We set out for Monterey on Friday Sept 16 knowing that Santa Cruz was a back-up anchor point should we feel like we needed to stop. Thanks to a last-minute prescription for the seasickness patch (I took a taxi into town late Thursday evening to pick up the patch at CVS), I was feeling less nervous about our second ocean sail. I actually made it for about an hour down the coast before I started to feel…not nauseous, but not well either. So I did what I always do, I took a nap. After a couple of hours of napping in the cockpit, I eventually did lose my breakfast (sorry to be gross, but ya’ll need to know the truth!) and then went downstairs to sleep in the warmth of the salon.
I could hear Dave banging around in the cockpit and running up on deck to switch out sails. Every once in a while when I’d hear a loud crash of the boom or sometimes when it seemed a little too quiet, I’d yell up to see if he was ok (he tethers himself in, but I’m still worried that he’ll fly overboard and I won’t know it). He kept replying that he was having fun and learning so much. Silly Capt.
Once we left Half Moon Bay we had to motor out the first few miles to clear the breakers. We had a chance to test our new 130 Genoa. The winds were light, about 10 kts out of the west. After about an hour the winds reduced to about 5 kts. I motored for about 20 minutes, which seemed to increase our apparent wind enough that I could roll out the Genny and shut the engine down and maintain enough momentum to sail.
An hour later the wind died completely. We bobbed around for a little bit until a faint breeze came out of the northwest. For the first time in two years I had the opportunity to fly the A-symmetrical Spinnaker. We were making about 5 kts in 6 to 7 kts of breeze. At that point we were sailing with the below deck auto pilot because I don’t trust Windy (monitor wind vane) enough yet to use with the spinnaker.
Several hours later, about 15 miles above Santa Cruz, the wind tripled in strength and before I knew it the spinnaker was forcing the rail of the boat down to the water. That’s what I get for leaving to check email in the cabin. I immediately slacked off and dropped the spinnaker. This is where it got fun.
At this point we were down to a double reef in the mainsail and no head sail (jib). I’m sure it was just an afternoon breeze but it continued to build with 10 ft seas, We were making 7 kts, dead down wind with just the double reefed main. For Camanoe, that’s what we call, Hauling Ass. At that point, Windy was steering the boat. We were making such good time, we passed Santa Cruz and decided to keep going towards Monterey.
One hour later, the breeze died and we were bobbing around once again. Not wanting to increase SME’s seasickness, I fired up the motor. But after a couple of seconds of the engine being on I realized no cooling water was coming from the engine exhaust (BAD). So I shut it down, rolled out the genoa and trimmed the sails to sail with Windy towards Monterey while I trouble-shooted the engine.
With no luck with the engine and daylight disappearing fast, we decided to fly the spinnaker after a faint breeze promised a quick ride into Monterey. Stephanie, at this point decided to push on through to the other side of her seasickness to take the helm. We began flying towards Monterey Harbor at 6-8 kts. Which, again, is crazy fast for an overloaded boat, that some would consider more of a motorsailor. Of course, at this point, the depth sounder started acting up, the chart plotter decided to go on vacation, the engine was taking a premature siesta, and the daylight was all but gone with only a hint of moonlight. AWESOME!
After an hour of spinnaker flying the wind picked up and we decided to drop the spinnaker for safety reasons. With a partially furled headsail and a double reef in the main we were making a comfortable 5-6 knots towards Monterey.
An hour later we were trying to distinguish the navigational buoys from the stoplights of Monterey. More then once we altered course for what we thought was a red buoy which turned out to be a green light 30 seconds later. Fortunately, as we approached the harbor, the wind decided to relax a little and we coasted into the anchorage greeted by the sounds of a thousand barking sea lions.
At 11pm, after 6 hours of sailing, we dropped the hook and crawled into bed. We are planning to troubleshoot the engine and other awesome malfunctioning navigation equipment after a good nights’ rest.