Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Big Sur

 We made it to Morro Bay, and are anxiously watffching the weather for Point Conception, where we shall round (hopefully) soon and then be in the Channel Islands.  The last few days have been quite difficult, with lots of swell and big seas from San Francisco all through Santa Cruz and to Point Sur.  Our plan from Santa Cruz was to go through the night and get to San Simeon by the next day, but as evenening darkened, the waves built up and the winds were significant enough to make them break.  Big piles of white foam bashed against the sides like soft (but strong) hammers, and Lindsay wasn't feeling well.  I sent her down below (perhaps roughly) and told her to try to sleep, but she could not, and the bashing and turning ocean that threw our little craft about caused much consternation in her.  After a few hours she poked her head up and with a very significant look, told me that she was ready to go swim for the shore.  We were a few miles of cold water away from the shore but I knew she was serious, so we made for the nearest point of refuge, Carmel-by-the-Sea.  I'd never been there, and wasn't too keen on going in during the dead of night, but there we went.  We made it past some rocks and I am very glad to have such great working instruments as I have, including the new Depth Sounder (thanks Danny!) and we dropped the anchor at about 10.  Then we slept until 3:30 am to get underway again to go for San Simeon by dusk.  Making all speed as we could we drove the entire next day because the wind refused to blow hard enough to help us out, and we got in just after sunset.  We saw some Common Dolphins, Sea Otters and a few Sea Lions, but it was mostly a clear day watching the coast slowly slide past.

Same with today, not a lot of wind and here we are.  Tomorrow I hope will be the same and through friday, bringing us around the corner. 

I got a few pictures of things now that it is drying out a little bit, and here is the SPOT, so you can check in on our Progress.  Still working on the permanent link, but for now you have to look in the past to find it...

 Here's a shot of Lindsay when she was fooled into thinking that she likes sailing.  She hasn't abandoned ship yet, but there are some dark memories growing.  I hope Southern California cleans her of those. 

The trusty Senator, though he hasn't reeled in a prize lately. 
 do you know this bug?  I found it on my boat!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Santa Cruz

We've started on again, to the southwaters.  Yesterday was a nasty day for both Lindsay and I and we threw up numerous times each, and now are taking a day to rest here in Santa Cruz.  I've forgotten to put up some pictures from the last few weeks up, but here they are!
 While we were in San Francisco, we went over to visit the old tall ships that populate the waterfront, and there is one, Belaclutha, that we got an exclusive tour of, because Lindsay knows people who know people.  It is a steel and iron boat, with wood decks and pretty, but in a big way. 

 Then we walked to the Cathedral and there was this metal print that I liked...
 And along the waterfront to look for birds.  I took some shots of this Herring Gull, up close and personal for ID purposes.
 He's got a funny looking knee joint too!
 And a Long Billed Curlew (I am pretty sure)
 An Invasive...
 Lindsay got comfortable sailing the boat...
 Out the Golden Gate bridge!

 We went to Half Moon Bay and got a look at Mavericks, but it wasn't breaking really, so we looked at the low tide shore.

 And then after a day of dismal sailing, got to Santa Cruz.
 We'll leave tomorrow and work our way down to San Simeon and to Morro Bay, I'll keep pressing the SPOT button which links to this page:

I'm going to try to make that page be a constant link somewhere, but thus far I cannot figure it out.  If you know how, let me know please!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cyclocross racing

There was some heated racing going on in Fairfax this weekend.  Sam, Henry and Rachel all raced their bicycles in the dry dusty soils and cements of White Hill School.  I ran around with my camera and took some pictures. 

 First off was Sam's Race.  He took off with a gusto and was going great until a crash and finished the hour long race in the heat with honor, despite a large gash in his leg. 

 Here he is speeding around a corner like a green speed demon...

 And blitzing through the finish at close to the mach barrier....
 Next up was Henry and his friend Luca.  They took off for the prize of Root Beer Floats and gave it all they could. 
 Rachel was up last and she blazed red in the heat of the day (with a red jersey, of course).  She had a fairly simple racing strategy, get in front on the first corner and then ignore everyone else after that.  I tried to get in her way a few times with my camera but she wouldn't have any of that. 
So she won the race, but not without some trouble.  On the last lap she was cruising along with a nice comfortable lead when her front tire went flat and much to her discomfort, the second place rider (World famous Katarina Nash) appeared right at her rear tire when the front tire was ready again.  It was a contest for a bit, with Rachel emerging victorious. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014


 I have Neices and Nephews!  So here in the Bay Area, I've been visiting with my relatives, my sister's family.  She (and Sam) have produced two beautiful children together, and I've got my camera out for a bit of a photo shoot here and there.  Henry is growing up like a bristle cone pine, and Nora has the most liquid of eyes, pouring forth on occasion and smiling rainbows afterwards.

