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Need info on trip from San Diego to Cabo

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by gunnymt, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. gunnymt

    gunnymt New Member

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    I have a 68 Queen powerboat that I plan on taking to Cabo this Dec. I was hoping for some advice from folks that have done the trip in a power boat. I will cruise app 10 knots and will need a fuel stop along the way. Any help will be appreciated!
  2. German Yachting

    German Yachting Senior Member

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    If you Google San Diego to Cabo you will find a lot of blogs about people who have done the trip. I’m not sure of the range of the Queenship but a lot of it will just come down to weather timing and determining where to stop. We are not as fortunate on the West Coast with the number of stops available on the way but Baja Mexico has a lot better coverage than if you are going up the coast north. Have you taken your boat to Mexico before? One of the big things is getting the proper permits once you arrive in your first port (Ensenada). A lot of boats were impounded a couple years ago that didn’t have them and created a huge mess. I’d prefer to marina hop as much as possible but if you do decide to anchor up, look for a place that is protected from the S and SW swell direction switching to W and NW in the fall.
  3. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    The only marina between San Diego and Cabo is Ensenada. It's just 60 miles from San Diego and the only reason to stop there is for checking in or out of Mexico, picking up or dropping off Mexican crew, or mechanical trouble. The rest of the way you'll be on the hook wherever you stop.

    The pacific coast of Baja is not particularly hospitable. Keep a safe distance at least 3 miles outside when passing Sacramento Reef. I almost always run the inside of Cedros Island although outside will save some time if weather permits it.

    I typically run nonstop 24 hours a day especially if the weather is good because tomorrow it might not be. Straight through to Cabo if the boat carries enough fuel. If not then 330 miles straight to Turtle Bay. Fuel up, then run 440 miles straight to Cabo.

    There are a few spots along the way that you may want to see such as Santa Maria Bay and Mag Bay which are between Turtle Bay and Cabo so you could add a second stop there and make it a three leg run. SD to Turtle to Mag to Cabo. Set your departure times for your desired arrival times. Beyond Ensenada don't plan on any services along the way except fuel in Turtle.
  4. MBY

    MBY Senior Member

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    Ditto what RER said. Generally fuel in Turtle, run down the ridge towards Mag Bay then on to Cabo. You can fuel at Santa Maria inside Mag Bay if you have to but its a burden and you'll lose a travel day. All in all it is a great trip and the fishing in December should be great from Turtle Bay south on to Cabo.
  5. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    What is your range?
  6. Capt Fred

    Capt Fred Senior Member

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    Just a few additional comments, fuel in Turtle can be around 7/gallon, fuel in Mag Bay (San Carlos) close to the street price in Mx plus a little extra fees but much cheaper, however you will lose a day. I carry extra fuel and travel at 8 kts to avoid getting fuel in Turtle. Benitos Isl, Turtle, Asuncion, Santa Maria and Mag Bay are all great crew rest stops. If you fish the islands, they are all protected and require a permit (bracelet) to fish them, in addition to a Mx fishing license purchased in advanced. Stay well clear of any charted high spot, for many reasons they may not be where your chart plotter shows them to be. Make double sure you take with you all the supplies and spares, very difficult to get anything along the Baja Pacific Coast. Lastly, you will be travelling during Lobster season, they use floating line and a double float system that will foul your running gear. In swallow water inside Cedros, Nativadad and near shore they are thick. As a practice I stay in 100 fathoms or deeper when travelling at night and keep a sharp look out when in swallow water. Near the lobster camps you can trade for short lobsters. I love cruising Mx, enjoy the following seas and beautiful sunsets.
  7. gunnymt

    gunnymt New Member

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    I have about 700 mile range.
  8. gunnymt

    gunnymt New Member

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    Thanks fort all the input! How do you carry extra fuel.
  9. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    It looks to me like you'll need both stops and I'd recommend carrying some barrels as well. 700 nm range definitely puts you subject to two stops that don't always provide the service one needs.
  10. gunnymt

    gunnymt New Member

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    2 stops? I thought it was 850 miles from SD. Plan on filling up in Esenada. Taking couple to gal drums don't seem to help much...
  11. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    How much fuel do you carry normally? Correction, one stop between Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas. I calculate the shortest route at 680 nm. We covered 726 nm on our trip there. 55 gallon barrels can add a lot of range as a safety factor against any issues at Turtle Bay plus generator. With 700 miles range you just don't have enough to be safe. How much safety factor you want is something you'll have to consider, but don't forget to allow for your generator.
  12. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    No barrels, use bladder tanks that can be collapsed and stored out of the way and open up deck space.

    Intra Marine has them from 100 to 400 gallons each.
  13. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I've not used either but I do know captains here who greatly prefer barrels.
  14. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    Barrels on a 68’ MY are too much of an obstacle when you can go bladder, transfer after you have burnt your first 400 gallons and free up the deck space.

