Thanksgiving to Oceanside and Back
We took Mandala up to Oceanside and back this
Thanksgiving weekend. Unfortunately our camera is on the blink
so there are no photos. However, there is a map, below.
We started off on Thursday by going down to the boat, stowing all of
the provisions, and motoring the short distance over to La Playa Cove,
in the lee of Shelter Island, where we dropped anchor for the night.
After having our Thanksgiving Dinner, we tried out our new dinghy
for the first time,
lowering her into the water, attaching the motor, and motoring around the
yacht harbor as the sun set.
Being concerned about the distance to Oceanside, and wanting to be sure
we got there in plenty of daylight for our first entrance, we left promptly
at 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning in a moderate Fog. This time tho, I had
installed 12V sockets and a GPS in the cockpit, so with the GPS at the helm
and the Radar, we had no problem motoring out of San Diego bay as the
sky lightened, though it remained foggy for most of the trip to Oceanside.
We passed a
pod of Dolphins about 100 yards from the boat off of Encinitas.
One of them jumped completely out of the water several times, as
I guess they were starting to feel frisky as the fog burned off
and it warmed up.
We got to Oceanside about 2:30, then we docked uneventfully at
the Guest Slips and made the quick visit to the the Harbor Police
Office to register for the night. We took a nice walk around
the waterfront and had a Margarita at a sidewalk restaurant before having our
Leftover Dinner on the boat that night.
We woke up to a nice breeze and by 9:00 a.m. were under way.
We raised sails and then were able to sail a single long reach
all the way to Point Loma. We were cooking at 7-8 knots
almost all the way, and made the turn into the bay around 3:30
Throughout the day there were 5-7' seas on the beam and it was really
fun for a while. As we passed Mission Bay, the only other
boat we could see turned in as we proceeded onwards. Hmmmm ....
Then we heard a Small Craft Advisory on the VHF for waters off San Diego coast !
And we noticed that there were no other boats in sight from Mission Bay to Point Loma.
And this was on a Saturday at 2:30 ??? Usually there are a number, if not many, boats about.
But, like I said, we were havin' fun! So we kept on going and got to
learn about 8-12 foot seas on our beam in a 18 knot apparent wind
(under full sail). We must have done a bit of surfing as the knot
meter read 8.5 more than once. It got pretty physical winding the boat
up and down each wave trying to keep it on some kind of a course!
I mis-judged our position slightly and so also found myself in the west
edge of the kelp bed just to add to the fun. There were
a few 'clunks' as the keel cut thru a few strands but we got thru that ok.
Then it was we finally time to round the corner into San Diego
and go downwind. I thought I would first go wing-in-wing and then
gybe the main, so as to do it as a two step process. Sounds good in theory
but with the boat corkscrewing 30 degrees in the following seas it was unmanageable.
We fouled the jib trying to bring it around, my crewmate couldn't handle the helm
so I couldn't deal with the sail, and then we accidentally gybed. It was hairy
for a second, but after the gybe, everything was on the right side of the boat,
and we were sailing again. There was no serious harm done as the traveller took
the strain, and we sailed the broad reach for 30 minutes with 6-8' following seas
until we were in the lee of Point Loma and the swell went down to 2-4 feet.
No water ever got in the cockpit,
and we were never really in any real danger IMO, but it was sure thrilling.
All in all the trip was a success and we had fun, but we'll have to be more
careful in the future.
We learned a couple of lessons on the trip. First, we'll have to listen a
little more closely to the VHF Radio. I should have paid more
attention to the SCA and could have turned back into Mission Bay when the
seas were more like 5-7 instead of 8-12 off Point Loma. Secondly, I should
have kept to my charted course, farther from the mainland. Perhaps the
shallowing water (60' around the kelp) added to the height of the swell.
If nothing more, my charted course would have kept me out of the kelp.
Thirdly, we need to practice reefing the sails.
Having a little less sail out would probably have helped.
And finally, the wing-in-wing thing was a bad idea.
I subsequently practiced Gybing, and I feel more confident that
we could do that maneuver correctly and safely in the conditions that we
There is also a postscript to this story. The next
day we went sailing with PK and Ashley in the bay. The traveller pully shackle
parted on a broad reach when the holding pin fell out. It appears that the
accidental gybe had sheared it's ring pin ! Fortunately for us the
holding pin stayed in or not only would the Gybe have been much worse (perhaps
damaging the boom or shrouds), but we would have also lost control of the
main sail and would have had a much harder time of things in general.
I guess this is how you learn to sail!
Final note to self: Inspect all rigging before every voyage (every day)!