There’s just no other way to put it. It’s flat BLOWIN’ STINK out there today! Even tied to the dock, we’re getting enough of a ride that I decided to take a Stugeron. You know, what with discretion being the better part of valor and all that. The entire bay is filled with whitecaps. Waves are breaking over our dock. We’d be even more exposed if it weren’t for the huge motoryacht tied up across our bow blocking much of the wind and most of the waves. Of course, Marina Del Palmar is probably the most exposed marina in La Paz.
On my way back down the dock this morning, Carl, our dock neighbor, motioned that he needed some help. The big sailing cat, Nowhere Bound, with no one on board, had chafed through its bow line and was being pushed up against Carl’s Verdict. I grabbed some line off Siempre Sabado and tried to help him haul Nowhere Bound back over to the dock. It became evident almost immediately that we were going to need some help. Carl waved to Tio, a wiry little Mexican guy who works on some of the boats here. Tio came over and, with his help, we managed to get Nowhere Bound pulled back alongside the dock and tied off. The line that I’d donated, while more than ample for Siempre Sabado was not going to last long on the much larger cat. Tio managed to scrounge up a piece of what looked like inch and a half line and we got her secured.
So how much is it blowing? Well, we don’t have a wind gauge on board, other than a handheld, but on the VHF we’re hearing reports of steady 28-30 knots with gusts reported as high as 50 knots although we only heard that high of a gust one time. Mostly the gusts appear to be in the 30s to 40s. Whatever the numbers, it’s blowing stink! However, it’s good to get numbers occasionally as they help put things in perspective. When it’s not blowing, I think many (maybe most) sailors tend to overestimate wind speed, interpreting 20 knots as being 30 and so on. Come to think of it, I wrote a blog on this very subject way back in 2009. Only now, instead of TV weathermen skewing the wind speeds, it’s my fellow sailors. I guess you could call the phenomenon “wind inflation” and, unfortunately, it tends to stifle the respect that should be given to winds in the 20-30 knot range until they actually happen.
Besides taking my Stugeron and limiting excursions off the boat, what other concessions have I made to the wind? Well, after Nowhere Bound broke loose, I checked my chafe gear (all looking good) and added an extra pair of bow lines just in case. A few minutes ago we took down the awning and the cockpit footwell is full of pillows and things that we don’t want to blow away.
So far, there’s only been one report of a boat dragging. This is amazing. The boat was a catamaran belonging to an elderly gentleman who’s reportedly been quite ill. He ended up going up on the beach south of the Navy base before help could get to him. A couple of cruisers in self-described “underpowered” dinghies along with another in a 20 hp dink managed to get to him and get him off the beach and re-anchored or at least, that’s what I got from the radio chatter. Hats off to them as going anywhere in a dink in these waters right now is amazing.
Whoops, spoke to soon. Listening to the radio, I hear another boat is dragging and they’re trying to find the owner now.
The good thing is that this blow is supposed to peter out overnight and tomorrow is predicted to be the start of a very nice week weather-wise.
But, until then, IT’S BLOWIN’ STINK!
PS: Why no photos? Because, while sailors and TV weathermen tend to assign higher-than-actual speeds to the wind, photos tend to make a really good blow look like nothing at all. You need a hurricane to even begin to get good wind pictures.