Friday, February 24, 2017

Return to Mexico: Farewell to Guatemala: February 2017

Why Refurbish Atalanta?

We think Atalanta is a very special boat.  It was built in 1983 by the Little Harbor Company, a boat building operation owned and operated by Ted Hood.  Atalanta remained Ted’s family yacht for three years under the name of “Robin Too” (get it? Robin --- Hood).  All yachts personally owned by Ted were painted “stars and stripes blue”, a color resembling robin’s egg blue.

Just about ready to 'splash"

Returning the rudder to her proper location
The men at RAM Marina doing their magic
When one takes temporary possession of one of Ted Hood’s boats, it is expected that certain traditions be respected.  She must be maintained to traditional standards while embracing new technologies.  Not an easy line to walk.  When it became necessary to improve our battery system we considered both solar and wind.  Solar would have required an arch on the aft deck; one that we felt would ruin the lines of the boat.  While wind generation was not around in 1983, its installation on Atalanta doesn’t change her lines.  We opted for wind. 

Living aboard on a full- time basis as we have been for the past four years, puts considerable wear and tear on a boat.  Atalanta was last painted in 1989 with Awlgrip.  This material is like paint but more durable and with a higher gloss.  The time for Atalanta to be repainted had come.  Doing the job correctly required all the paint and filler to be removed and the hull taken back to bare fiberglass.  Then it needed to be sanded, re-faired, sanded again, and then painted with 3 coats of Stars and Stripes.  The preparation was extensive and took about 2 months to complete.  We opted to have the work done at RAM Marina in Rio Dulce, Guatemala where the cost of labor is low and the quality of workmanship high.  Henry, the head of the paint crew did a magnificent job and we are thrilled with the results. The RAM Marina is one that we would recommend to anyone looking to have serious painting or refitting done.  They are probably the best yard we have found in all our years of sailing. Now we have to dock very carefully with lots of fenders over the side so we can try to avoid getting that first scratch!

Where To Now?

With our nephew Noah on board, we left the Rio Dulce for Mexico.  On February 17th, we ended our seven-month stay in this wonderful part of the world. We made many new friends on the Rio Dulce and hope to cross paths with them again.  We wandered down the river toward the Gulf of Honduras and checked out of Guatemala at Livingston. 
On the way down river: Cayo Quemodo Bay

Leaving the Rio Dulce
 After safely crossing the shallow sand bar we headed north in open water.  After an overnight sail we anchored at Long Cay in the Lighthouse Atoll, Belize for the night.  In the morning, we sailed 75 miles offshore in search of the Gulf Stream.  We sailed at 6 - 9 knots due north which is a reasonable speed for us.  As the day progressed the winds and seas increased as we found ourselves in 25+ knot winds and 15+ foot seas. 

Noah passage making
 Atalanta competently handled these conditions but the autopilot stopped working so someone had to be at the helm the entire time.  We took shorter than usual watches and arrived in Isla Mujeras, Mexico two and a half days after leaving Lighthouse.

We are docked at El Milagro Marina.  Isla Mujeres is beautiful, the food is great, and we are reconnecting with old friends that we have not seen for some time. Murray actually made friends here last year and he was pretty happy to see them. We’ll relax, eat, drink and socialize (and do boat chores) here for about 3 weeks and then sail to the Dry Tortugas and be at City Marina in Charleston, SC by April 15.

It feels so good to be moving again and many more adventures lie ahead…..thanks for following our journey.

Richard and Kay

More Pics

Los Tres Ricardos

Casa Mate John on board

Noah and Kay in the Rio

Livingston, Guatemala for Check Out

25 kts of wind
15 footers

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