08 May 2009 | Ventura Harbor, California
by Capts. Dave and Desiree
We had a relaxing few days cruising a few anchorages around Catalina Island. We were on a perfect schedule to arrive to the Ventura coastline. The weather, however, was beginning to decompensate, and my need to return to Ventura to take call by Friday, May 8th, at 5pm was suddenly becoming a challenge.
It is a well-known fact that the weather around the Channel Islands can be one of the most defying in the world, and unfortunately we would come to experience it on our last leg home. We were carefully monitoring the weather earlier that week, and our best option (besides waiting a week to cross), was to head out Wednesday morning May 6th. We left Twin Harbors, Catalina around 6:30 am, hoping we would get into Oxnard before the small craft warnings would overcome us in the late afternoon.
Our first eight hours were primarily motoring across, and then the winds kicked up. The seas became choppy, irregular and ever increasing in size. As the Gone Native began to be tossed in the seas, we decided it was time to get the sails up. We were only off shore five miles, but suddenly it became an incredible distance. Then the starboard engine decided to give out, really making it difficult to get the sails up. However, on cue, all the crew went into action, and finally the sails were raised, a reef in place. Dave went into McGyver mode. He crawled into the engine room, trying to restart the starboard engine, but it continued to sputter. Of course that left me at the helm in the thirty plus knot winds, but the co-captain was confident. The waves were ever increasing, and with only one effective engine, we were getting broadsided by the seas. I then saw a massive wave coming, and told the twins to brace themselves. The enormous wave engulfed the boat, and as I held the helm, I was grateful I had my foul weather gear on. Fortunately shortly afterwards Dave tried something new (he pulled out the fuel filter)...and voila! The engine turned over! We then tacked and were heading in. And fortunately, the winds were "dying" down to twenty-two knots and we were all smiling. By 9pm we were tied on to the dock at Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club, Oxnard.
We stayed in Oxnard for two days cleaning the boat, doing loads of laundry, and had the joy of going to our favorite breakfast nook, Mrs. Olson's. Friday morning, May 8th we pulled out from Oxnard, in flat seas and did our final cruising leg up the coast to Ventura.
Ryan and Wesley were at the helm and took a picture of our smiling faces entering Ventura Harbor. We had made it!!!