Ron Slocum, S/V Bobcat
We left the harbor early Friday morning, with the typical forecast of light winds becoming W 10-15 in the afternoon. We ended up motor sailing the entire way, as the forecast winds never materialized. The seas were fairly sloppy, and it was uneventful except for a good number of dolphins escorting Bobcat.
On Sunday the return to SB was quite different. We left the PCYC dock at 0730 and motor sailed for a couple of hours, then the wind freshened to nearly 20 kts. We cut the engine and unfurled the jib and were glad we had a deep reef in the main. Amazingly were able to point high enough to make SB on one tack. We furled the jib outside the harbor at 1330, a record time for us. Although the sailing was nice, the seas were very sloppy the entire way back. Vicki’s comment: “It was a 3 Dramamine day!”.
Rich Ciolino, S/V Ecco Bella
S/V Ecco Bella departed its slip on Friday morning at 11:30 and was under sail outside Santa Barbara Harbor by 11:45. Rich and Peggy Ciolino had Tom Koch on board for the trip to PCYC. Tom’s wife Betty would drive down on Saturday to join the weekend activities. We raised the staysail at around noon to take full advantage of the nice 8 or 9 knot westerly breeze and were making 2.5 to 5 kts on a starboard tack. Having experienced the bumpy afternoon seas around the Channel Islands harbor before we did not want to get too close to shore with the waves and swells on our beam so chose a course that would take us on a southerly course to platform Gilda located about 12 nm due west of Channel Islands. At around that location we’d turn to port for a nice “downwind” run into Channel Islands Harbor with the seas on our stern quarter. The wind picked up to the 15 kt range at about 14:00 moving us along at a steady 6+ kts with bigger waves and swells. Peggy fixed us a nice lunch at 13:00 and she later said that she was glad to not have to be down below after the winds and seas picked up. Shortly after passing by Gilda we furled the staysail and chicken jibed to get on a nice port reach, with the wind about 20 degrees off our stern to sail toward the harbor. After arriving near the harbor entrance, we turned on the engine and swung around into the wind to furl the sails. We had a bit of excitement after the sails were doused and turned back toward the harbor in that we got abeam of a big enough swell that slid Tom from the starboard side to the port side of the cockpit where I was standing, and Peggy slid to port as well but hung on to the wheel. Down below some fruit flew out of its bowl, and pillows and the like crashed onto the cabin floor. Swells, even seemingly small ones (perhaps 4 feet in mixed short seas, can do that if they get you on the beam. Oh well, next time we’ll time the turn better. The motor-sail into the harbor and to PCYC was uneventful and we met Ron Slocum and John Bridgwater at the dock to take our lines at about 18:30.
We followed the same basic track when we left PCYC at 09:00 on Sunday morning. That is, we motored straight “west” to platform Gilda where we could turn toward Santa Barbara and sail the rest of the way. At this time of day the wind and swells begin building and it gets a bit bumpy after an hour or so but at least the seas and wind are pretty much on the bow so one can make it comfortable enough. We turned to starboard to a course of about 320 degrees magnetic at 12:00 for the roughly 17 nm port tack run to Santa Barbara. We arrived at the Santa Barbara red/white safe water buoy at 14:30 and proceeded to douse the sails, when we had a bit of a mishap. I do this sometimes instead of turning into the wind if its blowing hard and we turned downwind so as to have the mainsail block the wind on the jib for furling. However, the boat went a bit too far around and we jibed putting the 15 kt wind on a loose jib. The sail flew forward and around to the port side pulling the starboard jib sheet with it in the water and out in the front of the boat. Since we were moving under sail (motor was on but not in gear yet) we ran right over the jib sheet and it got pulled very tight under the hull. Once I realized what had happened I was able go forward and pull the jib sheet around the bow and get the sail furled. Our jib sheet now has a long streak of green bottom paint on it. We were secure in our slip by 15:30. We all really enjoyed the roughly nine hours of sailing for the two days on the water which made the trip a sailor’s joy.
Dennis Johns, S/V Libertad
In addressing the dinner crowd at PCYC, I mentioned the “incident” that occurred earlier that day out at Santa Cruz Island. I was surprised to find that the scuttlebutt hadn’t completely circulated and many attendees wanted details. Rather than tell the tale multiple times I decided the Signal Hoist was the best media for disclosure.
By 18:30 on Friday, July 13 there were three squadron boats anchored in Yellow Banks. Each of us was parallel to the beach and parallel with each other about 50 yards separating each boat. S/V Benchmark was nestled between S/V Quiddity and S/V Libertad which was furthest from the shore. A gentle breeze kept all our bows pointed SW.
All boaters descended on S/V Libertad for appetizers and dinner. The evening wrapped up about 21:00 and as everyone departed for their vessels, we noticed that the wind had increased slightly but still from the same direction and all of us appeared to be in exactly the same position.
At 02:30, Virginia and I were awakened by Scott on S/V Benchmark hailing us to help with fending S/V Libertad off his boat. We quickly fended S/V Libertad off and were soon at safe enough distance to try to analyze what had happened. S/V Libertad and S/V Benchmark were now pointing NE but the wind was still blowing from the SW. The rode of both boats was running from the bow directly underneath the hull. We learned from Scott that we had T-boned S/V Benchmark and that impact had awakened him –we felt nothing.
