Change of plans; the crossing
19 November 2011 | Mazatlan
Once we started considering sailing directly to Mazatlan the winds continued to build, and we had sustained winds of 15-20 knots with higher gusts. We started going through in our heads our provisions; we had plenty of food, plenty of water, but we were a little short of my comfort level for diesel fuel. I figured that we would need to sail at least 100 miles of the 285 mile trip. Sooo we did the unthinkable and went with the weather guess that called for good wind over the next 24 hours...and we were on our way to Mazatlan. I would like to be real clear to those of you that are not sailors.....a 285 mile open ocean passage with only two crew members is a BIG freaking deal. This would match my passages coming down the Pacific coast of Baja last March...with one BIG difference, we had three people abroad Si Bon for those legs and the comments from at least one of them was "I can't believe how physically exhausting this is".
We were sailing on a port tack and on a broad reach, which means that that the wind was coming over our port stern (left rear), normally on this point of sail the boat will not heel (lean) a lot...but as you can see from the pic we are heeled over pretty well. As dusk fell upon us the seas continued to build and the swells (more like huge chop) were trying their best to throw Si Bon around...with varying degrees of success. Si Bon is a very sea worthy vessel and was slicing through the rather rough conditions at sustained speeds of 7-8 knots, as darkness fell we decided to reef the sails (reduce the sail area) and we slowed her down to right around 7 knots.
As we sailed through the night Sharon and I came up with a watch schedule where one would sleep for 3 hours while the other stood watch, we backed each other and if one wasn't completely exhausted they would let the other sleep longer. Sharon was now beginning to feel comfortable at the helm and realizing that although Si Bon was being tossed around a little, she was going to be fine. As the morning came and the winds began to let up a little we had sailed over 150 nautical miles since making our decision to go directly to Mazatlan. We had to motor for a few hours on thursday morning as the wind continued to decrease, which was ok as our batteries needed a little recharging from all of our electronics running throughout the night. By noontime the wind came back up and once again we were under sail, only now the air was warmer, the breeze gentler and Steve and Sharon were in their bathing suits and wearing very large smiles.
We did the nearly 300 NM trip in 49 hours which included slowing down and waiting for the marina to open and also included finding and tying up to a slip. Sharon and I worked as a team throughout what will end up being one of our longest non-stop passages. Although both of us were physically spent, we never argued or became irritated with each other. Sharon did a superior job of co-captaining with me and was quick to join in all of the tasks necessary to undertake this type of passage.
We are now in the mega resort of El Cid (a good place to visit us) and will do a blog about this beautiful spot in the next few days.