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Joe Kiernan 17-03-2015 16:42

Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"
We're heading down to Mexico from the PNW end of this summer, all the insurance company seems interested in is "where are we going to store the boat during hurricane season" Now, how I'm supposed to know that without having been there seems a bit Uh, dumb.

Any one with any ideas on how to answer these desk bound questions I'd love to hear from. What kinda costs are associated with all this. Our boat is an Alajuela 38 with a aprox 48 foot oal. What marinas might offer liveaboard and at what cost?? Time and location matter less than most for us, newly retired and loving it.

Joe and Cat

TJ D 17-03-2015 18:13

Re: Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"

Well, Puerto Vallarta has by far the best track record of any of the common places that folks spend the hurricane season. People in the northern sea of Cortez also are pretty safe, but San Carlos does occasionally see a weakened tropical system. Insurance companies also prefer Puerto Vallarta. There has never been a direct hit by a hurricane in 150 years+ of recordkeeping. Even Kenna in 2002 went by the outside of the bay at cat 5 without major damage to the marinas.

The best facility in PV for storm protection is probably Paradise Village Marina. La Cruz (Marina Riviera Nayarit) is more exposed, and rumor has it that they couldn't get the pilings in as far as they were supposed to go due to hitting bedrock.

Marina Vallarta is pretty run-down, but some folks love it. Marina Nuevo Vallarta is the cheapest, and offers pretty good protection on the newer docks, but it is not as well constructed as Paradise Village.

Summer rates for your boat should run about $600/mo in 3 of the marinas, and 400/mo at Nuevo.

I kept 2 different boats in Vallarta for several hurricane seasons, and think that it's the best bet. It's also a very vibrant place, unlike ports further north.

The other place is Guaymas/San Carlos, but man, it's oppressively hot in the summer, and I also find the town to be a less nice place to visit. Not bad, mind you, but it just doesn't have the amenities of PV.

So, I'd recommend PV above all.

La Paz also does ok in the newer marinas there. Odile came through with quite a bit of wind, and I think that only anchored boats were lost.

Cabo marina came through Odile pretty well, considering, but I don't think that very many cruisers want to spend more than a couple of days there. It's more of a tourist/sportfish destination, and very expensive.

Mazatlán is also home to a lot of boats, but IMHO not a good hurricane hole.

South of Vallarta, I would avoid, Maybe the marina in Barra de Navidad would be ok, I wouldn't leave my boat there.

Feel free to ask if you'd like more info about any of the spots I mentioned.


zeehag 17-03-2015 18:44

Re: Meixican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"
where you will summer depends on your insurance company and your policy.
the best places to summer are not within the insurance companies proscribed safe zones.
good luck n have fun.
i have summered in mazatlan, in la cruz , and in barra de navidad.
so far, barra is best. i summered here two summers.
BUT is NOT within the accepted per insurance safe zones.
farther south the less wind in forming storms.
i do not leave my boat anywhere. i am full time cruiser.0

i consider golfo de california a boat trap in a major furycame. no thankyou. also the horrific heat is nasty. there is less drastic difference in temp south of cabo corrientes therefore fewer thunderstorms.
there are forming storms offshore but the wind speeds are not huricane force as in soc.

TacomaSailor 17-03-2015 19:33

Re: Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"
"where are we going to store the boat during hurricane season"

"What marinas might offer liveaboard and at what cost?? Time and location matter less than most for us, newly retired and loving it."

Those are two different issues. Storing implies being off the boat which in the Sea of Cortez usually means dry storage.

Liveaboard means a marina or at anchorage.

Life aboard a boat in a Hurricane Safe marina in the Sea of Cortez is miserable, hot and stuffy unless you have air conditioning. We spent three summers there.

As you have been told - but I will reiterate:
I would rank Marina Mazatlan as the best - I spent a month there.
The new marina in La Paz looks very secure.
Friends Norseman 447 survived last summer's hurricane very well in Marina Palmira in La Paz. I know many folks who have lived through five hurricanes in Palmira and as far as I know - no boat has been seriously damaged.

All three places are protected from the serious winds and are therefore protected from the cooling breezes. Hot - Stuffy

You will pay $500/month or more to stay in any of those marinas for the July - October period. It is hard to describe to a a PNW sailor how hot is the sun and how hard life is in a tropical summer marina. We sailed & cruised in the PNW for thirty years before heading to La Paz. By late May we found it hard to live there and we were at anchor. We had a full boat sunbrella awning built and beat feet north to Puerto Escondido and then Santa Rosalia as fast as possible.

