"How We Got are Arses Kicked by the Dreaded Mexican T-Pecker"
| Crew Member: ||Cteen|
| Location:||Bay of Tehuantepec, El Salvador and Mexico|
| Photo Album:||(2008-10-04) Battling the T-Pecker|
Dark Rider of the Tehuantepec
Running 200 Yards off the Beach
Hand Steering All the Way
|How We Got are Arses Kicked by the Dreaded Mexican T-Pecker
We were anxious about leaving Costa Rica’s Tropical Convergence Zone and working our way too far north before the official end of hurricane season on November 1st. But, with a good weather window, we sailed quickly for Nicaragua where the following week we waited out 4 pacific cyclones before beginning a passage to Mexico across the blustery Gulf of Tehuantepec.
In early winter, local winds affect a mariner’s ability to transit the pacific coast of Central America and Mexico. In the southern Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca weather systems develop as a result of cold fronts that begin in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. Strong winter “northers” blow behind cold fronts throughout the Gulf of Mexico. As these winds travel down the Bay of Campeche and across Mexico they gain strength, ultimately funneling through the valley north of the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Gale-force winds, affectionately known in the sailing community as “T-Peckers”, can render travel across the Tehuantepec impassable. (we now return you to your previously scheduled program, our apologies if this weather related item has rendered you comatose)
We headed out, bound for Oaxaca, with the last of the season’s hurricanes wandering off into the pacific. We had ample provisions, fuel, and a forecast of benign weather for the 8 days to come.
Day one: all is calm on the horizon. Mellow, no wind, a pleasant motor. Pleasantly deceptive, it turns out.
Day two: reports from the radio indicate it's best to keep "one toe on the beach" as it's blowing like hell just a mile out. This turns out to be an understatement. In spite of our best precautions, it was a tough sail. We really never experienced any other weather phenomena similar to crossing the Tehuantepec. We dropped the mainsail and had the foresail fully reefed down and could barely manage her. The autopilot would not function. It was heavy day full off crew handsteering. I think the photos manage to capture some of the adventure. None too many as I was afraid we'd lose the camera in all of the froth blowing us about.
In short (and this is a short entry) the cabana bar and tacos al pastor in Hualtulco were hard earned!