Solitude's Mexico Adventure

30 March 2011 | San Diego
26 March 2011 | Ensenada
14 March 2011 | The Trip North Continues
10 March 2011 | Turtle Bay
06 March 2011 | The March winds Begin to Blow
05 March 2011 | The Long Bash Home Continues
04 March 2011 | Bahia Santa Maria
26 February 2011 | The Trip Home Begins
13 February 2011 | Second Time Around
18 January 2011 | La Paz
15 January 2011 | Mazatlan to La Paz
13 January 2011 | Farthesyt North on the Mainland
09 January 2011 | 40 Miles North of San Blas
31 December 2010 | About 20 Miles North of Chacala
18 December 2010 | 25 miles to the north of Banderas Bay
14 December 2010 | 25 Miles North of Banderas Bay
12 December 2010 | A DAy of Solitude
10 December 2010 | First Step North
01 December 2010 | Banderas Bay
24 November 2010 | Leg One Complete - 1458 nm

On to San Diego

30 March 2011 | San Diego
I arrived in Ensenada on a Friday night so I would have to wait until Monday to check out of Mexico. I spent the weekend mostly in the cabin with the boat rising and falling in the slip like I was still at sea. I had just beat a fairly strong storm passing through which accounted for the heavy winds on /Friday afternoon. I also found out that Monday was a holiday so that I couldn't check out until Tuesday. After fighting the wind all the way up the Baja I now had to loose another day to the holiday. While in Ensenada I did treated myself to a nice dinner in town and provisioned for my trip up to San Diego.

I left Ensenada midday on Tuesday, March 22nd, heading for the good old U.S. of A. The only weather information I could get in Ensenada for the San Diego area was from NOAA . It had winds under 10 knots and 3-5 foot seas. I was looking forward to a laid back trip overnight into San Diego. As I rounded the breakwater, heading north, I learned that what's happening in San Diego isn't what one should expect in Ensenada. Again I had 25+ knot winds which lasted until around 10:00 p.m. that night. Another day of bashing before I reached San Diego. The winds died off as I approached San Diego and I entered the channel at sunrise, on the motor, in calm conditions. Although I still had 450 miles to Santa Cruz it really felt like I was home.

Last Stop in Mexico

26 March 2011 | Ensenada
Captain Frank
The leg from Bahia San Carlos to Ensenada was one of the most difficult of the bash north. Just north of the San Carlos anchorage lies the Sacramento Reef. I first tried leaving in the evening, after the winds died down, with the intent of going outside the reef about ten miles offshore. That night the wind didn't die down. As I headed out beyond the reef I found increasing winds. About two miles offshore, with winds approaching 20 knots, I decided to return to the anchorage rather than force a beat up the coast at night. This posed it's own challenge. This area of the Baja is very remote and the anchorage was pitch black when I returned. I no reference to find my original anchorage and to make things worse there were breaking waves on both sides of the anchorage. I used a combiastion of my radar, GPS and depth sounder to find a safe place to anchor all the while the sound of breaking waves made things very exciting.
The next morning came with a very thick fog but little wind in the anchorage. After the experience of the night before I decided to plot a course inside of the reef. This meant that I had only about one mile on each sidse of the boat between the reef and the shore. I spent a good portion of the day getting beyond the reef. The wind hadn't let up, even in the fog , so I was forced to tack often to get by the reef. Once I was on the other side of the reef the sailing got easier and, after the sun set, the wind finally died off . I spent the rest of the night with a comparatively easy trip up to San Quintin.

I approached San Quintin planning to anchor and wait for a weather window to make the last leg to Ensenada. As I approached the anchorage I got a weather report on the morning SSB net that said today was going to offer the best conditions to Ensenada for the next few days. I didn't hesitate. I set a course for Ensenada and got underway. Most of the day and through the night was spent in the fog and light winds. The next day however brought clear skys and another day of strong winds. I ended the day sailing across the bay outside of Ensenada, in 25+ knots winds. I was making full hull speed even with the main completely down and sailing on only a 70% jib. A wild ride to end a long bash.

