s/y Nine of Cups
Ecuador to Chile Passage
October - November 2008
We left Bahia de Caraquez on 1 October 2008 and headed to Puerto Lucia Yacht Club in La Libertad, Ecuador for a quick stop to visit
some friends and wish our Peruvian friend, Gonzalo Ravago, good luck in the triannual Salinas to Galapagos sail race. We caught a late
afternoon high tide over the bar at the mouth of the Rio Chone and continued another few hours to an anchorage just north of Manta. An
overnight had us arriving at PLYC the following morning where it was like old-home week. We saw old friend, Galo Ortiz and his wife, Rita.
We met Gonzalo Ravago at the Salinas Yacht Club for dinner and drinks. We provisioned for the long passage ahead and headed for
Chile...not down the coast this time, but a big semi-circle off the South American coast taking advantage of prevailing winds and avoiding the
Humboldt Current.
The fishing boats off Manta use sails whenever
possible to save on fuel consumption. We
opted to anchor north of Manta the first night
out of Bahia in order to avoid heavy fishing boat
traffic during the night.
Galo Ortiz, a good friend from our last visit to Ecuador, was waiting for us when we
arrived at Puerto Lucia Yacht Club in LaLibertad. We had breakfast to catch up with
each other's lives and later in the week had dinner with Galo and his lovely wife, Rita.
We didn't remember there being so many
snowy egrets and great egrets at PLYC, but
the wharf was thick with them. We looked for
the burrowing owls we enjoyed last time, but
they were no longer in residence.
PLYC has a very active Optimist group and
these young kids are pretty competent sailors.
We enjoyed watching them sail in and out of the
marina basin with ease.
Enough lollygagging around...it was time to get
going to Chile. All major chores were
complete and provisioning was the last step.
We were reasonably stocked on canned
goods from Panama, but freshies and extra
water still needed to be stowed.
On 9 October, a Thursday, we left
the dock in PLYC late in the day
and just anchored off the marina. It
was important that we didn't leave
on a Friday...bad luck for sailors! It
was great to have a night to relax,
chores done and get psyched up
for a long passage. We estimated
about 4,000 miles, but much
depended on the winds. We
picked up westerly, then
southwesterly winds almost
immediately and so began the
passage with cloudy skies and cool
temps. We set the wind vane to 60
degrees off the wind and just kept
sailing.
Keeping in mind we
thought all systems
(except the
watermaker) were
working fine when
we left port, we'll
give you a run-down
of problems and
failures as we go.
Note that sometimes
as we're taking our
daily strolls around
the deck, we note
something that needs
attention...these, too,
are listed below.

Engine room
light burned
out...minor,
but needed
fixing.
Galley sump
not working...
a kinked hose
(caused by a
gremlin
obviously).
David added
an elbow and
it subsequently
worked fine (it
had, however,
been working
fine for years...
maybe got
kinked when
the new fuel
tanks went
in??).
Staysail furler
loose...needs
tightening
Fridge
stopped
working...
problem is
clogged
capillary tube
- down for the
count.
Jib furler line
chafed
through on
sharp edge of
the drum.
Repaired.
Port leaking
over nav
station (that's
where all of
our
electronics
are...yikes!) -
repaired.
Chafe noted
on main sail -
patched
Forward head
won't pump -
replaced
upper seal
and regreased
Wind
generator -
upper arm
holding tail
section has
broken off.
Too windy for
repair today,
but repaired 2
days later.
Starboard
corner of new
bimini torn
with 30knot
gust of wind.
Needs a
patch and
restitch.
Ended up
taking it down
and leaving it
down when
wind
continued to
increase.
Repaired in
Pto Montt.
Clamp on
Dan Buoy
broken off-
replaced
Starboard
#40 winch all
gummed up;
needs cleaning
and regreasing
- done.
Wind gen
showing no
output when
on starboard
tack; broken
wire, difficult
to repair
underway.
Shut down
wind gen.
Engine failed
when topping
off batteries.
Bled lines,
changed
filter...seems
okay.
Engine died
again after 30
mins...
Replaced fuel
pump and re-
bled lines.
Packing seal
leak noted;
shaft coupler
and motor
mounts loose.
Tightened, but
needs
alignment.
Removed
prop brake
and noted it
was warped.
Needs
replacing.
Noted that
galley port is
leaking.
Needs a new
gasket and
portlights
need
rebedding.
