Thursday, December 15, 2011

Next move: north

Date: Dec 15, 2011, Time: 10:30am
22° 53.309' N 109° 54.033' W <Link:>
Wind speed: 6 / wind dir: N, Heading: to anchor, Speed: running motor
Barometer: 1020, Temp: 74, Water Temp: 73.4
Log: 2634.7 (*), Engine Hours: 1289.8, Batteries: (-44 Ah)

I'm at anchor in Cabo San Lucas! I actually passed by here last night at around 10:30pm. It was dark by then and I pursued my goal of trying to reach an anchorage closer to La Paz. My ideal destination was going to be Ensenada de los Muertos. Its a little anchorage which has a local restaurant with wifi, clear water, walking, not much else. It is 90 miles north of Cabo and there is an anchorage between Cabo and that one which I had as a backup.

When I rounded the Cape, the nice wind I had died and I drifted around while 2 miles off the coast looking over at the anchorage. It was tempting to just go in at that point, but I pushed ahead, rolling in the swell waiting for wind. I finally motored for 1/2 an hour south to remove myself from what I thought was a wind shadow from the mountains around the Cape and found wind. I plotted a point 20 miles up the coast to where it bends from being generally NE to more northerly. My chartplotter was showing me my progress along this line I had plotted. There were N winds blowing here, and their strength was nothing dramatic if you were sailing downwind with them around you. Upwind is a different story, and sailing upwind in 18 to 24 knots of wind with steep 6-8 foot mixed waves with a period of around 4 seconds was a little dramatic. I initially had a lot of sail up and the boat was just surging forward crashing into waves - although not making very much progress toward my destination. The boat would appear to find holes in the wave patterns and just fall onto the wave on the other side and slow dramatically in a fury of water flying out on both sides of us. I was in the time of day where I should have been entering my sleep cycles, 20 minutes of sleep followed by getting up and accessing the situation. The boat crashing made sleep impossible and I started going into sleep deficit which I try to avoid as a safety concern. After I reduced sail to a more comfortable level to boat had slowed to around 4 knots making roughly 1 - 2 knots toward my destination. At 4:30am I calculated that I wouldn't arrive at my first anchorage until after dark that night, and my sleep problem would start to become a concern.

I turned around, started sailing downwind toward my destination and was immediately rewarded with a calm boat. Going with the flow.

It was a really nice passage. I left Ensenada Dec 7th at 11:30am and arrived here at anchor on Dec 15 at 10:30am, 8 days of sailing. If I had stopped in at my first pass of Cabo rather than going past and coming back it would have been 7 1/2 days and I was feeling really good at that point, awake and alert. It was comfortable sailing, I didn't push the boat too hard and there were some glorious sailing days in there. As the wind and waves weren't severe, I could cook proper meals and ate well. I flew the spinnaker for the first time. I used the pole a number of times and really liked the effect. The engine was only run for just over 3 hours including the time leaving the Marina and approaching my anchorage.

I'll stay here for a few days, and then when the weather looks like it won't be blowing strong north winds then I'll move along north.

(*) The Tack Tick log is wrong again.  I had to turn the system off to allow the wind sensor to get a charge so that it would be available to me when I needed it.  When the system is turned off, the log is wrong.  It was off most of the way from Mag Bay to Cabo San Lucas.  So I've missed another 150nm from my log.  I'm starting to wonder if the decision to buy Tack Tick was a mistake...  I love the instruments while they're working, but the reliance on solar power seems to be limiting on longer passages...

[updated slightly to account for sleep deprived errors.]


  1. Cabo San Lucas... that sounds romantic... and warm! But I don't understand why you're going back north?! Leaving for my own warmer climes in 9 days. :)

  2. Hi Marie. By 'north' I mean, north into the Sea of Cortez - around the corner from the pacific. It'll be warmer there! The water will be clearer and warmer, there ware lots of anchorages around. Its an area I've read a lot about and its a sailing destination. Cabo San Lucas seems a little like Los Vegas, without the Casino's and with a nice beach. Its crazy touristy, and not really what I'm looking for. I'm going to embrace it while I'm here but plan to get out as soon as weather permits travel north again. I hope Toronto is treating you well!

  3. Hi Craig,
    Glad you're in a safe harbour. Cabo San Lucas has the reputation of being a very lovely spot to visit. Enjoy. The trip sounds like you had a bit of everything. I'm preparing for the holidays and Gord's visit. Today it's about 50F and feels like spring. I know it won't last but it's very welcome. Hummingbirds are at my feeder. They make me smile. Love to you, Mum