Since leaving San Carlos at the beginning of the cruising season we’ve seen fairly mild weather with the seas generally mellow and the winds too light rather than too strong. We’ve gotten very confident handling the boat and planning passages. Apparently too confident, and mother nature decided that we needed a lil’ reminder to be ready for any conditions when we venture out into the open ocean.
We pulled anchor bright and early to make the day hop from our latest overnight stop in Chacala to La Cruz. The friendly folks at NOAA were predicting a nice pleasant sail on a close reach (kinda going into the wind but far enough off to sail well) in winds of 10 knots or less over flat seas. This forecast made us smile since Pura Vida goes to windward exceptionally well and we can fly with 10 knots blowing slightly forward of the beam. Plus, we loooove flat water sailing.
A few minutes after anchor up we had full sail flying and were kicking along making 6.5 knots over ground in ideal conditions. With the boat in a nice groove we looked forward to a pleasant run. However, the aforementioned keeper of the weather decided to get cranky around noon and up the volume of the wind, then turn it directly onto our nose. Within an hour we had 25+ knots dead ahead and choppy *ss wind waves building. Muttering at my lazy self that I should’ve prepared the cabin better, I made a hasty trip downstairs to secure cabinet latches & put the dishes drying in the rack away so they didn’t become flying missels. Back on deck we reefed down and started tacking in an effort to keep making way, but soon had to admit defeat. Our lightweight (for a liveaboard cruiser) boat performs brilliantly in light winds, and can take some serious punishment when the weather gets rough, but she (like most sailboats) just can’t sail into chop on the nose with any significant forward momentum.*
Fortunately, we have a reliable diesel beast attached to our prop and ready for duty. Fired up and ready to run, Jenny (yes, I named our engine) has the power to push us upwind when the wind can’t.
Harnessing the power of diesel might and a reefed down main for stability, we put on an admirable show for the next few hours pushing the boat through the steep chop all the way into Banderas Bay. This trip has made us oh so very happy that we take meticulous care of Jenny. Without her push, we would have been forced to turn tail and return to anchor rather than continute on to our destination & enjoy a lovely night out in La Cruz.
Being busy holding on during this bouncy passage I didn’t get any decent photos or videos. So, since everyone loves cats on boats (you do, don’t you?) here are some cute pictures of the little guys relaxin’ on the bimini.
*Time out here for fellow sailors reading this post- yes, these are not exactly rough conditions and we were never in any danger. If we weren’t so set on making La Cruz we could have easily turned around and spent a couple more days in Chacala waiting for more favorable wind. The point of the story is that nature doesn’t always heed the forecast so put all your breakable *hit away & be ready for anything before any ocean sailing.
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