My February hegira west seemed a bit premature this year. Leaving the snow covered Rocky Mts. for drought stricken California seemed somewhat malapropros. I mean I barely had a chance to use my season snowboarding pass . But as usual, the siren song of the sea had to be quelled. To help matters, my nephew Ethan, a recent college grad, booked an early date with "Uncle Keith's Discount Sailing School". So, once again, I traded in my powder pants for board shorts and headed out to sunny Santa Cruz. By March 1st, Ethan and I were reaching across the Monterey Bay with a double reef main in a cool 20 knot breeze. (Top Photo)
Three weeks later, it was time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. The March 25th forecast for the Santa Barbara Channel; 10-20 NW winds settling to 10-15 knots in the afternoon, seas 3-5 feet, chance of rain...0%. Anacapa Island, at closest approach, is about 10 nautical miles from Channel Islands Marina. Our destination for the day was 13 nm southwest, Frenchy's Cove. By 1300 hrs Steadfast passed the "1" green marker off her starboard side. With light winds and full sails we approached the shipping channel at a leisurely pace. But whitecaps appeared mid-channel ordering Erika and I to tuck in a reef for a more comfortable ride to windward. Near the island the wind all but disappeared. After setting the hook, the boys and I dawned our birthday suits and ceremoniously dove in the cool offshore waters.
A UCSC graduate in Marine Biology, Keith holds a 100 ton USCG Capt. License and is an ASA certified sailing instructor.