Preparing the cabin top for its new coat of paint is time consuming due to all the hardware that can't be removed and you just have to work around it. Then there is all the teak -- and the gray non-skid too -- that has to be taped around in all its many curves and corners.
So preparing the boat for painting is quite a bit different than preparing a house for painting -- but thank goodness it's not as big as a house!
Then when it comes to painting it's a bit different too. The paint we use is a one part epoxy that dries to a nice shine. But to achive that nice shine you cant just roll it on, you have to roll or paint it on followed by taking a dry brush to the freshly painted surface to "tip" it -- knock down any texture or ridges left by the brush or roller. Then, on top of that, you have to lightly sand the surface before the next coat of paint -- just as with varnish.
So we're excited that the prep work is going quicker than we expected and we're looking forward to getting the first coat of primer on tomorrow.
06/14/2013, Emery Cove Marina, San Francisco Bay
We just completed the 3rd coat of paint along "the gutter" around Cetus' deck == so she's looking pretty good. This was phase 2 of the big top side paint job and now we'll tackle the biggest painting project: The whole cabin top.
We expect this, phase 3, to take a good couple weeks as there is lots of sanding to be done on weathered, flaking old paint -- as well as lots and lots of taping to be done.
Tomorrow -- let the sanding begin!
06/08/2013, Emery Cove Marina, San Francisco Bay
After a week or so of prep work to prepare to re-paint the blue stripe on Cetus we were lucky to have near perfect weather to paint 3 coats on consecutive days (with light sanding in between coats) and today Voila! the job is done.
The thing that made the job easier than ever are the slips here in Emery Cove. Unlike our slip back home where we have one finger pier and a boat next to us, here we have a slip all to ourselves, with finger piers on either side of the boat. It's a wonderful way to have the slips -- not just for ease of painting or other work, but going in and out of your slip is much less stressful when you don't have to worry about bumping the boat next door if a wind gust or current catches you.
Next project: Painting the cabin top
06/06/2013, San Francisco Bay
Years ago we painted a blue stripe on Cetus' hull to give her a sleeker look and we also painted her cabin top which was looking worn. After these years in the sun and lots of salt water washing over her, she is in need of a new paint job. We'd originally planned to do it in Hawaii, but held off since there was often some rain on a daily basis, but now that we're here in San Francisco we've decided to tackle the project.
We started with the blue stripe and began with the prep work -- always the most time consuming of any painting project. Terry first went through and did epoxy patches on any little cracks or dings he could find -- and that was followed by sanding to smooth it back out. Once that was done he did a light sanding over the whole stripe and I taped it top and bottom and around all the scuppers and fittings.
So finally today we were ready to paint the first coat! And Mother nature cooperated with some good weather -- started out cloudy, but by 11 we had clear skies and sun (but not too hot) and the wind wasn't too strong. So I rolled the paint and Terry followed behind and "tipped" it with a brush to give it a smoother look.
All went well and after about an hour we were done. Now tomorrow, a light sanding between coats and we'll do the second coat. We plan to do three coats and when that's done we'll start the prep work on the cabin top -- so by the end of the month old Cetus should be looking like new again.
05/23/2013, going out of print soon
Terry's first exciting adventure novel, Adventures Aboard Rick's Place, will be going out of print soon -- so if you'd like an original copy of this humorous book go to Amazon.com and place your order before June 3, 2013.
Terry is currently working on the 3rd book in the trilogy of stories that he has based on our true life adventures, and when that is complete we will publish all three books in one action packed adventure novel.
So order today by clicking on the Amazon.com icon on the bottom of the right hand column or go to our web page Cetus Media Works for more information.
Actually it's more like putting her back in order again.
We've been at the dock nearly a week and she's pretty much back to "home" mode.
The first phase was moving things stowed on our bed back to their usual homes (the inflatable kayaks we stow in the VBerth we move to our room to better balance the boat on a long passage) and turning the settee in the main salon back to a settee instead of our sea berth.
Then there was lots of laundry to do after 3 weeks -- all the bedding, cushion covers and 2 loads of fleece!
And Terry had his usual list of things to fix -- little things that crop up during the passage. Plus we had a few equipment issues that we had to send some parts in for replacement or repair. Those included the new wind instrument that didn't hold a battery charge as long as it should, and the new depth sounder that gave erratic readings (both will be replaced free of charge). We also need a new cable for our autopilot that forgot how to steer and we also sent the wind turban in because it started making a noise at certain speeds -- and it's supposed to be the quietest one available -- and it was until recently.
But the one thing that was really disheartening was the state of the teak! Yikes! The constant submersion in the salt water left some bare spots and I was afraid all my work in Hawaii was down the tubes. I thought maybe I'd made a big mistake by not using the gloss on the Cetol after all. But in the end it was an easy fix -- no sanding required! Just had to scuff the surface with Scotch Brite pads and re-apply some Cetol. So it worked out as we'd hoped, that by not using the gloss, touch ups would be much easier. hurray!
So now we're ship shape and even pulling the knick knacks out to make Cetus look like home again.
Once again, Rick the wind vane wins the prize!
