assist. In my previous life (before San Felipe), I taught “Small Boat Handling and Coastal Navigation” and “Intermediate Sailing” under an adult education program at a California high school, under the auspices of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. I have lifetime teaching credentials.
One of my ‘toys’ was a 36-ft Columbia sloop, named “Genesis”. Its dingy was appropriately named “Exitus”. Having a 10-1/2 ft. beam and weighing 12,000 lbs., it was designed for off-shore cruising rather than racing. But it had a unique SCIM keel which permitted rapid racing turns. You could find it moored in front of John Wayne’s home on Newport Bay, California…………or in Lahaina, or many other Pacific ports.
I mentioned earlier that I favored Estero Beach Resort in Ensenada. That was our final destination after our annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race on Memorial Day weekends. Estero Bay was a picturesque site with deep water and plenty of kids with .22 cal. rifles to guard your boat. Unfortunately, it was hit by a storm that transformed the bay to a marsh – which it still is. The race series began in 1948 and has attracted many well-known stars. With well over 500 vessels participating annually, friends and families often drive to Ensenada to share in the race-end revelry.
I also managed to navigate the “Genesis” to Hawaii and Tahiti……but that is a long story not related to San Felipe. At least, I have adequate background and experience to help organize a San Felipe Yacht Club. Of course, our pennant would include a blue shrimp.
As I mentioned in my first column, I’m not a fisherman. Although I’ve been known to order a mahi mahi steak, or open a can of atun (tuna), I avoid fish. I’ll “pig-out” on mariscos del mar (shellfish) or other seafood products, but I’ve never learned to appreciate fish. That is kind of ridiculous since San Felipe is a fish oriented community. You’d be hard pressed to find a San Felipian who doesn’t fish – providing for his family and neighbors.
San Felipe’s major fish/shrimp packing plant is across from my casa, and at times, will sell their products retail. But rent one of a dozen barcas along the Malecon, all willing to negotiate a guaranteed fishing experience, at a very reasonable price. ½-day excursions are about $45 with pickup at the beach in front of your motel. Good catches have also been reported from the rocky walls of the marina. Or, you’ve no doubt seen Konsag, a white rock or tiny island 20-miles east of San Felipe. It too is a favorite destination for fisherman. No fish? Sorry, but bring back a little of the white diatomaceous earth – it makes an excellent filter for your tropical fish tank.
If you’d like to try a real fishing experience, check out Tony Reyes week-long expeditions. The Reyes family has had hundreds of delighted customers. Even if you don’t fish, the views are well worth the trip. I believe the vessel can handle 18 fishermen. The cruises are very popular so make your reservations long in advance.