Start of the Baja Haha, Leg 1

The Sudden Stops Necessary Baja Haha crew (Mark, Ben, Chet, Carl) at the kickoff costume party on the day before the start.

IMG_7715 My Pimp costume got me arrested. Must have been part of the cunning plan Carl hatched when he chose it for me.

Just about to cast off the lines to head to the start line for Baja Haha leg 1. Wonderful La Nina weather gave us a drizzly start.

Carl in pirate paradise at the start. 196 boats to choose from!


Dodging boats at the pre-start parade


A submarine joined our parade to the start line.. pretty cool. Never seen a sub in the water before. Later on my 1am night watch an aircraft carrier crossed our bow some 2 miles ahead with fighters and helicopters taking off and landing. Made for lots of excitement, especially since it didn't appear on AIS.

IMG_7741 Carl on watch. Obviously looking for birds that we might collide into.


Anchored in Turtle Bay.

Finished Leg 1 at 10.06AM on 10/28 covering some 350 nautical miles in 59 hours. The forecast called for wind to lighten, so we chose to head offshore to get more pressure when it lightened. Unforturnately the forecast was wrong, it built to 15-25 knots with 9-12 ft seas. After going some 40 miles offshore we gybed back in.After a rough couple of days, the wind and swell decreased to make it a light air leg 1 finish. We had sailed the whole way without having to motor! We found out that we were one of only a handful of boats that managed to do that.. and we were the smallest boat to do it.

Sudden Stops Necessary “Stops”

Sudden Stops Necessary (call sign WDF4605) is a Beneteau First 38s5 medium displacement performance cruiser designed by Jean Berret and Phillippe Starck.  She is 38ft in length, weighing in at 14,000 lbs with 6’6″ draft and has 2 cabins with 2 heads (the forward head is used as a sail locker). The First 38s5 is a proven and fast offshore cruiser rated Category 1 (built for unrestricted offshore use). Recently a First 38s5 won her class in the 2006 Pacific cup ocean race from San Francisco to Hawaii. Her older model was sailed by the Copelands one and half times around the planet and is recommended by John Kretschmer as one of 20 boats he would sail the world around it.

Blogpic1 Over the last 2 years, she has been extensively refitted for ocean cruising. All the improvements are described in this post: Refitting S/V Sudden Stops Necessary

Sudden Stops Necessary is fractionally rigged which means a lot of the drive is produced by the big mainsail making it easier to handle shorthanded/ singlehanded. The rigging is rod, replaced in 2010 by Svendson’s boatworks. A new holmatro hydraulic backstay adjuster allows one to flatten the mainsail and tighten the forestay and is effectively the first reef when conditions freshen. All lines are led back to the cockpit and reefing can all be done from the cockpit without going out on deck. A monitor windvane “Monty” is the tireless crew member who helps steer the boat when the boat is sailing, and a Raymarine wheel pilot autopilot helps to steer the boat when motoring.

She carries a variety of cruising sails to take her through various wind conditions. The mainsail made by Pineapple sails has partial battens and 3 reefs to cover all wind strengths. She also has a new 125% Genoa made by North and 100% genoa made by Pineapple sails. She has powerful North G2 75oz Asymetric spinnaker for reaching upto 130 apparent wind angle and a Doyle 75oz symetrical spinnaker for sailing deeper. She also has a storm jib,  spare mainsail and a Dutchman boom brake system to prevent accidental gybes.

The auxiliary is a Volvo Penta 2003T turbo charged 3 cylinder diesel engine. A 3 blade feathering Kiwiprop propeller reduces drag when sailing while giving plenty of drive when motoring. Her house battery bank is made up of 4 Trojan T105s providing 450 amp hours with a seperate engine starting battery bank with Optima AGM batteries. A Victron battery monitor allows easy monitoring of the batteries charge state and a Victron Inverter provides 110V AC. Most of her energy is generated by 2 85W Kyocera solar panels and a KISS wind generator. She also has a 80amp Balmar high output alternator with smart regulator to harness energy from the engine when it is in use.

