The old adage, "Don't mess with Mother Nature" is holding true. And what a bitch she was! Ben left Santa Cruz Wednesday morning with Half Moon Bay as his destination. He soon discovered it wasn't the best weather window to attempt the trip. The following is his texted weather report:
"20 knots n swells the size of a house. Actually they were only 4 - 6 feet, but square so u run into them like a parking curb."
Funny guy, eh? Add in some fog and you know Mother Nature was feeling quite vivacious. While the boat performed well, Captain Ben thought it best to not push her too hard.
Perhaps his experience of living with a woman helped in this decision. Those times when I just can't help but be a bitch (hormonal?....nah!), Ben has wisely utilized the same strategy. Retreat, batten down the hatches and emerge when the storm has passed because there's no way you're going win this one (although offering up chocolate and red wine will at times tame the beast).
So observing that Mother Nature was prevailing, he turned back after getting halfway (6 hours) and returned to Santa Cruz. He tossed the anchor overboard and got some zzzzz's. At 2:00 this morning, he headed out to find much better weather and was making 5 knots. Although he reported the fog was so incredibly thick, there was a fishing boat within a 1/2 mile of him and he never saw it. He watched it on the radar the whole time, but never observed it with his own eyes. Wow! Estimated arrival for Half Moon Bay is approximately 4:00 pm today.
As I've learned from hanging with a sailor, when sailing up the coast of California, it is commonly called a "Bash". Winds, tides, etc, are all against you and many people choose to put their boat on a truck and get it to Northern California that way. However, as Ben posted before, he wanted to do this trip to see how the boat handled, get to know her and see how she sailed under rough conditions. Kinda of like our first date....but that's another story, for another time.
So for those of you who are at your computer biting your nails, sending up prayers to your chosen God for the Doolittles (or if you are an atheist, but are so overcome with worry that you sent one just in case)......take heart.....this is a tough trip Ben is doing right now. The ride back down the coast should be much more enjoyable! Ah, crap, did I just jinx myself?? I'll make sure to bring red wine and chocolate to satiate Mother Nature.