We recently helped our friends for a leg of their extended open-ended retirement voyage on their Passport 40. They started in Port Townsend, with the goal of their first leg being San Francisco. This was the first week of September, and there was abnormally disturbed weather along the coast, so their trip was broken into many segments due to weather.
What’s the old saying? Never sail on a schedule. With their existing crew having to head home for other obligations, we got the call to join them on one of the legs, which ended up being from Newport, OR to Crescent City, CA (about 193 NM).
We departed Newport, OR and crossed the bar around 0700. The bar was restricted, and conditions were fairly steep. The Coast Guard was turning smaller boats back.
The forecast was for a 12-15 knot northwesterly (which is typical that time of year). As with much of their journey down the coast, the weather was not always cooperating. Instead of a northwesterly, which would have been perfect for sailing, we had a southwesterly on the nose, so we ended up motor sailing for much of the day.
There was still a large swell from the recent hurricane activity out in the Pacific, and it was on aft starboard quarter. With the mainsail up motor sailing, the boat action was rocky, but not too bad due to the stabilizing effects of the wind on the sail. However, around 1400 the wind died completely, leaving us bobbing back and forth with the sail slatting. With every roll “BOOM” the mainsail would explode with air. We decided to drop all sail completely so as not to damage the sail. So, we set up a watch schedule and settled into a night of motoring with a swell on the aft quarter.
After my early evening watch and some dinner, I tried to get some sleep in my bunk. Good thing for the lee cloths. Every time a swell would catch the boat, I’d get thrown back and forth. To help out, I also wedged myself against the hull with some pillows.
I awoke for my 0200 – 0800 watch, put on my foulies, made some coffee, and grabbed some snacks. The swell had calmed down a bit, and the clear sky revealed lots of stars. The watch flew by, and soon the sun was rising.
Around Saint George Reef Light, we saw several whales.
Pretty soon, we were approaching Crescent City. It was amazing how blue the water was. The wind and waves had picked up, and we’d pick up a few knots going down each wave.
It was blowing about 15 in the marina, but we found a spot. We spent a couple of days in Crescent City before having to hitch a ride back home.
-over and out-