sailing homepage : trip reports : 2: baja-haha : day2: enroute, light
Previous: day1: the start

Oct 31, day 2: Enroute from San Diego to Turtle Bay, light winds

While Sean and Briana were fighting with the flogging sails and trying desperately to maintain some boatspeed, Sara and Will were fighting with the noise of the flogging sails and trying desperately to get some sleep. Neither group was very successful.

At the six-hour shift change, midnight, the first watch woke the second. Even at the relatively slow 3-4 knots, getting dressed in the dark boat after just a few hours sleep is no easy feat. The best technique involves wedging yourself into a corner and throwing on foulies, jackets, and lifejacket, and getting outside quickly before you get sick or thrown off your feet.

Sara surprised by the flash
(600x450:50Kb)

 

Sara succumbs to the smoother motion under sail
(600x450:63Kb)

The watch was fairly easy; nothing difficult except trying to stay awake! The sea was relatively calm with slow swells and little wind chop. We traveled under headsail for about an hour before Sara took the wheel and hand-steered while Will poled out the 150% headsail. Under this sail configuration, with the main extended all the way out in the other direction, connected to the side toe-rail with a spare boom vang, the boat accelerated to ~5 knots and the sails quit flogging.

Sara had retired later than Will, who actually managed to get a few hours of sleep, and managed to last until about 4AM before cuddling up with a fleece blanket and catching some shuteye. Six hours is a long watch schedule, but it's the only way to try to get any meaningful sleep. Anything less than that and you find yourself waking up just after crawling into bed.

Wing-on-wing, mainsail on the port, 5 knots
(600x450:48Kb)

 

An hour after sunrise, still zipping along
(600x450:65Kb)

Sunrise brings another day - Halloween! No costumes here, we had enough on our hands with the sailing. Will and Sean remember their old friend Anita's birthday. Born on Halloween - how appropriate! The two watches switched again just after 6AM, with Will and Sara heading below to recover from the night watch.

The wind remained light and we maintained boatspeed of 5-6 knots downwind and let Otto the autopilot do most of the steering. Due to the direction of the wind, directly from behind us, we kept the wing-and-wing setup from the late watch. It's the least efficient point of sail, but our strategy - if you can call it that - involves sailing the rhumbline for the shortest distance.

Wing and wing
(600x800:73Kb)

 

Full sails!
(600x800:51Kb)

It was a super chill day; Will and Sara rejoined the party around noon and everyone lay around reading, assuming different draped positions all over the boat as we enjoyed sunny solitude at sea with the light winds. Sean made some pizza dough afer an easy and super-yummy grilled-cheese lunch.

Sean at the helm
(600x450:65Kb)

 

Will on watch
(600x450:58Kb)

Get Adobe Flash player
Video: Perfect wind, perfect sea conditions, this rules!


Video: Perfect wind, perfect sea conditions, this rules!

In the early afternoon the wind increased and was pushing some sizable waves. Wanderlust picked up her heels and started to move! We were occasionally close to 8 knots while 'surfing' down the faces of waves overtaking us. This is pretty cool because it's faster than our 'hull speed', the theoretical limit a non-planing boat can move! The speed was a lot of fun and not at all unnerving. The boat was stable, and we maintained our casual attitudes. Great sailing.

7.7 knots! Woohoo!
(600x450:54Kb)

 

Solar panels soaking up the rays
(600x450:71Kb)

Get Adobe Flash player
Video: Fast sailing through some small wind-waves


Video: Fast sailing through some small wind-waves

Get Adobe Flash player
Video: Looking off the stern as we sail through some small choppy waves


Video: Looking off the stern as we sail through some small choppy waves

We experimented several times with different sail configurations, moving to a deep deep reach to try to gain more boatspeed, and changing back when the speed didn't materialize and the waves started making everyone feel queasy. Without a large spinnaker we really aren't well-prepared to go directly downwind. It's on our shopping list for sure.

Deep reaching for speed
(600x800:50Kb)

 

Back to our wing-and-wing setup
(600x800:98Kb)

Near dusk we encountered another sailboat, Espiritu, heading the opposite direction! We hailed them and inquired if they were experiencing any problems. They called back and said yes, they were fighting an electrical gremlin. The engineers immediately perked up, and while maintaining our own course the boys tried to help.

Will went through his repertoire of geeky electrical tricks before concluding that something 'really wierd', electrically speaking, was happening on their boat. They concurred and explained that's why they were headed back to Ensenada, just south of the US border. We offered to try to assist at the next stop, but they were unsure and decided to continue heading back North. Espiritu also took the time to note that we seemed to be at the 'back of the pack'. Thanks dudes, good luck with your gremlins. Geez.

We later found out their problems, which involved everything from the autopilot to the electric windlass, were all due to a loose negative terminal connection on the main battery bank. Their crew took a 24-hour bus ride from Ensenada to rejoin the Haha at Cabo! They were continuing on from there with another boat and wanted to do the Haha party thing too. Cool group of people, they hunted us down and said "thanks for the help!".

Get Adobe Flash player
Video: Enjoying some perfect sailing and another beautiful sunset


Video: Enjoying some perfect sailing and another beautiful sunset

Sean braved the pitchy motion of the boat and wedged himself into the galley, emerging a half-hour later with pizza con camerones for dinner. Garlic sauteed shrimp, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and both jack and feta cheeses make one hell of a pizza! Not bad for boat life huh?

We all stayed up a little later and the two teams switched watch schedules; Sara and Will lasted until about 1AM or 2AM before hollering below for Sean and Briana. This was the first time we had to wake Briana from a deep sleep, and it was surprising! When the boat is sailing, there's a ton of noise in the cabin. Ropes stretching and easing, waves slapping at the hull, flags flapping, and all the other noises associated with a 20-ton vehicle hurtling along at 6 knots.

In the V-berth, Sara and Will don't wear earplugs. With the door to the main cabin closed, it's a cozy little nest that is very comfortable in everything but super-light or super-heavy winds. In the main cabin, both Sean and Briana were wearing plugs and were sleeping with their lee cloth assemblies raised.

Amid all the noise, it was a little surprising to see Briana sit bolt upright, open her eyes wide, and rip out her earplugs! What was even crazier was that she would only awaken in this manner if you called her name! If you went below for water, to use the bathroom, to grab the radio or something - she wouldn't budge. Whisper "Briana", and she would wake up like a zombie rising from the dead.


Previous: day1: the start
Random 'best-of' trip reports:

Oil rig off Santa Barbara

 

Shooting off fireworks in Ensenada

 

Our very first anchorage