With reports this month on Ripple and the Wolf Pack; Bloom running out of W both wind and engine power (and the extra-good Samaritans who came to the rescue); Finalmente's big celebration in Italy â€” and a mess of Cruise Notes.
Ripple â€“ Whitby 42 Molly and Ben Reynolds The Pleasures of Buddy Boating San Francisco It was a bright, brisk day, two days after Christmas 2016, when Ben and I sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and turned left. Donning our wool beanies
Molly and Ben didn't need social media to discover the pleasures of 'friending' other cruisers.
and full foulies, we dreamed of making it as far as warm, sunny Mexico. After that, who knew where we'd end up? We worked our way down the blustery California coast with so many looming questions: How challenging was this cruising life going to be, with constant monitoring of the weather and our gear? What kind of cruising pace would be right for us? How were we going to manage everyday tasks, like grocery shopping and laundry? But perhaps the biggest question of all: Would we meet other cruisers along the way with whom we could connect? Throwing off the dock lines in our mid-
It's poker faces all around as Ben (left) plays cards with Aksel and April of 'Westy.'
30s, it was important for us to meet other youngish cruisers who could relate to our choice to temporarily eschew careers, pensions and health benefits for the lure of nautical adventure. Two years and a Puddle Jump later, the friends we've met while cruising have been the defining factor in an amazing life experience. Our first season in Mexico was spent hopping from one idyllic Sea of Cortez anchorage to the next with a few buddy boats, including our 40-year-old friends on Adventurer. We spent months with Jeff and Brenda, paddleboarding and snorkeling through warm, turquoise water and hiking the rusty, dusty cliffs of the Baja Peninsula. We shared many homemade fish taco dinners and even more cold cervesas. We flew our spinnakers and raced from one anchorage to the next, Jeff always talking smack that Adventurer's Adventurer fancy racing stripe made them the faster boat. We marveled at how quickly we became such close friends. In early January 2018, after an unseasonably warm and calm holiday season at Espiritu Santo, it was finally time to part ways with Adventurer. They were heading south at a fast clip, hoping to make it to Central America before the onset of the rainy season. By this time, we had set our sights on the South Pacific. We set our anchor in La Cruz on February 1, knowing no other boaters in the anchorage. It was time to get ready for the Puddle Jump. Since many jumpers head to the South Pacific directly from Banderas Bay every year, we figured that La Cruz would be a great place to provision and meet some new folks. We set off for our first Puddle Jump informational meeting, hoping to learn more about weather, routing and provisioning. Mostly, we wanted some new buddy boats. Imagine our pleasant surprise to see so many youngish cruisers heading out for the South Pacific: Ed and Talica on Tioga (Vancouver), Jason, April and 9-year-old Aksel on Westy (Seattle), and Clif and Giselle on Sedna (Juneau), among others. Over the next month, in between the stressful moments of preparing our boats for the 2,700-mile voyage, we shared some beers, laughs, life stories, and of course, worries. Finally, approaching "go time," we shared satellite contact infor-
mation with hopes of seeing each other again on the other side. By the time we made it all the way to the Marquesas, we were dying to socialize. Funny how 23 days on the open ocean will do that to you! The day after our arrival, we reunited with Westy, regaling each other with passage stories. Because we had departed Mexico earlier than other boats, it took us a few weeks to reunite with Tioga and Sedna. In the meantime, we hopped around the gorgeous Marquesan islands, meeting another young couple, Andy and Melissa on Bravo (San Francisco), along the way. By the end of our month in the Marquesas, we had formed a little tribe of buddy boats, christened the tongue-incheek "Wolf Pack." We started conferring about which anchorages we might visit next, which weather windows looked best
The November 2018 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.