04/24/2011, San Joaquin River, Ca
So the new company I'm working for gives everyone Good Friday, I took advantage of the time to get down to the boat for an overnight, since ACYC was having their Spring Series race #1 on Saturday followed by the monthly board meeting (which I had to attend anyway).
I was hoping to get down to the boat Thursday afternoon but because life tends to get in the way of sailing, that didn't happen. I was able to make it down on Friday mid morning, do some projects at the clubhouse and sailboat one of them was getting the outboard back on the boat and testing it, this time it worked great.
The wind was light, and weather was overcast but by 2pm the wind was building.
I got the boat out on the San Joaquin around 2:45, and headed down river towards Antioch, it's been a while since I've sailed there just for the hell of it.
The wind was blowing straight out of the west at about 15-20 mph I was running my 110 jib and new (to me) main off of the pearson 26. the boat was doing great I was able to make it from our marina on 7 mile slough to the entrance to 3 mile slough in 3 tacks it is usually a 5 or 6 tack trip, unfortunately the trip between False river and the Antioch bridge wasn't as easy but it was a fun sail with the boat leaning past 45^ several times and of course everything ending up on the cabin floor. I was getting boat speeds of 7 knots pretty regularly and having a fun time by myself. by about 5pm I finally crossed under the Antioch bridge turned around and headed back on a downwind run. This was nice but I also had a following sea of about 2' causing the boat to pitch like a drunken sailor, meaning I had to spend even more time at the tiller to keep the sails filled.
It took me a 1/2 hour to sail downwind the distance it took me over 1 hour to sail while tacking. Once I had arrived at False river I was able to get below and clean up the mess, I found that my refrigerator had shifted around and had been open for most of the trip, something I will have to work on to correct in the future.
I decided to not return to 7 mile slough the way I had come, but to take false river around the other side of Bradford Island and Webb Tract. While sailing back to the marina I saw an interesting site on the San Joaquin, apparently while moving a very large houseboat/boat house, actually it looked like a small two story apartment complex on floats, the tug operator lost control of the beast, which then got caught up on a shoal, and partially sank. So here is this large two story building listing at about a 30^ angle with the entire first floor on one side under water, with pumps spraying a steady stream of water out of the windows on the other side. The delta never fails to amaze me, in one way or the other.
I made it back to the marina about 7:30 where I hooked up with a sailing friend who had come down for the races the following day. Had something to eat and watched a movie with Larry, Jim and Allyson in the clubhouse till after 9, then headed to bed, big day on Saturday.
04/20/2011, Sacramento, Ca
Well it's been forever since I've posted, I keep wanting to put together some kind of chronological series of posts with my sailing adventures, but it seems to never happen, so here is my hodgepodge post.
We've been sailing as much as we can over the last couple of years but not as much as we would like. Last summer just blew by, and before we knew it our calender was packed with events other than sailing. We did get in a few weekend sails here and there with the summer culminating in a week long adventure on the delta. I had built a rack for my two solar panels using 3/4" copper pipe and had finally gotten them wired into my battery bank just as we started the trip.
I have a small bar refrigerator that was inherited from my step father, it fit perfectly in the V-berth, and I ran an extension cord back to the inverter, thinking this would be a great way to keep our perishables fresh for the trip.
Well while the trip was a great adventure for us, 5 nights and 6 days on the delta (3 nights at marinas, 2 at anchor in wilderness anchorages). I wasn't seeing the charging on the batteries that I expected, in fact the batteries went completely dead several times. when the trip was over and I was unpacking the lazerette locker I found the problem, one of the many items that I shoved into the locker and pulled the wiring from the panels out and no juice was making it to the batteries.
After that I blew my old main sail out sailing at a regatta that out Yacht club puts on every year, I patched the sail up and blew the Jib out on the next race.
I spent the winter trying to find a cheap used mainsail that would fit into my budget, finally getting a Main off of a Person 26' that I had to make some minor modifications to the head of the sail to get it to fit (getting pretty good with the old sewing machine) .
I was elected onto the board of our Yacht Club in January as cruise chair, so I have been trying to get our cruising calender fuller than last year, starting earlier in the year, but some very cold weekends kept everyone away until weekend before last, my wife and I and a friend finally got out to do an overnight cruise. But again we were beset with challenges and problems.
