Flaquita Gets a Motor and Goes to the Caribbean

 

Flaquita making 8.5 MPH

Flaquita Gets a Motor

Flaquita is very easily driven by the smallest of outboard motors. Here she is with a 2.2 Suzuki doing 8.5 MPH.

A long shaft motor is required to get the propeller deep enough. With a short shaft motor, the exhaust port comes out of the water momentarily on waves. The motor mount is easily installed and removed. The motor shown is a 3.5 Nissan.

 

Flaquita with 3.5 HP motor - Click to see larger image

Flaquita on her trailer - Click to see larger image

 

Flaquita Goes to the Caribbean

Last summer I trailered Flaquita down to Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.  Here are a few things I learned from the trip.

Although I designed Flaquita to be car topped, I found trailering to be more convenient. All the gear could be stowed inside the boat. Things like paddles, fishing rods, tackle boxes, snorkel gear, spear guns, life preservers, anchor and lines, sail, sun shade etc. could be locked up inside the hatches.

To reduce wind resistance for the long trip, I took apart the two part mast and stowed it low. I rolled up both trampolines.

 

Ramps to launch the boat were available sometimes, but often not.. To launch without one, I would disassemble the boat, roll the main hull down to the water, carry everything else, and reassemble the boat at the shore.

Sailing inside the reefs was wonderful. The waves were small. The water was crystal clear. Most sailing was on a broad reach. In moderate winds she really flew. Even in light winds I could sail at trolling speeds. Coral heads just below the surface were abundant. I attached a bungee cord to the downhaul for the kick up rudder. I kept the dagger board higher up than the depth of the rudder. When I occasionally struck one, no damage was done.

Flaquita under sail - Click to see larger image

Flaquita towing a second boat - Click to see larger image

I learned how easy it is to upright the boat in the event of a capsize. One day in 20 MPH winds, I accidentally turned the boat over. I had just motored out a narrow channel to open water and unfurled the sail. The boat was self steering on a broad reach with the ama to leeward. I had left the motor running in gear while I messed around with getting my fishing rod ready to troll. That was a big mistake. The motor was not locked in position tightly enough. It turned, causing the boat to turn up into the wind and come about to the other tack. I was sitting on the wrong side of the boat. Next thing I knew, I was in the water. Flaquita was on her side. The ama was straight up in the air. The motor was still running. The exhaust, now out of the water, was bellowing. The prop was spinning around well above my head. Fortunately, it quickly sputtered to a stop. The wind was blowing hard on the bottom of the trampoline. I expected that force to make her turn turtle, but she never did. It was a simple matter to right her. I pulled myself up on the dagger board. Then stood up on the side of the main hull. I reached up and grabbed the ama. I leaned over and she quickly righted. I climbed in and sailed off. The water in the cockpit quickly drained out the dagger board trunk.

In spite of that mishap, I loved having the motor. When there was no wind, I could still go exploring. And best of all, I could stay in the shade. In this photo, I was towing a couple in a john boat out to the reef.

The reef was spectacular. Put on a face mask, slip beneath the surface, and it was a whole other world. There were turtles, sting rays, all kinds of brightly colored fish, and a wide variety of coral.

 

Flaquita and the clear reef waters - Click to see larger image

Shelter from the sun while sailing - Click to see larger image

The tropical sun was intense. After a few hours, I needed to get out of the sun. It was such a pleasure to have a shady place to take a break and hang out.

 

The southern Yucatan coast of Mexico is mostly undeveloped. You can find inexpensive places to camp.

 

Mayan Village - Click to see larger image

Flaquita beached by the campsite - Click to see larger image

Your boat can be right there close to camp.

 

 


 

The reef is mostly continuous about one mile offshore. One can sail for miles and miles within the protection of the reef. Belize is just an hour’s sail away. Here and there are deep channels that one can pass through to sail outside. That’s a whole other experience. You are immediately out in the "blue water". No more protection by the reef. Big swells make it exciting. I went out a few times. I never stayed very long. Pretty quickly, my desire for excitement was fulfilled . I’d retreat to the smooth waters inside. Sail along keeping watch for coral heads, spotting surprised turtles and sting rays scurrying away. The uninhabited palmed tree shore line on one side, the white surf of the reef on the other. One hand on the tiller, steering, the other hand wrapped around una cerveza fria, steady onshore wind blowing, Flaquita slicing silently through the turquoise water, and I’m thinking, "Man, it doesn’t get much better than this."  This place is SMALL BOAT HEAVEN.

If you're interested in seeing the plans Click Here 

 

Yeee Hawww!

 

BACK TO CONSTRUCTION

PLANS

BACK TO MAIN PAGE

 

 

All photos and text Copyright 2003-2012 Joe Henry
Site design Phillip Landmeier