2nd November turtle Bay to Bahia Santa Maria day 1
An early breakfast and we were ready to go. The bay had filled well up with the rest of the ha-ha crowd, to the point it looked like a small town around us at night with all the lights. The anchor came up much easier than last time and we slowly motored our way through the maze of boats and out towards the ocean. Now, another thing about that dolphin striker I mentioned a few days ago, is that its supported by a wire stay which makes getting the anchor up the last little bit kind of an art form, timing the swing, or heaving it by hand, well I knew we had to figure something out about it, but I guess Sea Raven made the call for us… as the last of the anchor was coming up, it caught on the stay, and pulled the support forward just enough for it to snap off and drift off behind us, slowly sinking to the bottom… “well thats the dolphin striker taken care of” I shouted back to the boss who was at the helm, needless to say, she wasn’t quite as happy about the whole dealeo as me, but she got used to it!
So we got out of the bay, and hoisted the sails a little ways behind my dream boat, a gunboat catamaran, and once we turned back on our course, we got to watch them disappear pretty quickly over the horizon… Guess we’re no match for a million dollar carbon fiber machine, but we were glad to be using less fuel already, even if we were stomping along at 3.5 kts – basically a brisk walk…
3rd November turtle Bay to Bahia Santa Maria day 2
something became pretty clear over the course of the first 24 hours of this trip…. I may know this boat inside and out now, but how she sails is a mystery! After several hours of messing around with the sails, dropping the main, changing course this way and that, we finally got some sort of groove going. Unfortunately the auto pilot doesn’t feel said groove, and as a result someone needs to be at the helm to make the tiny changes needed to keep us on course. After sailing her in the San Francisco bay, and a couple of times out of Ensenada, I had kind of been lulled into thinking that once we had her balanced, she would hold her course without even having to lock the helm, let alone turn on the auto, but out here the slightest swell and she wants to take off in the other direction… but, my mantra in this whole process has been “the boat shall not win” and I know by tweaking the sails all the time, I’ll eventually get it right! Hope so anyway, was kinda used to watching movies all night and staring at the stars!
the wind died again over night, but around 7 it started so I woke up Sabine and set to getting the sails up. Last night while we were chuggin away under power, I decided that I had to get over my fear of the main sail and start using it more.
Let me explain… I guess by giving up on the boring history side of the blog, you know the stuff that happened before I got to mexico, a few things got left out, like most of the refit and all of the early sailing. But from time to time I’ll do one of those flash back things to explain what I’m talking about, maybe I’ll be able to figure out how to add music one day and make it a real movie-like montage, but for now you’ll just have to close your eyes and imagine it!
The first day out with Sea Raven’s new wardrobe (sails) was with the sailmakers and Mike, with Mike at the helm, me on the winches, and the sailmakers pointing and whispering and occasionally shouting things like – “take it in a bit, no back out, no wait… in a little” eventually getting the – “cruising boat, not race boat” response, as my arms tired out and I left the winches to see what all the fuss was about… anyways cutting to the chase after having full sail up in 30 kts of wind, getting up to 12 kts of boat speed and tearing up and snapping a toe-rail like a twig, we heading back to the marina, furled up the headsail, and rounded up to drop the main… turns out in that much wind, the main is near impossible to bring down, without getting too technical, the sail stays powered up and jams in the mast track = not coming down and crashing about like mad, leaving me to watch the coach roof (main cabin top) flex like it was made of paper!
After yelling and pulling and yelling some more, we turned tail and bolted into the marina and out of the wind, luckily before any damage happened, well other than the damage to my confidence…. if I couldn’t get the sail down with 2 sailmakers and very experienced yacht racers helping me, how the hell was I going to do it at sea, alone, with wifey at the helm, and no marina to run to…. so now you get my fear of the mainsail!
Since that first day, I’d had the main up a few times, made a few changes, like adding a downhaul (line attached to the top slide on the sail to pull it down) and sprayed the track with teflon, so I knew it wasn’t going to be the same, and besides it was blowing 8-12 kts not 25-30. So we got full sail up for a change and managed to make reasonable time through the day, occasionally firing up one engine just to keep us moving… with out changing our course to point either at land or New Zealand, we made pretty slow time, in hindsight, the tack out to sea would have been the way to go, when we finally got to Bahia Santa Maria, we turned in, putting the wind on our beam, and pretty quickly got up to 7 kts, and we were still accelerating when we had to turn up and start dropping sail, felt good to know that the old girl can move when she wants to, or more when we know what we’re doing!
after rigging up a new support for the anchor load on the cross member, we dropped the hook and noticed that there were already 3 ha-ha boats here, oh well, whatever, apart from all the boats around us, you’d hardly notice them.
Time to sleep.
5th Nov Bahia Santa Maria
Woke up early this morning, and went back to sleep again, nice to not be moving!
We did manage to get a few things crossed of the list today. Sabi spent the afternoon cleaning the dodger and cabin top outside, amazing how dirty it still is after Ensenada, and I guess with some fresh dust from Turtle Bay mixed in. Meanwhile I jumped in the water and finally cleaned the bottom for the first time since we splashed last December, seems the uber-toxic bottom paint we used is doing its thing, and what little growth we had, along the waterline mainly, scraped right off nice and easy, the props were a little harder, but think I gained us at least a half a knot cleaning everything up!
We have also decided we don’t like this anchorage and will be off again in the morning. Its not the fact that once again we woke up to 100 new neighbours, but more that the wind in here is stronger than outside at sea, currently blowing 16 kts, (now blowing up to 25!) which may not be that much, but at anchor, it just means you’re looking out the window constantly. Maybe it is all the new neighbours and knowing that many of them, like us, are new to this anchoring thing… if you drag anchor with nobody around, theres not much damage can be done, and its less embarassing! But I know its just like rock climbing, it takes awhile to totally trust your equipment and relax….
so tomorrow we leave early again and head towards the bottom of baja and up into the sea of cortez finally!