Last week we sailed south, on a zig-zag course from Santa Barbara, to Santa Cruz Island, to Oxnard, to Malibu, to Catalina.
We were traveling with a group of 50 boats in the SoCal Ta-Ta. It’s a cruising rally organized by Latitude 38, a local sailing magazine. (They also put on the Baja Ha-Ha and the Delta Doo-Dah each year. A real serious bunch.)
Our first leg was Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz Island. 26 nautical miles. We left the harbor in a light breeze, which built through the afternoon into a 10-knot Easterly — unusual wind for these waters.
Around 4:30pm, we arrived at Smugglers Cove on the East end of Santa Cruz Island. The rally organizers chose Smugglers because it’s the only anchorage large enough for 50 boats. But the contrary wind gave everyone pause — Smugglers is well protected in typical west or northwest winds, but with the east wind it was exposed.
The forecast called for west winds overnight, so the fleet dropped anchors and got settled. Later, as predicted, the breeze swung around to the west and blew 10-15 knots.
At 6:30pm, the rally leaders hosted a potluck happy hour aboard their 63-foot catamaran Profligate. We motored over in our dinghy and brought an artichoke-and-olive dip with Mt Tam cheese and crackers. We chatted with the other crews, including a couple who moved from Chicago to San Francisco around the time we did.