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Old 02-12-2011, 19:27   #271
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Re: OMG ! Clawing Off a Lee Shore in a Gale !

Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Indeed. The Sea of Cortez is a pretty tough environment. Incredibly beautiful and desolate.

I spent two weeks sailing around there with a friend in his 90 foot Swan. As I recall, there were 75 to 80 miles between every anchorage we used, with absolutely no shelter of any kind between them - a very forbidding coast. This was in winter so it was blowing all the time (but the locals talked about the afternoon breeze thing), generally about 20 knots. As we made our way North, we sailed 12-14 hours at a time hard on the wind and bashing into a vicious chop, and it was tough even on that boat. And with brand new, laminate sails. That boat subsequently crossed the Pacific making consistent 300 miles days in the trades, but bashing up the Baja coast we were lucky to maintain 7 knots (and we were not tacking; merely hard on the wind). Sometimes the steep head seas knocked us down to under 5 knots. And that's a 90 foot boat! On any other boat, it would have been almost impossible without some motoring.
...and now, to address the inaccuracies stated about the distances between SOC anchorages:

I have in front of me Breeding and Bansmer's excellent "Sea of Cortez, a Cruiser's Guidebook"

I read it cover to cover a few months back, and was struck then by how detailed the info in it is, how beautiful the photos, and the care with wich the couple mapped practically every anchorage, by personally taking soundings, recording exact GPS coodinates, mapping against NASA SRTM data, then adjusing the values to zero tides, and coodinating them with the WGS 84 datum.

As a matter of fact, I was so impressed, I decided to see how my Navionics Gold and Bluechart data compared with these "chartlets"

well, it wasn't even close - for either - the lack of detailed soundings was telling.

I also checked thier charts against Google earth satalite images, and they match perfectly.

So - how far apart typically are the anchorages?

The most spread out and exposed group are of course on the pacific side of the Peninsula, an area not addressed by B&B.

After that, the major anchorages around the tip leading to La Paz are seperated by a maximum of 46 miles (Los Frailes to Los Muertos) and working north from La Paz by at most 20 nautical miles, and more typically less than 10nm, with many anchorages seperated by just 4 or 5 miles - at least until you make it north of Bahia De Los Angeles, and who goes up past there anyway?

I'm guessing that safe anchorages for a 90 foot deep draft luxury yacht are just a little bit harder to find in the SOC than for a 20 foot luxury yacht that draws 3 feet of water.

And that said scarcity neccessitated a series of uncomfortable fuel wasting nausea inducing motorsailing bashes against wind, god, and tide to make it to a safe harbor by sundown.

Perhaps waiting for fair winds was out of the question due to a firm schedule, or the costs associated with keeping such a ship going, even on the hook - to say nothing of berthed at a marina.

Nomad costs me less than $200 per month to berth, and I'm in LA.

So once again, everything is a trade-off.


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Old 02-12-2011, 20:32   #272
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Re: OMG ! Clawing Off a Lee Shore in a Gale !

Its been a quiet day locally but this thread has given me plenty to think about .
It was better than hounding the local library for an out of print Tristan Jones copy.
Yup, I have enjoyed reading it!

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
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Old 03-12-2011, 04:15   #273
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pirate Re: OMG ! Clawing Off a Lee Shore in a Gale !

Damn... 90ft Draft....
That makes the USS Enterprise look like a dinghy..... with a mere 12metres draft...
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Old 03-12-2011, 06:38   #274
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Re: OMG ! Clawing Off a Lee Shore in a Gale !

Thanks for this thread Hogan. While it's been kind of contentious, it's been a lot of fun too.
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Old 03-12-2011, 12:25   #275
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You know Boatman, one reason I'm such a jerk is because my mother's mother was a highschool english teacher who equated spelling and grammer with moral character.

She once corrected, in red ink, a thank-you letter I sent her.

Well, I gave mean old b***h got both barreles. I was only 9 years old! I'm mildly dyslexic, (or is it lysdexlic?) but then again, so was Einstein.

Charles Manson too, so watch it.

So I did some research at my grammar school library (this was long before the internet, word processors, my juvenile delinquency, or spell check) and copied an article about a bunch of famous people with poor grammar, and I annoted and circled the important passages for her.

In red ink.

Then I mailed it to her using a USPS "Love" stamp for postage.

She never marked up any more of my thank-you notes aft that. Then again, she never gave me any gifts aft that either....

and no, "aft" was not a typo.

Drunk old harpy.... She was NOT the saint of a grandmother who taught me to sail.

That grandma left me 1/2 million dollars when she passed away at age 98. My father's mother was sweet, and king and loving and supportive. She always asked me the same thing at the end of every phone conversation:

"Do you have another boat yet, Billy?"

"No grandma, not yet. But I will some day, I promise"

Followed by me all the usual BS excuses about how I didnt have the time, or the money, or the....whatever. It was 20 years between junking my POS Coronado, and purchasing Nomad, and one of my greatest regrets is that she didnt live to see me finally get my priorities straight.

