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Old 29-11-2017, 05:11   #1
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GUATEMALA rio dulce boat yards

I'm looking for a boatyard in rio dulce to do painting,fiberwork and carpentry
I would like some recomendations and advises on boatyards and professionals
there.
my draft is 7,2 ft how can I get in ?
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Old 29-11-2017, 07:41   #2
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Re: GUATEMALA rio dulce boat yards

Several good yards to choose from. RAM Marina is a full on USA style boat yard. More details below.

With 7.2 draft you will almost certainly need to be careened to cross the bar (controlling depth about 6'). More details below.


More details copied from my Notes:


"
Rio Dulce Boatyards

The 3 boat yards are Nana Juana, RAM Marine, and Abel's.
Nana Juana has an articulated trailer which can accommodate most recreational vessels including larger catamarans. This is a distinct advantage because it means larger cats can avoid the potentially nerve wracking transit under the bridge and power lines to get to Abel's (I cover the details of making this transit in my “Belize & Guatemala Cruising Notes” also available on Amazon).

RAM Marine is large full service boat yard complete with a travel lift, paint shed, dry storage lot, fuel dock, restaurant, West Marine distributor (effectively the same thing as a West Marine store), and restaurant. The one thing missing at RAM is the ability to haul larger cats, but there are plans to add an articulated trailer (the ramp is even built for it).

Abel's is a family run yard which has been in operation for decades. They have a marine railway system and a relatively recently added travel lift. Competition from the new yards has forced them to up their game by adding things like the travel lift, but unfortunately that necessitated increasing their rates too. As mentioned, they are upstream of the bridge. This is not an issue for smaller vessels, but is a significant consideration for larger vessels with tall masts.


Rio Dulce Bar Crossing

I have lived on the Rio for many years and I have run my boat and many boats from the charter fleet in Belize across the bar. I've discussed crossing the bar with many cruisers who are worried about crossing the bar and way over think it. Its an easy bar crossing crossing if you draw under 6'. Don't sweat it. Six feet or over will require a little more planning.

Regardless of what you may hear or read elsewhere, the controlling depth over the bar is about 6'. Any vessel which runs aground drawing less than 6' was off course. Follow the route described in Freya Rauscher's guide and you will be spot on. I've had cruisers drawing as little as 4.5' tell me they ran aground...they were way off course.

The mistake many boaters make is that they tend to want to favor the Livingston side (roughly N side) of the mouth of the Rio. This of course is exactly where you don't want to be since there are shoals on that side. Where Freya's chart incorrectly states "Rip Current" is the most pronounced area of shoals ...not actually a rip current but rather seas breaking on the shoals. Stay down near the middle of the mouth (heading of 225T from the sea buoy position) and hold that course at least until abeam of the municipal dock in Livingston. You can then carry 6' minimum all the e way from mid channel to the municipal dock.

Note that the sea buoy itself is sometimes re-positioned and sometimes missing all together (not sure where it goes?), but the way-point given in Freya's guide for its position is good for this route.

I used to run a couple of monohulls from the charter fleet in Belize, which drew just under 6', over the bar on a regular basis and never touched bottom regardless of tide height.

If you draw 6' or more then you will need to do a bit more planning. Up to about 7' you can probably get over on a high tide. More than 7' is probably going to require careening your boat. Some of the local fishermen provide this service. Ask Raul for a current recommendation.

Once over the bar, you have plenty of depth (controlling depth about 12') all the way to Lago Izabal except for a few isolated hazards.
"
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Old 29-11-2017, 08:23   #3
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Re: GUATEMALA rio dulce boat yards

Thanks a lot. the info in very usefull.
Have you had any experience with those yards or know the name of a good pro?

about crossing the bar I'm thinking of loading a flexible water deposit of about 1tn at from the spinnaker pole.
Do you know what is the height of the bridge? I'm 68 above water.
thanks again
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Old 29-11-2017, 19:48   #4
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Re: GUATEMALA rio dulce boat yards

De nada, glad to help.

I try to spread my businesses around a bit. As a result, Ive had good experiences with all 3 yards over many years. Never had a significant problem with any of them. Have used Abel since before the other 2 yards existed...like to support the local family run operator, but now their rates have increased, so that sways my loyalty. 😆

Nana Juana is currently the least expensive haul out.

I just had my Hobie 33 hauled and bottom painted at Nana Juana, but provided my own workers.

