Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baja HaHa Leg 1-B – Bahia de San Quintin to Bahia de Tortugas

Although the wind at sea was supposed to be picking up to a sustained 25 kts, it was rather calm in the anchorage. Even so, our gps (which we had left on all night as an anchor watch – we set it to sound an alarm if we moved more than 150 feet from our original location) showed that we had traveled 4.82 miles overnight, as we rode back and forth at anchor. On the morning net Wednesday at 0730, Profligate reported from their weather service and from reports from boats that had continued on, that the wind was there but that the seas didn’t seem quite as large as predicted. Even though it was still expected to blow 25 kts all day Wednesday, Profligate planned to head on towards Turtle Bay. Most of the boats, including us, decided to leave as well. So we pulled up anchor at 0900 and headed out. We were motoring out of the bay, with the main already raised for the light winds we were currently feeling. About 10am, with the course set, Doug went below for a little rest. Within 10 minutes, Cathy yelled down to come up and help us reef. “Reef?” Doug said. “We’re not even sailing yet”. But when he went up, the winds had already built to 20 kts and as he came up the companionway a huge wave was towering over the stern. We got the boat into the wind, put in a double reef, then turned downwind and also deployed the staysail. Around noon it was blowing mid 20’s and continued to blow all day. We figured the waves were 10-12 feet with occasional 15-18 footers. No one was happy with these conditions, but the boat was built to handle it. As it got dark, thankfully there was a waxing moon, approaching full – so we had a fairly bright moon from sunset until about 4 am. While there were some periods of lighter wind around midnight and 2am, we also saw sustained winds in the upper 20’s with gusts to 35 from our port quarter. Then all of a sudden our wind instrument showed about 7 kts at 30 degrees. That couldn’t be right. Cathy cycled the instruments off and on, and it seemed to correct itself. But over the next several hours it continued to screw up until it finally started reading 0.0 apparent wind from directly in front of us. So now it’s feeling the wind on the back of the neck or in the face, looking at the wind generator, craning to look up at the windex, and looking at the sea state.

Here is the crew of Galatea, and sunset at sea:

By 6 am the wind had pretty much died down, and we had to motor the rest of the way into Turtle Bay, arriving at about 2pm Thursday – feast or famine!

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