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Clockwise from above; Matanchen Bay, with a tiny example of the peeling waves. The empty pool at the Singlar Marina in San Blas. One of the boats in the marina's well-built slips. The new Travelift. Three boats on the hard at Singlar. Inset; A catamaran on the hook in the San Blas Estuary.

nearby Mantanchen Bay that Junipero Serra boarded the locally built barque Purisima Concepcion in 1768 for the trip to California to found the string of missions. As such, San Blas has some great history and ruins. Second, the same Las Islitas Beach is internationally famous for being home to some of the longest rideable waves in the world of surfing. Indeed, at one time the Guinness folks claimed you could ride the same wave for a mile, although changes in the jetty mean that's no longer possible. Third, San Blas — but particularly Mantanchen Bay — is internationally notorious for no-see-ums at dawn and dusk. Pour some pepper on your hand and you'll get an idea what it will look like about sundown. Lastly, San Blas has been famous for decades of clashes between former Brooklyn resident Norm Goldie and some cruisers who, thank you very much, don't want his help. At Goldie's

age and with his heart condition, you might expect he'd be less garrulous, but apparently that's not the case. There was an air of anticipation as we pulled into Mantanchan Bay, for it was only a couple of days until Semana Santa, when the beaches would be invaded by countless thousands of families on holiday. All the basic palapa restaurants on the beach were being spruced up, toilets were being dug, and festive ribbons were being strung. And looking out to the popular Matanchen Bay anchorage, we watched four northbound cruising boats pull in, on their way from Punta Mita to Mazatlan. Alas, there was no surf or surfers, but there had been great waves just a few days before. In fact, the waves were big enough to send Richard

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and Sharon Drechsler's Catalina 470 Last Resort into a big broach after being overtaken by a breaking wave at the bar to the San Blas Estuary. Despite some tour ism, San Blas remains an authentic Mexican town that has changed very slowly over the last few decades. It's not yet gone upscale nor does it have any of the glitz that can be found at some of the other towns on the Nayarit Riviera. That The steeple on will come soon enough. the old church Nonetheless, the San in the plaza. Blas Estuary, as no-see-um infested as it can be, was chosen as the site for one of the cookie-cutter Singlar Marinas. Built based on a 'if we build a marina and boatyard, the boats will come' business plan, it hasn't exactly panned out yet. When we visited the boatyard and marina, it was quiet despite its being the high season, with about a quarter of the 30 or so well-built marina slips occupied, and the beautifully built and spacious boatyard and facilities having only four boats on the hard. The swimming pool and hot tub were empty, and the big outdoor bar and the meeting room facilities looked as though they hadn't been used in a long time. In other words, market forces didn't demand that this marina be built. But the basic facility seems to have been well designed and constructed, so who knows? If the yard and marina are properly run, they might eventually make economic sense. As for the town of San Blas, the plaza, about a half mile from the marina, is still the center of activity day and night. There's always something to watch, and that something is usually the people. The San Blas Social Club, across the street Cruisers who visit San Blas have the choice of taking a slip in the Singlar Marina or anchoring in the estuary. Both can be buggy at dusk.

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Latitude 38 May 2010  

The May 2010 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 May 2010  

The May 2010 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.