Sounds like an unusual combination? Well maybe, but it all happened yesterday on our less than ideal passage....
Starting with the good of this overnight passage:
Starting with the good of this overnight passage:
- Tessa is by far the best crew we will ever have. I wish she was old enough to stand watch, help cooking etc! Seriously, this amazing and eloquent 2 yr old is not at all effected by large confusing seas (" I like sailing, mama", she said), does not get sea sick, content to play and just sleeps like we are on solid land. Her parents on the other hand are affected by swells, have a hard time to sleep when off watch as the boat is rolling 20 degrees one way, and then 1 min later 20 degrees the other way. Playing down below, let alone reading books is not what we prefer to do if it was our choice in seas like these.
- When we started this trip, Tessa had sailed on the San Francisco bay, and somehow we always managed to come back to Berkeley in windy conditions with some chop. She never showed any sign on sea sickness then, nor do we. Ocean swells are a different kind of animal though, and she had never been on the ocean before this trip. Well, so far so good for her.
- Bliss is a rock solid boat, and can endure quite a lot. Our auto pilot and her are just the great team, and the best, they don't complain! We chose to hand steer for 1- 2 hrs at the peak of swells, and boy is that overrated! We also have a Monitor self steering wind vane to be used when under sail, we were just to lazy to rig it up.
- Our wind generator and 2 solar panels (more to be installed soon) provided plenty of energy Nice installation job, hubbie! That same wind generator (10' tall, and 3' installed above water) gives you a good idea what size swell is going on........
- Looking at the Milky Way, dolphins swimming around your boat, and hearing the rushing waves next to your boat makes me be very much in the present moment.
- There is a magic about arriving and leaving places by your own boat, hard to really put in words, but it is the icing on the cake.
- This is likely to hardest passage we have to do for quite a while until we cross the Pacific (knock on the plenty of teak we have on board). The Central California Coast is rugged and not always that kind ( a few years ago we had a worse rounding of Point of Conception, and an easier one than this one).
|play-doh time early on the passage|
The below is from Tod, a more technical post.
We rolled into Santa Barbara on Sunday morning about 7:30am, after a tough overnight passage. We are really happy that we now have two unpleasant passages out of the way ...possibly the most unpleasant we are likely to have for the next several months (hopefully!). The trip from Monterey to Morro Bay was unpleasant mostly because it was the first overnight, and we still were pretty affected by seasickness. And this passage last night was unpleasant because of Point Conception! Almost any sailor who has come around this point -- where the California coast turns from mostly north-south to mostly east-west -- knows about the Point Conception effect. Rounding the point typically ranges between "challenging" to "brutal".
I realize that many people may not have a good feeling for what it's like when we do one of these passages on the ocean. My brother imagined that we were cruising a few hundred yards off the coast. In fact, we usually go off land by a few miles. The distance is helpful to avoid coastal hazards like outlying rocks, crab pot lines, kelp beds, etc. Also important is to allow plenty of time in case of a problem ... in case of a big problem, we want to have a long time before we drift into shore. Due to curves of the shore line, sometimes the most direct path will take us 10 or more miles off shore. And finally, sometimes we choose to go farther to make the passage better. Typically on the California coast, there is a swell coming from the north-west, every 10-ish seconds, ranging from a couple feet on calm days up to 12 feet or more on really rough days. If our direction of travel is in line with the swell, the motion is not bad -- the boat lifts up from behind, raises the boat, passes under us and accelerates the boat a bit going down the swell. But if the swells are coming from the side, then the boat will roll from side to side. That's when it get's really unpleasant, especially if we are trying to move around below. Doing anything is a challenge, because you either need to be holding on with one hand or brace yourself somewhere to not fall down! Even simple things like pulling up your pants become a challenge!
Since both Jolanda and I are still a bit susceptible to seasickness (which ought to diminish in the coming weeks), we typically are staying above in the cockpit during the daytime hours of a passage. I know some people have no problem laying below, reading a book for hours, but that is not us... at least, not now -- hopefully we can get to that by the time we do a passage across the Pacific! Tessa is usually sitting with us, strapped into her car seat which is mounted in the cockpit. She has been amazingly tolerant, but sometimes she wants to come below to play, so one of us will do that with her. She has been sleeping amazingly well.
We departed Morro Bay after only one night's recovery from the previous overnight passge, mostly because the weather looked good but was going to get worse in the subsequent days, which would have kept us in Morro Bay for the coming week. And by "good", I mean predicted 15kts wind, swells 5-7 feet, wind waves less than 2 feet. So we left there at 9am for the 120+ mile journey to Santa Barbara -- the distance depends on how you want to approach it. For this trip we chose to go pretty far off land, about 15 miles. Doing so added some miles to the trip (was 136 miles total), but we wanted to stay far out, away from the land mass to minimize the effect it has on the winds. Also we were in no rush, since we did not want to enter Santa Barbara harbor in the dark. Even so, we still had winds that gusted to 30knots and swells that were probably 10 feet or more at times. We were sailing with jib alone most of the afternoon, but switched to engine by early evening. The swells were on our starboard quarter most of the time. It was a rather uncomfortable ride. Finally about 11pm it started to subside a bit, and by 3am it was a pleasant ride down the Santa Barbara channel, with great stars, some early examples of the Orionid meteors, and a rising crescent moon.