The Home Stretch
On Nov. 19, Brown-Eyed Girl arrived at Cabo Riviera Marina, and her crew discovered yet another benefit of small-boat cruising. Access.
The log notes a very narrow channel. Only Brown-Eyed Girl and another participating boat got in, while the others cruised on, leaving the handful of boaters ashore to enjoy a party designed for 150 people. “It was a great party, with mariachis, food and drink. We were treated like royalty.”
“A panga driver convinced us to try it, so we ran in,” Bruntsch says. “We got our outdrive up, but we did suck in a little sand.”
“The boat draws just 24 inches, so that’s a big advantage to being small,” Lucore concurs, and then Hunt adds, “You hardly need a tender. You can just back up to a beach and jump off as long as there’s no surf.”
After tightening the oil pan bolts again, the crew left Cabo Riviera on Nov. 20, bound for Bahía de Los Sueños. The log notes, “Blue water, 84 degrees, went swimming … wine, cheese and tuna pate on the poop deck...tropical clouds, smooth water.” A final snafu dogged the crew the day they were due to arrive at CostaBaja Marina on La Paz’s Pichilingue Peninsula. After the engine overheated, they discovered the alternator belts weren’t turning. The pulley brackets were broken. So the water pump wasn’t working either, and they were dead in the water.
“I’m so proud of these guys,” Hunt says, glancing at his mates on the dock. “We didn’t drill for that. But one guy drove while the other two got it fixed.” And Brown-Eyed Girl made it to La Paz, where they are clearly enjoying the destination as much as they did the journey.
Later they would get to enjoy the final benefit of their little cruiser. They would get to drive home. (They had a trailer and tow vehicle waiting for them in La Paz that had been dropped off in advance.)
“It can be a slog going back north,” Hunt says of traveling back by water. “Instead of following seas and wind, you get it on the nose. It’s a huge advantage to trailer the boat back.”
The big lesson in all this: You can do a long-distance, offshore cruise with a small boat. You need all the necessary gear and parts, you need to have experience, and you need to have a reliable (and compatible) crew who has the time; but yes, regular guys can do this. No matter the size of their boat.