Day 7 to Cape Horn - with a definite diversion to SF...

Sunday 28th October 2012

Wind at around a pleasant 15kt all today and no fog from early morning until nightfall, when it came down again for a time. Seas have been calmer and we're sailing along nicely - with a bit of current help this afternoon, I think. Tonight, the near-full moon is lighting up the boat through thin hazy cloud,so letting out reefs just now didn't require my headlamp. The wind is slowly easing - down to 12 kt now (near midnight), so despite more sail we're only making just over 4 knots SOG - I think the current is also against us at the moment...  

The occasional ship comes near - but nothing to worry about unduly... I feel sure that transmitting on AIS helps avoidance and the need to talk on VHF to them.  

We're now off the California coast, running about 160 ml off, in between Capes Blanco to the NE and Mendocino to SE. The area closer in has a bad reputation for stormy weather and disturbed seas, with the wind being accelerated and funnelled by the two high ridges at the ends of which lie the two Capes.  

Have been looking at San Francisco tides and also options for mooring, preferably to a buoy, while my liferaft is fixed. Some friends have offered help, if needed, and LaDonna Buback, of 'Latitude 38', has offered the use of their 'photoboat' to bring the replacement raft to me, which is great news since that overcomes a major problem. I still need to organize the raft itself - early Monday, I'll try to do that, with an email to 'Sal's Inflatables' of Alameda, in the meantime.  

DMG to 2300GMT(1600PDT): 127 n.ml. Strait of Juan de Fuca: 437 n.ml; San Francisco: 324 n.ml  

ETA Wed if light wind doesn't last for too long - stronger wind is not likely to arrive until late tomorrow ... otherwise ETAwill be Thursday. The strong flood in through the Golden Gate entrance to San Francisco Bay lasts over six hours, with maximum around noon and midnight just now. With the ebb running at over 4 knots, it's vital to get the timing right for entry. If necessary, I might have to anchor nearby to wait for the flood to start before attempting to sail in - I don't fancy a night entry followed by trying to pick up a buoy at night... Possibly OK if clear and a full moon but not if raining and sky overcast...