• =?UTF-8?Q?Re=3A_The_Voyage_of_the_Malague=C3=B1a_=28semi=2Dlong=29?=

    From amayer@gmail.com@21:1/5 to All on Tue Oct 4 19:59:50 2016
    Hi Fred,

    In 1987 I used to live and work on Malagueña in China Basin, San Francisco with the owner, John, who was in the coast guard. Do you know what happened to him?

    Alex Mayer

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  • From amayer@gmail.com@21:1/5 to All on Tue Oct 4 20:04:53 2016
    Hi Fred, Just after college, I used to live and work on the Malagueña with John Carrol in 1987. Can you please send me his contact info. Thanks,

    Alex Mayer

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  • From andeesherwood@gmail.com@21:1/5 to Fred Carpenter on Mon Jun 18 08:57:33 2018
    Hi Fred,

    Thank you for sharing your story about your trip aboard the Malaguena! My family owned her in the early sixties to the mid-seventies. I've been trying to track her down for years!

    Andee Sherwood
    Los Angeles, CA

    On Wednesday, May 10, 1995 at 12:00:00 AM UTC-7, Fred Carpenter wrote:
    This article is about my recent trip aboard the vessel Malagueña
    from La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico to Cartagena, Colombia.
    I'd like to start by telling a little about my previous sailing experience. I started sailing about twenty years ago in Marina Del Rey, California. At first I only sailed locally but gradually I started
    in the Caribbean. Over the years I sailed to over 25 major islands in
    the Caribbean. My most interesting trip in the Caribbean was a six
    week trip aboard the fifty foot sailing vessel Endless Summer which
    covered around 2200 miles and included stops at the US Virgin
    Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Grand
    Cayman. But that s another story. Later I started sailing in the Mediterranean and over the years I sailed off the coasts of Greece, Yugoslavia, and Turkey.
    Ever since I retired and moved to San Miguel in 1990 I've
    thought about taking an extended sailing trip. Last fall I placed an ad
    several yachting magazine and also answered several ads of people
    looking for crew members.
    The most interesting offer I received was from John Carrol, a
    retired Coast Guard officer, who was planning on taking his boat the Malagueña from La Paz, Mexico to Maine via the Panama Canal.
    After some correspondence with him, I flew down to La Paz to
    check things out. I was prepared to be gone for six or seven months if everything looked OK. John had owned Malagueña for seven years
    during which time he had spent thousands of hours and dollars
    preparing her for this voyage to Maine where his family lived. The
    crew including the skipper were five. The skipper's girlfriend Tammy
    had lived aboard boats for a number of years. The other couple on
    board, Juniper and Lance were college students from Arizona. They
    had no previous sailing experience.
    I knew that Malagueña was a power boat not a sail boat but I
    really only had a vague notion of what she was really like. Soon after boarding Malagueña in La Paz I wrote the following in my journal.

