Friday, January 30, 2009

Anchor Chain, Gale Warnings, and Winter Shorts

Since our last posting, Josh and I have made three trips to the islands north of La Paz in our sailboat. (On a side note, she was purchased as "S/V Wind Spirit" but will soon be renamed in a proper fashion to "S/V Estrella"). The first trip was three days long and our anchorages included Bahia San Gabriel and Partida Cove in the Espiritu Sanctu islands. She sailed well and very comfortably and achieved speeds of over 5 kts. This was our first experience with a cutter rig sloop and it proved to be relatively easy to handle once we figured out the tricks of the trade.

The only notable deficiency in our first trip was an insufficient quantity of anchor chain. The initial amount of onboard at time of purchase was 30 ft of anchor chain and 250 ft of anchor rode (line). We decided we would feel more comfortable with at least 150 ft of anchor chain and no rode. The anchor itself worked beautifully and we decided to keep the 30 lb Delta as our bow anchor.


So between our first and second trips to the islands, Josh and I investigated the ins and outs of purchasing a large quantity of brand new anchor chain. We purchased a foot of the proper size anchor chain from three marine stores in La Paz for a test fitting in our anchor windlass, (including Triple B, proof coil, and high test varieties). It turned out the high test anchor chain was the best quality for the dollar so we bit the bullet and bought all 187 ft the store had.

And it was worth every penny (or peso). We took off on our second trip three days before a northerly that called for gale warnings and ended up closing the Port of La Paz for two days. Our first night out we sailed upwind to Puerto Ballena on Isla Espiritu Sanctu. A precursor to the upcoming northerly was blowing already at 15 kts and we pointed to weather at 45 degrees. We sailed fairly well in the slowly growing swell and made our anchorage by landfall.

After two nights in Puerto Ballena, we motorsailed upwind in 20 kts to Isla San Francisco a distance of 20 miles. We sailed well over the six hour trip but the building head sea (at 5-6 ft) was difficult to overcome without the aid of the motor. As we turned the corner into the anchorage, we saw other sailboats had the same idea as us. Isla San Francisco offers decent protection in a northerly and we joined the flotilla of boats for what turned out to be five nights of gale winds.


We dropped the anchor in 15 ft of water on almost 150 ft of anchor chain. And we didn't move an inch the entire storm! The maximum gust in the gale was 48 kts and we anchored in the corner of the anchorage near the beach, which offered protection from the extent of the sea swell and chop.


Among the highlights of our stay at Isla San Francisco was visiting with our friends on the S/V Om Shanti, eating homemade ice cream with new friends on S/V Scream on Josh's birthday, and hiking all over Isla San Francisco. We managed to climb to the top of one of the ridges overlooking the anchorage while nearly getting blown down the other side. It was comparable to getting sand blasted by a hair dryer while clinging to a cactus. Needless to say, it was well worth the effort to get a bird's eye view of the giant swells ripping around Isla San Francisco.


Following five nights at Isla San Francisco, we hauled up our new anchor chain and set sail downwind in 25 kts back to Isla Espiritu Sanctu. The genoa was flown and we debated whether or not to raise the mainsail. We already had a reef in the mainsail from our upwind leg to Isla San Francisco and were sailing with the original (30 year old) mainsail. But the wind proved to be too much for the old mainsail and it ripped right above the first reef point a few minutes after it was raised. The genoa alone proved to be a great sail in higher winds and we flew back to Isla Espiritu Sanctu in five hours. We anchored at Puerto Ballena again for the night and headed back to La Paz the following day on the genoa alone.

Josh had the foresight to have the other mainsail onboard recut for a better sail shape and with new reef points before we left. It was in La Paz being repaired during our second trip but we were able to utilize it on our third trip.

The story of our third trip will soon be told.....

P.S. On a side note, as for the debate between winter and summer shorts, something changes in short selection at approximately 85 F. For air temperatures greater than 85 F, the preferred material is synthetic with a significant reduction in both pocketage and length. For cooler air temperatures, pocket quantity increases and the material is of heavier consistency, such as cotton. But then again, we are lucky enough to work in a place where one can wear shorts in the dead of winter....

5 comments:

  1. I want to be doing what you are doing, not sailing around...but what I want. You and your posting of all of your doings makes me want to work so much harder at geting to what I want. Thanks!

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  2. I love that you two weathered five nights of gale winds and didn't even hint at whining about it. Love your adventurous spirit!

    Happy Belated-Birthday, Josh! Emily, looks like you've got the Captain Morgan pose down.

    Can't wait to hear about Trip#3

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  3. Jiangsu yaxing chain co., LTD. (AsAc) is a professional engaged in Marine cable and Marine mooring chain production enterprise, and it is China's Marine cable and Marine mooring chain production and export base, is the world's one of the largest in the industry, the most has the comprehensive strength of the modern enterprise.

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  4. Jiangsu yaxing anchor chain co., LTD. (AsAc) is a professional engaged in Marine cable and Marine mooring chain production enterprise, and it is China's Marine cable and Marine studless anchor chain production and export base, is the world's one of the largest in the industry, the most has the comprehensive strength of the modern enterprise.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jiangsu yaxing chain co., LTD. (AsAc) is a professional engaged in Marine cable and Marine end shackle production enterprise, and it is China's Marine cable and Marine mooring chain production and export base, is the world's one of the largest in the industry, the most has the comprehensive strength of the modern enterprise.

    ReplyDelete