    Way easier to secure than having to deal with 4 - 8 barrels on deck.
  15. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I'll leave it to one of the barrel proponents to respond with their view.
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I use fuel drums on deck of various motoryachts at least 3 times a year if not more and never use bladders. I just told the owner of a new 62' MY that I wouldn't use his brand new 250 gallon bladder on our trip because it would have completely blocked engine room access. Bladders are also harder to fill cleanly. And, where are you going to store it after you use it? I certainly wouldn't put 1 in the engine room with fuel and fuel vapors in it. I also never put fuel on the bow either because in rough seas, you'll never get it transferred. You certainly aren't putting a 400 gallon bladder on the deck of a motoryacht and not blocking engine room access if the access is in the floor. You also have to deal with a pump that's not mounted to anything and being on your hands and knees to fill and connect to a bladder. A 400 gallon fuel bladder is 5 x 8', where are you going to put that on the aft deck??? The only place a bladder usually works out is a SF cockpit.

    I use plastic 55 gallon drums and secure them with ratchet straps, the blue plastic flame retardant material (looks like diamond plate but blue) underneath them and either diapers or the blue material around them where they meet gelcoat. They're easy to fill without making a mess. I get one of the Rule 500 GPH submersible 12 volt pumps, I put 3/4" clear tracer hose on it, wire it with a switch, and zip tie the pump 1" above the tip of an old VHF antennae that I cut that's about 1' longer than the drums, zip tie the wires and hose coming up to the vhf antenna and drop the whole thing in the drum until it's empty, shut it off, stick it in the next drum, turn it on......no mess at all. Plus each one takes up less real estate in one spot.

    I also transfer the drums as soon as I can transfer all of them. Sooner and a partial transfer if it looks like the weather's going to pick up.
  17. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    That highlights the difference between west and east coast. Especially in areas with long legs between refueling.

    As mentioned above the SF’s going to Cabo do it all the time, so do the cockpit MY’s that fish as well. Maybe a point a to b delivery by a captain with no leisure time spent along the way is more typical back east so it speaks to the differences.

    As far as what to do with the bladders, the same goes for barrels. They are not going anywhere, can’t be stored anywhere. A 55 gallon drum is two feet in diameter and 3 feet tall, and you need them on the trip back. What do you do with 7 or 8 of them for the month or more you are in Cabo? Stare at them in your cockpit the whole time? A collapsed empty bladder tank can be vented to relive any fumes, then washed/cleaned and rolled up. You can put it secured above or below deck, even on the bridge, out of sight and out of the way and you have your cockpit back . And then it is ready to go on the way back.

    And if one is too big and covers an engine room entrance, you can go to two smaller ones and place them away from a cockpit deck engine room /lazarette hatch.
  18. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Easy, if you are at a stop for a period of time, speak to the dockmaster on where to put the drums. Or line them up on your finger pier and tie them to a piling. I've done both. Just about every marine in Central America that I've stopped at, has a place where you can store drums. The smaller bladders still take up a lot of deck space and they cost a lot of money. Drums are cheap.
  19. d_meister

    d_meister Senior Member

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    I've done the San Diego to Cabo trip numerous times with both bladders and drums. First, the distance with my set of waypoints from San Diego is 740 nm. The next consideration is how much fuel is necessary to extend the range with a safe margin. Next, you have to evaluate the amount of space available. 55 gallon drums will take less deck space holding fuel vertically and can be placed and lashed more creatively than bladders. As Capt J points out, blocking engine or even Lazarrette access could turn into a situation with some irony in it. Imagine finding out that the autopilot rudder feedback linkage was knocked off when all that extra gear was stowed for the trip and there's 1500 pounds of diesel on the hatch. Drums can be moved, if necessary, when full.
    Drums are easy to plumb with cheap PVC pipe for an easy transfer system that keeps the drums closed (except for venting) during transfer. Bladders are difficult to deal with at all times. One Bertram 54 that I crewed on for the trip to Cabo annually, used a big Goodyear bladder. One year, the fill fitting in the bag just popped out when we were filling it at the fuel dock. It was a mess. If someone hadn't quickly hooked their finger in the hole and held the hole up above the fuel, it would have been an event in the $10,000 fine area. I'm sure that there can be drum disasters, too, but they survive a lot of trucking handling.
    Whatever you decide, plan ahead and practice. It's no good having someone stand there with a hose full of diesel and no way to cap it off when you're done transferring. If the tank fills are difficult to access underway, replace the caps with PVC plumbing fittings with hoses attached and run aft. Be sure you have the right pump for the job and there's power available. I had my transfer pump die off Nicaragua years ago, and had to go to Plan B.
    Call ahead to the boatyard in Cabo and ask them if they'll store your barrels for you, or ask the marina how to arrange it. It's done all the time.
  20. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    Bladder tech has changed for the better and there is no need to go to a single massive bladder that overwhelms the aft deck. The fills , nozzles and vents are much better today as well as the transfer pump systems.

    http://atlinc.com/rangeextender.html

    See how much fuel you burn at 12.5 knots, this gives you a nice round 300 nm per 24 hours. See what the difference is between your 10 knot and 12.5 knot numbers, it gets you an extra 60 miles per day. You have at least 735nm total from Ensenada to account for plus a safety margin. Ensenada to Turtle Bay - 285nm, Turtle Bay to Mag Bay - 270nm, and Mag Bay to Cabo is 175nm. Size your extra fuel based on if you are doing an A to B run straight to Cabo, or using fuel services at the two stops, or planning any side trips.

    Here’s some must reading:

    https://www.mexicoboating.com/authors/

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