I Made it into the harbor around 5:00 p.m. and in a slip at the Baja Naval boat yard for a long deserved rest.

Bahia San Carlos

14 March 2011 | The Trip North Continues
Capt Frank
The wind reports I was receiving while in Turtle Bay were not very encouraging for going north. 20 to 30 knots were forecast in the afternoons for the next 5 to 6 days. On the second day I decided that if I left in the late afternoon I could cover enough distance overnight to get across the large bay up north and get close to shore. The winds are expected to be lighter near shore and I thought I could cover the distance before the afternoon winds kicked in. It didn't turn out that way.

I left turtle bay around 2:00 p.m. on March 12th. Although it was afternoon, I expected the first 20 miles or so to be protected from the strong winds by Point Eugenia which lies just north of Turtle Bay. I was wrong. Shortly after leaving the bay and turning north I ran into 20 to 25 knot winds. This brought my boat speed down to 1.9 - 2.5 knots and a very rough ride directly into 5 to 6 foot wind waves. I decided to bear off and tack back and forth about ten degrees off the wind. This worked well but it was taking much longer to make way on my course. I was hoping to get to the north end of Cedros Island by midnight but it wasn't until about 5:00 a.m. before I cleared the north point of Cedros Island. This is where the largest bay crossing of the trip starts. It not only takes me the farthest offshore but it is notorious for having the strongest winds and biggest seas on the trip north.

By 8:00 a.m. the wind was up to 18 knots and the seas were 6 to 8 ft. in hieght. I was beginning to realize that the plan wasn't going to happen as I intended and that I'd be crossing the bay above Cedros at the wrong time. A note from the log "1200 hrs. - 20+ winds - seas 6 -8 ft. - doing fine, if it stays like this it will be o.k.". Well it didn't stay like that. By 3:00 p.m., with the winds were somewhere north of 30 knots and the seas 8 to 10 feet, I hove-to. At this point I had way too much water entering the boat, gerry cans hanging off the rail and a cabin with just about everything on the cabin sole. Heaving-to was the only option to get control of the situation. The wind was so strong that I was drifting off downwind at 1.9 to 2.5 knots. Not really a problem as the leeward shore was 27 miles away but I was loosing ground on my course and heading away from the nearest land. I reversed the hove-to position from a starboard to a port tack which directed me closer to shore and, I hoped, lighter winds. The bildge had taken on quite a bit of water so I spent my time finding out where all the water was coming in and correcting the problems. I have sailed Solitude in some pretty rough weather without any problems. You really don't know where your limits are until the conditions raise the bar and challenge you at a new level. This was definitely a new level. These were by far the highest winds and the biggest seas Solitude and I have ever been in.

I remained hove-to until about 8:00 p.m. when the winds dropped off to about 18-20 knots. I set sail for the nearest point that could offer refuge from the wind which was San Carlos Anchorage at the north end of Bahia San Carlos. This spot was about 65 miles short of my intended destination but a safe place to wait out the winds. I sailed through the night arriving at San Carlos Anchorage at 9:00 a.m., on March 14th, with calm winds and smooth seas. I anchored up and went to bed for a well deserved rest. I have always said I don't want' to have a storm chapter to write. Well this was not quite a storm chapter but I do have a story to tell.

Weathering the Tsunami

10 March 2011 | Turtle Bay
Capt Frank
Just a short post to let anyone who might be interested that Solitude and I weathered the tsunami just fine. I'm hanging out in Turtle Bay waiting for the winds to die down up north. The tsunami arrived right on schedule at 0945 and was little more than two or three waves that stood out form the underlying swell. They were large enough to notice but nothing to get excited about. I heard that Santa Cruz faired much worse. I hope all my freinds back home are o.k.. Anyway, all is fine on Solitude except for being stuck here for a few more days.

