As promised my bad trip story
I made the trip in three different sailboats (Shock 25, Endeavor 32 and Yorktown 33) once, twice a month over twelve years out of Dana Point
and then San Pedro. After living aboard
the Yorktown for four years I joined the dark side with a Wooden GB 32 trawler
, making the crossing as often as twice a month.
New hot girlfriend, not a boater, I was out to impress - and hoping to get past third base over a romantic weekend on the island. There was a Santa Ana blowing in the harbor. The sky was crystal clear. I did not check the weather
. Beautiful moon.
We get about 300 feet out of Angels Gate and we're looking at 20' long period rolling swells with a 6 to 8 foot wind
wave going a different direction. Two miles out and I'm climbing mountains, one sweep of the radar
is good, down into the trough a solid return all the way around. I don't turn around. Another 30 minutes and the green water
over the windshield on the crests is 25, 30 seconds. And then i hear the bilge pump
I make a full throttle, terrifying turn around inside of one swell. We roll over so far the floorboards come out of the floor. It is the closest I ever come to dying on a boat
- so far anyway...
The following seas were much less terrifying, when we got back into the harbor I was very relieved. I learned later that conditions were so rough they turned boats away from two harbor and forced them to go around to the backside.
Late the next morning we make a relatively uneventful crossing. After we picked up a mooring
, I pulled the dingy off the swimstep, the outboard
was on a bracket up on the flybridge, I pulled that down, attached it to the transom... and it wouldn't start.
I open the gas cap. The tank is full of seawater. We were taking so much water
over the bow that it forced its way into the tiny pinhole in the top of the tank until it was full. It was at that point that I literally shook from fear as it all hit me at once.
The moral of this story is that if the Santa Ana's are blowing, don't go. Check the weather. If you have doubts turn around. Impressing a member
of the opposite sex isn't worth your life....
Thanksgiving and Christmas
are great weekends to go
You must visit cat harbor on the backside, you do not need a mooring
there it is an amazing natural harbor
Iron Bound Bay is not good for overnight but a really cool day anchorage. Not much room there so try early.
The perfect long weekend is leave about noon and head
to Two Harbor, leisurely sail around west end, second night in cat harbor, a long sail around the backside, third night in Avalon
party on shore and head
back the next day.