Blogpic2 She carries 52 gallons of diesel in her two tanks with 10 gallons in jerry jugs on deck. The 96 gallon fresh water tanks provide plenty of water. In the galley she has a 3 burner stove, propane grill, with two 10lb propane tanks and Fridgeboat refrigeration.

Her ground tackle consists of an oversized primary 44 pound Rocna 20 anchor with 300 feet of 5/16th high test chain and a secondary 35 pound Delta with 130 feet of 5/16th high test chain and 200 feet of rode. A 21 pound oversized Fortress anchor with 12 feet of chain and 150 feet of rode is carried as kedge anchor and can also be rigged in tandem with the main Rocna anchor with a spare 15 feet of chain. An oversized H3 Lewmar powered windlass is used to raise and lower the anchors.

Sudden Stops Necessary carries a 9’6″ feet hypalon Achilles high pressure floor dinghy that can easily be stowed in the lazarette on long ocean passages. A 4-stroke Tohatsu 8HP outboard provides enough power to plane the dinghy with 2-3 people on board.

For short distance communication, the boat carries a Standard Horizon GX2100 VHF Radio with AIS and 2 handheld VHF radios. For long distance communication, a ICOM M802 HF Radio radio transmits and recieves SSB frequencies, and sends and recieves e-mail, weather forecasts, position reports and GRIB files with a SCS Pactor III Modem anywhere. In addition the boat carries a Iridium satellite phone for urgent communication anywhere in the world.

Navigation equipment includes a Raymarine C80 chartplotter with Navionics charts,  raymarine ST60 instruments, Raymarine Radar with overlay, AIS reciever, 2 handheld GPS’s, Astra IIIB Sextant, Fugawi navigation software with a Brookhouse multiplexer to enable bi-directional data exchange with the instruments, chartplotter and AIS. Internet access at anchor is provided by a Bullet wifibooster.

Safety equipment includes a 2010 certified Viking 4 man offshore liferaft, Category 0 SOLAS flare pack, 406Mhz Ship EPIRB, Iridium Satphone, Delta Drogue, masthead tricolor nav lights, radar, radar reflector, AIS, PLB EPIRB, boombrake, 2nd boom preventer system, emergency tiller and rudder, 5 fire extinguishing devices, grab bag and provisions etc.

Avalon, Santa Catalina Island

Made our way down to Santa Catalina island after Marina Del Ray. Avalon was amazing, it was like we were in Italy! Spent a couple of days relaxing and exploring

Beautiful Avalon Bay with boats all tightly packed


Stops moored using the special mooring bouys that are attached fore and aft to prevent swinging

catching up on good beer!

Found the Burka mobile… I am sure this would be banned in france 😉

Santa Barbara

Arriving in Santa Barbara was surreal, like we had entered another world. Sunshine, beaches, surf, heat.. Thank you Point Conception for diverting all that northern californian weather!

Palm trees, beaches.finally!

Gorgeous day, entering Santa Barbara Marina


Beach action


Sailing past oil rings in one long line in Santa Barbara channel


Sailing in shorts finally! 10-12 knots of breeze on our quarter keeping the sails filled, perfect sailing.. Me happy.

Rounding Point Conception, the “Cape Horn of the pacific”

Apparently Point Conception has been known as the "Cape Horn of the Pacific" since the nineteenth century, so we approached this point between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara with trepidation. I heard many tales of boats being lost here. Leaving Port San Luis at dawn, we motored with no wind until we rounded Cape Arguello. With Point Conception in our sights the wind and swell started to build, but topped out at around 20-25knts. Occassionally we were hit with some big waves, but nothing too crazy. We saw much worse around Big Sur after a storm. Later that night, anchored in Cojo Anchorage we heard Point Conception howling.. we were lucky!

Sailing Big Sur coast

We left Monterey for Morro bay, some 120 nautical miles away just after a low had gone through. We saw some huge 20+ feet ocean swells, remnants from a storm. Wind was on the nose until it died in the middle of the night and we motored rest of the way to Morro Bay getting there in drizzling rain 24hrs after we left Monterey. So looking forward to the southern California weather!

DSC00138 Seventeen mile drive

DSC00191Bixby Bridge

Point Sur

Sunset, another 16 hours of sailing to Morro Bay