Abreojos

06 March 2011 | The March winds Begin to Blow
Capt Frank
I was forced to stay in Abreojos for two days waiting for the 20-25 knot winds to abate. I know we sail in those winds all the time around Santa Cruz but these wind are directly on the bow which means I have to motor into them. Not going to happen. With that much wind and the seas they create I get only about 1.9 to 2.5 knots up the course line. It is just better to wait for the wind to drop off and make better, more comfortable time.

while in Abreojos I put the dingy in the water and went ashore. It was a nice little town with few services. They did have a school where I was able to leave the last of the children's books I had brought from home. The principal was very interested in them and spent quite awhile going through them. He didn't speak or read English so I spent a lot time with the translator. I also took a walk on the beach. I walked the entire beach. This is no small feat as the beach here is about five miles long.

I left Punta Abreojos at 5:00 a.m., in the dark. something of note on this leg was the ocean going tug with a barge in tow. It wasn't to close but very interesting to see on radar and a bit unusual to run across. Waiting for the wind was a good decision as I had another afternoon of sailing. Wind was 8-10 knots on a beam reach. It was a warm and comfortable afternoon sail. The sailing took me off course, as expected. I spent the night motoring up close to the coast and arrived at Turtle Bay around 9:00 a.m. on the morning of March 10th.

Bahia Santa Maria

05 March 2011 | The Long Bash Home Continues
Capt Frank
The sailing reports will get a little shorter now as they begin to sound repetitive. I do want to report that I had another whale join me as I left Bahia Santa Maria. I am now just above Magdalena Bay where the whales go during the winter to have their babies. They are now on their way back up to the Bearing Sea in quite large numbers. It is not surprising, given where I'm, that I'm seeing a lot of whales.

This leg offers the second large bay to be crossed when heading north from Cabo San Lucas. Before reaching Punta Abreojos I will be up to 50 miles offshore. I really like being offshore more than sailing close to shore. It allows me to get more rest as I don't have to check my position quite as often and the radar keeps a good lookout for traffic. It has a function that sounds a warning whenever a boat or the shore comes within it's sixteen mile range. This allows me plenty of time react to the situation.

I had a great afternoon sail, on 15-18kts. of wind, very close to the course line. The wind dropped off at around 8:00 in the evening and I motored the rest of the way to Punta Abreojos. I was about 5 miles off Punta Abreojos around midnight. I wasn't comfortable entering in the dark so I hove-to and had a great night's sleep. Up at dawn I motored in to the anchorage and put down the hook around 9:00 a.m. on march 6th..

While in Abreojos I put the dingy in the water and went ashore. It was a nice little town with few services. They did have a school where I was able to leave the last of the children's books I had brought from home. The principal was very interested in them and spent quite awhile going through them. He didn't speak or read English so we spent a lot time with the translator. I also took a walk on the beach. I walked the entire beach. This is no small feat as the beach here is about five miles long.
Vessel Name: Solitude
Vessel Make/Model: Golden Gate 30
Hailing Port: Santa Cruz, CA
Crew: Capt Frank Brauch
About: Capt Frank has taught sailing in Santa Cruz, CA for the past ten years. He has also crewed on boats to Hawaii, in Tonga, New Zealand and Mexico.
Solitude's Photos - Main
1 Photo
1
Solitude in full cruising dress.
 
1
3 Photos
Created 24 February 2011
3 Photos
Created 24 February 2011
3 Photos
Created 24 February 2011
First stop on Espiritu Santo
2 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 23 February 2011
This Island between San Blas and Mazatlan is for the birds.
9 Photos
Created 31 January 2011
Also Mantachen Bay
10 Photos
Created 14 January 2011
A Little Jewel of Mexico
6 Photos
Created 30 December 2010
Islands Five Miles Offshore
2 Photos
Created 23 December 2010
North end of Banberas Bay
2 Photos
Created 23 December 2010
First Tropical Spot
6 Photos
Created 9 December 2010
1,450 miles south of Santa Cruz
4 Photos
Created 26 November 2010
5 Photos
Created 16 November 2010
Solitude in Cruising Mode
3 Photos
Created 23 October 2010
These are some pictures I hope will let you get a feel for Solitude.
7 Photos
Created 7 October 2010

Solitude Wing-on Wing

Who: Capt Frank Brauch
Port: Santa Cruz, CA