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Saturday, October 24, 2015

October 24, 2015-Just a short update about Hurricane Patricia:

The strongest hurricane for the western hemisphere on record fizzled out pretty quickly after it hit land on the south coast.

In La Cruz we got a little rain, not much, and no wind. The mountains around us seem to have protected us again. Even the reports from down south seem minimal.

All the preparations turned out to be just good practice.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huancaxtle

Friday, October 23, 2015

October 23, 2015-Hurricane Watch

Hurricane Patricia

Yeah, Hurricane Patricia is big news. We've been watching it, as a tropical storm, for a few days. Then this morning we got the following warning:


They also said it was the strongest ever hurricane in western hemisphere (which includes the Caribbean and storms such as Katrina, etc.)? I can't quite deal with that concept, I'm just shaking my head in wonder. How does this happen?

Historically no hurricane has ever come into Banderas Bay. This bay is surrounded by mountains which have always protected it. We all watch the weather models and projections and listen to the forecasts hourly and wonder if this is going to be the exception. Right now there is a very high likelyhood that Patricia will miss us and hit land south of Puerto Vallarta, outside of Banderas Bay, right against the Sierra Madre Mountains, then move to the NE toward Guadalajara and then onward towards the USA (Texas). In that case we can expect stormy weather, winds and rain, and flooding, but not really dangerous conditions here. However we have all made a lot of preparations, such as taking down all awnings and anything else which is on deck, and adding double dock lines, making sure we have water. food, and fuel, just in case.

A worse outcome would be if the storm stays offshore and goes along the coast. In that event we would get higher winds and big waves. Stil, that is not thought to be unbearable for our location, and anyhow, we don't expect it. With each hour, as we watch the storm's progress, that becomes less likely.

The worst path, which nobody thinks it will take, would be to hook right and come directly into the Bay. If it does, well, that would be pretty bad.

One thing we are not doing is piling into the car and heading for the hills. With the most likely path of this thing being just to the east of us, in the hills, and with torrential rain and flash flooding expected, we don't think we would want to there.

To be honest with you we are more concerned about the Mexican people south of here who are going to be hit with devastatingly strong winds and lots of rain and lots of floods. I expect a extensive damage and high causality counts south of us in Jalisco and east of us. And with the projected landfall being Barra De Navidad, where a very low lying town, basically on a sandbar, is right on the coast, and behind that, a big marina with a lot of boats... It could be very bad for the people in Barra de Navidad tonight. I'm just glad we are not in Barra now.

But we believe we are going to be safe here, however this hurricane could be the one to break all the rules. We can't do much about it in that case, so, for the next twenty four hours, we will just wait and watch.

We will send an update tomorrow.

Click here for more images and some photos of the preparations.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

October 13, 2015-In The Beginning

Kelly O'Neil Photography
Wings Sailing in Seattle

I had a good crossing from Victoria to Port Angeles that morning in 1985 sailing my Mega 30, Song of the Siren. At first it was a beam reach in a gentle northerly with the spinnaker up, riding the swell, and then a nice beat up inside the spit with salt spray in my face as the westerly filled, but now, as I folded my sails at the transit dock, the afternoon grew more blustery and I was glad to be in the harbor. Port Angeles can be a bit raw when the wind blows in off the strait. The smoke streams horizontally from the stacks of the pulp mills, the sea gulls wheel, the air smells of salt and fish and fresh cut fir logs, and the gusts of cold pacific wind blow directly into Yacht Haven. Sailors out in the Straits are happy to find shelter in places like Port Angeles but those seeking shelter there have one last test: landing in that small and gusty harbor.

I saw the first wind-blown boat coming in, a thirty something sloop with two sailors in foulies, salt tangles in their hair, flushed from the wind and then as they turned toward the long pier the wind caught their boat. I saw a crash on the way unless I did something and I ran to catch a line and got it on a cleat which snubbed their bow and they swung in alongside, safe.

The next one was close behind and this time there was some shouting on board as the skipper, just at the worst time, saw that his control was gone. Again I caught a bow line and another man hurried over to get the stern line and we got them safe alongside as well. There were more boats blown in from the Straits that afternoon, large and small, but the scene was always the same: the landings at Yacht Haven were near disasters but that guy and I worked all afternoon and into the evening without saying much to each other and we made the day turn out a lot better for quite a few boaters.

In the midst of all of this activity of rescuing boats I saw a sight which intrigued me: in this rather rough harbor, on a definitely wild day, there appeared on the docks a rather glamorous, and tall, young woman, dressed to the nines, who came down the pier, slipped off her high heels, and boarded one of the boats in the back of the marina. “Wow”, I thought. As she disappeared down the hatch I turned back to the business at hand with quite an image in my mind.

We caught a few more boats, that guy and I, and we enjoyed it, but the day was getting long and the harbor was filling up.

Finally things quieted down and I was standing there next to him and I stuck out my hand, “I’m Fred”.

He had a friendly smile, “I’m Jim.”

I guess Jim knew who belonged there and who didn’t. He asked, “You come in on a boat?”

“Yeah, that blue sloop down there. I guess I was lucky enough to get in without your help earlier.”

He laughed and he invited me to his boat for a drink, motioning towards a Choy Lee cutter in one of the permanent slips, the same boat I’d noticed that well dressed blonde woman boarding earlier.

I didn’t hesitate. “Sounds good.”

That blonde was Judy and striking up a friendship with Jim Jones, while working the docks of Yacht Haven Marina in Port Angeles, was how I came to meet her that night on board that Choy Lee sailboat.

Judy had come straight from the office to help Jim and his wife Jean plan a summer cruise and she might have been in a business suit then but she was a sailor and pretty comfortable in jeans and boat shoes too. We hit it off right at the start and we talked boats and racing for a few hours and then she accepted my invitation to see my boat. I told her that, by most accounts, it was an ugly boat, which she found incomprehensible, so maybe there was some curiosity on her part, but after seeing it she said she liked it. By that time I think I was already hooked.

She asked me if I liked Hurricane Ridge and I told her I’d never been there. She said we could drive up there the next day but I said I was leaving in the morning. She gave me her number and said if I stayed another day, I should call her.

I stayed and called Judy the next day and she drove us up to Hurricane Ridge and while we walked on the trails and enjoyed the view we talked about our dreams and aspirations. She said she wanted to own her own boat some day. I didn’t know any other women who said they wanted that. We had quite a few dreams in common too, including the dream of living on a boat and going cruising. She also told me she was moving to Seattle soon and I know we were both thinking that we might see more of each other then.

I did sail away from Port Angeles the day after that, but I came back before my trip was over and I saw her again and we made plans to see each other when she came to Seattle, which we did.

wingssail images-doris mast
Fred & Judy

And that’s how it began, 30 years ago.

Click here for more photos from the early days.

Fred Roswold, SV Wings, La Cruz Huanacaxtle

September 28, 2015-Eclipse of the Moon

On September 28 we watched a full eclipse of the moon. Click here for Photos of the Blood Moon including the full eclipse

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