My old Honda outboard which has run like a champ for the last two years wouldn't start for anything, finally put on the 9.9 johnson that I use on my Zodiac and used it for the weekend. The Johnson worked alright but since I had not planned on using it that much, then I did, the engine ran out of gas on the way back Sunday Morning, and I had to be towed in by my friend Larry in his Catalina 30. Still it was a fun trip.
I brought the Honda & Johnson home, and found that the water pump impeller is in poor shape and will need to be replaced soon, and after much tinkering I was able to get the Honda back to running like it's old reliable self.
I planning on taking this easter weekend and going down to the boat testing out the outboards and getting some much needed sail time.
Hopefully I will get the time to post about it when I get back.....
Or even to post some of the sailing/adventure stories from the last two years.
07/21/2009, San Joaquin/California Delta
Well I've been telling my parents about how great sailing is for a couple of years and when we were power boating we took them out for a couple of evening runs which they really enjoyed. So when my Mother who will turn 70 next month said that she was going to be spending a week at a genealogy convention in a small town about an hour from where I live I invited her to an evening of sailing.
She told me that she would love to and asked if she could bring a friend, of course I replied the more the merrier. Well the appointed day came last night and my Mom and her friend Caroline showed up about 2 in the afternoon we stayed at the house and visited for a little while then caravaned down to the boat.
I got to the boat a little earlier than my Mom, her friend and my wife Pegirae, the first thing I realized was that it was really blowing and there weren't any other sailboats out.
Well I went about washing the dust and spiderwebs off of the boat, and getting it ready for the trip. One of the first things I did was to get the 80% storm jib out and get it hanked on, I also put the reef in the mainsail. I figured the worst thing that would happen was that we would poke our nose out of the harbor and turn back, then have dinner at the dock. Not quite what I had in mind, but I wanted my mom to have a good time.
While we were visiting I explained to my mom and her friend the physics of a sailboat, how it is normal for them to lean over (a lot sometimes) and how if everything is working correctly the weight of the keel will bring the boat back up every time, I'm sure glad I did that.
We motored out of the harbor into some pretty fierce winds, but with the smaller sails the Catalina took them in stride, she leaned over and took off. I didn't have the sails trimmed for best performance I had them trimmed for decent speed and the comfort of my guests and it seemed to work. we stayed at about 20% lean most of the night and while we had some interesting tacks (4 people in the cockpit while trying to single hand can be interesting) we had a good sail to Fisherman's Cut where we dropped anchor and had a great dinner of warm sourdough bread and pasta salad.
The only hitch of the evening came when I tried to pull the anchor, and ended up pulling up about 70lbs of sea grass, and mud. The anchor was so heavy and the wind was blowing so hard that I had to leave the anchor tied off just above the chain rode, and motor out into the middle of the San Joaquin river to keep from being blown onto the rocky side of the levee.
Well once out in the relatively open river I had to pull the anchor up while trying to balance on the bouncing bow of the boat, I finally got it on board fully engulfed it's green muddiness. I pulled the sea grass off in hunks and was finally able to extricate the anchor, get it into it's locker and shove the rest of the crap into the river. At that point the sun was starting to set, so we headed back to the harbor, the wind at our backs doing 7knots SOG at some points in a beautiful sail. My mother and her friend left very impressed with sailing and hopefully the have a good memory that will stay with them for years. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures from last nights sail.
But after the last couple of sails it was nice to have a sail where most everything went well.
Does anyone else notice that not very many people are posting? Must be because of the summer weather we are all out sailing instead.
06/02/2009, California Delta
So it looks like I'm finally getting some sailing in!