    Fifty or more boats dance about their anchors in Bahia de la
    The ebb and flow of the tide causes them to point north and then turn
    unison south. At the head of the pack is le grande dame Malagueña.
    She looks out of place among these sleek sailboats headed south to the tropics. A North Sea trawler twenty-five meters in length, she belongs
    in the frigid seas of the Baltic where she was born in Norway. The
    small boats around her are made of fiberglass, she of Norwegian Pine;
    they have sails for power, she has two diesel engines; they have small dinettes which convert at night to berths, she has a dining room for
    a wet bar, and a dumb waiter from the galley. They are low in the water
    while she has three decks topped by a pilot house loaded with charts
    and electronics for navigation. They have to conserve battery power,
    she has generators to spare which power creature comforts such as TV,
    VCR, stereo, washer-dryer, refrigerator-freezer, microwave oven and a
    water maker.
    What all of these boats and their crews do have in common is the
    urge to go to sea. What is this urge men (and women) have to leave the comforts of land based living to go to sea in small boats? Is it the
    urge that makes men climb mountains? I think it is to seek adventure.
    To be free as possible from governments, conventional lives, common
    comforts is this the motive? I think it is partly this and a certain satisfaction in braving the elements. And finally there are no new
    places to be discovered except within ourselves.
    I've passed around a few pictures of Malagueña so you'll have
    some idea of what she looks like while I give you a more detailed description. For those of you who may not be familiar with boating
    terms such as port, starboard, forward, aft, galley, head, etc., I ll
    more conventional terms. Basically she had three levels and we'll start
    our tour with the downstairs. The downstairs in the front consisted of
    four separate crew cabins, a bathroom, the kitchen, and the engine
    room. Downstairs in the back of the boat was a large stateroom
    belonging to the Captain.
    The second level of the Malagueña consisted of the living room
    which was about five meters by six meters in size. The living room
    contained three sofas, several lamps, a TV and aVCR. The dining room consisted of a nook and table that seated about 8-9 people. It also
    contained a wet bar and a dumb waiter to the kitchen below.
    On the back of the boat on this same level there was a patio area
    that consisted of another nook and table. This area was open air but
    shaded by the upper deck.
    The upper deck consisted of the pilot house from where the boat
    was steered. It contained a small berth, chart drawers , the steering station, and all of our electronics for navigation. The electronics
    included an auto pilot, two radar sets, a Satellite Navigation system,
    combination Single side band-HAM radio, a Loran navigation system,
    and two VHF radios. Behind the pilot house was a large open deck approximately 7 meters by 6 meters in size. While the boat was out to
    sea, this area was used two store our two dinghies (or shore boats)
    which consisted of a Boston Whaler and a 4 meter aluminum boat.
    We immediately set to work preparing the Malagueña for our
    trip. There was lots of sanding and painting, installation of new
    electronic gear, provisioning, and the gathering of charts. We worked
    about four hours a day and spent the rest of the time relaxing. Quite
    often we went ashore in the evenings to spend time in La Paz.
    There were about a hundred sailboats anchored in the bay. I was impressed with their sense of community. Every morning on the VHF
    radio all of the boats talked on what was called the La Paz Cruisers
    One person served as moderator. The net consisted of weather, the
    arrival and departure of boats, boats looking for crew, people looking
    swap boat gear, mail call, etc. This system was continued throughout
    our trip over our HAM radio.
    On February 7the we departed La Paz and headed in the general
    direction of Puerta Vallarta. At sea someone had to be on watch in the
    pilot house 24 hours a day. This is called standing watch. Our watch
    schedule was divided among three of us. The skipper was busy with
    the engines and all the mechanical equipment while his girlfriend was
    the cook. Juniper, Lance and I stood the watches. Basically our watch schedule consisted of four hours on and eight hours off. I had the 4 AM
    to 8 AM and 4 PM- 8PM watch. The main purpose of the watch was to
    avoid a collision with other boats. Our radar allowed us to "see"
    when they were over 20 miles away. The Malagueña had an autopilot
    so once the course was set we didn t actually have to stand at the
    and steer her. The main duties during watch besides watching for other
    ships was to keep a log as to our location, course, and speed. It's
    to imagine that another ship at sea would be visible from a
    considerable distance. The fact is you're lucky to be able to see
    ship at 8-10 miles depending on the sea and visibility. This means that
    if your ship is going 10 miles an hour and the other ship toward you at
    20 miles an hour you could collide within 20 minutes of first seeing
    each other. This also means that if you get distracted for a few
    another boat can get quite near you before you see it. It took us a few
    days to convince the inexperienced members of the crew that it was
    called standing watch not playing the guitar or writing in your
    The possibility of collision was one of our greatest concerns. We listened daily to a HAM radio net called The Central American
    Breakfast Club. This net was listened to by cruising boats in the
    region of Mexico and Central America. One morning we heard that a
    52 foot sailboat named Clam Bake had been run over and sunk by a
    Korean freighter. The three people on board were lucky to have only
    suffered minor injuries and fortunate to have been picked up by the
    freighter that ran into them. Their boat sank in two minutes.
    Our first day at sea was near perfect. The weather was calm and
    warm. We saw dolphins, whales and a manta ray. We caught our first
    fish, a sierra, which became the main course for dinner. My first watch
    began at 4 PM. During my watch a beautiful full moon rose on one
    horizon while a brilliant red sunset took place on the other.
