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Old 02-06-2015, 21:39   #1
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Exclamation Hurricane Blanca

Let's say one is climbing up the Baja on the Pacific side with a typically underpowered sailboat. The winds from the NW have become stronger than usual due to the building El Nino. In this case, one has anchored in Santa Maria Bay for a night's sleep. Then, upon obtaining an Internet signal, read about hurricane Blanca; forecast to make a direct hit on poor, hurricane ravaged Cabo San Lucas and continue on up the Baja peninsula.

What would you do in that situation?

Considerations: The sailboat is a newish production boat, just under 50 feet in length with a typically gutless engine. In 25 knots on the snout and a 4 foot chop, the boat's pretty much standing still at full throttle. The next protected anchorage is Turtle Bay, 230 nm to the NW, right into that relentless, freakishly strong for this time of year, wind.

Sounds like a simple problem, but here's the kicker. The storm could head right up the Sea of Cortez, it could track up the middle of the Baja peninsula, or it could head NW, off the Pacific Baja coast. Cabo is currently in the storm's cross-hairs.

Thanks in advance to everyone and anyone who offers their advice on this rather timely and somewhat pressing dilemma.

PS: Expediency would be appreciated.
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Old 02-06-2015, 21:52   #2
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

Mag Bay might be the only choice. Seems like you could get far enough up into it to help. Good luck
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Old 02-06-2015, 22:43   #3
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgan Stone View Post
Let's say one is climbing up the Baja on the Pacific side with a typically underpowered sailboat. The winds from the NW have become stronger than usual due to the building El Nino. In this case, one has anchored in Santa Maria Bay for a night's sleep. Then, upon obtaining an Internet signal, read about hurricane Blanca; forecast to make a direct hit on poor, hurricane ravaged Cabo San Lucas and continue on up the Baja peninsula.

What would you do in that situation?

Considerations: The sailboat is a newish production boat, just under 50 feet in length with a typically gutless engine. In 25 knots on the snout and a 4 foot chop, the boat's pretty much standing still at full throttle. The next protected anchorage is Turtle Bay, 230 nm to the NW, right into that relentless, freakishly strong for this time of year, wind.

Sounds like a simple problem, but here's the kicker. The storm could head right up the Sea of Cortez, it could track up the middle of the Baja peninsula, or it could head NW, off the Pacific Baja coast. Cabo is currently in the storm's cross-hairs.

Thanks in advance to everyone and anyone who offers their advice on this rather timely and somewhat pressing dilemma.

PS: Expediency would be appreciated.
Hi.

A forum member (TacomaSailor) was in Sea of Cortez on a 40 foot boat a few years back when a hurricane went up past him. He has also traveled that route several times so may be able to give you some tips.

At a minium, I would avoid a lee shore situation. I would stay offshore, rather than going up the coast and close to the coast.

Secondly, if you do intend to find an anchorage or stay where you are, obviously be very careful about setting your anchor and prepare good chafe protection on the rode and use a snubber and prepare to lose it and have a Plan B.

A hurricane hit Cabo some years ago (1980 or so) and destroyed a lot of boats that were anchored off the beach.

Good luck! And don't forget to put the GoPro camera on so we can see some exciting video later.
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Old 03-06-2015, 02:42   #4
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

Agree with Steady Hand, Mag Bay looks like your best bet. In Bahia Man of War, you'd have to worry about the swell. The Estero de Chisguete in Ricketson B. might be a possibility. Ditto Laguna San Ignacio..

This is based only on looking at Open CPN. We did not enter Mag Bay. I do not know how much competition from locals there would be, as well as other cruisers.

One time, Jim was in the Sea of Cortez alone, and Puerto Escondido was too crowded. He would up going out to a place where he would have had to change location if the eye went overhead. In the event, the hurricane stayed south.

But the deal is that while hurricane movement is sort of predictable, rarely do they go to the positions forecast at the times forecast. For example, the one that came over us at Raoul Is. (NE of New Zealand) had been predicted to pass 200 miles north of us, the previous evening.