My insurance (2002 - 2004) allowed me to anchor in Puerto Escondido and leave the boat in the care of a paid caretaker, as long as I was only gone 30 and then 60 days. They had no issue with us cruising anywhere north of Loreto, Mexico (20 miles north of Escondido).

Marina Seca in San Carlos (way north on the East side of the Sea) is the dry storage that is safest and most secure. I've put our boat there and it was OK. The marina at San Carlos is also pretty secure and has only been hit or brushed by nine hurricanes in the last 66 years. I was there for a couple weeks in early August and it was never below 104 during the day and 90 at night, except when a Chubasco blew thru.

If you are heading south "at the end of the summer" you will have to stay in San Diego to after November 1 which is the end of the western Mexico hurricane season. Only a fool would head south from San Diego earlier than the last week in October.

If you get to Cabo in late November you will not have to worry about hurricanes until July 2016. By then you will be an expert at Golfo California Hurricane Holes.

Hint - we cruised north of Santa Rosalia all three summers we spent in the Sea of Cortez. The offshore islands, literally many dozen, have good anchorages and are 10 to 15 degrees cooler than being in a Puerto Escondido, a marina, or any anchorage on the Baja East Coast. We tried to survive in Puerto Escondido in July and Santa Rosalia in August - it was tough!

We plan to spend summer 2016 and maybe 2017 in the Sea of Cortez and will do so as follows:

July - islands around Loreto
early August - Santa Rosalia
late August - end of October BLA and Refugio

I am surprised you are headed to a cruising area that is known for serious and destructive hurricanes with no knowledge of how to be safe and secure during the three month hurricane season.

Yeti 17-03-2015 20:11

Re: Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"
I remember from several years ago that Marina Mazatlan may be an ok place although it may be technically to far south for the insurance company. They also run a decent deal at $.24/ft/day tax included from June through October if you keep the boat there the whole time.

I will say however that it is SUCKY hot and humid there during September. I joined up with a guy as crew for a 3 month trip starting in Mazatlan on the 16th of September (big holiday, great day to arrive in country). I was constantly sweating for about two weeks until my body acclimated. This was after I left Iraq on August 3rd. Either I got super soft in 6 weeks or Mazatlan was just worse than Iraq in the summer. I was in the pool as often as possible. 5 minutes out of the pool and soaked in sweat.

Other than the heat/humidity Mazatlan is a pretty cool place IMHO. Lots of interesting stuff there.

SV THIRD DAY 17-03-2015 20:50

Re: Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"
Thumb pardon the danm auto correct.

Mazatlan for the summer....only if you have air conditioning on your boat, one month there in August and I know what hell feels like. The other 3 summer in BLA area and one in La Paz were all easier than Mazzy or PV. Its the humidity that gets you. But if you don't want to get in the water to cool off, honestly store your boat in Palmira in La Paz and hire someone to watch your boat and get out of there. The people who didn't like getting in the water all the time to cool off didn't have a good time that we saw.

But don't panic....get down there and talk to the folks who have been doing it for real for years that where you will get the best info. As for the insurance are screwed in a named storm pick a place for now and then change it if/when you figure it our on your own once down there. It ain't rocket science as Scarry a bit sounds..... Trust me....the folks that have done it before you were no smarter than you are, they just have something you don't.....experience and they once didn't know either.

We had a big fantasy plan and all of it changed once we got down to Mexico, so can do this!

TacomaSailor 17-03-2015 22:33

Re: Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"
"I am surprised you are headed to a cruising area that is known for serious and destructive hurricanes with no knowledge of how to be safe and secure during the three month hurricane season."

That was a really dumb thing for me to say - SORRY:facepalm: - I was a jerk! I have no room to make disparaging or condescending remarks because one of my Baja hurricane encounters ended very badly - due to me thinking I had all the right answers.

We all head off into adventures that may contain surprises and that is never a good reason not to go.

Asking questions is the best way to gain the experience and knowledge that Third Day mentions.

Most cruisers start with
- an empty bag of experience
- a full bag of luck

We all hope to fill the former before we empty the latter.

