Summer Sailstice at Pelican’s Bay began Friday morning with 2 dads, Scott Burns & Steve Carlson in the Benchmark, along with wife Lisa, leaving at 8am & arriving at 12:30pm. Joining the Catalina 30 Benchmark were fathers Tom, Paul and Gary on Destiny, 31’ Beneteau. It was an uneventful motor across a calm Santa Barbara Channel to Pelican’s where Destiny and Benchmark anchored on the east side, near the makeshift landing of the old hotel, away from the 11 (which swelled to 14) yachts, a mixture of sailboats & motor cruisers. In a twist of fate, this proximity became important on Saturday. Gloomy skies cleared and the crews of both boats took their respective dinghies to Little Pelican’s, where we walked the Nature Conservancy’s trail to amazing vistas of both Pelican’s and Prisoner’s Bays.
Scott made friends during kayak visits to other boats anchored and by Friday evening, a social-distanced gathering spontaneously developed as people lashed their dinghies together to form a flotilla, passing wine, beers and going boat to boat hailing crews to join up with their preferred libations.
Saturday morning began with intentions to relax or exercise when the Destiny discovered that the diesel would not start. The day progressed with Tom making a neighborly visit inquiring if Benchmark had a battery charger on board. Score one for the Power Squadron, Scott had a battery charger. Tom exchanged a bottle of wine and took it over to the Destiny. However, their battery would not take a charge. Scott took Benchmark’s second battery over to Destiny, but the engine would not turn over. The problem was not the battery, but what to do? Scott having had a prior experience, remembered how Dennis Johns towed the Benchmark back, and offered to return the favor for Tom. A plan was made for an early departure on Sunday, with the Benchmark towing Destiny back to Marina 3, where both boats had berths.
Early Father’s Day Scott prepared two ropes so that the Destiny would be evenly pulled from the bow on port & starboard, as Dennis did with Benchmark. A neighboring fishing boat kept a watchful eye as the sailboats moved, circled around, pulling up first their stern, then their bow lines, and then connected lines from Benchmark’s stern to Destiny’s bow. Soon Benchmark started the trip, and with calm seas, light winds and only one southbound freighter to be concerned with, the crossing was made. Decisions to try to sail across the channel were abandoned with light winds, so Benchmark towed the Destiny home, finally moving cautiously through the harbor channel, with Destiny throwing off the tow lines after Marina 4. The wind then picked up and they were dead in the water for a few seconds, drifting over to Marina 4. The crew secured the boat and waited a few minutes for the Harbor Patrol to take them to their slip on Marina 3.
Footnote: The ground cable to the motor had gotten loose, and it took 20 seconds to tighten, once it was noticed back at the slip.