Engine still
dying after 15-
30 minutes;
constructed a
day tank for
fuel which
provides
gravity feed to
engine and
eliminates
problem of
sucking air
into the lines.
Needs to be
addressed in
Puerto Montt.
Starter motor
died; replaced
with a spare.
Hydraulic leak
on helm pump.
Noted raw
water leak at
heat
exchanger
elbow

We had a huge list of
"to-do's" by the time
we reached Puerto
Above, David reefs the main when the winds
increase to 28 knots. The highest winds we saw
for the whole trip were 41 knot gusts. To the
right, salt crystals build up on the stainless
leading us to consider the
Nine of Cups Salt
Factory
as a form of income.
Living on a heel is just not pleasant, but pretty
much unavoidable sometimes.
Marcie keeps a daily journal and that,
along with our ship's log, reminds us of
exactly what we did for these 40 days
and nights. We celebrated Columbus
Day (whoopie!), Halloween and
Marcie's birthday en route. All required
special desserts to note the days. Of
course, sometimes we celebrated
Tuesdays and egg-turning day,
too...always a reason to celebrate.
Finally, after 35 days, land ho! We pulled into
the shelter of Caleta Lameguapi off the
Chilean coast for a night before moving on.
We could see some life ashore, in particular
cows, goats and penguins. Yup, Humboldt
penguins, we think, waddled along the shore line.
It was while we were entering Caleta Guayusca above that the
engine gave us the most problems. We got a real adrenaline rush
as the engine failed to start right away and the jagged shore
loomed closer and closer.
Caleta Guayusca was an
extremely pleasant
anchorage, protected from
the wind and swells. We
stayed here three days
making repairs to the
engine and waiting for
weather to head south. We
had been sending our daily
position reports to the
Chilean Armada as
required. We were
surprised to receive an
email from them asking if
we needed any help.
The local fishing fleet was in and out of this little
bay. They stopped by to say hello and we found
out they were fishing mainly for cod (bacalao).
We also noted that divers were pretty
active and asked what they were diving for.
"Loco" was the answer: Chilean abalone.
Here's the infamous day tank that David
constructed out of odd plumbing parts and a
water jug. It served us so well all the way to
Pto Montt, we're considering adding a more
"robust" tank for future use. Upon completion
of the day tank, we attempted to start the
engine to find that the starter motor had died.
How frustrating! Luckily, we had a spare
starter aboard. David installed it and within
the hour, the engine was purring and kept
purring for well over an hour. Whew!
Finally, with repairs to the engine effected and a
reasonable weather window to head south, we
headed for Puerto Ingles at the entrance to
Canal Chacao, the home stretch to Pto. Montt.
We had company for a few minutes...an orca!
The Corona Lighthouse guards the entrance to
the Canal Chacao. Since we needed to wait for
the tide to negotiate the canal, we asked
permission to anchor in Puerto Ingles and spent
a relaxing night aboard.
Gravity filling the propane tanks en route.
Rafts of birds in the Canal Chacao indicates rich feeding grounds.
We saw pelicans, gulls, shags and pelicans.
Though we had been here before, we were still amazed at the
breathtaking beauty of the snow-covered mountain backdrop as we
wended our way to Pto. Montt.
A silvery grebe and his associates
graced the anchorage and had us
scurrying for our bird book to
identify him.
The beautiful anchorage at Estero Chope
offered a relaxing, quiet evening before the
final leg to Puerto Montt. The brightly
colored church is typical of this area.
Salmon farming is a major industry in Chile and
salmoneras are everywhere, it seems. Kind of
like lobster pots in Maine!
The Chiloe ferry with a volcano in the
background makes it away across the Canal
Chacao from mainland Chile.
At last, we arrived in Puerto Montt, gateway to Patagonia, on November 19th.
Total distance was 3,976 and a total of 41 elapsed days since leaving Salinas.
This passage also boosted our total sailed miles to over 50,000...a milestone for
Cups and crew. What next?   A trip home to the annual SSCA Gam in
Melbourne and Christmas with the family. Once back to Chile, lots of repairs.
We plan some time in the canals and then...finally...crossing the Pacific.
Explore beautiful Chiloe at the gateway
to Patagonia.
Heading across the South Pacific...first
stop
Juan Fernandez Island aka
Robinson Crusoe Island.
Check out our previous trip to Chile in
2005-6, we
coast-hopped all the way
down the Chilean Coast from Arica in
the desert to Tierra del Fuego.
Revisiting Chile was wonderful. It's a
lovely country and there's always more
to see.