Friday, June 28, 2024

Not a Bash

Newport Beach Harbor, CA

Intermezzo anchored in the middle of a racecourse

Yesterday's trip from San Diego was definitely not a bash. The weather was beautiful, the seas were calm and, if I didn't have to make an unfamiliar anchorage before nightfall, I could have sailed, downwind (!), half the way to Newport Beach.

We pushed off the San Diego Police Dock at 6am yesterday morning. It was peaceful but overcast and I felt my aloneness as I motored into the main channel, while also feeling good about being underway again after almost a week's shore leave. As we cleared the channel and began rounding Point Loma, the sun rose above the overland cloud cover and bathed the ocean in bright, warm sunlight. My spirits lifted, I doffed my foul weather gear and settled into keeping Intermezzo on course and avoiding traffic along the 64nm rhumbline to the Newport Beach harbor entrance.

By afternoon, the skies cleared completely, the seas had flattened and we were motor sailing under the jib in a light southwesterly wind. No bashing got a bit boring, so I stood watch at the salon "navigation station" and caught up on my reading.

Intermezzo's salon "navigation station"

One thing that happens heading north along the Pacific coast is kelp. We began encountering patches of the thick seaweed around Turtle Bay in Baja and by San Diego it grows in forests. We avoid it by staying offshore and keeping an eye out for floating breakaway clumps. Yesterday, the port engine began spewing steam from the exhaust, indicating a cooling problem. I opened up the engine hatch and, sure enough, there was a little kelp float bulb captured in the raw water intake strainer. Thankfully, the bulb dislodged from the raw water intake piping, cooling water flow was restored, and the engine was back to normal.  I expect we'll run into more kelp when we anchor in Cojo before rounding Point Concepcion. I'm already figuring out how to rig the bread knife on a pole to cut kelp away from the anchor when we raise it.

We arrived at the Newport Beach sea buoy at 5pm and made our way through the busy harbor to the public anchorage. We dropped anchor at 5:45pm, just before the start of the evening's small boat racing regatta that uses the anchorage as a race course.  Intermezzo was a formidable obstacle in the middle of the course, like a small island. Dozens of racing boats swarmed around us, some passing by only a couple feet away. By 7pm it was over and Intermezzo and I had the anchorage to ourselves for a peaceful evening and night's sleep.

Luther arrives in a couple of hours. I'll take the dinghy to go pick him up at a nearby public dock. Newport Beach Harbor is very pleasant, but they have a strange rule for anchored boats. You can only leave your boat unattended once during the day and for not more than three hours. I'm hoping that my trip to pick up Luther doesn't count against my allowance and that we can take a (brief!) shore excursion later this afternoon.