Sailing Entrada de Diario (No. 1/7) PV, Mexico

Endre Balogh and I are extremely and forever grateful to Paul “Pablo” Martson and J/ World Performance Sailing School for the invaluable training, mentoring, and fun we had at Puerto Vallarta.

We could not imagine a better coach than Paul who has been most patient, most calm, most thorough, and most amusing sailor we have yet spend 7 days and 6 nights, dinners, lunches, and breakfasts with.

Muchas Gracias, Pablo! Muchas Gracias, Wayne!

Cold and blue from the winter in Calgary, I was ecstatic to leave the land of snow and frost. The snowy mountains and prairies were much more beautiful to look at and adore from an airplane heading south to Mexico. I kept on looking out the airplane window eager to see the transition from white to brown to tropical green. Luckily, the forecast for PV for the next week was mostly sunny with some days of cloudy skies.

We have been planning to sail in Greece this coming summer with cousins. But we were not confident that our Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator's Cards will be enough to charter and skipper a bare boat in the EU. US Sailing offers an International Proficiency Certification which we could apply for after completing a US Sailing Bare boat Cruising course.

J/ World Performance Sailing School has the reputation of providing best US Sailing cruising, competitive, and world-record-holding racing programs and coaching. And their fleet of boats and instructors are among the most experienced and most “hands-on” ever reviewed.

I called and emailed Wayne Zittel who was in California at that time, and in two (2) days we were finalizing the schedule for a 7-day Live Aboard Bare boat Cruising Course in Puerto Vallarta.

Day 1

15 February 2017, at 9:30 AM, we arrived at the J/ World Office at the Paradise Village Marina. A bit nervous as if on the first day of school, I was greeted by a serene looking man with a calm soft voice “Are you Trina?”

Paul is a seasoned sailor, who has raced and cruised for decades, and was part of a world record setting J/World Team “Hula Girl” that sailed Los Angeles-Hawaii in less than 8 days, with 3 students in the team.

He welcomed us to his boat, a 40 ft monohull, “Vanishing Girl”. A Beneteau First, VG is looking really nice and comfortable. I withheld my question on his choice of name for his boat. Haha.

We cast off at 10:30 AM sharp to catch the high tide. VG has around 8ft of keel (almost 3 meters) and thus we had get out of the Marina quick. The goal is to clear Banderas Bay and talk about the ins and outs of VG and our float plan on our way.

We headed north to Punta Mita with me on the helm. We heard and saw 2 whale breaches far away. The sound was like an explosion, and was followed by a cloud of water splash. I got really excited!

The wind was moderate from the NW, and soon we unfurled the jib. The mid-day sun penetrated some of the clouds that made the sea sparkle. I was enjoying the almost 8 knots of boat speed when I noticed something black swim by on starboard side. It disappeared quickly, before the 2 men on the boat could see it. I told them I saw a black fin. They dismissed it and said I was probably hallucinating.

The black thing re-emerged half an hour later, showing its full round fin and arched spine! It was solitary. The men of course missed it again. And to this day they are convinced that I was just kidding them. Haha! I promise I saw it! And this private moment with the solitary dolphin kept me brave for the rest of the time at sea.

Endre helped anchoring at Punta Mita. 20ft depth. The spot is rather rolling and I started to feel some “motion sickness”. I ate yogurt for breakfast, and the bloating in the tummy did not help.

The anchorage also turned out to be lee shore when the wind shifted and started to blow from the south.

Thankfully, I discovered the “Happy baby/ Dead bug” pose in yoga helps ease the gas and relaxes the transverse abdominis.


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