One summer I had sailed down to San Diego and was now heading back to Marina del Rey. It was while crossing from Newport Beach and up through the San Pedro channel that I had my hardest battles with the sea.
For one the winds were really cooking at beginning speeds of 15 knots. These rapidly changed into gusts to 20 knots and up. One can tell by the development of whitecaps on the waves. It was during this time that, though the waves were yet small, they were nonetheless still very powerful and had a very aggressive nature about them.
I can remember standing in the cockpit resting my arms on the top hatch and feeling the pounding the boat and I were getting! The boat would go down and then up and smash into a forceful wave. The wind too was trying to battle us into the lee shores of San Pedro. Of course the waves were not winning, but with the giant force of the pressure on the sails – and ultimately the shrouds (metal cables that hold up the mast), all the wind and waves had to do was send my mast crashing down for their victory. So I watched and nursed the sails (by moving the tiller of the boat) in and out of the gigantic loads of pressure.
Finally I had to make the decision to stop the boat, head it into the wind and get a smaller jib sail up (that would cause less strain on the boat). This helped, but as the gusts increased in velocity even this sail had trouble later on. As I watched the sails pulling down the boat lee rail near the rushing white ocean water, I had to trust God that the boat could handle the strain and just try to relax a little.
Often I would pop down into the cabin to get some lightly salted peanuts to munch on or some Gatorade to drink and refresh my mouth a little. Finally, afer quite a fight, the sea and the wind leveled out and things got back to normal.
At this time I thought I would be able to get to Marina Del Rey by morning but was I wrong! Feel free to com
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