Have heard several favorable comments about paint work at RAM recently.

Ive spent the last few years mostly in Panama so I would check with others who may have more recent contractor recommendations... things change.

Also see the local gringo/cruiser web site: www.riodulcechisme.com for info.
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Old 29-11-2017, 19:52   #5
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Re: GUATEMALA rio dulce boat yards

Bridge height is listed by various sources as 80-85. Height power lines a bit less definitively known.
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Old 30-11-2017, 05:34   #6
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Re: GUATEMALA rio dulce boat yards

Belizesailor might have dated information but it's still pretty accurate. If you like to hire your own locals or do the work yourself then Nana Juana is fine, RAM will only allow their workers but they do stand behind their work, you can do your own work as well of course. The labor rates in Rio are very reasonable. RAM is doing more and more paint work on topside with products like Awlgrip and having looked at a couple of recent ones I'd say they were pretty decent. Friend of mine had his hull and deck redone with gelcoat and they did a pretty nice job on it as well. Word is they are going to build a second paint shed so their business must be growing. Allow yourself lots of time and book ahead as there are certain times of the year that getting work done can feel like pulling teeth. That said it's probably no different than most boatyards. The good news is that while your waiting the living in the Rio is cheap and easy...kinda of a neat spot in its own way. R
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Old 30-11-2017, 07:32   #7
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Re: GUATEMALA rio dulce boat yards

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Bridge height is listed by various sources as 80-85. Height power lines a bit less definitively known.
But also remember the river can rise/fall by up to 6 foot depending on the rain in the mountains so any definitive bridge height quoted will need to be adjusted.

The power lines are lower than the bridge in the middle of the river but no one knows by how much

In the past, Mario's marina dock have been underwater, last year some of Bruno's docks and patio were under water and Tienda Ried floods regularly in the rainy season
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Old 30-11-2017, 15:26   #8
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Re: GUATEMALA rio dulce boat yards

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triumphant View Post
But also remember the river can rise/fall by up to 6 foot depending on the rain in the mountains so any definitive bridge height quoted will need to be adjusted.

The power lines are lower than the bridge in the middle of the river but no one knows by how much

In the past, Mario's marina dock have been underwater, last year some of Bruno's docks and patio were under water and Tienda Ried floods regularly in the rainy season
Yes, if transitting the bridge with a big mast, do it in the dry season if you can!
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Old 30-11-2017, 19:01   #9
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Re: GUATEMALA rio dulce boat yards

My notes on transiting the bridge with a tall mast below. I added a paragraph about water level based on Triumphant's comments.

I also realized while writting this up that I always use the port side, relative to travelling up stream, just out of habit. Will have to investigate the starboard side in more detail some day.

Losing power or steering during this maneuver would be bad.


"The bridge which spans the Rio Dulce at Fronteras is stated as having a vertical clearance of 80-85' at center by various sources. This bridge has a pronounced arch so clearance tapers off quickly as you move laterally from center. The power lines which cross the Rio very near the upstream side of the bridge hang lower than the center height of the bridge. The towers supporting the power lines are near the foot of the bridge on either side. This results in the maximum vertical clearance for the power lines being near the river banks and, inversely, the maximum bridge clearance being in the center. To make this situation even more entertaining, a strong current usually flows under the bridge, especially so in rainy season.

The power lines hang far enough below the center arch of the bridge that they are visible under the bridge when approaching from downstream. However, I know of no definitive measure of their vertical clearance near bridge center.

To transit the bridge and power lines with a taller mast you must transit the bridge near the center and the power lines near the shore. There is not much distance between the two. If traveling upstream you first clear the bridge, then turn hard to port and make directly towards shore while maintaining your line of travel between the bridge and power lines. When very near shore turn hard back up stream and pass under the power lines. Reverse this process coming from upstream. Out of habit, I always go to port (relative to upstream) and have not looked at clearances in detail on the starboard side.

If you have a mast height typical of a mid sided cruising boat, around 60 feet, then you can pass under both the bridge and power lines near center stream.

Be aware that the water level of the Rio varies depending on rainfall, so there will be less vertical clearance during periods of high water. Unfortunately, water levels of the Rio are not officially reported so its at best an educated guess.

I have actually seen boats post a crew member at the mast head when attempting this transit. This could put that crew member in contention for the Darwin Awards. This is seriously stupid, please don't put someone's life in danger. "
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