By Chris Sands
The Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean just beyond the granite rock formations at Land’s End, and unlike sailing in Cabo San Lucas Bay, which provides superb views but only moderate breezes, the winds blow with a bit more authority outside the protected bay. I rediscovered this phenomenon on a recent tour aboard the catamaran Tropicat, when I could hear the creaking of rigging and feel the boat shifting beneath my feet as the sails filled and we ran downwind away from the luxury resorts above Solmar Beach.
Sailing is a popular pastime in Cabo San Lucas, and although there are several companies that will charter boats by the day, most of the larger sailboat operations specialize in public tours, usually for snorkeling, seasonal whale-watching, sunset, or dinner.
There are a wide variety of boats from which to choose, from the gaff-rigged schooner Sunderland, built in 1885 and one of the last remaining tall ships, to more modern vessels like the gorgeous 65-foot catamaran Tropicat, known for its Sunset Jazz & Wine tours. I’ll cover Sunderland and some of the other top sailboats at a later date, but for now I’d like to focus on Tropicat, which I think provides a good example of the type of sunset cruise commonly available for visitors to Cabo San Lucas.
Tropicat, like the majority of local cruisers, is a catamaran, and this type of boat is popular for two reasons. Because of their tandem hulls, catamarans provide a steady ride. They are also very fast (catamarans have little draft, so they often seem as if they are gliding over the water). These characteristics make cats very attractive to visitors, particularly those who have spent little time on the water or become easily seasick, because there is almost no rocking motion, and a lot of local landmarks can be covered during the guided tour portion of the cruise.
What sets Tropicat apart from the competition is that the food and beverage selections, service, and sailing are all of superior quality. In addition to enjoying stationary platters of fruit and crudités, my fellow passengers and I tasted fine wines and nibbled on delicious hors d’oeuvres as the boat cruised under power for photo opportunities of local landmarks like Medano Beach, Lover’s Beach, and The Arch.
Once clear of Land’s End, Tropicat’s crew raised the sails and put the boat through her paces amidst the brisk Pacific Ocean breezes, showing off her speed during an exhilarating downwind run into open seas. Later, after the sun descended into the Pacific, Tropicat’s cabin area was transformed into an impromptu cocktail lounge, with a backdrop of cool jazz and rhythm and blues music, and a final round of Dirty Monkeys (in addition to wine, Tropicat also offers a selection of tropical drinks), as the boat returned to the marina, giving us one last memorable view — the city lights tracing the hillsides of Pedregal as night fell.
How to Get There: Tropicat is at the Cabo San Lucas Marina, Dock #4, across from Gali Plaza. Check-in time is 5:30 p.m. for the sunset tour, and the boat returns at 8 p.m.
What to Bring: Sunscreen and sunglasses are both highly recommended, as the sun is brighter and more intense when reflected off of water. A sweater or light jacket is suggested for the sunset sail, especially during the winter months, as the weather can cool considerably after the sun goes down.
Cost: $59 dollars for adults, $29.50 for children ages 5 to 11.
How to Book: You can book online at www.tropicatcabo.com, or call (624) 143-3797 for reservations.
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