Last Weekend Memorial Day, we were still pretty much recovering from the scorching weekend before and while Pegirae (my wife) had started out with wanting to spend the entire weekend out on the boat, we ended up just going down Saturday and doing some small projects. I finally rigged the Reefing lines on the Mainsail and put in the Mast Gates that I had purchased at Catalina Direct a couple of weeks ago. Also my friend Bill had given me an old Horse Shoe style throwable PFD and rack that I rigged up to the stern railing. I finally changed out the old rusty Honda 3 gallon gas tank for a new plastic 6 gallon tank and new fuel line and priming bulb. Toward the end of the day Pegi decided that she was ok with going out, she had spent the day keeping me company and reading down in the cabin. So I rigged up the 80% storm jib, put a reef in the main and motored out. The wind was blowing at about 30+ mph and Pegi is still recovering from the head injury I gave her back in April so the Dr's have told her they don't want her sailing because of the way the boat will heel. So I try to keep the boat flat while she is on board. Well the wind was blowing so hard and we picked up about 1000lbs of sea grass with the keel on the way out that when I tried to tack the boat went into Irons then jibed around. I just couldn't keep enough forward momentum to complete a tack. So after several failed attempts I turned and ran with the wind so that I could figure out how to clear the keel in the high winds without being blown aground while I was raising and lowering the keel. While I was trying to get a grip on the situation the boat had several accidental jibes one that about swept me over the side. I decided that it was just to wild to be out there pretty much single handing, so I dropped the sails and motored back into the marina. Praise God the motor seems to be working reliably now and that the P.O. ran all of the lines back to the cockpit.
So Sunday came with no time on the water, just relaxing at home. My friend Mike called and said he was moving his Chris Craft Commander (35' sport fisher) back from Glenn Cove marina down at the Carquinez straights to Sacramento. He asked if I wanted to come and help.
I told him sure but we had plans to meet up with Bill and the other guys in my "Brotherhood" (a church men's group that meets at my house every week) at the sailboats in Isleton at 3pm to spend the afternoon evening sailing. He assured me that the trip would only take about 4 hours (actually took a little over 7). So we met up at 8am, then drove down to the Vallejo. We got the boat out of his slip at 10am at the bottom of low tide, we were actually dragging the boat across the mud bottom on the way out. Once out in the strait's we headed upstream through Suisun bay, and up the Sacramento river, we finally got into Sacramento at around 5pm. The guys had been calling me throughout the day to make sure we were still on for sailing, I finally told them to meet at my house and carpool down and that Mike and I would head down as soon as we got to Sacramento.
Mike on the Bow of the "River Otter"
A shot of the "Robert E Lee" a paddle wheeler that the owner has been trying to restore for the last few years, looks like he sank at the dock. The had pumps going trying to refloat the boat.
We finally made it to Isleton about 6pm, and had the boat out on the water in about 20 minutes a new record.
Bill had 3 other guys out on his Ericson 36 and was headed back to the Marina to meet us when we caught up with him. The wind was blowing around 25mph and Mike and I had the Catalina smoking, however once bill and the guys turned around and got their Jib up, the passed us like we were anchored. We spent the next hour chasing them back down to Fisherman's cut where they had dropped anchor, we rafted up next to them, then while tying lines between the boats one of them caught on my winch handle, pulled it out of the winch and into about 15 feet of water - crap. Oh well the sea grass was too thick and the water to deep to try and swim for it, so I wrote it off and just another sacrifice to the River. We had a great time hanging out, made dinner then split back up and headed back to the marina. Once we found the marina in the dark (no moon) and put everything away, I had to drive Mike back to Vallejo to get his car, I finally got home about 1:30 Tuesday morning.
This Last weekend I didn't even try to get down to the boat, just kind of chilled for the weekend, but I finished up a big project Monday and my job for today canceled so I called my employee John and asked him if he wanted to take the day off and go sailing. He enthusiastically agreed (he had been sailing with us the prior Monday for the first time) and brought his younger brother along. We took off to the boat and got on the water about noon, the winds were sweet, at about 25-30mph. I put up the 110% working jib and the main with no reef. The boat was heeling pretty well, got the rail wet a few times but it was a lot of fun, running at between 5-6 knots.
John leaning over and running his hand in the water, the water line is usually a good 3' below the rail, gives you an idea of how far we were heeling.
Johns Brother Alex, enjoying the amenities of a cruising sailboat. even if it is only 25' long!
John relaxing as we were enjoying the day.
John and Alex at the helm with the Antioch Bridge in the background, the winds were starting to kick up over 30mph at this point.
A ferry that we were chasing down as it moved between the islands.
Yours truly at the helm on our way back into the marina.
A great shot of John as we sailed into Owl Harbor after 5 hours of sailing and almost 26 miles logged.
We worked our way down river toward Antioch as we got closer to Antioch the wind and waves got bigger, finally about 3:30 with the bridge in sight we turned around and headed back. The wind was on the beam so we were on a nice broad run the boat was still heeling pretty far, so I got up and put a reef in the main. I really like the way the rigging for this is run, I can pull both ends of the sail down to the boom from the gooseneck at the mast. we were almost pulling 7 knots on the way back, what a ride!
