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!


Juli said...

Man I'm glad you guys are safe!!

Cathy Ellis said...

Hello M & V on sv Bravo, greetings to you and then slipper and his first mate, from Orcas.....getting enough experience on that west coast !!??
...continue with the journey, and tally ho, love cathy