Tiptoeing To Refugio

We woke to a mill pond, overnight it was perfectly smooth with no wind. What a change from the previous few days. The plan, if the seas had settled, had been to head for Refugio (a 50 nm passage). Looking out with the binoculars it still looked quite rough so rather than make a decision we broke down the emergency anchor and hung the screecher sail. During breakfast we made the decision to head out and see what the conditions looked like with the option to double back if it was too rough.

Just after eight, we fired up the engines and raised the anchor. It didn’t take long to reach the large swell that was still alive and kicking. Hmm, is this a good idea? We kept going and looking at large breaking waves near the point of land we needed to round I made the decision to head further offshore to give us more clearance. While the occasional 8 foot wave would roll us around they were not breaking and other than tossing us momentarily at a steep angle it wasn’t too bad so we pressed on.

It took about an hour to reach our turn towards Angel de la Guarda (Refugio) and looking at the waves closer to shore I had made the right decision moving to deeper water. We unfurled the screecher for a bit but with the rolling there was too much luffing so out came the jib and in came the screecher. With our turn made, the waves were aft of the beam making for a relatively comfortable sail. Nice to see speeds of 7 – 7.5 knots pushing us along. The next five hours pasted quickly with only a few exciting waves and one dorado. Woohoo, sashimi and fish for dinner!

Once we hit the shallower waters on Guarda the wave height increased and I closed the doors just in case a sneaker wave crashed behind us. A nine foot wave broke just behind our stern and it didn’t quite reach the cockpit, but better to be prepared.

We were wondering about the protection from the swell in the anchorage (where we anchored in the Spring) and after scouting a bit decided that is would be a little rolly but safe. We decided to go with what we knew since the swell was supposed to diminish over the next 24 hours. Tacos for dinner followed by more Black Sails closed out the night in our own private anchorage – perfect. The swell mellowed around 11pm and a good night’s sleep was had by all.

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