We were just
rounding the point at Cape Mendocino, in northern California, notorious for
big winds and big waves. We were being
tossed around by high wind and huge (to us) waves. The traveler had
exploded, the radar mount was working back and forth over the starboard
backstay. We worried that the backstay would fail and bring the down the
mast. We were all in foul weather gear, with our life jackets on,
our safety harnesses on and strapped to jack lines, which were strapped to the
boat. I secretly thought that the motion was extreme enough that someone
might fall overboard, which was impossible, because I wouldn't let
anyone leave the cockpit.
We could see a fishing boat, about the same
size as Soul Catcher, a little ways away from us. She was pitching and rolling
dramatically in the waves. At a certain moment, a man came out of the pilot
house. He was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. He walked casually
forward, sat on the fish hold, calmly lit a cigarette, and opened what looked
like a cold beer. His boat was still pitching violently from our
perspective. He sat causally smoking and drinking, looking over at
us, dressed in all our safety gear, tied to our boat with harnesses and
jacklines. He smiled at us, we smiled at him.
We felt quite sheepish, us newbies.
||The Coast Guard boat guided us limping over the bar into Noyo River, scared and
broken. We could hear someone announce to their home
base: "Coast Guard vessel is safely over the bar".
And a few minutes later, "Soul Catcher is safely over the
bar". We were very relieved. The entry is between those two concrete piers...
|The broken traveler, lashed on temporarily.
Noyo River is a fish boat town and they don't have many sailboat parts.
We weren't able to replace the traveler until we got to San Francisco, so
we had to sail with a double or triple reefed main until then.
||This is the fix for the radar
backstay was working back and forth alarmingly and needed a stabilizer.
Chris Van Pelt, who has a welding/boat building shop just up the road from
the marina, showed up an hour after George called him. He listened to
the problem, took a look and came back to the boat with the bracket almost
ready to install. A little more adjustment and he was done. The backstay hasn't
moved since. A very elegant fix.
|The Noyes Harbor Marina was full, and we
finally found a rather precarious mooring at Carine's Restaurant. We had some nice
moments with Mama Carine and truly amazing hamburgers, hamburgers to dream
||Crossing the Bar at Noyo River,
going out. Somehow it looks even narrower from this side. We
went right out into short choppy seas that made us immediately seasick. We
are bound for San Francisco.