...and dont get me started on Tristan Jones (not his real name) who lied about pretty much everything in his books, including his birthplace (not Tristan De Cunha) meeting the pope, flying his boat to the moon, and banging the king of the lost city of El Dorado's daughter on the foredeck of his bilge keeler on top of Anapurana.

Talk about Blarney!

He was a bastard, abandoned by his whore mother, and raised in orphanages. His first honest job was wiskey smuggling, then he joined the British Navy, taught himself how to sail and write, and then, in mid-life, decided he was fed up with conventionality, and especially the mainstream sailing world's obession with record setting and racing, so he decided to mock it by setting a "Vertical sailing record"

- a record he made up himself.

He thought downwind sailing was for wimps, so he deliberately beat into howling gales in small boats for thousands of miles through red sea war-zones, dust storms, hurricanes, and flying bullets, if he is to be believed - which he probably isnt.

He is entertaining to read, and claimed to be the only person to ever transit the Panama Canal, completely under sail in a small boat. Without an engine. He claims he did this by lying to various Panamanian officials then sneaking and blustering his was through the canal from the Carribean to the Pacific on his own hot-air.

In short, he's another hero of mine.

Glad you are all enjoying the show - and perhaps re-thinking what is really required to travel the world under sail.

Because from what I can tell, the single biggest requirement is a huge set of balls, not a huge boat.

This was summed up for me one lazy summer evening when I was out carousing, half drunk, with a couple buddies here in MDR. I was with a well known local rigger, delivery skipper, and racer, who ran into an old (70 yrs plus) client, who immediately started arguing with him about how he had failed to show up for a rigging survey on his clients boat (The old guy was a USGS Captain hired by some rich moke to skipper his penis.)

The captain had also served in the Manhattan Beach Fire department for 20 years, and had retired early to sail offshore as foredeck crew. He claimed to have done 14 transpacs, 5 Fasnets, and numerous deliveries and races to and from Mexico in his sailing career.

So my freind tells him about my boat, moored right outside the bar, and my cruising plans.

...and the old man takes a drink from his glass, walks to the window, sees my boat, and walks back up to the bar, looks me straight in the eye, with a look I'll never forget, and says:

"So young man - you want to see the world in that boat?"


"Well then listen to me very carefully, because there is just one thing you need to do to that boat"


...and then his eyed narrowed, and he said...


He was standing up now, poking me in the chest...

"YES - what do I have to do???"


He was nearly shouting, and, let me tell you - I was stunned.

"Nothing else matters - just GO!" He continued.


...and there was this shock of recognition in me, that cut right through the afternoon's six-pack numbness. The shock that comes when you realize some great truth.

Nothing else matters -JUST CAST OFF.

"right - got it."

I knew then that the time had come. I'd been making excuses and delaying my departure for a variety of reasons, all of them utter bullshit.

So I resigned my my teaching positions.

I sold my home.

And I cleaned out my storage unit.

My new passport arrived last week.

We imagine our boats or thier state of preparation are what hold us back, but its just the opposite - boats are magic carpets - capable of delivering us to extraroidinary new experiences.

And deep down inside, we all know it.
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Old 03-12-2011, 12:47   #276
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Re: OMG ! Clawing Off a Lee Shore in a Gale !

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Old 03-12-2011, 13:19   #277
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Re: OMG ! Clawing Off a Lee Shore in a Gale !

The word "I" is used more in Hogan's posts than any other. It's great to see an individual master the art of self love to such a degree. What a bore.
"All men are created equal, some are just more equal than others"
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Old 03-12-2011, 14:24   #278
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Here's the deal; sail South until you find Panama, go through the canal to the Caribbean. Now you can do your beloved beating to windward for a couple miles until you arrive in the East Caribbean. There is an island there called Grenada. Just North of it is a small island called Carriacou. Anchor there in Tyrell bay.

Now just wait. Soon, you will see a boat arrive under sail that anchors without ever using an engine... because it has no engine. Not even an electric engine. The boat is named Mermaid of Carriacou, built right there on the beach and her skipper is John Smith. John Smith is the only person that I have had the honor to meet who will make short work of you and your stories. Just wait a bit until he rows ashore and follow him to a rum bar and join him and start talking. The two of you will be at it for many rums but my bet is on John to always find a story that tops yours haha.

You must be a far family member of him. Oh, he also has his website:

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Old 05-12-2011, 10:37   #279
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thanks - good advice!

But the eastabout thing shows disrespect for nature!

god made the trades blow west, and so do the tropical currents. Gave us warm clear water and beautiful, inexpensive hookers to go with them - why fight god's plan?

As far as the Panama Canal thing - that's another affront to god and nature in my book, so if I ever decide to cross the ismus, I'll have Nomad hauled and placed on the back of a bunch of Yaks and Sherpas, and portaged over the Andes, just like my hero Jones did....


And I have an engine - well, a very simple electric motor that's fueled by sunlight and wind energy.

What I lack is a complex motor that explodes internally, and wastes 80% or more of the energy I put into it in the form of friction generated heat, the disposal of which requires me to compromise my hull integrity to cool off.

Oh, and its fuel funds terrorsim, remember?