Though everyone contributed and we couldn't have done it without any one of the crew -- Rick kept us sailing along with hardly a worry about steering -- we were just along for the ride.
Day in and day out he steered the boat on the course we'd set. giving us the freedom to go about our other tasks.
And he somehow miraculously kept us on course when we were motoring through the light to no wind areas! Since he works with the wind, it was amazing he could keep on steering without it -- but we were so happy he could because early in the trip his brother Auto (the electronic autopilot that we use when we are under power) had some kind of mental breakdown and couldn't remember how to hold a course. If Rick hadn't come though we would have had to hand steer through those no wind days.
So lets hear it for Rick!
You always hear about people sailing off into the sunset -- and that's what all our other passages have been since we were sailing west. This was our first time sailing into the sunrise -- and the cold.
We were happy to have Ken of Locus Weather guide us through the highs and lows and across the ridges and troughs of the North Pacific -- it was like running a maze to get to where we could find the best weather to keep us going strong and he did a great job of finding a good path for us. If he could have just found warmer weather for us :)
When we set out from Hawaii we had 2100 miles to go -- as the crow flies -- and we guessedamated 3 weeks since we can usually count on an average of 100 miles a day.
Here are the final stats from the trip:
Total miles traveled -- 2419
Length of trip -- 22 days 3 hours (or 531 hours)
Total engine hours -- 230
Diesel used -- 100 gal (started with 140 on board)
Water used -- 110 (started with 220 on board, plus we have the water maker if we needed more
Highest wind gust: 30 knots
Biggest seas: 12 feet
Best boat speed: 8 knots
Average boat speed: 4.5 knots
Our food supplies lasted well and we are still well stocked -- used the last of the vegetables and eggs for a good breakfast as we approached the Golden Gate Bridge and the night before we had a nice steak dinner as we motored along over smooth seas.
All in all it was a great passage, but we really don't want to do another long cold weather passage. And it's not that we couldn't get warm -- the heater worked great and we had lots of fleece, but just having to get up from a warm bed and dress in all those layers and shoes and socks and go out on watch was so much more difficult than scampering out in shorts and barefoot as we could in the warmer waters. We were just fortunate that we only got 2 days with rain -- that would have made the cold even worse.
So not the fastest passage -- but pretty good for old Cetus. We always opt for comfort over speed, so we could make better time, but we're happy with our progress if we can average 4 knots and move along safely.
I've been attaching pictures to the posts from the passage if you want to take a look to see what we were seeing out there.
I've often said that sailing a long passage is much like running a marathon or birthing a baby -- something you enter into willingly and with great excitement, but along the way in the midst of it all you often question your sanity and wonder what the heck are you doing.
But there is such a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the passage, it makes all the difficulties of the days in between fade from your memory. And the Golden Gate Bridge is the best finish line we have ever crossed!
Shortly after tying to the dock in Emery Cove Marina, we took our much awaited long hot showers followed by a short walk to the nearby Mexican restaurant for a belated Cinco de Mayo and End of the Passage celebration, then back aboard Cetus for a 14 hour sleep in our own bed! (we sleep in a sea berth while at sea) Heavenly!
We will keep Cetus here through the summer with plans to harbor hop down the California coast next fall on our way back to the Sea of Cortez.
We chose Emery Cove because we've spent time here before (a year in 1998 and another month in 2009) -- its a lovely marina and it feels like home. Diane, the harbormaster has been here for 30 years -- so nice to be greeted by a familiar, friendly face when we arrived.
Now there's a bunch of work to do to get Cetus cleaned up and back to normal - so we'll be busy for a few days. In the meantime I will get our pictures uploaded and posted -- and later I'll do a blog on the stats of the trip -- how many miles, how much fuel, etc etc.
Ahhhhh, feels good to be home!
05/07/2013, 37 32 N 124 32 W
The "noserly" winds and seas finally subsided and we've been happily motoring along all day -- not at break neck speeds, but much, much better than yesterday. With luck we may still make it in before dark tomorrow!
So it's brighter in spirit, but not in light, as we've been in a little dome of fog all day. It reminds us of our trip down the coast in 2009 when we traveled nearly the whole way in different degrees of fog. As long as the radar is working, it's fine with me and even though its a little damp it certainly beats the rain!
We traveled 88 miles yesterday bringing us 83 miles closer to San Francisco.
We have 107 miles to go!
05/06/2013, 37 14N 126 11 W
We thought we had it made no problem to be in on Wednesday -- till today happened. Now we're hoping Thursday will be the day.
The morning started out great -- we hadn't hit the East winds last night that our weather guy thought we might and his email this morning said we were through the low and should see some southerly winds and we could set a direct course to SF now. We'd be doing some motoring because the winds would be getting lighter and lighter. But that was fine -- we'd planned for it and had plenty of fuel.
Shortly after that the winds came up from the East and fairly strong 15-20 knots, so it was slow going even with the engine on to help us along. So so frustrating to be so close and not be able to make any progress.
Then the engine started loosing power! So Terry changed the fuel filters and solved that problem, but with that we lost another hour of forward progress.
