Sunday, October 6, 2013

Anchored in Drakes Bay

Date: Oct 6, 2013, Time: 1pm PST
38° 00' N 122° 58' W
Wind speed: calm, Anchored
Barometer: 1017, Water Temp: 51.8f
Log: 9091

As expected, the winds turned light on Saturday and as I rounded Cape Mendocina the winds collapsed and I went from sailing nicely to motoring south. I had been sailing in mid 20 knot winds most of Friday and I rounded the Cape at around midnight. The water immediately started to flatten out - even before I was behind the cape, suggesting that lighter winds were to be arriving soon. As the NW wind fell to below 10, sailing downwind became tedious with speeds below three knots and I started to motor at 3am. At 9am an E10 wind arrived and I started to sail slowly making a VMG (velocity toward my destination, velocity made good) of around 3.5. That was just fine. By 12:45pm the wind fell to 5 and I started to motor again. I motored the rest of way, except for an hour when some wind arrived and I jumped on it to watch it fall off again within an hour. Three hours north of Point Reyes some east wind arrived and this time I just motored through it, wasting an opportunity to sail but wanting to get to Drakes Bay. This wind died off by 10:30, lasting around three hours. (It was cold when the wind arrived! That's my excuse for missing an opportunity to same some fuel and move in peaceful quiet. The sea temperature was down to 49.1.)

I'm currently at anchor in Drakes Bay, arriving at 11:30am. I've decided to break the trip up by spending a night here. The forecast, which I've now updated and verified, has light wind today with some NW wind starting to fill in tonight. By tomorrow, Monday morning, there is expected to be NW 5 to 15, which is a big range, but with the afternoon becoming NW 15-25 and 20 to 30 at night (in this weather zone, pzz570.)

I plan to leave Drakes Monday morning and motor until wind arrives. I should be able to be out of this weather zone during Monday, and the winds further south didn't go as high as 30knots. After leaving Drakes, I think I will be able to sail toward my destination, which at this point is still a little fuzzy, but generally "south." I may break the trip up again with a stop along the way, or I may sail directly to Smugglers Cove on Santa Cruz island in the Catalina's. Smugglers Cove will be a nice little break and is an easy sail away from Oxnard where I'll end up for a little while. I plan to return to boat projects there, working on varnish, strip/seal my cabin sole (floor) among other things. Smugglers cove is roughly 350nm away from Drakes.

I put another 15 gallons of diesel in the tank on this leg of the trip, making the total since leaving Neah Bay 32 gallons. This is way more than the last time I did this trip, where that total was something like 3. But that time I left earlier in the year with a well established high and no low's ripping through. This trip has been shorter, only 6 days of 'sailing' to get here compared to 11. Last time down I hove to in a gale for a day and waited for wind to arrive several times, very patiently, bobbing around in swell. This was part of the training I was doing for the trip to Hawaii and back later that year. This time I'm staying much closer to shore (15 to 40nm) and am much less patient. I want to make progress while the weather windows allow for it. I left late and will be happy when I arrive in southern California.

My 6 day estimate does not of course count the week I spent after ducking into Coos Bay two days before the forecast south gale, which became an actual storm, to arrive. The highest wind I saw out on the water last time was 37 knots, this time (so far) has been around 27.

It was good traveling in company with Juguette. They caught a tuna! They have now continued on to Half Moon bay. I hope to meet up with Peter again in Mexico if not before, as happens when cruising the same coast with the same ultimate destination (La Paz for now.)

Lastly, a plan which did not work out so well. Last time I was in Drakes Bay I was annoyed by all the fly's which find you. I mean, I'm anchored off the shoreline by at least 1/2 a mile, and there are fly's everywhere. All during the remainder of my last cruise, and this year as I planned, I kept thinking about the fly swatter I would have on board during my stay here in Drakes the next time. Well, here I am, the fly's are here, and I pulled out my fly swatter. First swat was a hit, killed it dead. Next swat the head of the fly swatter went flying as it broke off the handle. Drat. I have backups for some of my equipment, but a fly swatter!? No backup onboard. I'm glad I'm leaving after a single night!

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  1. The worst is now behind you. Happy sailing as you head into warmer waters and fun times ahead. See you in La Paz in early November.

    1. Hi Paul. It might be a bit later than early November now... I expect to be in Oxnard for around 3 weeks working on projects. Then Avalon for a week or so, then San Diego, then Ensenada, then head to La Paz on whatever schedule makes sense for me. I hope you two are still around when I get there!

  2. No backup fly swatter?! LOL. I hope these are just regular flies and not biting flies.

    1. Yeah good thing! Just annoying flies, no biting going on.

  3. I have it on good authority that to catch a fly you need to have your hand behind it, because flies take off backwards. Might be easier to sail on. Safe sailing. xo Mum

    1. It was easier to sail on! The flies stayed with me for days. There I was, out at sea with land 30 miles away and some flies still flying around. I think after I got back to anchor they all saw land and have taken off now. Finally got rid of them :-)