Friday, August 14, 2009

Big Sur coast – Stillwater Cove to San Simeon Bay

We left Stillwater Cove shortly after 6am since we wanted to make the 75 NM to San Simeon and still come in during daylight. We motored for the first hour or two until the wind had built enough behind us to sail. Going dead downwind, we decided to just use the main and the staysail prevented out for wing-and-wing. As we passed Point Sur the winds were a comfortable 15 Kts, but soon started building to more. We had a few hours of 27-30 Kts with gusts to 36. At one point we pulled around into the wind enough to reef to main (glad we weren’t going north!). It was pretty intense. We ended up jibing a couple of times since the direction we wanted to go was dead downwind, but we wanted to leave an angle of 10-20 degrees to prevent accidental jibes. The seas were fairly sloppy and we were yawing up to a 40 degree swing, rolling up to a 40 degree swing, and probably pitching about as much too. Coming down one of the waves, we hit a highest speed (SOG) of 12.5 knots – pretty good with just a reefed main and staysail on a boat with a maximum theoretical hull speed of 7.6 Kts! From Cape San Martin to Point Piedras Blancas it calmed down to the lower 20’s. We thought as we rounded Piedras Blancas it should calm more. Wrong! It started blowing 30-33 Kts with gusts to 40, even as we rounded the green buoy marking the entrance to San Simeon Bay. We were happy to get the anchor down as the winds calmed to 10-20 inside the bay, and after dark finally became calm.

Flaking the mainsail, we found a rip around one of the grommets where it attaches to a slide between battcars on the mast. And of course the rip is just above the second reef, so we probably can’t even use the main reefed until we patch it or fix it. Bummer! We’ll try to deal with it in Morro Bay.

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