BAJAHAHA 2021 - Diane Berol aboard SV Celtic Song
Sailing Vessel Celtic Song, Pacific Seacraft 40, left Nov.1, 2021 in the windiest BajaHaHa in 27 years. On Leg 1 from San Diego to Turtle Bay (2 days and 2 nights). We sailed with a double reefed main which allowed for consistent boat speeds of 6 - 7 knots, occasionally surfing down 10’ seas at speeds up to 10.8 k. Wheeeee, it was FUN! Wind speeds on the first two legs were steadily in the 20+K range, gusts up to 30K. Fortunately boat and crew were prepared!
The second leg, from Turtle Bay to Bahia Santa Maria were sailed with Genoa only or reefed Genoa. At night the wind picked up to 28 knots. Below it felt like we were torpedoing through the water. Wind was from behind so we were constantly on alert for an accidental gybe, and in these conditions it would be disastrous. There were accidental gybes in the fleet and it resulted in gear being ripped off the deck. I consistently thanked the Sea Gods for delivering us intact with all body and boat parts.
We had 4 souls on board and maintained a 2 hour watch rotation. This allowed plenty of rest and sleep. Sharon, Cheryl and Francis had spent many hours in previous training and knew each other and the boat systems. All systems on board were used and worked.
Celtic Song’s systems include: Spectra watermaker, solar panels, diesel generator, Raymarine electronics and Coastal explorer Chartplotter, Autohelm Autopilot ( a lifesaver), Iridium Glow Satphone which allowed us to download Predictwind weather forecasts, AIS, Ham and Single- side band radio, and our super strong and reliable Lighthouse Windlass, Cool Blue fridge and freezer, Winslow life raft and EPIRB.
At night we wore a harness and type 3 PFD and were tethered to High Jacklines. Preparation and training resulted in smooth sailing and NOT a lot of work.
Twenty miles N. of Cabo at 9pm a distress call came over our VHF. It was SV Tabu who was dead in the water because of a broken rudder. The wind had died but the seas were large and confused. It was very uncomfortable for them being uncontrollably tossed around. We were the closest vessel and came to their assistance. After 2 hours and 3 attempts we secured a tow line to them. We pointed our bow South toward Cabo and gently accelerated. Unfortunately our 56HP Yanmar was not capable of towing a 44’ , 15Ton vessel with a broken rudder. We called a PANPAN distress and hailed the Mexican Navy who came to their assistance. Celtic Song was given the “Good Samaritan” Award!
This is Celtic Song’s first leg of cruising. Plans are to explore the many remote, pristine anchorages of the islands in the Sea of Cortez and snorkel in the tropical warm waters before sailing across to French Polynesia. The journey is planned to be slow so we can savor the many experiences cruising has to offer. I believe it wise to pick your goals wisely because it determines your day to day experiences. The goals and the journey are our lives.
One of my favorite poems:
On an ancient wall in China, where the brooding Buddha blinks Deeply graven is the message; it is later than you think
The clock of life is wound but once and no man has the power To tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour
Now is all the time you own, the past a golden link
Go cruising now my brother it is later than you think. ~