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I own the last Wauquiez Centurion 42  (hull#55).

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ventura highway

Smuggler's cove, Santa Cruz, the Channel Islands. Finally at anchor!
Yesterday we left the Ventura Yacht Club.  During our 3 day stay we (I) raced on a J 24, swam in the ocean, body surfed (gotta get boogie boards or maybe a real, honest to God, surfboard), rebuilt a macerator pump, spliced some lines (Max), and waited out a gusty, big wave day.  
I flashed up Appa's diesel at 11am and we slipped the lines soon after.  Max and I decided that we would use the relative safety of the harbor to put in 2 reefs in the mainsail rather than getting beat up in the waves trying to do it.  Good call.
The wind was blowing 18 knots with gusts in the mid twenties.  Sea state was choppy with about 3-5 foot waves along with a big rolling swell but nothing we couldn't handle. We finally had to work to weather to get to Santa Cruz as all of our sailing thus far has been with the wind. Two reefs and partially rolled genoa got us rolling along at 6 knots or so.  As we got out there, an oil rig was in our way and it would save time to go over the top, meaning heading more into the wind, so we cranked everything in and really tried to get Appa to point as far into the wind as possible.  Historically, this has always been my favorite point of sail.  Boat heeled over, pushing through and over the waves like a bully in a crowded school hallway.  As it is true in school and the sea, there is always someone bigger than you but for a couple of waves splashing us in the cockpit, it was a dry fast ride.  
About half way through the wind started to die down, leaving the main reefed, we unfurled the genoa fully and maintained our 6 knots. About 30 minutes later the wind picked up again but for a bit more heel, Appa was happily doing 7-8 knots. 
Once we got into the lee of the island the wind shut off and we had to motor the final 2 miles. 
I will eventually figure out how to do the map thing that you click on and will show you our position but for now we are in smuggler's cove and you can google that. We dropped the hook about 300 feet from shore in an open anchorage so there is a bit of swell.  Nothing bad and although Ben claims some seasickness but he was happily eating taco pizza last night while we watched the Halloween Simpson's special that Chris Carden downloaded prior to him and I going to Argentina for the j24 world championship. 
Anchored in about 30 foot of water we have 170 feet of chain out with no wind.  Once the anchor was set the wind started to blow out of the NW in the 20 knot range. Per the forecast this was to continue till around 2200.  We launched Momo (our dinghy) and clambered aboard to attempt our first surf landing.  We stopped by Sunshine to see what their plan was and got some advice from Bob about landing on a beach with the surf running.  First watch the waves, look for a hole and then try to stay on the back of a big wave and ride it in.  Never get sideways. Never, ever.  Once the wave on whose back you are ride has crashed into the swallow water, shut off motor, tilt motor out of water and while this is happening, everyone else is jumping out into the water, grabbing the dinghy and running like hell for the beach.  Timing is, as they say, everything.  I would hate to flip the dinghy and get bonked by the motor or even chopped by the spinning blade. Google dinghy surf landing and click on images. Ugh.  
So armed with this knowledge, we headed off to the beach.  I put these wheels on Momo prior to us leaving Seattle that allow, once extended into the water, for the motor to not touch the bottom and you can leave it down.  You can even run it with the wheels touching bottom but there is a chance of sucking rocks, sand, etc. into the impeller (cooling) or nicking the prop.  With Max looking aft calling the waves, he says punch it.  I love Max however I need to trust him more. I look back and hesitate. That hesitation almost rolled us. I turned the dinghy to get away from the beach and this wave got mean fast.  It was almost breaking as we turned. Ever see the Posiedon adventure?  The big boat tries to turn into the huge wave and can't quite make it and rolls over. That was almost us.  Scary but funny. 
We tried again and with hearts in mouth we lowered the wheels and the yahama screaming toward shore with 5 people aboard, we timed the landing right.  Once on shore, we explored a bit and then Max, Ben and I decided to practice getting off the beach.  It is not unheard for people to launch the dink and then the rest of the crew has to swim out to meet the dink past the surf line.  I can't see Samey doing that. We started to time the waves and got it down pretty well.  
After a couple hours on shore, we were ready to do the launch. With the wheels still down, we rolled into the surf and waited. After a couple big swells, we were ready....wait not yet....oh crap.  Big wave reared up and almost swamped us. 5 people is a lot to getting moving fast and we left the beach a little to late.  Got about 6 inches of water in the dinghy.  Samey was laughing her head off.  Amazing.  Here a thought she was going to be scared.  It looked clear so with water sloshing around and Max bailing frantically, we got past the breakers and made it back to Appa.  It was a First world version of cheating death.  We get to repeat this today as we want to climb this summit and take a look around.
Here it is morning and the wind is light and the swells are as well. Very pleasant and warm. Still in pjs enjoying the morning light and the sound of dinghy eating surf crashing on the beach.  

Pancakes for breakfast!
Waiting on said pancakes. 
Solar panels are starting to kick now that the sun is higher. Boat rolls around so it is hard to say what they are putting into the battery bank but if I had to guess, I'd say about 10 amps an hour or so.  Maybe higher. When they get a shadow on them, they lose a lot of power. I cleaned them this morning and that helped a ton. 
Smugglers cove getting crowded this morning also.  
Here for tonight and then maybe another anchorage along the island or stay here and then on Tuesday or Wednesday we head to LA for Jen to fly out on Thursday. 
Making our reservations for Paradise Village