Catalina SeaTrial 1 - SD to Avalon - 93.7NM, 2 hours sailing, 12.5 hours motoring
It was finally time to take Rhapsody on a longer Sea Trial,
so we made plans to sail up to Catalina Island and shake her
out a bit. We were fortunate to be joined by our friend
Steve Whittlesey whom I had first met when taking my
ASA 103/104 sailing class
two years ago. Steve will be joining us in November on the
sailing from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, and so we thought
it would be a good idea for him to get a chance to spend a little
time on Rhapsody before heading out for the more major 2 week,
800 mile trip that's coming up.
Steve joined us the night before (Friday night) and was able to get
settled in and spend a night on the boat, in the marina, before
we departed. We set the alarm clock for 5:00 am, so as to allow plenty of time
to make it to Catalina before it got really dark. Everyone was up
and having coffee by 5:20, and at 5:40 am on Saturday, we slipped our lines
and made our way out of the marina in the dark of early morning.
Although it was clear outside, the dodger was wet and foggy and
hard to see thru so, in addition to the Radar, everyone kept
watch on deck as we made our way out of the bay. Outside
the bay, we made the turn at Buoy #1 and set our course towards
the east end of San Clemente Island. Unfortunately, there was
no wind, so we motored as the sun rose and the day unfolded.
About 11:00 a.m. we were contacted on VHF by "Warship 1" and
asked "what are your intentions?". I told them we would be
maintaining course and speed and they said they would ensure
a safe passing space, which they did. Apart from that, and
a few dolphin sightings not much happened on the way to Avalon.
Around 2:00 pm the wind finally came up enough to do a little
sailing, and for a while we almost had the starboard rail in
the water as we heeled over at 8 knots in about 18 knots of
wind. But then as we approached Catalina, the wind died, and
we ended up motoring the last hour or so to Avalon.
When we got to Avalon about 6:30 pm we were disappointed to find that there
were no moorings available in the harbor. We motored around
Descanso Cove a bit looking for a place to drop the hook, but
the water was all 125 ft or more deep ... and we only have 360 ft
of anchor chain ... so we would not have enough "scope" to anchor.
After a while a harbor patrol boat came by and told us that there
was ONE mooring left ... a "swing" mooring (a single ball instead
of a fore-aft mooring like in the harbor). It was getting dark,
and we were tired, so we jumped at the chance.
We had no problem picking up the mooring and soon we were having
our "tots" and beers, and I even broke the guitar out and we sang
a few songs while we started the BBQ and cooked us a nice steak
dinner. However, as we were getting ready for bed around 10:00 pm,
we heard the
loud "BUMP" as Rhapsody drifted over to the mooring ball (about 5 ft
in diameter, metal, and covered with barnacles). Steve and I tried
various solutions to keep us away from the ball, but it was a problem
all night long, as I was awakened at 2:00 am by the loud bumping again.
We also discovered that when the sea lapped up against the stern,
there was a similar loud noise produced in the aft cabin, so I don't
think Steve rested too well that night, either.