We were lucky this past Saturday with the weather. It’s been a rainy stormy winter here in Southern California, but for once we had great sailing conditions. It was one of those slightly chilly but clear days with big white billowing cloud formations. The forecast was for 10-15 knot westerlies with sun and light chop, and we were in for some fun.
On these daysails out of Marina Del Rey we normally take the 32′ Beneteau 323 named SeaYa and Saturday was no different. While getting to the slip the Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club was having their opening day celebration, and we caught a glimpse of the festivities. It was a sea of blue blazers and boat shoes. This would be the opening day of the season and we were thankful that today our sail hadn’t been cancelled due to rain.
Sailing Towards Malibu
After setting the mainsail we made our exit from the North entrance and headed up towards the Malibu pier close hauled. With the jib unfurled we were making 4 knots and decided to play with the mainsail a bit. We discovered that by easing the outhaul we were able to make another 0.25 knot. We normally have the main outhaul super tight but easing it seemed to help give the sail a bit more draft and we gained speed. The wind and our leeway was pushing us towards Will Roger’s Beach in Pacific Palisades, and when we reached the Castellammare area at the foot of Sunset Blvd we tacked and headed towards the Palos Verdes Point.
This Beneteau 323 SeaYa is pretty lightweight and with about 14 knots of apparent wind, by 12:30 we were heeling over pretty far with the rail almost in the water. Things were getting uncomforable so we reefed the jib to about 50% and put in the first reef of the mainsail. SeaYa has a larger than usual jib so this helped us get things to be much more comfortable, but we were still making better than 5 knots at times. It seems this boat should be reefed with the wind at about 15 knots apparent.
Sailing Around an Oil Tanker
On our way towards Palos Verdes we passed an oil tanker called Hellespont Progress (GB). I really love sailing around these things when they’re at anchor and at a safe distance of course! It looked pretty deserted except for a couple of guys leaning over the rail. It’s hard to show the height and size of these in a photo, but they’re huge!
On our way home we were on a broad reach and it started getting pretty choppy. the swell coming in from the west was a constant reminder how small and light we were. We sailed past the ES2 buoy at about 15:00 and it was starting to blow harder. If we’d still been out we likely would have needed the second reef. But once in the harbor things calmed down rapidly and by 16:00 we were back at the slip.
What a great day on the water! Another storm may be coming through this week, so I’m really grateful we had nice enough weather to get out and do some sailing. Looking forward to the Spring and Summer seasons ahead!