Getting hit going south passed Pt. Conception



Just to start off the story, we entered Port San Luis by Pismo Beach in the early morning after my first overnight sail. I was in good spirits, basically, because I had “survived”. We took a water taxi to shore and it was just a beautiful scenery. After we had enjoyed the day, we took the water taxi back to our boat at around 4pm. There was a nice breeze, so the Captain said, this was a good time to set sail again. It totally took me off guard, as I knew that he had hardly slept the night and I was still recovering and processing the night sail. Just imagining us taking off short before sunset, made me feel very uneasy. I pretty much shut down and there was no way to convince me that this was a good idea. The wind forecast though showed, that it would have been a better choice to leave right than.

  • At 6am I woke everyone up, as I still felt guilty about the night before and thought, the earlier we start, the better chance we have to arrive at the Coho anchorage just around the corner of Point Conception, before things get gnarly. Point Conception is known to have very high and suddenly changing winds, especially in the afternoon. Sailors coming from the South usually stay at the Coho anchorage before heading north at midnight, when winds might have calmed.
  • So, we had to motor again for a few hours before setting sail. There were lots of whales around us and it was again a pretty morning. Everything went really smooth, at one point though, the motor didn’t start. (my head is thinking – NOOOOO) But the Captain calmly checked some ignition connections and found the problem, which he was able to fix temporarily before getting a better working spare part.
  • We got closer to Pt Arguello and the Captain decided to take the Main Sail down and just leave the jib out for conservative sailing, in case wind picks up all of a sudden.
  • We passed Pt Conception without any problems and started celebrating. We opened a beer, cheered and had a little photo session. All was smooth, we had the jib out plus Spinnaker pole (possible in downwind sailing), which we than had to bring in, as wind had shifted. In addition we pulled the main sail up again, as wind had gotten really light. Everyone except the Captain went inside the cabin. Kruiser offered to make dinner and I accompanied Mats. My brain went blank after that, so I just had to brainstorm with the Captain and Kruiser, what had happened from than on.
  • We heard the Captain shout, that he could use a little help up there, while the pots dangerously started shifting around on the stove. I waved to Kruiser that I would take over supper so he could assist upstairs. Of course, way more comfortable situation for me, right? (Kruiser told me later in return, he was glad as he sometimes doesn’t have a great success cooking rice 😉 )
  • I was able to tighten the pots to prevent them flying off when I also got called up to help. The Captain had tried to roll the jib further in, as out off the blue solid 35 knots of wind had hit us from the main land. We immediately dropped the main and started the motor. With a sliver of jib out, motor running and wind gusting between 5 – 35 knots, the boat was rolling around in heavy weather. Waves broke from the back and the side into the boat, something I had never experienced before. It was extreme for me, who had thought that crossing San Pablo Bay in SF Bay area had prepared me pretty good. At least the Captain said, that it would most likely not get worse than that….   (yeah, yeah, yeah, one way to teach me a lesson to go by the weather window, even when tired…
  • We decided to continue for the 20 miles which were left to Santa Barbara and not turn around to the Coho Anchorage and just suck it up. It went on for a while, I had one hot flash after the other inside the cabin from an Adrenaline rush, thousand thoughts in my head, while the men got pretty wet up there. During the whole time, Mats was peacefully sleeping safely belted into his car seat!
  • Here a little clip right afterwards