    On our second day at sea we were visited by a US Coast Guard helicopter. A few hours later two US Coast Guard Cutters arrived on
    the scene with a boarding party. They came aboard, made a cursory
    inspection and departed. There has been an on going discussion among
    cruisers whether the US Coast Guard has the right to board a private
    vessel located in International waters. The boarding party was friendly
    but formal and they made their inspection and departed.
    Our first run after leaving La Paz was ten days. It was the
    longest stretch I had spent off shore before. I found the rhythm of
    at sea soothing. I found that I could stare at the sea for hours and
    was always something happening out there. Dolphins were regular
    visitors. We would see a pod of them in the distance porpoising in our direction like a pack of street dogs chasing after a car. I could swear
    they had smiles on their faces. There were all kinds of other sea life including many sea birds, turtles, and whales.
    On February 16th we arrived at Puerto Madero, Chiapas,
    Mexico near the Guatemala border. We had a smooth passage across
    the Gulf of Tehuanepec where there had been 50 mile an hour winds
    the previous week. Puerto Madero was an unattractive commercial
    fishing port. We only stayed a few days in order to buy fuel, and take
    on water and fresh provisions.
    Our route from Puerto Madero was to head directly for Costa
    Rica, bypassing Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Most cruisers
    stay closer to shore especially along Nicaragua to avoid the Papagallo
    winds that blow across the isthmus of Nicaragua. In our attempt to take
    the more direct route we were hit quite hard by the Papagallo winds.
    For about 36 hours we experienced winds of 30-40 miles an hour and
    seas of 10-15 feet. While the Malagueña held up fine several of the
    crew including myself were seasick. It s the worst feeling you can
    imagine. Imagine suffering from nausea for 36 hours.
    We survived the Papagallos and entered the Gulf of Nicoya,
    Costa Rica which is marked by the skeleton of a rusting freighter ship
    on its side. The port there was Puntarenas. We spent about a week or
    so in Puntarenas again buying provisions. After leaving Puntarenas we
    spent about ten days visiting several beautiful islands located in the
    Gulf of Nicoya. Most of them were uninhabited.
    Being at sea brings a kind of freedom that hardly exists anymore.
    You are totally dependent on your ship and your crew for any
    emergency. There are no police or fire stations to call in an
    You have to be prepared to defend yourself from pirates. Our policy
    was to not allow any vessels near us unnecessarily. One day off the
    coast of Costa Rica we noticed a large power boat approaching us at
    high speed. We immediately brought some guns topside and called the approaching vessel by radio and demanded that they identify
    themselves and state their intentions. This got their attention
    they immediately slowed down and then identified themselves as the
    Costa Rican Coast Guard. After a brief radio conversation to determine
    who we were and where we were going, they departed.
    We left the Gulf of Nicoya on March 16th headed south to
    Golfito, Costa Rica. We made an overnight stop at Isla del Caña. This
    island was a nature reserve. It was the first real jungle we had seen
    there was also abundant sealife all around the island.
    On March 21 we arrived in Golfito, Costa Rica. This was a
    popular anchorage with cruisers. It consisted of a bay within a bay and
    as a consequence was protected from the weather in all directions. The
    shore was covered by jungle and a strange sound we couldn't identify
    turned out to be howler monkeys in the trees. The most popular
    anchorage there was located at a place called the Jungle Club. The
    Junge Club was operated by an American couple and they catered
    almost exclusively to cruising boats. The Club consisted of a huge
    thatched building carved right out of the jungle. The place had all the amenities a sailor could want. That means fuel, showers, fresh water,
    and a restaurant. It seemed to me to be a scene right out of Swiss
    Family Robinson. We went ashore every evening to eat in the
    restaurant and talk shop with all the other cruisers anchored in the
    We felt we already knew many of these people because we had heard
    them talking on the radio every day for a couple of weeks. This I think
    was one of the greatest pleasures of cruising. I enjoyed meeting so
    many other cruisers and hearing stories of their experiences and
    adventures. It was also while at the Jungle Club that we heard the
    strangest of stories over the HAM net.
    It was reported that a boat called California Girl had crashed
    on the rocks in northern Costa Rica. What made it particularly strange
    was that this happened in clear weather and they hadn't recovered the
    body of the man who had been sailing the boat alone. After a week or
    so it was reported that he had been found alive wandering in the
    Later the whole story came out. It seems that the skipper Bill had been
    on deck taking a shower with a bucket. He leaned up against one of
    the lifelines which broke and he fell off his boat. The boat had an
    autopilot so it just continued to sail by itself. Bill grabbed a
    fishing line
    that he had been trolling behind the boat but was unable to hang on
    when the hook caught him in the hand and eventually the line broke.
    This all happened in the afternoon. Bill knew that he was about 10
    miles offshore. By nightfall he had managed to swim to shore. When
    he arrived on shore he discovered that he was in a totally uninhabited section of the coast. It took him about a week of exploring along the
    coast before he finally arrived at a small biological research station
    where he was finally taken to the authorities. He must of been a sight walking naked and sunburn out of the jungle into someone's camp.
    Quite an adventure. Bill by the way was 67 years old.
    Before we left Golfito, Lance one of our crew decided to jump
    ship and join one of the other boats. This is not uncommon and we
    departed Golfito with a crew of four.
    On our way to the Panama Canal we stopped for a few days at a
    couple of uninhabited islands where we fished, dove, and relaxed.
    The last couple of days approaching the Panama Canal were
    quite hectic. Large freighters are converging on the Canal from all directions and it made for a lot of nerve racking time on watch. There