We concluded that we must have dragged but why we had T-boned S/V Benchmark was still unclear. We should have dragged in the direction of the wind which would have taken us to the SE, downwind and away from Scott’s boat. We decided it would be best to re-anchor some distance from S/V Benchmark. After several attempts, we found the bottom too rocky and after hauling up a ball of seaweed, we decided to relocate to Smuggler’s. After one attempt we were not only hooked but we were again pointed into the wind and stayed that way for the rest of the night (anchor watches initiated for the rest of the night).
Later that morning, Scott arrived in his dinghy and we learned that S/V Libertad had bent one of his stanchions and stripped the cover off his lifeline, fortunately damage not too severe. We also learned that he began to stand anchor watch and discovered S/V Benchmark dragging and he re-anchored about 03:30.
We can only assume that there was some kind of current causing the boats in Yellow Banks to point opposite to the wind that was not affecting boats in Smugglers. Perhaps a combination of the wind at the stern and the current at the bow caused S/V Libertad to “sail” at anchor more than usual and swing a wide enough arc to impact S/V Benchmark. Why we dragged when we were hooked well enough for several hours and no change in the direction of the wind is still a mystery. Perhaps we found a patch of sand that was only covering a rocky bottom and once the anchor bottomed out to the rocks, it started to drag when the wind increased.
Another adventure to note in the log. If we ever anchor in Yellow Banks again we’ll be a lot more careful to give several long pulls to be sure the hook is really set well.
We were able to sail most of the way to Yellowbanks and to PCYC – so enjoyable. Joining us on this cruise were Eric Petersen and Kristine Locke, very companionable and capable crew who got the FULL cruising experience.
Scott Burns, S/V Benchmark
Benchmark left Santa Barbara harbor about 08:30 Friday morning and had an uneventful trip to Yellowbanks. Our friend Steve Carlson joined my wife Lisa and me aboard. That afternoon we jumped in the water to check on the anchor and had a refreshing swim; Steve swam ashore. We enjoyed a nice dinner on Libertad. The high point was about 7 am Saturday morning when a skipper from Ventura came by, and borrowed our Jump-Starter. About 15 minutes later he came back having started his motor. As a thank you gift he gave us a 12 pack of Miller Lite beer. We had two beers at lunch as we motored around the south side of Anacapa Island. I took the rest of the beer to the PCYC doc party. We still have 9 Miller Lites left. Any takers?”
Steve Young, JN, S/V Quiddity
I was soloing on Quiddity (my Hunter 33 sailing vessel) to PCYC for the club dinner. I decided to leave in the afternoon so as to get the wind and not to have to motor unnecessarily, and had a gorgeous sail (15 to 25 knots of wind all the way) to Yellowbanks on Santa Cruz Island. I met with the Johns and Burns at Yellowbanks and enjoyed a great social pot-luck dinner and evening on Libertad.
My anchor didn’t set properly on my first attempt, so Dennis, who had arrived earlier and was cruising around in his dingy, offered to come aboard and help. Second attempt didn’t work either, but Dennis helped me get Quiddity firmly set on the third attempt. It resisted me going into full reverse. (I hope you’re reading this AFTER reading Libertad’s and Benchmark’s experience elsewhere in this Signal Hoist! I was anchored just downwind of the Johns’ and Burns’ boats). Dennis may not have been too happy with his anchoring of Libertad, but his skill saved Quiddity’s bacon!
I went to bed and slept like a baby through all the kerfuffle that Dennis describes in his article – unaware of the drama occurring 50 yards upwind of me. I woke up late on Saturday morning, and saw Libertad and Benchmark both gone. I assumed they had set off early for Oxnard and didn’t know that they had both moved in the middle of the night to better anchoring grounds.
I had a leisurely breakfast and left around noon – again purposefully wanting to travel with good wind. I was rewarded with a beautiful sail to PCYC at Channel Islands Harbor, arriving just in time to meet Bobby who had driven up from Santa Barbara. I was very surprised to find both Benchmark and Libertad arriving within a few minutes of me. Libertad was coming from Smugglers and I from Yellowbanks. I think we both left at about the same time, but hadn’t seen each other. Benchmark had left much earlier but went south of Anacapa Island, and had to motor a lot.
The PCYC dinner was great, and I slept on Quiddity and was the last to leave for home on Sunday. I had to motor for the first 90 minutes, then close-hauled all the way home. Great sail – even if a little too much heeling.
Approaching Santa Barbara I suddenly noticed that my dingy (which had been deflated and securely (I thought) tied down on the foredeck) was no longer there. I was devastated because it was fairly new and expensive. Waves and heeling had obviously swept it away, but I did not know where or when. The next morning, dejected, and still plucking up enough courage to tell Bobby, I got a call from the San Buenaventura State Beach ranger saying it had washed up on their beach – its chambers full of water!
What a weekend of great sailing, and not so great incidents. I bet Dennis $20 that my dingy screw-up would beat his anchoring problem for the Boner award at the next awards dinner.
Oh, and by the way, my windless didn’t work either!