We are back in Mazatlan where our planned boat haul-out coincided with a visit from a group of friends from Portland. Luckily for us, their hotel was only about a mile north of the marina, so lots of pool time was had.
We also enjoyed strolling the streets of the Centro Historico district and visiting some of our favorite Mazatlan spots – Plaza Revolucion
with the lovely cathedral, seeing lots of brightly painted buildings and homes, and stopping for lunch and icy cold negro modelo on tap at our favorite watering hole, Puerto Viejo on the beach at Olas Atlas. We even managed to get almost the whole group together for Thursday night steak night at Roy’s at Cerritos beach. At $169 pesos ($9 USD) for salad, bread, baked potato and a rib eye steak grilled over mesquite it is a great deal.
With our friends gone back to Portland, it was time for our haulout and a bottom paint job. For our non-boating friends, bottom paint must be re-applied periodically to be effective. Typically re-applied every 2-4 years, bottom paint keeps marine organisms, such as barnacles, weeds, and slime from attaching themselves to the boat by releasing toxic biocides at a controlled rate.
We used to do this work ourselves, but over the years all the Portland-area boatyards have stopped allowing owner work. They also used to allow you to stay on your boat during the work, but this too is no longer allowed. Over the years we have dealt with all the Portland boatyards, and the quality of service varies greatly. From the facilities on the Multnomah Channel we learned that owner diligence is the key, and if you didn’t actually see them do the work you should assume it was done incorrectly. From the facility on the Columbia River we have learned that the work is usually of high quality, but comes at a high price, and a tough sales pitch about all the other things your boat needs. With all of them you are at their mercy – your boat may or may not be done when they say, and the cost may or may not be close to the estimate. So we were interested to see what the experience would be like in Mexico.
In Mazatlan, the yard is owned by FONATUR, a Mexican government agency. They operate the lift and lease yard space to three different companies who perform marine services. Our lift was scheduled for 11:30 Monday morning, and the company we had hired, Mazatlan Marine Services, sent an employee over to our slip to ride along and make sure we had all the help we needed with lines and getting into the slipway. The lift was in place and ready to go when we arrived, with the lift operator and helper in crisp white shirts with the FONATUR logo – they obviously take their jobs seriously. The boat is backed into the slipway and lines are tossed to dockworkers waiting above. The operator lowers the slings into the water and drives the lift into position, and when he is satisfied with the sling position, slowly begins to lift the boat out of the water. This is where your heart ends up in your throat – seeing all 23 tons of your home hanging in the air! One big difference here is that you remain on the boat until they get it up to the level of the yard and you can then step off the back of the boat. That would definitely not happen back home!
The boat is then pressure washed, and driven into the yard and placed on stands. By that afternoon they had sanded the boat. The next morning they put on the first coat of paint. The following morning another coat of paint was applied. Later that afternoon the stands were moved, and those areas were sanded and painted, and new zincs were put on. The following morning the lift arrived promptly at 11:30, and the boat was picked up to allow them to sand and paint the areas on the bottom of the keel which had been sitting on the
blocks. Two hours later we were motoring back to our slip. Three days total. We were allowed to stay on the boat, the price was exactly what we were quoted (less than in the US), and the work was top-notch. Best haulout ever!