Into the wind. Sailing Mexico. 18 09 North 103 31 West

It’s like the BT Global Challenge all over again. The round the world yacht race I did in 2000-01 (also with Frank) was a race upwind against the winds and currents. Read into that the boat was heeled over most of the time bashing into big waves.

We knew it would be coming on this leg and here it is. The gentle heady days of downwind sailing at 10 knots in flat seas already seems an age ago. That said its a relief to have more settled conditions and the absence of squalls, thunder, lightning and torrential rain.

The wind is firmly on the nose and we are tacking our way North slowly to get to Cabo san Lucas at the bottom of Baja California. The seas although not big are enough to slow us down considerably and we’re motor sailing through at 5 knots to make some headway. It’s wet and bouncy. I’m certain Nichola is not missing this part!

We flew past Acapulco which looked absolutely stunning and a place to go and spend time exploring – in the guidebooks, its described as the perfect natural harbour complete with vibrant Mexican waterside life. It would have been lovely to spend time there but we are on a mission to get North to make flights so for now we’re noting places for next time as we sail South down this coastline.

The depth gauge continues to be interesting – we have 2 excellent ideas from Paul Frew (clean the connections on the transducer) and Max (use a fishing line to test depths) plus of course a whole bunch of theories about thermoclines and the oceans needing to be re-charted here as we may be on a tectonic plate fault line (can anyone confirm this). If nothing else, it provides a refresh on the school topic for Columbus on tectonic plates.

Our email shut itself down two days ago, hence the silence. We discovered we have some rogue programmes downloading which have crashed our satellite bandwidth allowance and blocked our account. Thankfully we are close to the coast and can hotspot on Franks phone (hence this email).

We are sailing within 3 miles of the coast at the moment – there’s loads of shipping out here and Mindy has been active on the last watch calling up and dodging cargo ships and tankers. Also of interest is the Clipper Round the World yacht race – their boats are flying South as we grind our way North. We picked up CV20 (not sure which one that is) on the AIS earlier today some 45 miles away.

Dolphins continue to abound. They are omnipresent at the moment.

The sea temperature is dropping fast – 5 degrees C in the last 24 hours and the deck temperature by night is also checking – in a T shirt on deck its distinctly chilly. Frank tells me that the 31 degrees C water temperature will drop to 15 in San Fran. Yowch. South Pacific sounds nice again : )

We’ve just had a big wind shift to the North. Staysail down. Genoa up. Tack the boat and we’re heading at 6 knots directly at Cabo which is 450 miles away.

Life is happy on board – Columbus is settled and enjoying reading and Minecrafting, excellent tuna taco’s yesterday by Frank, David busy fixing things, Mindy did a sterling job detoxing the fridge yesterday and I’m about to start book editing thanks to the large amounts of very helpful feedback I’ve had.

Team Aretha heading into the Gulf of California, Out.

PS Quote of the Day from Columbus: David appeared in the saloon looking like Dr Emmett from Back to the Future first thing in the morning. Mindy offered him a red hair band (which he accepted). On quibbling which colour hair band he should have, Columbus mentioned the red band would be right as it would match the red suburn behind his ears. Final word definitely with Columbus.

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