Emergency Haulout

We recently discovered a leak of unknown origin. Our first time discovering it was during our sail up from Chamela to Punta de Mita, of course, during the middle of the night. Our bilge was almost filled to the floor boards. Our bilge pump apparently was broken and we had no clue, because our bilge is normally dry. We hand pumped/bailed all the water out and looked for the source. We assumed it was coming in from the opening where our chain enters from the new windlass we installed in Barra. We forgot to place our plastic bag stuffing around it, we’d grown accustomed to pleasant down wind sails. The sail from Chamela to Punta Mita was upwind with a lot of water coming over the bow.

Arriving to the PV area, we thought we figure out and fixed the source. After a few days at anchor in Banderas Bay, we checked the bilge again. More water! Well, maybe its just water settling still? We bought a new bilge pump, installed it and checked again in a few days. And again more water, but less than before. The search for more leaks began. At the time we only found small possible sources and fixed them. Then we sailed upwind again toward Mazatlán. We discovered that when we are heeled over toward our Port side, our aft head draws in salt water. Urgh! So, we closed off that intake and added “fix the aft plumbing” to the list of possible leak sources. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the source either. By the time we arrived in Mazatlán, we were pumping out ~20 gal of salt water from our bilge a day!

Christian went through every system, tearing apart the boat looking for all possible leak sources. After two full days, he finally found a leak from our engine intake thru-hull. The strainer was broken and leaking. As he was trying the fix that, the whole part broke and our leak became worse! Thankfully, our friendly neighbors were around with extra sea-cocks and ideas to stop the leak until we can get it fixed. And thankfully we happened to be in a marina right next to the haul out yard. Unfortunately, it was the weekend and help and haul out wasn’t available until Tuesday. Our three day Mazatlán plan turned into a much longer stay than we we hoped for.

As we waited for three days to get hauled out, we kept the leak plugged with a plunger on the outside of our hull and a bung (wooden tapered plug) from the inside. And of course made the best of our time in Mazatlán (post about that to follow).

Tuesday, we hauled out for a few hours and fixed the engine intake through whole. I wish I could say “Yay!” Yes, we are happy, no more leak, but man was it more costly than we expected. We normally anchor out, so marina time is costly to begin with. Marina Mazatlán itself was even more expensive ($240 for 8 days)! The haul out itself was 6,000 pesos (roughly $345 USD), just for a few hours, in and out. Then we had to hire help, due to Fonatur haul out yard policy. Rick at Marine Services Mazatlán is a nice guy, but ouch, expensive and his workers are not very skilled. He charge $200 for his time, which included the wait time for unexpected haul out delays. I’m not one for writing bad reviews, but we were so disappointed in his work. Christian basically had to watch over the workers and relay the message to Rick that the work was not being done properly. They had to redo work and we were still charged for that time. And to top it off, after splashing the boat, the fitting were leaking! So Christian resealed it himself after returning to Marina Mazatlán. Christian notify Rick, and although apology was made, we still paid full labor fees.

Unfortunately resources here are limited, so if you are here and you need work done, then go for it, the work will get done and Rick will be happy to be of service. But if you are on a tight cruising budget and can wait to go somewhere else, we would recommend doing so.

Alas, our leak is fixed and we should be departing Mazatlán after 48 hours of waiting for the sealant to set. Stay tuned for a post of our fun Mazatlán activities. And sorry for any terminology errors, I wanted to get this post out before I procrastinated any longer. 🙂


5 thoughts on “Emergency Haulout

  1. evsail

    Dang! So frustrating for you!! Hope the new fix works well and will just be a “fixing boats in exotic places” story. Are you on FB Women Who Sail Mexico? Maybe leave a message there for other cruisers about this boatyard. They could be a good resource for any future “events”. Fair winds and safe travels

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Allie

    I read your entire story sitting in a 2nd grade classroom on a quick break. What an amazing life adventure you are all experiencing… With the chill surf days balancing out the totally crazy haulout world…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sabarr2015

    Sorry to hear about all your boat problems. Sounds very frustrating but just glad it didn’t put you in any real danger. Wishing you smooth sailing in days ahead. Also want to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day, Josie in case we’re not in touch until after it’s come and gone. The kids are so lucky to have you for their mom.Love to you all, Aunt Sue

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lucie Mewes

    Dang! While very expensive, $30/day isn’t outrageous I’ve found. We’ve endured the $40/day with our 40’er. Luckily the marinas have been generous with their HaHa rates. Still…not anchoring hurts! See you in the Sea soon.

    Liked by 1 person


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