Sailing with John

  • By John
  • /
  • Published Wed, 04/14/2021 - 09:57


It was a perfect spring day for sailing in Santa Cruz, CA with temperatures in the mid-60s and light shore winds. The forecast indicated the breeze would strengthen to 10 knots (kts) to 15 kts later in the afternoon, creating a challenging environment for the ship’s crew.

We set sail on the Pacific Spirit and brought along a MicroStrain 3DMGQ7 with dual antenna and RTK modem to collect navigation and position data using SensorConnect software.

The crew consisted of myself, an ASA certified skipper, and three crew members with various levels of sailing experience.

We motored out of the harbor past the Walton Lighthouse (Figure 1), hoisted the sails with a compass heading of ~180° (South), and sailed on a port tack for approximately 20 minutes and then tacked starboard heading of ~330° NNW. We sailed on a close reach until tacking again to a heading SSW and so on…yes, a truly perfect day of sailing.

After about an hour at sea, the breeze increased and the swell from the Northwest rose from ~4-6 ft to 6-10 ft. Steering and keeping the boat on course became harder and harder until I decided the boat was over-powered. The Catalina 32 is heels a lot compared to the Beneteaus and Hunters that are similar in overall length.

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