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 :)

6 thoughts on “A Lonely Sail

  1. Quite a trip! Well done. I wish I had Sauterelle down there, but we will go north this summer.

    On Tue, Dec 13, 2022 at 6:10 PM Farrier F36/F39 Ravenswing – Trimaran


  2. Thanks for keeping me in the loop Greg.  Great single hand.  Even in my prime I wouldn’t try that one.Have fun with it.  Maybe we can go for a sail one of these day.  Stay healthy and well and Happy Holidays.Tom


  3. Wow, parts of that looked like us going out the gate the first time! Why do you think the chop is so short and sharp? In the bay there isn’t as much fetch, but it’s deep in the Sea, maybe it’s because it’s narrow and it focusses the chop or something? Anyway, good on you for keeping it together and staying safe, reef and slow down, right?


    • I think the Sea of Cortez is about relatively short distances, compared to waves having thousand plus miles on the ocean to settle into big patterns? but I’m making that up. Yes, reef and slow down is the ticket.


  4. Looks like the last 100 miles, less dodging the shrimp fleet, was pretty pleasant. Otherwise a tough trip. We could tell that from your AIS track.
    Watching the autopilot work is amazing. That piece of equipment is so essential, and gets such a tough workout.


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