Cat Harbor, Catalina,,,and a few large swells

Between Christmas and New Years 2015 we took off for a few days to Cat Harbor (Twin Harbors) Catalina, Ca for what we hoped would be some good sailing and a few days of relaxing.  It was fun, but not much sailing as the wind there and back wasn’t great for sailing and it was a bit cloudy and windy for a few days.  We made the best of it, seeing a buffalo at Cat Harbor and whales and dolphins going both there and back.  We also successfully picked up a mooring, which has boosted our confidence from our trip to Avalon in April that provided drama.

The last night there; the wind picked up and stayed up, even in the safety of Cat Harbor.  We know this, cause we heard it all night.  In the morning in the dark, we made our 0530 departure time with the wind dying down in Cat Harbor, but still up outside in open water.  We got off the mooring with no problem and out we went, it was time to get home. We were unable to hit a return course till we got around the point,,,,so until getting around the point both the swells and the wind would hit us broadside.  Tulum took a couple of 7-8 foot swells before we could get the main up to stabilize her and rolled east to west a bit, but never dipped her rails, which surprised me in retrospect.  Since the swells hit us with little warning and we didn’t have the main up yet, we had a few things come out of cabinets and a couple of scared little sailor girls (3 & 6) who were rolled around down below, but no injuries,,,,just some crying until we stabilized and worked on getting the main up.

After turning into it and getting the main up, she leveled out and we plowed through the wind and swells until around the point, at which time we made the slow left turn and hit our 91 degree course back to Oceanside, which would put the swells at our back but not enough wind in a consistent direction to sail,,,,but enough to roll around for awhile till the sun came up and things settled.   10 hours later, we were back in the slip with a cold one,,,pretty good for a cruising sailboat that had to motor the whole way because of unsettled winds.

As much negativity as one hears and reads about the Hunter Brand, I’ve been consistently surprised by the seaworthiness and forgiving nature of our Hunter 460.  We’ve now owned her for nearly exactly a year and I still learn something new every time we’re down with her.

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