The first day was to be the longest and toughest. Heading north from Santa Cruz means the wind will (nearly always) be on the nose and the swell is against us. This is the typical “bash” of traveling north on the California coast.
The weather had been rough for many days prior to this (swells over 10 ft in the 9-10 second range). As winter approaches, the coastal weather here tends to be either glassy calm or boisterous to stormy.
Today the swell was down to a more reasonable level and the forecast over the next 5-7 days looked nice, so the weather window was open. Time to go!
NW winds 10 to 20 kt with gusts up to 25 kt. Wind waves 3 to 4 ft. NW swell 4 to 7 ft at 12 seconds.
Being November, the days are short, so I wanted to start as early as possible. I left about an hour before sunrise for the long motor-sail to Half Moon Bay.
Had a little bit of everything in terms of conditions on this first day. Long calm stretches, sometimes windy sometimes not. Also an hour or so of a very wet ride in the bumpier swell.
Davenport, just north of Santa Cruz:
Approaching Half Moon Bay (really, Pillar Point) harbor I called to ask about guest slip availability. Unfortunately, none available! Fortunately there is a large anchorage between the inner and outer breakwaters so that’s where I went for the night.
By 4:30pm I was anchored in the outer harbor. It was very calm inside the harbor but I’m always a bit wary of sleeping while anchored so I let out 100 feet of chain in 12 feet of water.
Due to the large wildfires in California this week, the air was filled with smoke, leading to dramatic sunsets: