I got back from the most amazing trip a week ago and thought I'd share it here. My brother, some friends, and I do an annual guys trip and this year's trip was to Catalina Island
. We had volleyed emails for months and I had arranged a Hunter
33' for the trip, which would have been tight with 5 of us aboard. My friend Scott secured a 42' Hunter
from Windward Sailing Club in Lido. She was a nice boat and suited us quite well.
After jockeying to make schedules work, we decided to cross the channel at night. I watched the weather
reports all week to get an idea about how foggy the channel gets in August. We had great visibility all the way across. We did encounter a large oil
tanker in the shipping
lane. I spotted her and kept an eye on her for more than a half hour. It was easy to determine direction of travel, but harder to assess the speed. She passed safely more than a mile behind us.
Picking up a mooring
at White Cove was a little challenging at night, but we made it work. We moored there all three nights because Avalon
was completely full and Hamilton Cove is not ideal for overnights because it's very rough.
We anchored just north of Hamilton Cove the first night. My friend who was the skipper
had chosen a spot too close to another boat for my liking. I shared my opinion. Some skippers don't care for that. We pulled the anchor
and reset it at the request of a Catalina 320 skipper
who was concerned he would not be able to raise his anchor
when the wind
shifted. We reset the anchor further away and I was much more comfortable with the position. I read a book by Bill McNeely and in it, he said that anyone aboard his boat can veto the anchorage if they don't like it. I'll have the same policy when I skipper.
We sailed Sunday in 14 knots of wind
and got the Catalina
ripping along at 7.6 knots on a beam reach. The sails
were pretty worn and the leech line on the jib
was about done. I was surpised to see the leeward shroud
come loose while we were under sail. The crew reattached it at the chainplate and we didn't have any further issues with it.
After the sail, we picked up a mooring
at Hamilton Cove. It was like being moored in a washing
machine. We took the dinghy
to shore, ate, had a few drinks, and returned to the boat. We left the mooring and went back to the calm, sheltered moorings at White Cove.
We left White Cove reluctantly on Monday morning and sailed for a while. The wind died down and we slowed to 3.9 knots. Unfortunately, we were forced to motor
sail the rest of the way back. We saw two blue whales in the shipping
lane. They were amazing. We also encountered a pod of dolphin closer to Newport
Harbor. They are fun!
When we got into more traffic and turned off the auto helm
, I took the helm
for a bit. I turned to starboard to give a commercial fishing
vessel plenty of room. He was headed toward us and turned to his port side. He dragged his fishing
net almost underneath us, which I wasn't too happy about. We didn't snag it. In the future, I'll get on the radio
and coordinate with the other boat's captain
We got back into Newport
Harbor safely, but it was hard to accept that our trip was over. I can't wait to go back.