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Friday, January 30, 2015

Sailing Up From San Diego VIII: From Dana Point to Newport Beach.

It was blowing ten to fifteen knots of wind with baby whitecaps and 2 foot waves. It was a nice day and I felt excited to be heading out on another adventure!

I had just left Dana Point. Here's what happened from the beginning:

Having just sailed from Oceanside, I had anchored in Dana Pt.

During the night I had managed to row my dinghy ashore and get my battery charged. The next day, I then hooked it up to the electrical on the boat and sat and waited for the wind to start. It was a nice morning with pelicans flying overhead. The wind usually begins around 10:30 am or so and when it did I pulled up bow and stern anchor and set sail out of the harbor.

I texted my wife the following soon after I left:

Albie: "My route is 170 S for 10 miles (as wind is against me), then 300 -310 N between Catalina and San Pedro, and then to Redondo or Marina Del Rey.

A: Left Dana Pt at 10:30 am. Out at sea now on course. I love you!

Wife: I love you too. Thank you.  Travel safe.  Kids send their love.

A: I love them too! Only text me. Can't get voice mail at sea.

W: Come home to the land.  We miss u.

A: Comin! :-D xxxooo

W: Have fun!"

Out at sea I saw a pod of whales. Every ten seconds I would see another whale shooting out water high into the air. Then black dolphins came.

After an hour or two, I turned north on 310 degrees. I was about 7 or 8 miles out. Visibility was only 5 miles so I could barely make out the land.

After checking my course, plotting my route and doing the math, it seemed that I would get to Point Vicente by 8pm (if I had good winds). Then if I had light winds at night it would take 8 more hours to get to Redondo. It would take me all night and morning to get to MDR.

I was enjoying the trip. But not looking forward to the sleepy parts and the light winds and possible rocking when and if the winds died.

The afternoon sail was pleasant despite the fact that the wind was not exactly favorable.

Pulling in the jib and mainsail tight, I tried to head up as close to the wind as possible. My aim was to head  north - toward Marina Del Rey. But it was almost in vain. The wind was coming directly from the north and I was only able to head north west - and more west than north.

So that meant the only way I could head north was when I tacked north east - toward the shore. This tack allowed me to head more north than east but it also brought me inland.

This would mean it would make passing Point Vicente later on really hard. In order to pass it, I kept having to lose time by heading west instead of north - back out to sea again. So I was plagued by the need to head NORTH AND WEST at the same time but only getting ONE OR THE OTHER. And each time I gained one - I LOST THE OTHER! Oh well, I would just have to enjoy the sail for what it was. At least there was wind!

Eventually, I found myself following a beautiful sailboat ahead of me. it sped up though and disappeared out of sight.

By six pm the winds were already light. I was thinking of anchoring at Newport Beach instead of getting caught in the shipping lanes with no wind.

So much for my plans for reaching Marina Del Rey by morning!

The wind was changing direction and was against me. The jib was luffing a lot with dying winds too.

 I watched for the Newport harbor entrance. The sun was getting lower on the horizon and I looked for the harbor entrance and soon found it. The entrance was still a mile or two away. By the time I got near the harbor, I could see the green and red harbor entrance lights. Sunset was upon me.

As I entered Newport Harbor, I began to study the harbor map. It wasn't long before I realized that the entrance was two miles long.

Without an engine and having to sail against the light inland winds, I made another change of plan. It was going to be a LOT of work just to get in and then anchor. I decided to spend all that work getting home instead of getting into the harbor.

The wind was not favorable toward going north (as it was very light and I could only gain way on a close reach). I headed south west instead out to se a once more.

My wife texted me wondering if I was crazy to leave the safety of the harbor at night and head out. I texted her back letting her basically know all my reasons. I would rather work at getting home since I was going to have to work at one or the other. My wife didn't like it.

It took me a while even to get a mile out of Newport. For sure I wouldn't head north through the shipping lane till a really strong breeze came up.

Eventually I hove-to about 5-10 miles out. All was ok. I could see the fishing vessels out with their bright lights out over the horizon. But I was tired.

I texted my wife again:

A: I am well. Just woke up. I am about 10 miles off Newport. No wind last night except very mild which took me out.

W: Come home.

A: Miss u all.

W: I am sending these text with a fun tone.  We just want u safe.  Have fun. We will see u when u get home.

The next day I awoke to a windless morning. Because of this, though, I was able to see through the mirror-like water and see a ball of silver colored fish swimming around my sailboat! It was absolutely beautiful and amazing at the same time.

I'm not sure what was going on with the weather but it would be the third morning I would experience on this trip where the wind started late. It was also very overcast too which added to the mysterious feeling I was having bobbing around out here at sea.

Finally the wind came up, slowly at first, and blew away the clouds! I was off again - this time for Marina Del Rey!

Thanks for your comments!


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I made this blog because I wanted to share my adventures at sea with all of you! Some of you may be wishing they had their own boat or just want to 'get away' even if just at home on the web. So each week I decided to write down my feelings while out at sea and share them with you. If you enjoy them, please feel free to come back here weekly and see what's new. Also please share the blog with your friends and with those who you know like sailing!