Saturday, September 20, 2014 Day No. 20

Woke up: Off the coast of Carmel, CA

Went to sleep: Off the coast of Piedras Blancas, CA

To Sail or Not to Sail

Whether to sail the boat or run the engine is an ever present dilemma when light winds prevail. We have had light winds since we left Coos Bay 10 days ago.

Last night, the wind was hovering around 5 knots and we were making 3 knots speed over ground. When Peter came on shift at midnight, he continued to sail at that pace until about 3 am.  At 3 am we were dead in the water with all our sails simply flogging along with the rolling sea.  Peter fired up the engine.  With the engine running, we cover a steady 6 – 7 knots and steer a course direct to our destination.  The down side is the noise, the smell and the cost of diesel.

This afternoon Peter rigged up the genaker, a larger sail used in light wind. With only 5 knots of wind, the genaker will move the boat through the water at an easy 4 knots.


The Genaker

We would like to make landfall at San Simeon. It’s a small town offering fuel and a general store and a three mile run to the famous Hearst Castle.  We have our collective heart set on going into San Simeon.

Now, the dilemma. The distance from here to San Simeon is 40 nautical miles.  If we fire up the engine we’ll be there in about 6-1/2 hours placing our arrival at 7 pm, well before dark.  Get in, drop anchor, go to bed, no problem.

Alternatively, we sail. The prevailing wind is out of the east.  Using the genaker, the heading we can hold is 170 degrees.  This heading will take us about 30 miles out of our way.  At 4 knots, the time to cover the distance is about 16 hours.  That puts us in San Simeon at 4:30 am.  We won’t want to enter an unfamiliar harbor in the dark so we will hove to in deep water until day break.

You see the dilemma. Do we fire up the engine and get home before dark or sail the boat and spend a second night off shore?

About Susan M. Gierga

Everyone already knows everything there is to know about me. I wear my heart on my sleeve. To learn current details. Visit my blog, CruisingwithCaptainPeterandtheAdmiral.
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