And now Beetle is happily in Marina del Rey, very nice to be here.
The harbor is a man-made (as in dug out of the ground by people), and as a result is extremely square-sided, enormous, deep, and generally perfect – something one doesn’t find in your average small boat cove. The giant breakwater at the entrance makes this place very similar to the marina in San Jose del Cabo, only on a much larger scale.
The wealth here is amazing; the first thing you see on the way in is an enormous power boat side-tied to the fuel dock, complete with helicopter on the aft helipad. And that’s not the only boat here with a helicopter on it, we went by another powerboat with a (somewhat smaller) helicopter on it’s transom. If one thinks that keeping up with the neighbors means replacing the jib sheets once in a while, imagine what it must be like when your neighbor gets the latest and greatest helicopter and yours is no longer the belle of the ball; time to upgrade.
The sail in from outside Santa Monica bay was super nice. NWS changed the original forecast of E winds at 5-10 and ramped it up to East 10-20 added a small craft warning on top, then said the highest winds would be in the outer waters and towards Catalina Island. As this is precisely where Beetle was sailing towards, I elected to tack towards shore and see what was happening inside – particularly as the anemometer readings on shore were significantly less than what we were seeing 15 miles out.
Turns out there is a big lift on starboard tack when sailing towards Marina del Rey from outside – the breeze must make a turn around Palos Verdes as it comes up from the east. We started sailing in pointing towards 36 degrees true, then got lifted, and lifted, and lifted, until we were close-reaching towards the Marina del Rey breakwater at 80 degrees and we never had to tack again. Breeze lightened up as we got in closer and then suddenly POP we are inside and sailing down the center channel of the main fairway (powering boats to left and right, center channel is reserved for sailing boats).
We also saw the 24 meter Foggy out sailing, they were heading towards Point Dume with a gigantic square-top mainsail and the masthead asymmetric spinnaker flying along at 11.4 knots (according to their AIS signal). The boat looks like one of those 80′ flat-decked sleds (no cabin house at all), much like one of those Wally boats from Italy. And then come evening we found Foggy docked a couple of slips over from where we were, and indeed, it is a flat-decked, giant cockpit, wood & epoxy & carbon cold-molded enormously tall carbon mast day sailor. I sure hope it has some basic amenities, such as a toilet, though not all day sailing yachts do. A very impressive boat, that’s for sure. And it’s in immaculate condition – quite beautiful to watch on the water.
I checked in at the Burton Chace Park people, Kristen and I hopped a cab over to a fun Mexican restaurant on Washington Avenue right in front of the Venice Beach and had some great food whilst watching the football game on the televisions that were everywhere in this place… literally screens lined up along the wall, impossible to not get a good view of the game from any vantage point possible. And lots of lots of beautiful people hanging out there, definitely the happening place last night.
Today has been lots of sleep, Kristen made her plane flight back north, and I’ve been figuring out the nuances of how GMail labels work as regards the Sailmail’s ShadowMail system – hopefully this will let me keep tabs on my shoreside email address remotely thru SailMail, while only bring tiny amounts of data over the radio. So far this looks quite promising.
So we’re off the water, in a slip in the marina, and relaxing with warmer weather, calm breezes, and lots and lots of scullers zooming around in the form the UCLA rowing squads.