 We also got to go sailing, and everyone was quite happy, without getting sick or falling off.  Precautions were taken, of course, but we had a nice time out on the water.  We also saw the parade of ships for "fleet week" and saw some of the air show.  The Blue Angels were performing also (more on that later).

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Arrival in San Francisco Bay

We've made the first step!  I think that the NW coast, from Washington to San Francisco, is the toughest stretch of water along this trip, and that is behind.  There will be some more bumps and rough water I am sure until we get to Point Conception, but that will be later on. 
The trip wasn't terribly eventful, but swift and dare I say, professional.  I figured about 7 days to get from Neah Bay to here and it took us exactly 7 days.
We left Neah Bay in the morning, following my friend Yale in his 29 ft boat "Equinox" as he picked up the anchor and sailed off, so in the spirit of racing, we hauled ours up and raised sail to head off as well.  There was a strong south wind blowing, but the forecast called for the winds to switch that afternoon, so we took advantage of the south wind to get us the 5 miles out to Cape Flattery.  Rain and low clouds obscured our view, and I was a bit worried about Yale, so we chased him down to ascertain if he was still going.  Upon hearing an affirmative response we tightened the sheets and pummeled into the growing swells from the west.  It was really rough at the end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where the last of the inland waters meet the grand Pacific, and there was a strong outflowing current, stacking up the waves.  The south wind created a chop that also bucked like a bronco, and it was near Maelstrom conditions as we rounded the last red bouy at precisely 12:15 pm.  We turned due south and the wind switched on command to the west, but the waves held us to a slow speed and we were jumping and pumping like a regular rodeo clown, dancing on the horns of the bull.  Sometimes waves would catch the front and back and lift the keel nearly out of the water, they were so steep, then drop the whole boat with a splash.  Other times the bow would dig into a wall and the bowsprit would go smashing down against the sea.  It was rough and not fun, and I took a seasick pill to try and help, but I was feeling most unsettled.  We cleared the current and took off like a newly freed wild mustang, still bouncing around but with lots of speed, and made 125 miles that next day.

We began night watches of 4 on 4 off, so there wasn't a lot of sleep to be had, and there were tons of fishing boats all around to dodge that night (and all the nights), so it was kind of exciting.
The next morning we got our own fishing gear out and caught a few fishes!  Albacore Tuna, each about 10 lbs or so, tasty, fresh and fighting on the end of my new Penn reel!  We killed one and took some fillets off for a bite, then caught a few more just for fun.  We soon passed on beyond the mouth of the Columbia River area and there were no more fishes. 
Albatrosses cruised past, along with other sea birds, gliding on the stiff wings and riding the waves.  I really love how they do a surfer-like top turn up in the air to gain more speed, then drop back down to the water to sit in ground effect.  I've been seeing people start to do that with RC gliders (it is called Dynamic Soaring)
and some of them can get a glider up to 400 mph! 
Washington always has had great wind, but I guess that is because it is closest to where I check the weather before departure, but we made it to Oregon lickety-split.  Oregon was also going quickly until we got to southern Oregon, where, near Cape Blanco, the winds began to build and build.  We got some nice big waves and blasted along at a high surfing speed of 11.6 knots, before dropping the tire over the back as a drogue to help us steer and slow us a bit, and then the winds subsided.  The tire, which we got near Neah Bay, is a "Weathermaster" tire, so I had the utmost confidence, and it met my expectations.  Dragging a tire or a drogue behind a boat has been used for a long time, and this is how it works.  When there are big following waves, they hit the back of the boat first (the stern) and push it forward, while the front of the boat is in the next trough and being pulled back.  This causes a turning force on the boat and it gets really strong for a second, and it is hard to steer, even if you have the power of LaFawnda holding on to your transom.  So to supplement, dragging a tire gives me a few hundred extra pounds of drag pulling on the back of the boat, keeping the stern from turning the boat.  I still fly the Jib during this time, and since that is on the bow, it pulls the front of the boat downwind, keeping everything nice and straight and easy to steer.  The best part is that in high winds, it doesn't even slow the boat down hardly at all.  There is enough force to keep us trucking along with the truck tire mastering the weather behind us.  Its Industrial Sailing.
Then the wind quit.  That night it dropped to zero and we battered around in the waves left over and turned on the motor, never to turn it off.  We drove from the border of Oregon and California all the way in.  Initially it was nice and sunny, then the fog arrived and it got glum.  We came in under the Golden Gate at 9:42 am on Monday, 7 days after departure, and then anchored in Sausalito.  I'll be here for a few weeks before Lindsay joins, so I'll try to do some exploration of the bay.
Also, before I got to Neah Bay there were some Gray Whales!