Last Saturday before father’s day, I sailed Freedom Too, the club’s Catalina 27, across the channel to Santa Cruz island for the day. We got a fairly early start at 7:00AM just so we would have enough time to hang out on the island, I completely forgot to bring my digital camera. I will insert some reference photos from another day for the sake of this post. Just bear with me here…
At the docks in Channel Islands Harbor.
Freedom Too, a slightly aged but nicely rigged Catalina 27
It was overcast and gloomy pretty much the whole morning there but we had about a 5-mile visibility so we felt pretty save crossing the channel. We only saw one tanker in the southbound lane on the way there and it was really booking along…
My first mate was my friend Bill who lives just a couple of houses down from me. We had been talking about getting out to the islands to do some surfing for awhile. Although we considered taking our boards, as Bill had not been there to the islands and it was kind of a last minute call, we left the surfboards in the car. The other option for a day sail was to Malibu but we decided that it was kind of silly to take the slow train to a busy surf spot. Bill had sailed with me a month or so ago on a day sail to Ventura harbor so he had some experience on the same boat. Since the autopilot mount was broken on the boat, we had to hand steer the entire way across the channel.
Broken autopilot mount… Bummer.
The crossing was pretty good with one starboard tack the entire way there. As we were motor sailing across, we consistently hit 7 knots on a beam/close reach. There must have been some dolphin party going on in Santa Barbara because we probably saw over 500 of them swimming north up the channel. They just kept coming and some hung around with us and played in our wake for a little while.
When we starting to get the islands in view, we changed out heading a little to go towards Smuggler’s Cove at Santa Cruz island. For some reason, the marine layer opened up right at the cove and it was sunny as warm as can be when we pulled up to anchor. There were about a dozen other boats there and we tucked in in between a couple of sailboats and tossed in the danforth and set anchor about 150-200 yards from shore. We did not have a shore boat/dinghy so now we had a dilemma. We wanted to get on land to do a little hiking but that means we would have to get to shore with shoes. As we didn’t have wet suits either we decided to just jump in with out shorts and shoes as gloves and swim to shore. The sun definitely helped us to warm up and the water was not terribly cold. as least once we were numb from the temperature we were able to bear it without feeling hypothermic.
It felt longer than it probably actually was for us to get to shore but when we did, we were glad to have been there. We started out on the Scorpion bay trail and about a mile in, we cut across down to the creek that eventually lead us to the Yellow banks trail with the historic ranch.
The olive trees and trail heads next to the historic ranch at Smuggler’s Cove.
We got back to the beach after about an hour of hiking the island and now was time for us to summon up some more courage to get back in that water so we can swim back to the boat. We probably had a little bit of current helping us on the way in so it means that we will be swimming against it on the way out. It was certainly a workout but it felt good once we got back to the boat and was able to just hang out a bit to warm up and dry up before pulling anchor to head back across the channel.
The wind in the afternoon had picked up to about 12-14 knots and we were sailing and surfing downwind the entire way there. For awhile we were sailing on the broad reach to get across the shipping channel faster and the GPS was actually registering over 8 knots of speed as we surfed down the face of waves. I couldn’t believe it and it is theoretically impossible for a displacement hull like ours to achieve that speed but it is apparently all fair game with you’ve got the swell behind you. Once we got across the shipping lanes I steered to a downwind course again and held a wing-on-wing course for a good half hour with the swell and wind behind us.
The skies never cleared up away from Smuggler’s Cove and it was great to be out there enjoying the only sun that was probably around for 50 miles. We made it back to the slip around 6:00PM and cleaned up and headed back home. The sun and the long day had wiped me out and hitting the sack that night was a delight. It was a great day of sailing even though we did not get a chance to check out the surf while we were there. Maybe in August or September I might plan an overnight trip and we will try to hit either Marmetta or Chinese Harbor for a little
So what are you still doing on the computer?!?! Get out on a boat and do some sailing!