Kicking off the spring season!

A few days of mad dashing to prepare Strikhedonia and another day wandering around Mazatlan with Shalise.

The final crew arrival day was spent provisioning leading to a pre-sunrise departure for the Baja. The forecast was for mostly mellow weather with 1.5 meter swells from the southwest every 12 seconds. Winds five to ten knots from the northwest until the final eight hours when they would build to 15 knots. That was the forecast…

Coming out of the protection of the harbor we were greeted with a healthy swell. No worries, it was long period and the wind was still calm from the night. I went forward to deploy the bowsprit which was folded up for the time in the marina. After untying the lines it didn’t fall naturally and required some coxing. Giving it a little push with my foot the rivets holding it to the cross member beam gave way. It was now recovery mode and we got a line to tie it off to the boat, next the screecher was disconnected and we hauled it over the lifelines and secured it on a tramlines. Fuck. This is my favorite sail and losing the bowsprit put it out of commission. Not a great way to start a passage.

The morning continued uneventfully, we utilized the main sail and jib to push is along at a good pace of 7+ knots. Unfortunately the swell running counter to the wind brought confused seas and a less than ideal motion to the boat. This caught up with Ariel who gave in to the power of Dramamine to stave off sea sickness but it did leave her recovering on the saloon couch. All in all the first six hours weren’t horrible.

Around 1:00pm the wind (at 17-19 knots) and waves made for more challenging conditions as there were many waves slapping between the hulls and an occasional boom when a large one really got us. Based on the forecast after 6:00pm things should calm a bit. Props to Ariel she took her shift at the helm and actually looked much better than earlier in the day.

With a number of dinner ideas tossed around during the afternoon, we finally settled on a chicken and vegetable stir-fry. It was my cooking duties but Shalise joined me in the galley. We were helped with calming seas, just a predicted. A solid meal was eaten by all by Ariel who was still in recovery mode, followed by watching the sun drop below the cloudy horizon and a switch to night watch shift mode.

We dropped the main sail and sailed under jib only to simply things for my new crew in case the weather changed rapidly. I had the 10:00pm to 1:00am shift so with the sailplan set I headed to my berth for a quick nap.

The night past smoothly with everyone managing their time at the helm and soon the sun was rising on a new day. But this passage wasn’t done with us yet… Around nine things got rowdy again with the winds building back up to 20 knots and the seas now switched to from the northwest. We had similar wave slaps which made it uncomfortable. Reducing speed lessened the affects, but still it was uncomfortable. Finally with about 30 miles to go the sea state mellowed and our final seven hours was pleasant. A welcome relief from the 11 hours (spread over two days) where we powered through crappy conditions.

It was with deep sighs of relief and a cold beer that signaled the end to a challenging passage once the hook was safely set in Ensenada de los Muertos.

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