Crossing the Sea back to La Paws and on to Caleta Partida
May 26, 2015
We left Isla Isabel, bound for Ensenda de los Muertos. This was to be our 3rd crossing of the Sea of Cortez.The morning of our 3rd day at sea, we were greeted by flat calm seas and no wind. We were just an hour or so from anchoring in Muertos when we made a last-minute decision to push on to La Paz because the conditions were so nice. And they were SO nice up until the point they weren’t. Damn the Cerralvo Channel. Things got interesting in a hurry. Out of nowhere, we had 20 knots of wind, right on the bow. Slowly the waves built up until we were taking an occasional breaker over the bowsprit. These conditions lasted about 3 hours or so. Peak winds were in the 28-32 knot range (roughly 32-37 miles per hour). Strangely, I was catching fish like crazy during these rough seas. YOLO’s motion was not terribly uncomfortable and it was actually exciting to be in some “real” ocean conditions. Definitely one hell of a roller coaster ride! As we turned the corner through the San Lorenzo Channel, things moderated and by the time we were approaching La Paz, it was dead calm. We found an awesome little anchorage just outside the entrance of the channel leading into La Paz and had a great night sleep.
We spent the next 3 days provisioning, fueling, and eating out. After all our work was done, we were ready to head to Caleta Partida for more fun and shenanigans with buddy boat Makai. The sail up was actually a motor boat ride, as the winds rarely cooperate with us here in the Sea. The scenery in the anchorage was pretty glorious. We spent the days sailing around on Makai’s Hobie Wave, drinking tasty margs, watching movies on the Jumbo-tron, and swimming with real life sea lions in the wild.
The (ALMIGHTY) Mantus Anchor
May 25, 2015
Mantus Anchor Review
We reached out to Team Mantus in February of last year, looking for a new anchor for s/v YOLO. Even though YOLO came with a 50 pound Delta, we knew we needed a better hook to keep us safely in place.To the uninitiated, myself included, anchoring can be a daunting subject to not only understand, but also execute. We had ZERO experience with the art before setting out on s/v YOLO’s maiden voyage. Sure, I read a lot on the topic and spoke with other’s on their own techniques. But that was it, no real-world practical use. Anchoring was an area of primary concern for me, going into our adventure.
As liveaboards, your ground tackle just might be your most important gear aboard. Unfortunately, a boat is not quite like a car, when it comes to keeping it in place. You can’t just pull up to the anchorage, put your gear selector in PARK and then set the brake (and then grab a Pacifico Ballena).
Back in April of 2014, CoCo and I had the privilege of meeting the Mantus owners at Strictly Sail Pacific in Oakland. After chatting with them and getting product demos of their awesome product line, we were HOOKED, pun intended. We ended up selecting their 65 pound beast of an anchor. Other must haves, regardless of experience level, are their bridal snubber, chain hook, multi use tool, and dinghy anchor.
Fast forward to today…our 64th night at anchor. While I would not proclaim to be an anchoring master, I think we have it pretty well figured out. However, I must give a large portion of the credit to the Mantus anchor. A boater’s biggest fear, other than running out of beer or encountering pirates, is dragging in the middle of the night, while sleeping. Dragging is bad news. The problem with dragging is it is very difficult to feel. Even with our anchor firmly set at this moment, the boat is moving. We have a gentle swell coming into our protected bay and we have fluky winds that can’t decide which direction they want to blow. This means we are swinging around on the anchor and chain. A boat will almost always point into the direction the wind in blowing from (unless you are anchored in La Paz). So essentially, your boat can move, but only in a radius of the amount of chain you have let out. If you were to drag without noticing, best case scenario is that you wake up out in the middle of the ocean. Worst case – you are washed up on shore. This is why you must trust your ground tackle 110%.
If you are a cruiser, then you know that watching other boats come into anchor can be a pretty fun spectator sport. Particularly when you have been securely set for a day or two, reading a book in the cockpit, perhaps a drink in hand. We have watched numerous boats make 3 or 4 attempts to set their own hooks. We never have to reset. EVER! I really don’t think this is lack of skill on their part. It is simply the anchor. All anchors are NOT equal. Here are our statistics since we have been out cruising:
Max sustained winds while at anchor – 28 knots for 6 hours
Max wind gust – 39 knots
Anchor Drags – ZERO
Anchor reset due to anchor failing to set – ONE (this was our fault, as we were in a notoriously difficult anchoring location. You have to land the hook on a fairly narrow strip of sand, otherwise you are on bare rock on either side.)
What we love about our Mantus anchor:
- It is BIG and HEAVY
- It sets fast
- It sets on the first attempt
- It comes up easily when hoisting
- Doesn’t seem to collect much sand/mud/grass/etc when hoisting up
- It can be broken down if necessary
What could be improved (these issues were specific to our boat and certainly not experienced by all other users):
- The anchor is not compatible with many standard types of bow rollers. I had to drill a separate hole in the anchor that allows me to align a securing pin to pass through it and the anchor roller sides.
- Once the anchor is almost completely up, we have to stop the windlass and manually lift the anchor up and over the bow roller to sit correctly. The windlass probably could pull it all the way, but it would put a tremendous force on the motor and gears.
*Mantus does offer a bow roller modification product that can help alleviate the above issues, which we are probably purchasing for next season.
As I mentioned earlier we also own the Mantus bridal snubber, chain hook, multi use tool, and dinghy anchor. We love all of the items and will try to get a review done with more specifics about each of them. Here are a few cool pics of the Mantus dinghy anchor.
All in all, Mantus is an awesome company with awesome people behind their products. Don’t hesitate to contact me or the Mantus team directly with any specific questions. Furthermore, their website has awesome videos demonstrating how their anchor sets and holds as well as really handy sizing charts to figure out what would be appropriate for your own boat.
***We were provided with all of our Mantus gear at a discounted price. In return for their generosity, we agreed to write this unbiased review of their product.