If this is a for real deal for you, I hope you have spare anchors for handling the wind shift and/or for helping if you start to drag.

If you have to sail out into it (as we did), we found we could motorsail with the storm jib -- and needed the sail to make headway. Fortunately it was small and fast-moving.

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Old 03-06-2015, 07:19   #5
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

mag bay is far enough north to avoid the wrath of blanca. she is building from c1-c4 today off coast of sw mexico.
turtle bay is better, and cedros island village is not an impossibility, altho could get a bit rough inside the breakwall.
chances are she wont head up the sea, as water there is still too cold.
however, the outside is fair game, and she could cross the soc in a slightly weakened condition.
storm 2k has excellent storm coverage for the likes of us.

for the record--cabo is still not fixed post odile. this lil monster looks like it may hit cabo head on yet again. could be interesting.
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:29   #6
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

There will be little problem with the locals in Mag Bay. The problem would be finding a spot that is worth anything. The usual anchorages are completely open. The place has been hit before. If you got there early maybe you could go further up or, maybe something over to the east side down towards the opening?
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:12   #7
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

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Originally Posted by Guy View Post
There will be little problem with the locals in Mag Bay. The problem would be finding a spot that is worth anything. The usual anchorages are completely open. The place has been hit before. If you got there early maybe you could go further up or, maybe something over to the east side down towards the opening?
the tracks for predicting blancas path stop short of mag bay. the water in pacific is cold there, and chances are slim.
however, for security, cedros island village, the port inside the breakwall, and turtle bay, are both within a days run north of mag, so there is a place within one days sailing for refuge.
be aware that in cedros island village there is no way to get money if needed except via western union.
port cpt is up the hill a short walk and is amenable to guests, despite there not being many arrivals in our type craft. it is a commercial port, small enough to accommodate one boat in an emergency.
be safe and stay whole.
wifi only in port cpt office, and with their permission, is allowed to be used while you are in town.


as the entire west coast is a lee shore situation, and as these babies like to hang around, safe passage can be a coin toss. best is to wait the storm out, unless you are in ocean already, in which case, haul ass to turtle or cedros. you may even have to use both sails and th eengine to get there before sunday, depending on where you are located now.
remember, there is yet another forming south of salvador at this time. you will have a week between storms for a bit of time.
this is anticipated to make landfall sunday at cabo or slightly north of cabo on pacific side. be aware and stay on top of water.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:29   #8
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

Boy, I would not choose Cedros or Turtle Bay. Turtle Bay is completely open and Cedros is too small. It's good news about the cold ocean temps, maybe the OP will be golden.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:42   #9
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy View Post
Boy, I would not choose Cedros or Turtle Bay. Turtle Bay is completely open and Cedros is too small. It's good news about the cold ocean temps, maybe the OP will be golden.
AS canes do NOT generally move m uch in COLD water, turtle and cedros are good for this pone. i wou;d nop trecommend to go into these for other storms UNLESS the tyrack has nbeen seen more than 4 days in sequence to hit in a mor esoutherly locale, such as blanca is predicted to do.
do no tforget, the water on sw coastal mexico is HOPT and has been for 2 years without coling--w emake em here an d pass em to you all more north of me.
the water north of cabo is stillCOLD. the chances of a viable storm hitting in turtle or cedros is slim to none at this time. later in year-- is a possibility, but the conditions ar enot right for that now.
that i swhy i recommended thos etwo places as safe refuge FOR THIS STORM ONLY, as i have watched th echanges in path predicted change ever so slightly in 4 days time.
i will be watching this one intensify from cat 1 to cat 4 off cabo corrientes, before it hits cabo san lucas.
i have been in mexico studying these monsters for four years, before which i studied em from other locales in more northern areas, and out of the range.
there is a POSSIBILITY of a hit in cali-- as that path has been taken ONCE loong ago.. but are ye gonna piss yer pants waiting to see that??? i guess it wont happen again in our lifetime, unless cali's ocean becomes a lot hotter.
there are conditions under which canes and ts grow and thrive-- these conditions are NOT found as far north as turtle bay at this time, nor as far north as mag bay. mebbe later in year.. mebbe we can send one to san francisco-- play catch now.....
if you study these you will learn about the specific conditions required for growth and maintenance of a ts or cane., these conditions do not exist north of mag bay at this time, nor in normal times.
do not forget this is a super el nino, and stuff happens, but the track is well defined well in advance, so we can plan a passage .. the conditions under which a cane succesfully grows are impoortant to know in sailing these waters.. learn or dont sail here in summer.
we generally have a week between storm formations wherein sailing is safe
check pasage weather and storm 2k and nhc regularly for updates.
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:37   #10
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