    nothing quite so intimidating as seeing a huge ship looming on the
    horizon and headed straight in your direction. We had a near collision
    one night when one of our crew misjudged the distance of a nearby
    fishing boat. Fortunately our skipper was asleep in the pilot house.
    woke him to ask about the closeness of the other vessel. He was able
    to turn our ship at the last instant to avoid a collision. Apparently
    one was on watch on the other ship as it made no effort to avoid us.
    Most cruisers we later talked with had experienced near collisions.
    We anchored at the Rodman Naval Base in Panama as our
    skipper was a retired Coast Guard Officer. Our anchorage was adjacent
    to the entrance to the Canal and as a result we were able to watch a
    stream of vessels of all shapes, sizes, and types as they entered the
    canal. There were cruise ships, military ships, refrigerator ships,
    ships hauling cars, and of course sailboats. We had privileges on the
    base which allowed us to eat and drink at the NCO Club and shower at
    the gym. It was my first hot shower in several months.
    It was in Panama that two more of the crew jumped ship. This
    left just myself and the skipper. We placed a flyer advertising for
    at the nearby Panama yacht club. All private yachts transiting the
    Canal moored at the Club in preparation for passing through the Canal. General Noriega's now defunct headquarters buildings was located
    right next store to the Yacht Club. There was evidence of the US attack
    in the form of bullet holes in this and several other buildings.
    We picked up some more cew members. We were now four
    Americans, a German, and two Israelis. Before we transited the Canal,
    one of our new crew members wound up in the Panama City jail for
    drunk and disorderly conduct the day before our scheduled transit. We transited the Canal on schedule minus our crew member in jail.
    The Canal is one of the world s great engineering marvels. It
    consists of three locks on the Pacific side which raises vessels about
    feet. When we exited the third lock we were on Gatun Lake which is
    about 40 miles wide. The lake contained many beautiful jungle islands.
    On the other side of the lake there were three more locks that lowered
    us down to the level of the Caribbean side.
    Our first stop on the Caribbean side of the Canal was Porto
    Bello. Porto Bello is one of the rainiest spots in Panama. As a result
    is also the greenest and lushest port in Panama. This small natural
    harbor had seen the likes of Columbus and Drake. The Spanish used
    Porto Bello to store gold and silver from the west coast of South
    America. Mule trains carried goods across the Isthmus to Porto Bello.
    Today there is only a sleepy little town but lots of ruins of
    built by the Spaniards to protect their gold from pirates like Drake.
    Our next stop was the San Blas Islands. The San Blas Islands
    (photos) consisted of hundreds of small islands covered with coconut
    palms. This semi-autonomous province of Panama was populated by
    Kuna Indians. Several tribes or family groups owned the islands and
    have kept them undeveloped. There was only one town of any size on
    one of the islands. The lack of development and the small population of
    the area was responsible for the water and the islands remaining so
    clean and undisturbed. The Kuna Indians were very friendly and
    helpful. They sold molas which were handmade and embroidered
    blouses. We spent three wonderful weeks in these islands. Most of the
    time we were anchored amongst several islands that were on our charts
    but didn't even have names. All of the islands were surrounded by reefs
    which made the anchorages calm but didn't prevent the gentle
    tradewinds from keeping us cool. We were able to dive on the reefs for
    plenty of lobster and crab.
    One night we had beach party on one of beautiful islands. It was
    quite a setting along a pristine white powdery beach backed by coconut
    palms. The meal cooked on our bonfire consisted of freshly caught crab
    and lobster followed by music played by crew members on the guitar,
    flute, and bongo drums. These islands were definitely the highlight of
    the trip. Many cruisers we talked to said that this was one of the
    areas they had ever been to with their boats.
    Our next stop from the San Blas Islands was Cartagena,
    Colombia. The trip was about three days of open ocean sailing. It was
    during this segment of the trip that we used a portable GPS that
    belonged to a crew member. The Global Positioning System consists of
    a couple of dozen satellites in orbit around the earth that are used
    navigation. The GPS allows you to have a constant fix of your position
    with latitude and longitude with an accuracy of about 100 meters. We
    were able to program the location of Cartagena into the GPS before
    departing San Blas. The GPS constantly told us the direction to steer,
    the distance to Cartagena, and our estimated time of arrival. This
    device was small enough to hold in your hand. Three days later without
    any sight of land in between we arrived at the entrance to Cartagena
    It was in Cartagena that I decided to jump ship. It was a
    combination of factors that influenced my decision. First I was burned
    out from being on board a boat for such an extended period of time.
    The weather was turning hot and rainy as it was the beginning of the hurricane season. The skipper had also decided to by pass Venezuela
    and head straight north toward Florida. Another new crew was joining
    the Malagueña in Cartagena and I wasn't up to "training" them in all
    the intricacies of the boat. Except for the skipper, I was the last of
    original crew. The skipper picked up new crew in Cartagena. It was an international group aboard Malagueña when she left Cartagena. There
    were three Americans, one Israeli, a Frenchman, a German and two
    It was without a doubt one of the most interesting trips I have
    ever made. I realize that boats are not for everyone but they can be a
    most interesting experience for the adventuresome.

    P.S. If you've read this far, look for my post on Lake Champlain which
    is my next trip from Catskill, NY to Nova Scotia via Lake Champlain and
    the St. Lawrence Seaway. I'll be trying to keep in touch via my America Online account Sailor1942.

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