We decided to go down False river instead of heading back up the San Joaquin, then up Fisherman's Cut. We had a great sail day, and I'm totally sun burnt, just to exciting to slow down and put the sun screen on:)
Here are some pic's from the day.
The outboard is running great, changing the tank out and rebuilding the carburetor seems to have done the trick.
At one point today the boat was heeling so far over that there was water about an inch up the cabin windows!
about that time I noticed water coming from my newly rebuild faucet! Apparently the boat was leaning so far over that the water tank (on the starboard side) was actually above the sink and faucet and was pushing water out the faucet into the sink where I had stored our wallets and other items we wanted to keep dry, thankfully we didn't have our cell phones there.
Only a couple of things ended up on the cabin floor this trip I think I'm finally getting the hang of where to store stuff so that it doesn't fly all over the cabin when sailing in decent winds.
05/20/2009, California Delta
Well after a late start on Saturday we made it down to the boat. Pegirae and I were set to spend a great 17th anniversary on the water. Well we didn't make it down to the boat until late afternoon, and I decided to just motor up to Potato Slough our destination for the weekend. We arrived and found another sailboat there, we anchored nearby and chatted with "charles" for a while before I went below to get dinner ready. It was already hot in the cabin even with the front hatch open and the companion way open. I had finished my propane conversion of the old alcohol stove but could'nt find the gas line for the stove before we left so I ended up using the cheap "wall-mart" camp stove which was a little scary because the grate was not flat and the hot pots kept wanting to slide off any time the boat moved.
After a nice Italian (spaghetti) dinner with a celebratory glass of wine to toast our 17 years together in marital bliss, just the two of us and about a million mosquito's and other flying bugs (they got in before the netting went up) we settled down to our first night at anchor. Even at eleven pm it was still about 80+^ on the boat thank God for the forethought to get insect repellent because I was not sleeping under the covers that night.
About 3am I changed my mind because the boat was finally cooling down to around 30^ below, actually about 60^ but laying in bed with no cover at 3am it felt like 30^ below. We woke with the sun, this has not been a problem before because when we spent weekends on the boat over the winter the sun came up at a respectable hour, and the cloud cover usually enabled us to ignore it and go back to sleep. Not so Sunday morning we were up at six, hit the air pump on the mattress, answer natures call and sneak back to bed for another hour of sleep, by then the cabin was warming up to a nice high 70's temp wise.
I do have to admit this was the earliest we actually got up and got sailing. We had a light breakfast of Honey Do Mellon, I got out the cleaning bucket and cleaned the bow decks, then pulled anchor, pulling up all kinds of mud all over my newly cleaned decks (perfect). After breaking out the bucket, rinsing off the mud, then motoring out of the anchorage (the Honda worked flawlessly this weekend). We headed over to Franks Tract, the winds were very light and I pulled out the asymmetrical spinnaker we got with the boat. I had only used this sail once before and the winds were so light then, it was useless. I've been Leary of using this sail because of the reputation spinnakers have if you are single handing, but the sail worked great, the winds were just light enough that I was able to tack without going forward and "chuting" the sail through the tack, I just tacked, let the sail lightly shift sides, then when everything was clear adjusted the sail, and off we went. We were pulling a steady 3 knots in about 7mph of wind
We sailed around Franks tract for about 1 1/2 hours, I was able to actually use a bungee cord on the tiller and go below for visits (escapes from the sun) for up to 5 minutes without having to go above and adjust course. There were only power boaters out and we had the open areas of the tract to ourselves.
To make a long story less long, oh yeah too late. We got off of the tract and I pulled the chute down over the spinnaker leaving the main up, but pretty much just motored down false river, and up fishermen s cut, then accross the San Joaquin, dropped anchor and went swimming because it was so freaking hot, over 100^,
after finding out how badly the boarding ladder and railing were designed we headed back to Owl Harbor and home. When I was loading the boat up at the end of the day I looked at the digital thermometer and it read 111^ in the cabin, I would have taken a picture but I was too busy sweating and trying not to pass out.
Here's a Google earth track of our weekend sail,
the kicker was that on Monday my friend bill went sailing with a couple of other guys and the temps were in the mid 80^ and winds over 30mph, wtf???? Oh well here's hoping for a better sail this weekend with memorial day and all.