Sound and sobering advice, thanks for all of this. Now comes the crunch time... what to do before time's up?

Currently rocking and rolling at anchor in Santa Maria bay - about 20 nm north of Mag Bay. Nary another boat, or human being in sight. The water temperature is 20 c (68 f). The hurricane is still predicted to track this way. Although, likely to be a tropical storm by the time it gets to Mag bay, it will still be packing some rather significant storm force wind and waves.

Got a good night's sleep, and now it's decision making time.

Given the advice and info above (and the gutless nature of a 56 hp engine on a 47 foot ocean racer, production boat), here's the possibilities:

* Ride it out at anchor in Mag bay at one of the usual anchorages (the inlets to the north are pretty much shifting, shallow ditches).

* Close haul it, due west, out to sea, getting several hundred miles from shore under sail, (watching the ocean surface temp), then tack back when the storm passes (making for Turtle Bay, or even Ensenada).

Thinking zeehag is right about storms not going north in the Pacific at this time, given the cold water.

What do you think?

Thanks again,
Bated breath, in Maria Bay
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Old 03-06-2015, 12:05   #11
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

andres is stillout to sea as a tss, so you do NOT wanna go there--stay in port in a cane safe locale--turtle bay shouldnt be affected by this one.
in sta maria bay, was s/v rose of shannon seen by you?? he may have gone into a marina there, if there is one. please advise. he was aiming that way may 25th, still south of mag bay then... concerned as storm is approaching and i dont know his weather and communications status.
as cedros island village faces away from approach of storms, it can be a decent place to hide from a mag bay storm, but only as a last resort, as it is no resort.
turt;e yes is open to ocean, but by that far north, there should be minimal affect from blanca.
the places NOT to be are CABO SAN LUCAS, LA PAZ, STA ROSALIA, as those are well inside the cone. sta rosalia is a borderline call. the marina there withstood odile as the old marina se fue during odile... gone.
ensenada is a definite safe place, as is cali, but if time is short for running, go to turtle or cedros. from cedros you can run to ensenada despite storm activity. just stay between island and mainland, as ocean will be stirred up a bunch
blanca is now a c4..... and not even to cabo corrientes as yet--we could well see a c5 before she exits mainland mex for cabo--be aware and stay safe.
sunday is the predicted landfall in cabo.. oops. run like hell now or hunker down goooood for a lot of wind and walls of sideways rain
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Old 03-06-2015, 12:31   #12
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

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We just rounded Cabo Falso a few minutes ago and are headed your way! We should be to Mag bay by midnight tomorrow but probably won't stop til Turtle. I can already feel the air getting cooler. Pretty sure Blanka will start fizzling out before getting up there. But you will get some weather. How much? Looks pretty good to keep going! My 18th trip, sv Cocokai. 65'schooner.

What's the make and name of your boat?

Good luck, Greg


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Old 03-06-2015, 12:59   #13
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

greg-get to mag before sunday wnhen cabo gets hit with c4... it prolly wont weaken much before hit--is leaving here as a c4, on its way immediately to cabo.
go, greg, go. now. your boat is a fast one..move it move it move it.....
you do NOT wanna spend any more time in cabo area, as this looks like another odile.
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Old 03-06-2015, 13:14   #14
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgan Stone View Post
Sound and sobering advice, thanks for all of this. Now comes the crunch time... what to do before time's up?

