Typical NW Pacific Sailing Conditions
19 July 2009 | Pacific Ocean- approaching Crescent City, Ca.
This is a good example of the normal sea conditions for the Pacific northwest in September. My brother Eldon, on his Choy Lee 40, s/v Halcyon, left Winchester Bay, Oregon and had plotted an intercept course meet up with us offshore. The plan was to "buddy boat" together to San Diego.
So, Rainer and I were night sailing along at 7+ knots in 30-35 knots of wind in typical northwesterlies, with accompanying following seas of 8-10 feet. These conditions are sometimes referred to as:"...being chased by a herd of white buffalo all night". All this and then at about 9:30 at night we got a call from the Coast Guard in Crescent City that my brother had been hit by a sudden wind shift which caused an accidental jybe. Apparently, he had suffered some rigging and sail damage as a result and had gone into Crescent City for repairs. "Would he like us to come on in and help him"? There was a bit of lag in VHF radio communication since the Coast Guard was relaying messages back and forth between Eldon and I. "Yes, he would appreciate the help." Remember, we are 53 nm offshore, in a gale, at night! I really did not want to take those sea conditions right square on the port beam all night! It was a good time to practice "heaving too", so we did. I told Rainer to hold onto something tight and then turned Andante back through the waves and wind from off the stern to point her into the seas. A pretty wild ride there for a few minutes! Rainer looked a little pale, even in the dark. Nothing else we could do, so we went to bed and got some rest. The following morning, the wind had let up a little bit and so we got back under sail for Crescent City.
From Crescent City to San Diego, we harbor-hopped with both boats which worked out well. Eldon and his crewman Brad had to hand steer all the way down the coast due to the lack of an autopilot, so crew exhaustion was a big issue for them. Besides, Eldon is a great cook!