Do NOT hit the cement wall!

Yikes, squeezing Ravenswing into the Travelift launch & retrieve bay in Puerto Penasco is really tricky. Our boat is 26’9″ wide, and their slot is about 28′ at the top, but it gets narrower as the tide goes down. I was piloting solo that day, and of course a breeze from the side came up just as it was my turn to come to the lift. Only get one shot to stick the landing, or gouge the crap out of your boat on the rough cement walls. But thanks to friends ashore, willing to stick their feet and fenders down, we did not create a bunch more work :) This video is mostly technical composites building work – no adventures this go-round. We’ll get back out there in the new year. thanks for following along in 2022 everybody!

A Lonely Sail

Ravenswing has been moored in Puerto Escondido, near Loreto, Baja Calfornia Sur, Mexico for about 14 months. It’s been a great home base for the boat, giving nice couple-weeks trips around the Loreto Islands area. Hurricane Kay came through in mid September; I was pretty uptight home in California because I saw the coming storm too late to go back to the boat for further preparations, but also didn’t feel there was really anything more to do. In retrospect, for any storage during the hurricane season I should have taken down more ‘windage’ gear such as the bimini top and stored it inside. The marina manager said the winds were in the mid-50’s knots range at the height of the storm. That’s consistent from what I heard later from friends who were aboard their boats in nearby anchorages.

Damien from Brizo had helped me with better mooring bridle lines at the start of the summer, and our gear held perfectly through the storm. One boat did break its mooring pennant and rolled through the anchorage – people staying on their boats plus the harbor patrol boat got the runaway safely moored again. Once the weather settled, cruisers went along the lee shore and gathered all the kayaks, gas jugs and other stuff that had blown off boats. They say it looked like a yard sale back on the main dock, and generally people were honest about only retrieving their own gear.

In mid November it was finally time to move the boat back up to Puerto Penasco at the top of the Sea of Cortez. I want to make one more change to the engine and autopilot mounting systems, and need a haul out facility to do that. Penasco is the easy one to get to from America, situated an hour south of the Arizona border. So to me it’s worth the 400 mile northbound sail. But flying into Loreto, looking down at the Sea from the airplane window showed the “Norther” blow coming down the Sea had not yet abated.

Seeing whitecaps spread across the whole sea, from that far up, put an ache in my gut. Trying to get enough sleep on this solo passage was going to be an issue…

Bottom line, the video should show it was a pretty tough trip. We can handle strong wind. It’s the sea state that causes trouble. When the waves are close together like this, the faces are steep so the bow rises up, detaching from the water. If we’re going fast enough, the reconnect with the water isn’t smooth, it’s a smashing pound that rattles the gear, and your spirits. Too much of the pounding and you’ll break stuff. So we lower some of the sails and purposefully slow down. And we point the boat further left or right from the oncoming wind. For this trip, the wind was coming pretty much straight from where we were trying to go, so that means we had to sail wider tacks, or zig-zags, to get to the destination. That added up to 200 more miles actually sailed to achieve the target landing.

Ok, see if you can tell where the low point was. Hint – it was dark out :)