Leg 5 - Ensenada to San Quintin (the unplanned stop)
Leg 5 - Ensenada to San Quintin

February 22 2007
120 nm/21.5 hrs

Does anybody in the class know what a GALE is? A gale is 34-40 kts (Force 8) winds with 18 ft waves. A
gale with rain that starts at 1am in the pitch black of night is something to respect. They call them Chubascos
down here. They come fast and furious.
We could see the squall lines coming on the radar from the NW. Fortunately we had decided to furl the
headsail and double reef the main at sunset. Thanks Bridget. It took about 30 minutes for the first squal to hit
us. This one was not bad. Time for John to go off watch. Sometime later Bridget says, "Honey, I need some
help. Can you get up here? The autohelm can't steer a course anymore." I take the wheel and look out.
Looking out over the dodger there is nothing but darkness, pounding rain, crashing seas and wind. Nothing to
reference a course. A quick look at the chartplotter for our DCOG (Desired Course Over Ground) shows
155 degrees magnetic. Good, now we just need to watch the compass and steer to 155. We are running
downwind in 30-35 kts with heavy following seas and  can only manage to stay within 15 degrees either side
of 155 degrees hand steering. We are moving at 7 to 7.5 kts which is really screaming for our hull. We would
like to drop the main but decide that standing at the mast to do so would be too dangerous now.
Our original destination was Turtle Bay over 220 nm south from our current postion. Looks like we will have
to duck into San Quintin about 55 nm south. We arrive in San Quintin at 9:00 am. Seven hours of hand
steering in stormy seas. Tired but happy to be at anchor. Later we heard that winds were recorded at 40+ kt
at San Quintin.
The wind continues to blow 20-30 kts for an unprecedented 9 days at anchor. We never leave the boat while
at San Quintin. Suprisingly we kept busy educating ourselves on all the equipment we had installed before we
left. Also fishing, reading and cooking.
The coast near Ensenada heading south to Turtle Bay.
One of the Dockwise ships headed for Ensenada with
Isla Todos Santos in the background. The Dockwise
ships carry motor and sail yachts in their hold. If you
look closely you can see masts behind the bridge.
Isla Todos Santos near Ensenada