The SBSPS 2018 Cruise to Catalina was a lot of fun! We had three boats participating – S/V Ecco Bella with Rich and Peggy Ciolino, S/V Peregrine with Eleanor and Steve York, and M/V Mariposa with Mark and Ellie Cooper. Dennis and Virginia Johns had planned to join as well but since our departure was delayed until August 8th (see below), they dropped out as they had a narrow window to go and return by Sunday August 12th.
Our original plan was to leave on Tuesday August 7th and overnight at PCYC continuing to Two Harbors on Wednesday. However Dennis was keeping a close eye on weather and particularly the winds. He noticed that wind predictions were showing an unusual SE wind in the channel for Wednesday. This meant we would be heading directly into the wind on the (normally) downwind leg from PCYC to Two Harbors. We opted to leave Wednesday so that on Thursday we would have more favorable winds when they shifted back to their normal W/SW pattern.
On the trip to PCYC, S/V Peregrine’s autopilot wouldn’t function so we hand steered the whole way. Once we arrived at PCYC both Rich and Mark who are engineers jumped right into solving the problem. They quickly diagnosed a loose connection at the plug and fixed it in no time. What a relief to know it would be working for the rest of the trip! They were rewarded for their efforts with unlimited cocktails that evening!
We spent Wednesday night at PCYC enjoying their usual great hospitality as well as cocktails and dinner on the bar patio. Hot showers were also enjoyable.
Thursday morning we got under way just after 6am for the long 55 mile run to Two Harbors. The weather was hazy but it burned off by late morning and the winds came up around noon. Once we crossed the shipping lanes M/V Mariposa and S/V Ecco Bella both put the pedal to the metal as S/V Peregrine was towing their dinghy and only making around 5-5.5 knots. They both arrived a couple of hours ahead of Peregrine but we all had a smooth crossing. By 6pm S/V Peregrine was on its mooring too.
Though we’ve made this trip on our own a number of times, it was great to buddy boat with others especially since both M/V Mariposa and S/V Ecco Bella have radar. We stayed in constant touch on CH71. This was especially useful as we crossed the shipping lanes on Thursday in the haze. It was also nice to have boat to boat conversations to break up the long trip.
While at Two Harbors we were joined by our son, daughter in law, and two granddaughters ages 8 and 11 plus their dog. They drove to San Pedro and took the ferry to Two Harbors. We all enjoyed lots of water activities including swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and lots of beach time. We also took one day and went to Avalon for the day. Avalon is always busy during the summer but the day we went, a large cruise ship was there adding another couple of thousand shore visitors. After Two Harbors, it felt like midtown Manhattan. It was fun to be there but it was very nice to get back to the peace and quiet of Two Harbors.
One night Mark and Ellie invited all of us including grandkids to dinner on M/V Mariposa. While we were having cocktails on the deck just before sunset we watched this large Catalina sailboat try to pick up a nearby mooring. This counts as “reality TV” for Two Harbors! They made at least 5 passes at the mooring before the finally snagged the bow. Then they didn’t seem to know they had to use the sand line to attach the stern so they started swinging on the bow – oops! They finally let go the bow and called the harbor patrol for assistance, who eventually got them secured.
Next 6 folks in the cockpit of the Catalina watched as Dad launched the dinghy so they could all go to shore. The dinghy engine started and then quit. Of course the dinghy was no longer attached to the boat so it started drifting out of the harbor pushed by the evening breezes away from the island. We watched as the engine sputtered to life several times only to cough and die. The family in the cockpit were just watching and not calling the harbor patrol for help. Finally my son and granddaughter hopped in our dinghy and sped out to get him. By the time they got there he was at least a mile away and powerless. They performed a great rescue at sea and took him in tow back to his family who was quite appreciative to get their Dad back!
Both the Ciolinos and the Coopers were great hosts hosting pot luck dinners several evenings. The Coopers also generously offered their mothership amenities including paddle boards and even movies with popcorn.
The Coopers on M/V Mariposa and Ciolinos on S/V Ecco Bella each stayed about a week enjoying the Island, its beauty and peace and quiet. Our family went home on the ferry after a week. We then brought Peregrine back to Santa Barbara via PCYC taking two days to make the voyage. The weather wind and sea conditions couldn’t have been better this year on the return trip in contrast to conditions we’ve had on some of earlier trips. It was a great end to our summer.