This is a great place to get ideas, information, and recommendations.

zeehag 17-03-2015 23:00

Re: Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"
tacoma sailor....the official pacific coast mexico huricane season per nhc is from may 15 through november 15 th. yes we do ecperience occasional infrequent late
attempts at formation.
to those of you who do not know thevclimate in baja and thebportion of western mexico from border to mazatlan, that area is desert. just like phoenix.
tropics begon marked by tropic of cancer, near mazatlan.
puerto vallarta is in banderas bay. can and has been affected adversely by tropical storms in not too distant past.
south of pv is southwest coast of mexico, along which tropical storms grow and become huricanes. the winds are much less intense than those in sea of cortez, and the coast is not subject to the intense northers and chubascos which are prevalent in the sea.
there is much sea life in golfo de california, and as many gringos as in california
. you will be right at home there.
buy an air conditioner if you plan on staying in marinas.

JPA Cate 18-03-2015 00:06

Re: Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"
joe kiernan,

Please note, zeehag has successfully sat out two hurricane seasons in Barra de Navidad.

FWIW, I think Puerto Escondido is not a safe place to sit one out. The reasons are the following: 1) other people come in and anchor on top of you, making your plan to deal with shifting winds irrelevant, so that you must leave; 2) there are many unattended boats there and you don't know when the moorings were serviced, and if so, how well;
finally, the fishing boats come in, blocking the exit, set their grapnel anchors and go ashore, therefore becoming possible bolides for taking you out.

Jim, while alone on the boat, elected to leave for Isla Catalina, when a hurricane threatened, hoping to be able to change anchorage safely, in my absence. Try and float that one past your significant other, mate.


PS, Hi, Zee, glad to see you posting!

zeehag 18-03-2015 07:46

Re: Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"
thsnkyou, ann cate
i think everyone sailing mx needs to know where the most damage to boats during furycame season occurs.
i believe one will find this most efucational.
this locus is not mainland southwest coastal mx. the damages occur i the soc.
insurance companies mandaye one keep boats out of formation zones despite the fact those zones mau not be hit zones.
more hits in soc than southwest cost mx. research well before yoj go and do not trust any of us spewing info.
furycames kill. look at odile. rare path as it may have been, that killer did some hella damages in soc yet left msinland alone.
even jova which hit here in 2011 didnt cause damage to boats..
research wnd learn
i have spent four summers watching under each forming storm. as i stated prior to this, i do not feel safe in places north of mazatlan...i dont feel safe in mazatlan. is a good place for a solid hit. but not with a good ending for boats.
see norman. paul. etc...per history.
the marina might not be damaged due to baffles between ocean and mari a but the winds cause much problem. dock vlrats etc are and have been broken loose..a friend had that without even a name to the tormenta. many more tboomers banderas bay to north as much wider spread of daily temps. is a desert there. hot days cooler nights until sweltering august. even july brings 105-110 temps. i bought my air condiyioner for my cat when he was panting heavily in the HOT air unable to cool down.
here is a constant 85f year round. rarely do we have tboomers without a name to em.

i think you will want to read your fine print well then make up your own mind intelligently.
what insurance companies dictate is best for THEM , not you.
i stay on board in summer. yes i know how they really are here. i never leave my boat. o ly during my xead brotber trip did i leave my boat and it was attended while i was absent.
if you enjoy california and aridzona weather you will LOVE soc and baja. oh yes youalso have toove company as youvwill find overpopulation by yotties mandated to keeping boats in insurable locales, then you will LOVE soc.

Bill Taylor 18-03-2015 08:13

Re: Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"
We spent '86 to '95 in Mexico, returning to Seattle for the summer each year. The first few years we left the boat in San Carlos. We then relocated to Puerto Vallarta, a considerable improvement in my view. Kept the boat in Marina Nuevo Vallarta at a considerable cost savings, but the marina has deteriorated since then. Look it over and talk to people there if you're interested. If you plan to stay aboard, Marina Vallarta is terrific for its proximity to restaurants, bars and the super market, as well as a short bus ride downtown. Also, if you intend to stay aboard, air conditioning will save your sanity. We had it for the last couple of years and never regretted it for a second, even though we didn't stay for the summer. The heat in a marina, sheltered from the breeze and unable to swing to what little breeze there is, can be brutal.

