Posted by: catamarantwooceans | January 31, 2017

The Rocky Horror Show

27.1.17 – Friday – It was 1600 when we left the Punta Gorda anchorage. Canas Island map in the guide shows three possible anchorages.

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To which one did Eric Bauhaus relate as the safest? Initially I aimed at the western one, where I anchored eight years ago. Then I changed my mind and turned to the left one on the south of the island. The anchor and chain made the dreaded dragging noise and then held further away from the point I wanted. Anchor up, I tried going a bit to the west, where, according to the chart there were no obstructions. In a flash the depth instrument display changed from 6 meters to 2.2; I put both throttles in reverse, stopped the boat and then turned to the direction I came from. Yossi was on the bow as a lookout, but the low sun and bad visibility in the water did not allow clear view of the underwater scene. With the depth showing 2.4 meters the sudden screech of keel touching coral was heard followed by a loud band. The bows pitched up and the boat stopped in its track. I hurried forward to take stock of our situation, fearful that with the falling tide we might be stuck on what looked like big boulders.

The sterns were clear, engines in idle, when a bit of a swell lifted the boat a wee bit; I put the engines in reverse and we slid backwards into deeper water. I rounded Moro Cambobmbia and entered the western bay, the one I wanted to go to in the first place. Anchor down I went into the water with my GoPro to check the damage; the port keel was not so bad but the starboard one was in a bad shape.

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It was clear that the boat must be taken out for repairs. I remembered reading that there was a haul-out facility in Rio Chepo named Astillero Bayano, a picture in the guide shows a catamaran lifted out there. Checking the distances and considering the coming weekend, I decided to go there in two stages. So tomorrow we’ll go to Contadora and on Sunday to the river and the boatyard. Hopefully they would take us out immediately and do the repair quickly.

Can you imagine how I felt? BAD, BAD, BAD! I couldn’t escape asking myself unhelpful questions like:”Why did I not adhere to my initial plan to go to the western anchorage?”. I was lucky to have Gili, Esther and Yossi on board, taking it all in a positive way and helping me keep up my morale. Yossi started fishing and in accordance with Gili’s request, took out four identical snappers plus a trigger-fish as a bonus.

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                                           Yossi’s catch

28.1.17 – Saturday – Motoring to Contadora I called Mike Barker on the phone, thinking he might have more information about the river Chepo boatyard. After talking to him I decided to go to Flamenco boatyard, which would probably be more expensive but we would be in Panama City with all the services available to us. Mike recommended a fiberglass repairman named Ramon Martinez; I called the man, introduced myself and told him about our needs. We would try to meet on Monday.

We reached Contadora and took a mooring. dinner was the four snappers done on the grill and I am not exaggerating by saying that it was the best fish dish I have ever eaten!  

29.1.17 – Sunday – We motored half of the 34 miles to the La Playita anchorage with the wind on the nose and then sailed close-hauled the rest of the way with the wind going to more than 25 knots apparent, giving me the opportunity to check my new reefing system. In the past the first and second reef points had two ropes each – one for the luff and one for the leech. Since I did not have enough blocks and spinlocks leading into the cockpit, the third reef was a single line operation, going through the luff and the leach, necessitating a very long rope which got tangled many a time when the first two reefs were put in. It occurred to me that in order to make the reefing operation easier and more effective I would have to sacrifice the principle of doing all the reefing from the safety of the cockpit. Now the luff rope for the first reef is pulled and tied at the mast while the second and third reef lines are led into the cockpit.

We reached the Playita anchorage around 2 p.m. Tomorrow we’ll try to haul the boat up ASAP.



  1. After so many miles – the damage is not so bad at all. Be strong – as long as everybody as safe and unhurt everything is OK. It’s just a question of losing money. Love from far away.

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