Baja Bash - Cabo Falso
Mon 30 May 2016 16:41
Why is it called the Baja Bash? The Baja Peninsula is a desert except for its upper and lower extremities. It is very narrow and long with the Sea of Cortez side having a body of water much warmer than the Pacific side. The landmass heats up in the day and the Pacific side has an onshore gradient due to warm waters on the Sea of Cortez side and these factors create a strong and consistent sea breeze cycle. The six prominent capes along the Baja can accelerate the prevailing winds from 5-20knots with increased seas up to area of 50 miles to seaward. Looking at a chart of the Pacific coast; from Alaska all the way down for thousands of miles to the Baja, there is no place where land really ends like at Cabo Falso and you can appreciate the unbroken fetch this creates and the wind/sea convergence at Cabo Falso!
Cabo Falso, is classed as the ‘granddaddy’ of them all, at the very tip of the Baja.
We had waited for nearly 2 weeks for an appropriate weather window to try the cape transit. Many sailors and even power boaters are forced to turn back after hours of trying to get round the cape.
We were naturally concerned about the passage and I jokingly wrote in the log as we left Cabo San Jose Marina at 0300 “Here we go”. By dawn, we were passing Cabo San Lucas to starboard and the wind, as predicted started to pick up, so we put two reefs in the main. Our track would take us as close in shore as we dared to round Cabo Falso
The forecast was 9 knots of NW wind, but we were expecting anything above 20knots, which was exactly what we had, as we rounded the cape, which looked awesome and somewhat daunting. Seas were around 2 metre seas with slight white caps. As always, Nimue didn’t seem to care as we took rollers down the deck. The sea state continued for a further 20 miles and then we realised we had ‘busted out’ of the acceleration zone, as the wind and seas became slightly calmer
Cabo Falso certainly lived up to it’s reputation, but at this point we were happy we hadn't turned back and on our way to Santa Maria; 200nm away!