Woke up: Bahia Los Frailes, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Went to sleep: Ensenada de los Muertos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
A Brutal Thrashing
Sunrise heralded another gorgeous day in Bahia los Frailes.
We pulled anchor at 6:00 am and motored out of the bay for our next destination, Ensenada de los Muertos, 46 nautical miles north. As soon as we turned the bow into the wind, we raised the main and the stacil and pulled out the jib. We had a lovely 10 knots out of the northwest. Penelope loves to sail close to the wind. We were making 5-1/2 knots toward our destination and lovin’ life. We sailed comfortably throughout the morning.
As predicted, the wind was increasing. By noon we were seeing 17 – 20 knots and the sea was becoming unsettled. The wind chop was only 3 – 4 feet but each wave was arriving every 3 – 4 seconds. This combination made for a miserable ride.
The wind was now blowing hard and Penelope was heeling far to one side. The cap rail was under water and the deck was awash. We had to turn the boat as high into the wind as possible to keep her from heeling so far. This, of course, slowed her down. The wind chop on her bow made it hard to make any forward progress. Every few feet forward was followed by several stationary moments while the wave travelled along the underside of the hull, resulting in a net forward progress of less than 3 knots.
We reefed the main and shortened the jib which further slowed the boat. About 1:00 pm we turned on the engine to help power through the tortured sea.
Peter stood at the helm, leaning 30 degrees to port, bracing himself against the cap rail, holding on to the solar panel arch overhead, to keep from being thrown from the boat. (Don’t worry, Siggi, he’s clipped in at all times.) The only comfortable place on board was horizontal on the settee. I would lie still for 15 minutes and then crawl hands and knees up the companion way to check on him. Peter wouldn’t let me take the helm because it was so rough. Toward nightfall, I went out into the cockpit to sit with him and keep him company.
The wind didn’t let up until we were three quarters of a mile from the protected bay at Ensenada de los Muertos. At 6:30 pm, in near darkness, we idled into the bay. Our friends, Ed and Melinda, arriving an hour before us, flashed their spreader lights to help show us the way. As soon as they saw us turn on our anchor light they called on the radio to see how we fared. They, too, had endured a brutal thrashing throughout the day. I believe everyone in the bay was asleep by 8:00 pm.