The weather file I downloaded on my borrowed Iridum Go! forecast clear skies, with 2 to 3 knots of breeze last night and sunny conditions with a 2- to 3-knot northwesterly for today. For the most part that was accurate, but as the hours rolled along here aboard Meriweather, and we ticked off the miles sailing south along the west coast of Baja, no brief summary could captures the exquisite variations that came our way.
Day Two of the Baja Ha-Ha began with our Seawind 1190 motoring along on glassy seas. All the first night and second morning, we ran first the port outboard for a couple of hours and then switched to the starboard one to keep their hour meters balanced. The auto pilot did the work, while our crew of four read, napped, cooked and did everything else but what we came to do: Sail.
Then yesterday at 1430, sitting in the saloon with the aft door into the cockpit wide open, we felt the breeze: 7 knots, 7.6 knots. Time for the kite. Minutes later the engines were silent, the port spin sheet was winched tight and we were rolling with the swells, the speedo over the ground matching the wind speed. Better yet, the persistent cloud layer receded west and the sun came out to play.
It was a glorious afternoon, followed by a picture-perfect yellow, gold and red sunset. On the horizon we spotted the sails of a handful of other Ha-Has, but this corner of the Pacific was pretty much ours, and would stay that way all the moon-splashed night.
By 2100, the breeze was back in the low single digits and we were back to alternating outboards, but still putting miles in the bank, headed for Turtle Bay, the first landfall for this year’s fleet of 150 southbound cruisers.
My 0700 watch began with glassy seas. As the three of us who were up sipped coffee, we spied a fish leaping out of the water to starboard. Seconds later, the bungee cord tied to our fishing line was stretched tight by a perky dorado on the other end. It took just thislong to bring the colorful fellow aboard, and just a little longer to have lunch packed into a plastic tub in the fridge.
By mid morning, Cedros Island, the largest on the west coast of Baja, appeared, with its three towering peaks — the tallest soars 3,950 feet — shrouded in clouds that spilled down to the sea. Ahead, a contrary southeast breeze kicked up waves, and we responded by rolling out the jib and enjoying an hour or so of fine sailing before glassy conditions returned.
A lot happens over the course of 24 hours on a boat going somewhere. In the case of Meriweather, so far, it’s all been good.
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