Acapulco to Zihuatanejo passage

Acapulco to Zihuatanejo passage - end of January 2015

Because going to the neat anchorage from Acapulco would be a problem for us timing wise (arriving at night), we chose to go straight through to Zihuatanejo.

We were about two hours out of Acapulco when we started having problems with our Garmin autopilot  - we were  motor  sailing because there was little wind. We were getting six foot swells with a cross swell. Later the wind picked up and we unfurled the Genoa. Our autopilot kept losing the rudder coordinents. We had left at 8:00 am and would arrive in Zihuatanejo at 7:00 am the next day, if we maintained about five knots. The wind was almost on our nose so we would sail out to sea then tack north  (towards Zihuatanejo and shore) then when we got close to shore we tack back out to sea etc. 

Here we are showing 5.4 knots and on a tack towards land.

We were averaging 3.5 to 4 knots. This would bring us into Acapulco at 8+ pm the following

This would be OK but with the autopilot going out we were looking at hand steering all night and until we reached Zihuatanejo. We were disappointed as we wanted to sail at night. This was not going to happen as at the end of the day we were getting tired and still had an all-nigher to do. If we sailed we both needed to be up all night, no watches. We were taking some good spray over the bow. The autopilot kept getting worse, loosing it's rudder coordinates more often. So the decision we made was to motor sail so we could be relieved of the tacking and we could get some rest and be ready for the hand steering. This came to be about 4:00 am when the autopilot gave up the ghost for good. We are grateful we made it that long. It was about every 15 minutes that we had to re-set the autopilot but it was a quick button push after the alarm sounded. No course correction needed most of the time. We were just on a rum line with the autopilot as a route took too long to reset. We got into Zihuatanejo at about 9:00 am the next day.

 Our mast deck light is not doing the job so we are thinking of an alternative solution. We do not want to run new wires down the mast. Our current deck light is a mast combo light. It is a steaming light and a deck light only;  it is mounted higher than the radar dome and radar reflector on the mast This blocks what light there is from that high up. So we are thinking of mounting an LED spot light on top of the dodger forward of the solar panel. This will light up the mast and boom  for night reefing and main sail handling etc

  We chose to anchor in front of La Ropa Beach in Zihua as it was told to us by other cruisers that it was a nice anchorage with clearer water and quieter then La Principal Beach, in front of town. (We can hear waves on the beach here versus techno music over there.) When we came in, we learned it was a four-day holiday weekend so the area has been very busy with jet skis, banana boats, para-sailing and something we call "the sofa" - a large inflatable "sofa" that is pulled behind a panga...people seem to love it!  Unfortunately, one of the para-sailors got their lines stuck in one of the sailboats nearby - no one was hurt, though.  This anchorage gets the ocean swell pretty much so we are bow and stern anchored.  The new  #4-7 lb Fortress anchor at the stern is holding quite well and was pretty easy to deploy from the stern.  The next day we re-positioned it, for better placement, from the dinghy and this worked great - just as we wanted it to!

We are here for SailFest Week and there are a lot of activities.  Local towns-people and vacationers pay 300 pesos for a ride on a sailboat during the Pursuit Race at mid-week (Debbie volunteered as a sign-maker for this event!) and also the Parade of Boats at the end of the week.  There is a benefit concert with six bands!  There is also a Chili Cook-off which we will go in to shore for.  The event raises money for Por Los Ninos, an organization that helps build schools with amenities in the poorer neighborhoods of Zihua.

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