Thursday, December 12, 2013

At anchor Ensenada De Los Muertos

Date: Dec 12, 2013, Time: 5pm MST
23° 59' N 109° 49' W
Barometer: 1015, Water Temp: 74.3f
Log: 10515

Wow. Sailing upwind in mid-20 knot winds for a little over 40 hours sure makes you appreciate downwind sailing. Sailing downwind is all sweetness and light. Upwind when the waves and winds are developed isn't like that.

I had a great sleep at Cabo and woke up refreshed, prepared some food and left anchor at 6pm. The plan was to be able to arrive at my first target anchorage, Bahia Los Frailes, in the daylight the following day after having sailed all night.

Leaving Cabo the winds were light, as you would expect due to the cape wind shadow. Within 50 minutes of motoring, wind had found me and I started sailing in 11 knots, upwind. This was the best sailing - I love upwind sailing when the seas are flat and the winds are moderate. At around midnight the wind died away quickly. I waited two hours and then to be able to make my afternoon arrival at the next anchorage I started to motor toward my destination. By 3:30am I was sailing again and it stayed that way for the rest of this trip.

When the wind returned, it returned from the same direction, but with increased intensity. Rather than 11-15 knots I started to sail in sustained 18-25 with gusts slightly higher. The highest apparent wind I saw was just over 30. As you would expect, the seas started to develop - or I suspect, rather, arrive from further north where the wind had been blowing like this for a while. This is when the northward bash started.

I bashed northward toward Los Frailes where I arrived by around 4pm, as expected. I decided to continue on toward Muertos as the weather information I had been receiving showed a short weather window for moving around followed by likely being holed up in the anchorage you had chosen until early next week. I would rather be holed up in Muertos than Los Frailes. Muertos has a beach bar, wifi you can use on land, a large anchorage with good holding, and good memories from my last cruise where I spent over a week here with Sockdolager and Clover.

By the end of the trip I had dialed in the sail combination which worked best for these conditions (M2SG2) and the boat was making mid 5 knots through the pounding waves, close hauled, tacking back and forth toward my destination which was where the wind was coming from. This is pretty active sailing. The boat is constantly healing, often with the 'rail in the water'. The motion of the boat is far from gentle, crashing through and down onto waves creating cascades of salt spray. When moving around the boat you need to be very careful, planing hand holds and foot positions deliberately, as the boat is rising and falling by several feel while rocking side to side, constantly. Its nice to be doing this sailing where its warm as I was covered in salt water from about 1/2 way through the journey to its completion.

I hadn't sailed upwind in these types of conditions for quite some time, and my decision to keep on sailing was partly to stress the boat and myself a little. If I do continue on to my possible destination of New Zealand, there will be some upwind sailing involved, far out to sea where you need to accept the weather that arrives. I feel good about the upwind side of things again, although I would like to avoid upwind in heavy weather if its possible...

Anyway. I'm at anchor with the wind blowing 20-28 knots. I arrived at 11am, making the journey 41 hours. I've spent the afternoon starting to clean up the boat and made a good dent in that. I had a swim, and although the water has cooled from Cabo San Lucas, its still awesome. I have a few chores to look at while I'm here. My list of 'things that broke' has one item, which is easy enough to remedy, and my list of 'things that I can improve' is longer. I'll be making a few adjustments to some of my equipment during my stay here.

I'm looking forward to getting to shore to look around, and then to continue my journey to La Paz early next week.

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  1. Replies
    1. Its my sail plan shorthand. 2nd reef in the main, staysail, 2nd reef in the genoa. M1 is first reef in main. So MG is full main, full genoa. M2G1 - 2nd reef in main, 1 reef in genoa. etc.

  2. Holy crow! That last part sounds like an adventure. But I am happy to see you are ready for it. I hope the weather moderates before you sail up to Las Paz. But, hey, won't the temperature be getting colder if you go north? Maybe stay where you are for the moment. Glad you are safe. Thanks. love, Mum