Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Southern Crossing to Mazatlan

The weather for the next 2 days looked pretty good – mostly 15 kts – not too much and good for sailing. With 240 nm across the Sea of Cortez, we expected two overnights – 48 hours at 5 kts / 40 hours at 6 kts. So we got away about 9am Sunday. We came around Isla San Francisco to rendezvous with Laura on the east side to buddy-boat on the crossing. We had to motor until about noon before the wind picked up enough to sail – dead downwind of course. When going dead downwind, especially with lumpy seas, you have to be careful not to jibe the main – and the jib has a tendency to collapse. We have a boom brake to help control any accidental jibe of the main, and we poled out our jib on the opposite side for wing-and –wing. At other times we would just head off about 20-30 degrees to keep the sails full and stable, and then jibe back to the other tack when we were too far off the course. We motored for a few hours in the evening when the wind was light – but started sailing again at midnight and on through to the second evening. Then the second night was off and on motoring vs. sailing.

Besides keeping in contact with Laura, we saw another boat as we came out from Isla San Francisco apparently on the same heading – turned out to be Juniata with Dave & Marcia aboard. So the three of us kept in VHF radio contact as we headed across.
This was actually the first overnight sail that we have ever done with just the two of us aboard. It went pretty well. We decided to stick with 4 hours on / 4 hours off with the same shifts that we did on the Baja HaHa when we also had David and Dick as a second person on watch. We were a little loose with the handoff times – but it really went pretty smoothly. If we had any sail change or significant issue (like a large fishing boat looking like he was crossing our path) we would get each other up – so it was fairly rare to have an uninterrupted 4 hours of sleep. Meals were mostly easier things – bowl of cereal or bagel for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, soup or beef stew for dinner.

As we approached Mazatlan, we were running a little ahead of schedule. Rather than come in at dark, we held back – sailing with just a reefed main and making about 3 Kts. As dawn broke (see picture below) and we got close to shore, we hailed Marina Mazatlan on the VHF. It was only 7am, so the office wasn’t open – but Pacific Voyager (another cruising boat berthed in the marina) picked up our call, said it looked like there was plenty of room, went to get security and got slips assigned for us, Laura, and Juniata. Turns out we are all next to each other, and across from Worrall Wind – Russ & Roz – who had arrived on Sunday. Then it turns out Juniata is really good friends of Russ & Roz. More small world!

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