Thursday, May 4, 2023

Crazy Wind, Speed, Dark, Cold and Tired

Bahía San Francisquito, Baja California

The beach and shoreline at the Bahía San Francisquito anchorage

I dropped anchor here in Bahía San Francisquito at 12:30am last night after sailing for 15hrs from Santa Rosalía. I'm taking it easy today, resting and doing light chores. I'll make a brief trip to shore to take a walk to get a little excercise this afternoon. Last time I was here in May 2017, I did yoga on the beach while bees buzzed on and around me, keeping balance by focusing on a red rock in the water that turned out to be a decapitated, disemboweled duck. I'll give yoga a miss this time.

The wind was crazy yesterday. Or, maybe it was just being the wind but driving me crazy.

Here's a compass rose for the abbreviations of wind directions used in my descriptions of the craziness:

As we headed out of the marina yesterday around 10am, the wind was from the NE, too close to the nose for us to sail, but I was looking forward to when I would turned west to round Cabo Virgenes when wind angle would open up. I hoisted the sails as I approached the cape. Right after I made the turn, the wind shifted to the NNW, right on the nose! Only 16 minutes of sailing before I had to turn on an engine again. Aaaaargh!

We motored into light and variable winds until 4pm, when the wind shifted to the ESE. Too light to sail on, but at least no longer on the nose. The wind gained strength and just after 5pm, I turned off the motor and we were sailing. Yay!

At 8pm the wind shifted suddenly from the ESE to the SE, causing an accidental but not violent gybe from the starboard to port tack. Around 8pm, the wind shifted to the SSW and strengthened. We were sailing at our sweet-spot, a true wind angle (TWA) of 110 degrees and the boat speed resulting in apparent wind angle (AWA) of 65-70 degrees. Intermezzo sped along, hitting a top speed of 9.4 knots (albeit with a fair current helping us along). We rarely go this fast. Glorious speed!

At 9:45pm the wind died, so we were back to motoring. Booo! But not for long, at 9:55pm, the wind shifted to the NE and we were sailing close-hauled, as close the wind as Intermezzo can sail. Yay! But only briefly, at 10:01pm the wind was on the nose again and the motor was back on. Ugh!

The wind increased in strength, getting close to 20 knots, so I decided to lower the mainsail. It was dark and the seas were bouncy, but the moonlight helped me get it done efficiently and without falling off the boat. Done sailing for the day. I was tired and was wearing a jacket, long pants, sea boots and a fleece hat as it was quite chilly out.

The remainder of the trip was a 2hr slog against the wind that blew between 10 and 15 knots against us. Around midnight I turned into the entrance to Bahía San Francisquito and made my way in gingerly using the chart, radar and binoculars to avoid the rocky shoreline and find a good place to drop anchor. The nearly-full moon was a huge help. Thank you again, Moon.

I saw one boat anchored with its anchor light on. I saw a dark blob that I couldn't tell if it was another boat or a boulder on the beach; it turned out to be a catamaran anchored without any lights on. I split the distance between the two boats and dropped anchor, cold and tired.

I tidied up the boat, poured myself two whiskeys, and went to bed.