It's time. Hurricane season is coming, so all the cruisers are making their move. Some of our friends are headed south to El Salvador, others are making the jump to the South Pacific or heading back north via the long passage to Hawaii. And we are heading north. Against the prevailing winds and currents, against prevailing opinion, we're going to be "bashing" all the way home.
Bryan hypothesized that it was the delivery captains who started calling this route "the bash" in hopes of drumming up more business from fearful sailors and, just a couple of weeks ago, we heard a story that indicates he might not be too far off the mark. Everything we've heard from people who've actually done the trip gives us more confidence that our plan is sound. We've dealt with headwinds and currents, high winds and big seas before. We know the boat can handle it (maybe even better than the crew). And we have plenty of time to wait for good weather to make the trip as easy as possible.
Still, we've been a little apprehensive about the many, many miles we need to cover and all the potentially difficult capes to round. So we've been trying to break the trip up into manageable chunks. We plotted out 13 legs of 200 miles, roughly 48 hours. Some legs are a little bit long--Bahia Tortugas to Ensenada is almost 300. Others are significantly shorter--Astoria to St. Helens will be a breeze at +/- 70 miles.
Then, to help us visualize our plan, Bryan drew it on the wall.
The map is stylized, and not quite to scale. But it gives us a beautiful representation of where we've been and where we're going.
We plan to stop in between most of these ports along the way. And we wouldn't be surprised if we missed one or more of these in favor of another port that ended up more convenient or attractive in the moment. But this helps us to pace ourselves and watch our progress. The girls even made a tiny boat symbol as well as a (very much not-to-scale) house on the other end. On our passage from Isla Isabel to Mazatlan, the last portion of our first leg, I glanced up and more than once, saw that the little boat had been moved a little closer to our destination dot.
Many people opt to head back to the Pacific NW via Hawaii. The winds and currents are often much easier on boat and crew, though of course, there are more miles to cover. But we have pretty limited water and fuel supplies and don't think that is a safe option for us. Besides, we made friends in many ports along the way and are really looking forward to visiting them again on the way back. And we expect to meet up with family a time or 2 along the way too, something that wouldn't be at all feasible in the middle of the Pacific.
We've added some fuel tanks on deck for the long days of motoring and have put in a stock of good watch snacks to entice the whole crew to be excited about watches. We have a new watch schedule that makes better use of the energy of the young people we have aboard. And, since we expect the "bash" to be difficult, every day in which we can sail, every day that's not miserable, feels like a win.
Leg 1-Yelapa to Mazatlan-188 miles (Already done! It was a beautiful trip and we even were able to sail for much of it!)
Leg 2-Mazatlan to Cabo San Lucas- 192 miles
Leg 3-Cabo to Bahia Magdalena- 170 miles
Leg 4-Bahia Magdalena to Bahia Tortugas- 253 miles
Leg 5-Bahia Tortugas to Ensenada- 281 miles Here we may detour out to Isla Guadalupe, the westernmost point in Mexico. It would add about 100 miles, about 24 hours to our journey, but if the winds are up, it would be considerably more comfortable to reach out and back again instead of beating into the wind and waves on a stubborn rhumb-line course.
Leg 6-Ensenada to San Diego-62 miles!!!
Leg 7-San Diego to San Miguel Island- 195 miles
Leg 8-San Miguel to Monterey- 180 miles
Leg 9- Monterey to San Francisco- 88 miles
Leg 10-San Francisco to Eureka- 223 miles
Leg 11-Eureka to Bandon- 213 miles
Leg 12-Bandon to Astoria- 124 miles
Leg 13- Astoria to St. Helens-68 miles
If all my numbers are accurate (I'm off the boat and away from my charts, so I'm not double checking) that's 2237 miles. That number seems impossible. But we plan to leave this afternoon for the first part of Leg 2, 150 miles or so across to the Baja peninsula. Before I know it, we'll be halfway...then 3/4s...then home.