Currently rocking and rolling at anchor in Santa Maria bay - about 20 nm north of Mag Bay. Nary another boat, or human being in sight. The water temperature is 20 c (68 f). The hurricane is still predicted to track this way. Although, likely to be a tropical storm by the time it gets to Mag bay, it will still be packing some rather significant storm force wind and waves.

Got a good night's sleep, and now it's decision making time.

Given the advice and info above (and the gutless nature of a 56 hp engine on a 47 foot ocean racer, production boat), here's the possibilities:

* Ride it out at anchor in Mag bay at one of the usual anchorages (the inlets to the north are pretty much shifting, shallow ditches).

* Close haul it, due west, out to sea, getting several hundred miles from shore under sail, (watching the ocean surface temp), then tack back when the storm passes (making for Turtle Bay, or even Ensenada).

Thinking zeehag is right about storms not going north in the Pacific at this time, given the cold water.

What do you think?

Thanks again,
Bated breath, in Maria Bay
Hi Again.

What follows is written in a friendly and neutral tone, with the hope it helps you reach a decision based on your own level of confidence and preparation.

I do not claim to be an expert and I don't have experience in sailing the Baja coastline or their anchorages. So, take my comments with a splash of saltwater. But, I am answering what I would do.

Ultimately, you have to make the decision based on what you know of your boat and yourself and your own skills and confidence.

For example, I would consider:

Do you have more than yourself aboard as crew? Family? Wife? Strong, experienced sailors as crew? Will you have the stamina/strength to either sail or steer or manage at anchor, if the storm lasts for more than a few hours?

Do you have redundant heavy ground tackle (more than one heavy anchor and enough chain/rode to use both or all)?

Do you feel more comfortable with the idea of heaving to or riding to a drogue (if you have one) than you do at your anchor (using your ground tackle) in an unfamiliar bay during a severe storm?

Are you prepared with jacklines and harnesses and a life raft and EPIRB (just in case)?

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A Personal POV or "What would I do?"

Assuming I was on my own boat and I considered it seaworthy and well equipped and prepared for storm conditions, I would also assume that I have a storm trysail.

My preference would be to have "sea room" and to be sailing under a storm trysail off shore, rather than waiting in questionable anchorage that may be exposed. If the seas around me become high and breaking, I would drop the trysail and deploy my Jordan Series Drogue and "batten the hatches" or "button up."

If I am offshore, there is less risk to the boat. And, if the wind and seas do not get to extremes, there is the chance I will make some progress further from the storm's path.

As I see it, (on my seaworthy and well prepared boat) I would stand a better chance of "weathering the storm" (even with high winds) when I do not have the risk of being dashed up on a shore or rocks by breaking waves. High wind speeds alone do not scare me as much as rocky coastlines or dragging anchors or a parted anchor rode (or failure) during a storm.

When an anchor rode parts in a storm while in an anchorage, there is seldom much time for someone to rig or effectively deploy a more effective anchor set. So, the preparation needs to be done beforehand, and even then there is risk that the boat will not hold.

Again, this is a personal view, and based on having confidence in the boat to survive at sea. It is also based on history, as many boats are lost while in an anchorage, during severe storms.

Good luck on your decision.
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Old 03-06-2015, 13:37   #15
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Re: Hurricane Blanca

here is now---google wind ....

oh yeah the circle-- that is where i am.
i am currently planning for a trip in summer storm season from barra de anvidad to mazatlan. ther eis another boat here gonna do same thing. we waiting on a week and half long window between formations. my boat is slow. mazatlan is 300miles north east from me, so week and half for performance cruiser 4 days.
andres is still a concern for those sailing north--as blanca brings up the south, and another is beginning to think of forming south of salvador.....and you will note that wind is , as usual, on the northbound boat's nose. combined with an average of 1.5- 3 kts southerly drift, is a bash from hell to begin with, then add the storm potentials, and you are beyond slogging.
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