Santa Rosalia for the new years
From our last anchorage to Santa Rosalia is 75 nautical miles of open water with no safe anchorages along the way, so it has to be done in a single voyage. Moving at barely the pace of a New York City jogger doesn’t get you through 75 miles very quickly; about 14 hours in total. At this time of year there are only 10 hours of sunlight each day, and we always want to try to get our anchor down before full dark. This is why we attempted to depart our last anchorage at 3am, which turned into nearly 4am after being attacked by the seaweed monster.
One thing in our favor was that we would have wind nearly all day and we sail faster than we motor. Neither of us have a lot of faith in the forecasts anymore, but this day proved to be mostly accurate. After only two hours of motoring I was able to shut down the Perkins and get to the sailing with just the main sail. Kerri was getting some sleep, and I couldn’t set the whisker pole up by myself. Without the pole the jib would have repeatedly caved in on itself only to be filled a few seconds later with a big “whomp” and the shutter to the rigging and boat that comes with it. Once the Kerri appeared, the pole went out and so did the head sail – wing on wing again. This was our sail plan for the next 12 straight hours as we sailed dead-down-wind for the duration with nothing of note taking place. No whales. No dolphins. Just rolling seas and a good breeze to send us our way.
It wasn’t until the final hour or so that the wind had picked up to nearly 30 knots of true wind. We were surfing down 8 foot seas at 8 knots so rolled in the head sail to reduce power. It didn’t matter, even with just a reefed headsail we were still trucking along at a rapid pace. This concerned Kerri (who already wasn’t feeling at her best from the start of the day) who wanted to douse the sail early to avoid potential issues closer to land. The attempt to drop the mainsail while still sailing down wind went “unsmooth” to say the least, and we eventually had to turn into the wind to drop the main properly. Then, only five minutes later, as we approached the entrance to the harbor, the wind died off completely.
Kerri is no fan of the rolling seas that come with down wind sailing, which we have been in since leaving Penasco. When she feels uncomfortable we start making choices based on that discomfort and not sticking to our well thought our plans. Such as jibing the boat sooner then planned, which caused us to sail towards land too soon, which in turn caused us to have to drop the sail (or jibe two more times, which we didn’t care to do) sooner then planned and in the worst of conditions. By the end, we were both pretty grumpy and it showed. Still, a 14 hour day at sea with 12 of those hours under sail felt great and once we were at anchor the rest of the B.S. fell away and we moved on.
We stayed two nights at anchor within the harbor walls, taking the opportunity to row to shore with our trusty wagon to make a large grocery run, and to scratch a cheap-pizza itch I had for a few days now. Eventually we moved over to the marina to be closer to other boat-friends for the new year.
Now that we are both very experienced as sailors, we have very particular ways we do things. So, as we were approaching the dock I asked Kerri to NOT hand off any lines to anyone on the dock. She quickly responded with an audible eye roll and a “well, duh” (she will deny this of course). Even though many on the dock are also experienced sailors – some more than us – they simply can not be trusted. At least they can’t be trusted to do what I want them to do.
One example from last year was us handing dock lines to a couple that has sailed much much longer then us. They took those lines and did absolutely nothing with them. Just held them in their hands! Even after being repeatedly asked to cleat the lines off, they just stood there, line in hand, and a smile on their faces… and that is just not helpful. So, on this day on Santa Rosalia, we politely refused any and all help as we entered our slip. By the time I brought the boat to a stop and moved around the helm to kill the motor, Kerri had already expertly and safely tied off our house, just as we do every time. No added variables, as good intentioned as they are.
We would spend the next five nights at the marina, most of which included socializing to one degree or another. Either a group of us would would go out to eat, or go to one boat to drink and laugh, or both. The days were spent doing “the list” as best we could. The unfortunate part of it all was that most places in town were closed for the holiday.