S/V INTREPID II - Cape Dory Intrepid 40

My photo
Intrepid II is a Cape Dory Intrepid 40 sailboat, hull #2, designed by Chuck Paine and discovered by the Captain in Blue Hill Maine in 2006. The crew are Kelly (Captain) and Carol (Admiral and Blogger). In 2009 INTREPID II embarked on her West Coast journey from Victoria to San Francisco, the Baja Sur Peninsula and into the Sea of Cortez. In 2010/2011, we sailed ifrom Guaymas, south to Bahia Banderas and back. In 2011/2012 she left Guaymas, headed south to La Paz, spent three weeks at anchor on our northward journey and rested on the hard in San Carlos. Her 4th, 5th and 6th seasons were Boat Projects related. Season 7 - we are hoping to cruise again at long last.

July 11, 2012

Anchorages in review - San Juanico and weather challenges

Thank goodness for the 'flopper stopper'
Our stay at San Juanico was overall a great one.  Although tempered by the strong winds and the ongoing need to plan ahead for a good weather window to leave for anchorages further north, we like it here.  Definitely the cruisers' conundrum:  when should we leave?

We were receiving weather reports such as:  "fresh north winds will commence in the Gulf from 26 N - 29 N by Sunday night as an inverted surface trough develops along the eastern coastal sections of the gulf with high pressure shifting closer to the Baja Peninsular from W - NW...".  

Then we'd get reports of winds to be in the W 19 -25 knots and seas WNW 4 - 7 feet at 5 seconds for that Saturday followed by NW 16 - 21 knots with seas NW 2 - 4 feet at 3 seconds for the Sunday under consideration.  The third day out (Monday) promised the strongest weather, with WNW 17 - 23  knot winds and seas 3 - 6 feet at 4 seconds.  As we've mentioned, although the winds and direction are certainly a consideration in planning our next passage, it is the 'bufaloes' or short, square waves at very short intervals, which make for lumpy, rolly, uncomfortable hours.  These waves are very effective at stopping forward motion when you finally get the sails set to head in the right direction.
[BTW:  a knot is 0.539956803456 of a km/hour]

The cruisers' nets provide us with first hand information about what folks were currently experiencing in their anchorages and passages.  A few boats in San Juanico anchorage started out on Sunday, very early, hoping to make headway long before the winds and seas built.  They had turned back and were re-anchored by the time we were having breakfast.  There was no respite that day, as the seas had not laid down overnight.  By 11:00 we had 17 - 20 knots (31 - 37 kms/hour) and white caps out in the channel, with 2 foot wind waves slapping at the hull.  Forecast was accurate!

Water bird ballet
The local wildlife were out and about in spite of the brisk conditions.  We viewed the rafts of small sea birds who floated nearby, expertly choreographed to turn and dive as one and pop up beside another vessel.  Our best guess is that they were 'Eared grebes'.  A neighbour radioed over that she had spotted a pinkish toned sea lion nearby.

On Monday, Geary's weather report advised of a 7 mb gradient in the Sea, which meant more strong winds, with a Tuesday forecast of N 13 - 17 and Wednesday of ESE 15 - 19 knots.  The weather  reports from "Stan" were for Tuesday NW 10 - 15 and Wednesday SE 5 - 10 and seas flat.  A bit of a variance; although, as we all appreciate, these forecasts are for a large, general area, not taking into account local conditions.  So, that gives you a sense of what we puzzle over when considering our next moves.  By now, we were looking at the remaining days we had available; not exactly a 'schedule', but still some pressure to move on and possibly by-pass some 'would be nice' spots.  The forecasts for the day of NNW 9 -11 for the Southern Crossing (south of us) and N 12 -15 (north of us near Santa Rosalia) promised reasonable breezes and the morning was calm and settled.

The Captain figured conditions wouldn't be better and jumped in the cold! water (68 F) to check the propeller and zincs; all was well.  We dinghied to the beach to stretch our legs and chat with other folks who were walking their dogs.  Homeward bound the waves were building and we noticed our snubber had jumped off the anchor chain; it was a wet time fixing it.  Time to let out more chain.  Our weather log for the day says "HA!!  At 12:35 we were getting gusts up to 23 knots (42 kms/hour).  By 16:30 some calmness returned to the waters and folks were out and about again.  So the 2nd bocce tournament was a go on the beach.  Another chance to relax and compare notes for departures.  By now we were all decided we had to keep moving and would take what the weather gods sent.

Pelicanos...just bobbing along

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