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October 2007

Open Roadsteads – Be Ready to Leave

  Open roadsteads should always be viewed with suspicion. Even in tradewind areas, the winds can veer and turn what looks like a perfectly protected spot into a potential disaster. That is why, whenever we anchor in any spot that does not offer 360-degree protection, we take precautions that will let us sail out as soon as we sense an onshore wind.

The anchorage just south east of point Conception called Cojo was a classic example. Here are the steps I remember taking that evening:

1. We anchored so that, should the wind turn onshore, we had extra room between us and the beach to allow time for us to get the chain in and sails pulling before we got messed up in the onshore kelp.

2. Larry put a double reef in the mainsail and coiled all the halyards and sheets ready to set sail, before we went to bed.

3. I made sure everything inside the boat was ready to go, dishes washed and stored, before we turned in.

4. We slept in the forward bunk, even though the anchorage was a bit rolly and the pilot berths might have been slightly more comfortable. Being right forward means not only will we feel and hear any chop that begins to set in from an onshore wind, we will hear the grumbling of the chain if or when the wind changes direction.

Once again we were glad we’d taken these precautions as getting underway was fast and relatively easy. Even with an engine, this was one anchorage that might be better left under sail as kelp is abundant, broken strands floating everywhere, waiting to wrap around any unwary prop.



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