Its The Motion of the Ocean Not the Size of the Seas
10 January 2008 | 130 Miles South of Cedros Island
Currently we are beginning our 3rd night of the Baja Bash. We have been making good progress sailing when we can and motoring when it makes more sense which has been about 1/3rd of the time.
The wind has been from the northerly quadrant as expected. So far the wind has not died at night as is supposedly typical of this coast. In the afternoon and evening it has been northwest 10 to 15 knots, and then, north 13 to 18 knots in the night and morning. We have been tacking on this shift so that we are on starboard at night and port during the day.
The seas have been moderate. We have had some lumpy sections but it was due to the period more than the size of the seas. We have seen occasional 8 to 10 foot swells but the period is very long on these so it is not any trouble. The short choppier stuff is what makes us pound and saps all of the speed out of the boat.
The boat has been making anywhere from 5 to 8 knots through the water and we have had an average of 1 knot of current against us. Our VMG (effective speed up wind) has been about 5 knots which translates in to about 125 miles a day closer to San Diego although the actual distance sailed has quite a bit more.
Currently we have worked our way offshore about 70 miles which may mean steadier winds. Steadier is better when trying to sail upwind on an autopilot or at least our autopilot. We set it to steer to the apparent wind to keep us as close upwind as possible. It requires a bit of adjustment to the wind angle, gain, and dead band to keep the boat close hauled in the lumpy chop.
The crew is doing fine. We are on 2 hour watches with 4 hours off and there is plenty of time for sleeping, book reading, and movie watching. Julie has been making dinner when it is calm and then re-heating it when we are ready to eat. The food as always has been excellent.
After the first night we needed to make two minor repairs. A seam let go on our canvas dodger and a line rack which was overloaded with rope, surfboard, speargun, etc., pulled out. Fortunately, the conditions abated long enough for us to repair both the following morning. The picture above is Julie repairing the dodger. Andrew and I epoxied the wood holding the line rack which looks good as new. It is pretty cold out here. I finally had to put on my full foul weather gear which I have not done since leaving Cape Town, South Africa over a year ago.