After twelve days trying to get north, we’re back in La Paz to re-provision. We know a number of other boats who are also failing to go north, including Kalagan and Warana from the 2008 BCA Island Fleet.
The winds and seas in the Sea of Cortez aren’t anything like what we are accustomed to. The fetch is 600 miles, which is enough that the waves get tall and that they don’t reflect local winds. But it isn’t enough to smooth the waves into swell or give them a regular period. The result is steep seas with random periods, often with unreasonable wave heights like 2m in 10 knots of wind.
While I certainly haven’t figured the local weather out, I have come up with the following theory that future Mexico travelers should consider: the souther sea of Cortez has a local SW wind called a Coromel that blows at night when the dominant northerly is weak. I have noticed that when the northerly wind is moderate (10-20 knots) there often seems to be no wind from a couple hours after sunset until a couple hours after dawn. I think that this is the 15 knot Coromel negating the 15 knot norther. In any case, I think that boats trying to go north during the winter should motor long overnight hops north and then take a leisurely return trip south. Baring a forecast of a favourable southerly wind we’re going to try this plan and we’ll let you know how it works.