Posted by: Zen | January 6, 2013

PEP: Morro Bay to Point Conception prt 1

We set out the next day for the longest and potentially the most dangerous section ,  rounding the California Cape, aka Point Conception. Some people, say it is an exaggeration to call it the Cape of the West Coast. Others say that the reputation is more of a local myth. I know for a fact of people who have gone through there and come out shaken. One of these people (myth sayer) also says the same is true of leaving the Golden Gate , another possible myth to keep people in. Yet I have seen a boat destroyed there. There is the same talk of the Farallon islands just outside the gate. I went out one weekend, it was clam and peaceful. The next weekend three people died. These things are said, for a reason. not just sailors tall tales. Don’t mess with Mother Nature.  Remember that commercial?

However I digress…

The first part of the passage was only about 25 miles. We, a force of 4 boats now started out at 8:00 am. I was a bit of a slow poke. because I needed to get fuel. This was not a simple matter. I pulled up next to the fuel dock just to check things out. It did not look open. I circled a couple of time and was told I should just stop and go look because they maybe just inside having coffee. As it was this was correct. As I was saying this was not a simple task to get fuel.I needed to pull up along side the sock with was some 12 ft above my boat. Someone, LZ had to climb up the ladder to the platform and tie off the boat.

The first try was a fail, LZ was hesitant, understandable. The next time she did it. My respect to her, to me it was not scary, but for her a whole new bag! Once there, she started the tie off, and the attendant showed up to help. The rest from there was fairly simple. We re-fueled and were helped to launch.

Next up we motored down the fairway ready to make the turn out into the high surf to exit the bay. Suddenly the motor stopped! Oh Snap! Quickly to dug out the anchor and dropped it as not to go aground or into the docked boats. After a few minutes of trying and messing around the motor started and ran, smooth again. My guess was I pinched the fuel line when replacing the compartment cover. I was hailed on the radio by another boater we had meet on the dock. I said things were running and I would continue…although paranoid.

We started off again, and the other two boats in our convoy came up behind me. I was asked if I wanted to attempt the exit through the pounding surf first. I looked at it, took a breath and said…I am here in front so , yup.

Thought of how the motor just died a while back dance through my head. I though of were I could go if it happen in the middle of that mess in front of me. I looked at the rocks, and and couple of soft sandy spots if I could make it there, I could still survive, with the boat, if the rocks… I would be another story in the tales of Morro bay. I linked with and put my trust in the Force and went for it. I was told by the Wind-charmer crew once on the other side it smoothed out. They had gone ahead to check things out whilst we got fuel.

I found a spot that was not so intense and hit it. Riding the surge at a slight angle and a enough power to get us through, large breath and we were through. I said a prayer of thanks to the Great Spirit and we headed out to sea. We made it…Yatta

Photo Dec 31, 12 53 22 AM

It was a two-part trip to get to Point Conception. The rest of this leg was uneventful, even pleasant.

Photo Jan 01, 2 49 33 AM (1)



Once we arrived at the first break anchorage. It got a little touchy. I watched the other three boats get settled. one boat the first to arrive to the one mooring ball. The other two set out anchors, with what seems like some difficulty. the bottom was too soft and would not hold.

I gave it a try and could not get a grip. I watched the others, a while and decided I would go to another location, where I saw lots of other boats. That turned out to be a private mooring field . After going through that and asking a local about an anchor spot I was directed back to where I came from. We returned, I selected a spot away from the other who were anchored by now…mostly. There I set out the anchor again, this time I got a grip . I set it and to feel better I set another. Doing the two anchors on a Multi was not the same as with a mono, but i got two anchors out. Not well placed or balanced …but set. I felt somewhat better. it was deeper water than I was used to so I was not comfortable if I had enough rode out. I was only setup for 10-15 ft. figuring with a CAT I could get closer to shore. Well closer to shore were breaking waves…not an option. I tried a trick an older sailor told me about and used a small dinghy anchor as a weight on the end of my chain on one anchor the Fortress. the other was a 30 lb Bruce with 25 ft of chain. When I drop the Bruce it set right away. I felt better…somewhat.

I had a sleepless night paranoid…checking on if we were dragging. the wind picking up did not help, however there was the blessing it did not shift directions. We stayed in one place all night…Yatta!

Another prayer of gratitude went out in the morning.




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  1. I haven’t been across the Pacific, but I hear that many of the anchorages are deep, due to the way that atolls form and cruisers there carry ground tackle to anchor in deep water. You may want to query some sailors who have done the route you’re planning and see what amount of rode they recommend. 10-15′ sounds like very little even on the East Coast of the USA. Heck, in Maine, we have 10-15′ tides!

    • Quite right, thanks for the comment. I am able to handle anchoring in depths up to 45 ft with switching the rode and using my drogue line for anchoring line, however at the time I was not prepared for that. I have now switch around things and can comfortably do a 25 ft depth anchoring around here and switch again for deeper anchorages. All with 7 to 1 scope or more with added chain if needed. I have the equipment but did not use / need it around the old home base. That was part of the trip down the coast to get alerted for the real world. :-)
      Thanks for dropping by.

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