Besides, its expensive - I'm continually amazed at the totals I see on the MDR fuel dock pumps: 100 gallons = around $500.

One guy I met at Catalina had just delivered a 60 foot cat from Hawaii - took him just 2 weeks!

"Wow" I said

"How much fuel did you use?"

"We started with 800 gallons, and we still have about 50 left"

lemme see here: 750 gallons x $5.00 per...that's only $3750 dollars in fuel....

He was a nice guy - he'd taken his family with him.....but still, I was curious, becuase he kept talking about how FAST they made it:

"What's your hurry?"

....and that kinda threw him, ya know?

And he said - "well, my son has to be back at school, and I have to be back at my job"

still, they had the adventure of a lifetime, and that engine helped them speed through the ITCZ, and meet thier schedules. But I couldnt help thinking that $3750 would have bought them all round trip airfair to and from Hawaii much more quickly than that big, slow cat.

Nothing goes to windward like a 747 you know.....

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Old 05-12-2011, 10:51   #280
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Re: OMG ! Clawing Off a Lee Shore in a Gale !

Hate to burst your bubble Hogan but there is no ITCZ between Hawaii and California.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:17   #281
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pirate Re: OMG ! Clawing Off a Lee Shore in a Gale !

And Indians and Llamas are more appropriate... helluva long way to freight Yaks n Sherpa's... but one thing I'll concur with is the 'Old Salts' advice...
"Cast Off...."
You've talked the Talk...
time to Walk the Walk....
Keep us posted on your progress... should be enlightening..
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Old 06-12-2011, 06:59   #282
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Re: OMG ! Clawing Off a Lee Shore in a Gale !

Hogan; most entertaining posts...keep em coming. Suggested new threads: Backpacking a Flicka across Siberia to Lake Baikal, Achieving even deeper discounts at whorehouses,
How I survived a force 10 blow in my bathtub,Why Romney should buy a multi and Obama s best served by a monohull.How i once sailed my Flicka up the Olduvai Gorge to spend a wild nite with Lucy.

My boat is now on the hard and December is depressing me...Hope you can help.
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:54   #283
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Ok - since this thread has been completely hijacked, is totally off topic now, and has completely, totally, unquestionably proved my thesis that the whole "clawing of a lee shore in gale OMFG we're all gonna DIE!!!! (and be late for the Monday morning staff meeting) thing occurrs exactly as often, and is helped just as much by an enourmous, cantankerous, smelly diesel engine.....

As people getting kidnapped in Baja discos by El chupacabra, then waking up in a motel 6 bathtub full of ice missing a kidney with a note taped thier foreheads saying:

"Call 911"

...followed by successful recovering of said kidney by searching the La Paz Craigs List (or is it "Listo Del Jraige" down there?) and repurchasing it from a swashbuckling band of butt-raping Mexican drug-lord pirates who are not gay, because butt-rape is a power thing, not a sex thing.....

Ive gotta say I have yet another hero to add to my Pantheon:

"Someone dumb enough to want to; smart enough to succeed. A wonderful, carefree fool of enormous proportions. Enter the notorious, the infamous, the scandalous, the improbable, the impossible, the outrageous Captain John Smith."

Uh....yea, that pretty much sums up my cosmontological bent:

"Dumb enough to want to, smart enough to succeed"

How do you think I became an Architect?

A college professor?

Infected with herpes simplex?

Not so simplex?

But ultimately I attribute my overwhelming creative genius to the untreated tertiary syphillis I contracted from my high school sweetheart who, btw to this day claims to be a virgin, thus making it an "immaculent infection".

Sorry about the ITCZ gaff guys - I meant "the Pacific high".

I hadn't had my morning coffee or mixed amphetamine salts yet.

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Old 06-12-2011, 10:00   #284
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Re: OMG ! Clawing Off a Lee Shore in a Gale !

Originally Posted by Hogan View Post


What were you doing near a lee shore under such conditions?

Front passage in N Cal. Wind veers thru 180 and blows 40 knots within 1 hour or so. What was a paradise anchorage turns into a hellish cauldron.

The bay to narrow to claw off under sail.

Start the engine, grind your teeth every time the boat slams into a short steep wave. Check if the mast is still there. Grind your teeth, keep on going ;-(

Surprisingly I do not think the motor has to be that big - you will not be powering at full throttle into any serious seas. Our rusty trusty is 12 hp the boat is 4.000 kg. To power upwind we will use perhaps 1, max 2 hp per 1000 kg. Inboard better than an outboard too.

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Old 06-12-2011, 10:30   #285
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Re: OMG ! Clawing Off a Lee Shore in a Gale !

"As people getting kidnapped in Baja discos by El chupacabra, then waking up in a motel 6 bathtub full of ice missing a kidney with a note taped thier foreheads..."

list your sources for this tripe. you need to stop reading the fiction books quite so much.

any passage in west coast can end up being that which you may not wish to endure--- just have common sense and plan correctly and get thru it.

the fiction is is entertaining, although becoming boring. smooth sailing. when finally launch your 20 ft flicka, please do post trip reports about your clawing off the lee shores of the west coast.

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