Monday, September 06, 2010

Overnight Sail

The Baja Ha Ha cruiser rally fleet is headed out of San Diego on October 25th. We are expecting 200 sailboats and 600 sailors for the 17th annual cruise down the 750 mile coast of Baja California. I will be heading to Mexico with the fleet on a boat named Rainbow, a 36' cat. We had a training sail this past weekend that took us 40 miles out onto the ocean for an overnight sail. It was wild and windy as we exited the bay with the wind in the low twenties for the majority of the trip. Four of us are onboard on 4 hour shifts, with two on watch at all times. The waves were 4-8 feet but not breaking. The day was gray and it was doubtful we would see the sun. We held a southwest course out the Gate that did not allow us to spot the Farallones. As the afternoon came to an end, the skies cleared and the sun and blue sky shone our way. I mentioned that I have seen three green flashes in my life (a huge shaft of green light shoots from the sunset, only visible over the ocean) and that we should begin a quest to catch one on the trip. We were having a wild ride with boat speed around 9 knots in large waves but the boat was handling it well with the course we were on. Only 2000 miles to Hawaii if we held course! No, no, let's stay focused. I went below to prepare some Pumpkin Bisque for the crew. All is fine until I start on the main course of Mango Salmon. We had heaved to, slowing the boat down, but not really changing the motion. I ran up on deck to feed the fish for the first time in my boating life. I headed back to the galley not feeling 100%. I was able to complete the meal and then went to the bunk for some rest. My next watch was from 2300-0300. The midnight watch. The boat had remained heaved to and we were in fine shape. Watch out for boats and slowly head towards San Francisco at 2-3 knots. At 30 miles off the coast, we could see a multitude of stars and the Milky Way streamed across the sky. Very impressive. The Skipper Cliff, came on deck at 2pm and we decided to douse the main as the wind was hitting 27 at times. We went down to jib alone and started our journey back to the city. As I went off watch, I could see lots of bioluminesence behind the boat. Almost looking like fireflies on the stern. I went off into a deep sleep as the boat headed west. Morning comes early and I am back on deck at 0700. The Gate is ahead and we head in on a nice flood. Breakfast prep is not a problem as the seas are calm. We finish up with a nice sail on the bay. Cliff has done a masterful job at setting up a strong and capable boat. It going to be a sweet sail to the Cape!

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