Avalon to Santa Barbara - 104 NM, 21.5 hrs, 8 hrs sailing
After getting plastered Friday night at Luau Larry's, we slipped
our mooring lines in Avalon Harbor at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday
and began our sail to Santa Barbara, about 100 nm north-west of
Catalina. We had planned on beating against Northwest winds and
were a pleasantly surprised when the wind rose out of the south-east
as we made our way North along Catalina Island.
After several hours, we cleared the NW point of Catalina
Island and entered what were for us, new waters that we had never sailed
before, the San Pedro Channel. With the wind directly astern our
desired course, we wore our way northward, which means to bear a little
off the wind in each direction alternately so as to keep the head sail filled.
Otherwise, with the wind directly astern, the headsail will be blocked
by the main sail.
After a while
I started sailing wing-and-wing, with the main out on one side
and the jib out on the other. This point of sail requires a lot
of attention because you have to keep both sails filled on opposite
sides of the boat.
The wind kept steady from the south throughout the day and into the
afternoon, so, about 4:30 p.m. I decided to try setting the spinnaker pole out with
a preventer on the main so as to maximize the power of the sails,
keeping us on our desired course while
minimizing the risk of an accidental jibe.
It took about 20 minutes to setup the pole and preventer, and wouldn't
you know it, about 20 minutes later, the wind died down and I had to
take it all back down again! We started the motor as we crossed
the San Pedro Passage between Catalina and Santa Cruz Islands.
I'd picked Catalina and this route as an alternative to keep us
out of the congested waters near Long Beach and Los Angeles Harbor,
and as the sun set, it got a little cloudy, and no matter what
direction you looked in, you could only see water. There was
no land visible as the sun set on Saturday night. We only
saw one other small boat the entire way to the Channel Islands.
When I took the watch at midnight it was cloudy and moonless,
and so very dark and mysterious around the boat.
I heard a seal barking a few hundred
yards from the boat, which really weirded me out as usually
one associates seal barking with Land or Buoys, neither of
which should have been anywhere around that point. After
double and triple checking the GPS and Radar, I decided it
must have just been barking as it swam thru the water and
that we were ok on our present course. About an hour later, at 1:00 am,
we transited Anacapa Passage, which is about 3 miles wide at it's
narrowest point. I turned the watch over at 3:00 am
and my crewmate navigated across the shipping lane and around the
Oil Platforms off the shore from Santa Barbara.
My crewmate woke me at 6:00 am and went below for a little rest
before we arrived at Santa Barbara. Since the wind
had come up, I turned off the motor and we sailed
the rest of the way to Santa Barbara, where I hove-to
about a mile outside the harbor and called the Harbor
Master for a guest slip. They said there were no
guest slips at that time, but that there probably would
be later in the day (on Sunday, Father's Day), as a lot
of people would be leaving. So,we put the sails away,
and we went to the anchorage SE of the harbor, dropped
anchor, and got a little shut-eye.
We woke about 1:00 in the afternoon, called the Harbor Master, and
they said a slip was available, so we pulled up the hook, motored
into the Harbor, parked at the police dock, got a slip assignment,
and moved the boat into the Marina.
We spent three days and nights in Santa Barbara, sight-seeing, eating
at good restuarants, and walking the beachfront and famous old
Stearns Wharf. I took the opportunity on Monday to repair the gelcoat
damage done in San Diego Bay, purchasing a repair kit and some sand
paper from the West Marine store conveniently located near the marina.
I did an o.k. job, though you can see where the ding was.
Today is Tuesday as I'm writing this webpage, and we're getting ready
for the next leg of our trip, around Point Conception and up to Morro Bay.
We are monitoring the weather (there is currently a small craft advisory
in effect, with 25 knot winds and 8-12ft swells. With luck the weather
will straighten up pronto and tommorow, Wednesday, we'll be on our way again!