Every time we start a new passage, we hit the reset button. Despite being really bummed out about tearing our sails during our last passage, we began this passage upbeat. We left Turtle Bay early in the morning and headed out with the rest of the fleet. From our bow, I waved good bye to the fishing pangas picking up their morning catch just out in front of the bay. They waved back.
Day 1 – Weather Update
Other boats reported catching fish, and spotting whales. A small squall with minimal wind also produced a rainbow. It was a gorgeous morning, but not enough wind.
We checked in on the net and got the weather report for the passage. The weather models were calling for 6-8 knots NNW, holding until noon, 10-12 knots W building to 15-20 NW overnight, sustained for the majority of the passage. It was going to be brisk ride down!
Hurricane Raymond was still diminishing West of Cabo, while a Tropical depression had developed and was now hanging out 300 miles SE of Cabo, but since we were so far North, neither would affect this leg of our journey.
When we met Pamela in Turtle Bay we decided to check in with each other a few times during the second leg. We touched base over the VHF and compared positions. At the time they hailed us Grant was on deck trying to make sense of our whisker pole. The pole was up, however we found our jib sheets to be too large to easily pull through the end of the track in our pole. What? Bummer! I explained the situation to Pamela and their crew gave us a tip to try adding a line with a bite to the end of the pole and slip the line through there. I passed it onto Grant and we tried it. It worked! (Thanks Neil!)
We decided that afternoon, the wind being what it was, to pull out Simon (our spinnaker). I was a little nervous for the launch. It was our first time launching Simon away from the slip. This sail is huge. I had strict instructions NOT to turn the boat up into the wind.
Grant pulled open the spinnaker chute and we let Simon fly free. It was a glorious feeling!
Simon was really pulling us along! We let him fly for awhile until the wind and the waves started picking up. The waves pushed us slightly upwind and Maluhia was immediately pinned over on her side. Somehow we made a recovery and Grant ran forward to pull in Simon. We pulled him in, put him back in his bag, and secured the bag on deck.
Night 1 – Rocking & Rolling
As the sun set a few of the other boats made comments on the VHF to watch for the Green Flash. I took out my camera in preparation but no flash.
Into the evening the wind and waves continued building. Moses our monitor wind vane was steering the boat. We and everything else onboard were rocking and rolling. In fact during one roll, we almost lost Simon overboard. He rolled off the top deck and wedged himself on the side deck in front of one of our stanchions. I double checked and he seemed even more secure there, so we left him be.
The rocking and rolling? Maluhia handled it well, in fact it was the next morning when I could fully see everything around us, that I felt she was just eating it up, happily surfing up and down these waves.
Me on the other hand? It was my first exposure to these conditions, it was night time, and they were worse than leg one. During our night passages on this leg I remember recalling the words of Rick Palm (circumnavigator and veteran of the Caribbean 1500 cruising rally) during an Ocean Cruising Seminar we had attended in Annopolis, MD.
“If it floats it is still a boat,” and “it is going to be uncomfortable.”
The craziest mind trip was being in the dark, hearing the waves and having just enough light to see the reflection of white water break right behind the boat. Each wave looked so close, as if at any moment it was going to barrel right into the back of the cockpit!
At the very last second Maluhia would rise above the wave, and it would disappear under her keel. Every once in a while waves running from the side would catch up and douse the aft side decks with a big splash into the hull.
Day 2 – Stowaways
The next morning brought a beautiful sunrise as if the ocean was apologizing for its behavior. Apology accepted.
We also found some stowaways. Baby squid had some how made it on deck. Another actually caught enough air and ended up landing in our galley!
There was no good report for any change in the conditions throughout the day. We just had to live with the uncomfortableness. Sometimes it’s hard to physic yourself up for that. So we turned on some music to lift our spirits! Napping also seemed like a good idea.
Night 2 – Sail Woes
We mustered through another night of discomfort. There were times we felt we were going too fast topping 8 or 9 knots surfing down waves, but on the bright side we were making great progress towards our destination.
We had a double reef in our main and had furled up our genoa. Putting away our genoa I noticed our patch was starting to pull open again. Ack! I really did not want to pull out that sail again if we could avoid it. No doubt it would rip more! The downside was we would be using more dinosaur juice.
The sail trim on our main looked ugly. About half way through the night we popped another batten! We had now popped three of the four battens on our main! Another dip in spirits.
It was obvious to us we were doing something wrong with our reefing system and not having the batons in the sail wasn’t helping. By daylight conditions were weakening as we were closed in on our next destination, Bahia Santa Maria.
Soon we would drop the hook, catch up on some deep sleep, and seek out some advice from the fleet to help us make the last leg of this trip to Cabo more enjoyable.