Tuesday, September 21, 2010

All or nothing - Port San Luis to Santa Barbara on Bravo

Despite the high winds when we arrived, Port San Luis soon calmed down and proved to be an excellent and comfortable anchorage. Huge flocks of black storm petrels covered the water, interspersed here and there by sea lions, harbor seals, harbor porpoises. Two humpback whales even made a pass through the harbor!

The weather forecast showed a small craft advisory with winds of 20-25 kt and 6-8 ft seas for the next 3 days, but Bravo is heavily-built and rigged for all conditions, so Adam decided to head out in the morning. We started with partly furled genoa, staysail, and single reefed main; by the time we had come abreast of Pt Sal, we had reduced sail to a triple-reefed main and staysail, and were still making close to 8 kts, beam reaching in 30 kts of wind. Our course took us 10 miles south of Pt Arguello before jibing back towards Pt Conception and the Santa Barbara Channel. Visibility varied from 1/2 mile to 2 miles, and the wind blew cold.
Cindi took the brunt of a couple of cold waves while working at the mast, and we took a bit of spray in the cockpit, but otherwise Bravo kept us dry and comfortable. The seas grew to an estimated 12 feet, the winds built to the mid-30s with several gusts over 40. After we safely jibed over, conditions seemed to abate, and we started to feel relieved that we had seen the worst. By the time we had come abreast of Pt Conception, the fog had cleared, and the sunlight made the wind seem much warmer!
Within 6 or 8 miles of passing Pt Conception, the winds dropped, and kept dropping. We couldn't shake out the reefs quickly enough, and soon we were motoring in 2 kts of wind!
We motored the rest of the way to Santa Barbara, picking up a slip in the marina at around 11pm. A great feeling to have successfully passed around "the Cape Horn of the Pacific" in a full gale in a capable ship!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

motorboat ride

We passed under the Golden Gate about noon on Saturday, and motored down past Monterey and Big Sur during the night. Sunday morning Adam put a fishing line in the water, and had a 20-lb tuna within 10 minutes! We have pulled into Port San Luis for the night. The wind piped up from nearly nothing to nearly 30 as we approached the harbor. The next leg will see us around Pt Conception and into the Santa Barbara Channel. We hope to see the Channel Islands, but it is currently gusting 46 knots at Santa Rosa Island, so we may give that a miss!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back on the water!

Well, season two started earlier than we had hoped. Our friends Adam and Cindi invited us to crew for them from San Francisco down to San Diego. So here we are in Sausalito, hanging out on the good ship Bravo. God it feels good!
Adam and Cindi had to motor most of the way from the Pacific Northwest to here (as we did last year), but we are all hoping for better winds on our way south. Hoping to leave the bay on the Friday morning ebb.