On that subject, if you don't take a windscoop and cockpit awning you'll be scrambling to get them when you go south.

Good Luck

SV THIRD DAY 18-03-2015 08:22

Re: Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"

Originally Posted by Bill Taylor (Post 1777813)
The heat in a marina, sheltered from the breeze and unable to swing to what little breeze there is, can be brutal.

On that subject, if you don't take a windscoop and cockpit awning you'll be scrambling to get them when you go south.

Good Luck

Two examples of the Marina Heat Death if you plan to stay aboard:

Santa Rosilia:
Folks were baking in the marina there while we were 15 degs cooler out at Isla San Marcos just a short little hop off shore.

La Paz:
At night out at anchor in the bay I had to actually pull a blanket over me to keep the chill off all summer long. Meanwhile back in the Marina, folks were having to sleep with their hatch cover AC's running to survive. This was summer 2012.

There are only about 30-40 boats that make the BLA run each year and then about that amount again that hang in the anchorages between La Paz and Santa you won't have the crowds of high season that's for sure.

Me...I wouldn't stay in Puerto Escondido for a hurricane unless I screwed up and got trapped. La Paz was just hit with the largest Hurricane to hit Baja in recorded history and how did the boats in the Marina's do? Great, just some minor dock rash on a few but no major damage. How did the boats out at anchor do? 3 cruisers dead and dozens of boats damaged.

I would summer in a La Paz marina with very little worry, Marina Palmira would be my prime choice. But I will also say some of the best cruising and experience we had was during our summers up in the northern Sea of Cortez. The Refugio anchorage pretty much was the picture of what our cruise dream was all about.

Now summering in Barra...I tell you what.
I love that place so damn much that every time I hear Zee talking about it, I wish I would have done that myself for a summer season. It just wasn't something we even though about because the "hear consensus" was go north my son...go north. As our cruising friends would say, I'm an estuary Rat: La Paz, Topolobampo, San Blas, Barra. Those are some of my favorite places because the anchoring was so calm and comfortable. It's not a coincidence that I'm not living aboard on a mooring in the Morro Bay Estuary.

Morro Bay is a standard stop before your Conception rounding, so stop buy and we will have you aboard for dinner and stories on your way south.

TacomaSailor 18-03-2015 08:22

Re: Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"
Here is a link to a great Sea of Cortez and NE Pacific historical hurricane track map.

Hurricane Archive | Weather Underground

Change the number (year e.g. 2003 above) to see a different year. You can also qualify what data you want to see. For example, just Tropical Depressions, or Tropical Storms, or any Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity you wish. The data goes back to 1851 (or so says the home page)

The link will show the details of every storm, path, landfall, pressure, wind speed on a six-hour interval.

When you click on a hurricane name you will see a map of only that hurricane, but the website gets confused at times and displays the alphabetically prior storm, it is awkward to use but if you experiment you'll get the hang of it.

AlwaysFORSAIL 18-03-2015 10:04

Re: Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"
I sat out the last four hurricane seasons in Fort Myers Beach quite successfully. There were none. The point is that you can be lucky and you can be really unlucky. Weather happens but all of the advice you have read so far is pretty good

zeehag 18-03-2015 11:44

Re: Mexican moorage "Hurricane holes, costs"
tracks and hits are two different things entirely.
pathways are not deadly but a good poke to the temple can befoul your entire life.
when you watch tbe tracks know that in 2013-2014 summers i was in barra's isla navidad marina.
our max windspeed was clocked at 45 kts EACH summer. that includes 19 named storms in 2013 and 21 in 2014.
not once did i feel as i were i danger.ö
not once did i feel threatened by weather.
yes i watched and reported for others the conditions as they were occurring.
lotta water from sky.
lotta foto ops for sunrises and sunsets and weather
very comfortable temperatures
hardly noticeable winds.

nuevo vallarta marina was destroyed in a ts that hit inside banderas bay some years since you last sat there. nuevo vallarta has been repaired and rebuilt so it is usable and nice.
but i would not summer in banderas bay .... as i stated nuevo vallarta marina was destroyed in a tropical storm that hit inside banderas bay

your choice.

only places not hit by huge winds are south of cabo corrientes.
jova did NO damages to boats
storms do not become furycames until around manzanillo. they are growing until cabo san lucas.

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