Then back to slugging along not being able to make good headway no matter what tack we take. Then the engine starts to overheat! This time it was the impeller, so Terry was back to work and got it all going good again -- but we lost some more time.
Now we're still fighting the winds and seas, knowing they are supposed to die way down by tomorrow. But it won't be soon enough for a Wednesday landfall, because we still have 190 miles to go and it's 6 pm. Figuring 100 miles a day we could just get in before dark, but I don't know if we can count on that 100 miles a day in these conditions.
So we'll set our sights on Thursday, and be pleasantly surprised if by some miracle we get in on Wednesday.
05/05/2013, 36 58N 127 46 W
When we set out from Honolulu 20 days ago we had our schedules (radio skeds, 24 hour reports, night watches) set by our ships clocks that were on Hawaiian time. Well, we've continued to use Hawaiian time as it would just confuse things to change the clocks. But once the sun started rising at 3 am we decided it was time -- we'd better get with the program before we reach San Francisco.
So yesterday we started a 3 step plan where we're changing the clocks by an hour every day for the next 3 days so we can gradually adjust, and so far it hasn't been too traumatic and we'll be back on Pacific Time by the time we make landfall
And it looks like our boisterous sailing has finally come to an end -- a few hours ago we entered an area of light fog or low clouds and the winds and seas settled down a bit and we're now sailing quite comfortably. We're in the middle of that low we'd hoped to go below to catch some favorable winds, but it shifted south so we just have to go through it and see what we get. We may have a period of some east winds, but for the most part things will be light and variable so we'll be motoring a bit on the last couple days.
The best news today was we made our best time of this trip, and we traveled 142 miles making 134 to the good to SF! Now only 264 miles to go, so if all goes well we'll be going under the Golden Gate Wednesday morning!
only 3 more nights at sea!
05/05/2013, 37 01N 128 47 W
Terry was hoping to be in to shore to celebrate his favorite holiday, but it wasn't to be : Looks like a few more days before the party ....300 miles to go!
05/04/2013, 37 14 N 130 35 W
We're on a good course for San Francisco Bay averaging a bit over 5 knots -- and yes we have sun today! Hurray!
We're still bundled in our fleece and foul weather gear, but the sun certainly does lift the spirit. And it made it possible to wash my hair -- on the gray cold days I was afraid it wouldn't dry and then come nightfall I'd freeze to death. Luckily we've gotten sun every couple of days.
We finally broke the 100 mark in our miles made good today, checking in at a whopping 102 miles (but we sailed 123 miles total). We hadn't crossed the 100 mile mark since back on April 27th. 395 miles to go!
Another difference I've seen in this cold weather sailing is how much better fresh foods last. I still have 1/2 a loaf of bread and some sandwich rounds, and just used the last English muffins yesterday.
I also used the last of the carrots yesterday and when I made pizza two nights ago I cut up the last of the onion and bell pepper. I froze what I didn't use on that pizza so we can have one more pizza before we head in.
And the reason I think we'll have another pizza night is we should end up with some pretty calm winds and seas the last days out. Seems there is a low developing right outside the bay and the plan seems to head south of it (if it moves right) and catch the light southerly winds to blow us back up to the bay -- with a lot of help from the Yanmar.
05/03/2013, 37 53 N 132 54 W
500 miles to go -- and since we roughly count days as 100 miles that means 5 more days -- and I can count that on one hand so it's looking pretty good to us -- the end is in sight!
With these weather systems, highs and lows, troughs and ridges, that we've been working our way around all this time, we still aren't on a direct line for SF, and yesterday we traveled 127 miles, but only got 94 miles closer to our goal.
And it has been a wet and wild ride for the last 24 hours. Waves breaking across the boat and bouncing down waves and crashing around. Certainly not the worst weather we've been in, but the cold is making it pretty unpleasant right now. Yesterday we at least had blue skies, but today is gray and cloudy so it's been cold all day.
But our weather guy says we're through the worst of it and the winds and seas will start backing to a more favorable position beginning tonight and the winds will also start easing off and once they do the seas will follow suit. At least he gives us hope!
Then we just have to finagle our way around a low sitting right in our path... that's a couple days from now o we'll see where that's sitting when we get a little closer.
But all's well on Cetus -- Rosie is keeping us warm by sleeping on or next to who ever is off watch -- though we know she's really doing it to keep Rosie warm :)
Looking very forward to getting in to San Fran and taking a nice long hot shower followed by a nice long sleep in our warm bed instead of the sea berth!
On and on we go.......
05/02/2013, 39 19 N 134 51 W
The NE winds started slowly last night so we were able to tack over gently and gradually adjust to our new world -- leaning to the other side.
The winds gradually increased and we've had 15-20 knots all day and have been sailing along smartly at 5.5-6 knots. The seas are a bit crashy at times, but I wouldn't call it a true bash. I may change my tune tomorrow when the winds and seas increase a bit.
But we're all adjusting to our new world -- I have a whole new set of cupboards that are hard to open because everything wants to spill out at me -- but now the fridge is easy with everything shifting to the back. One tack isn't necessarily better than the other -- just different and it takes some getting used to after 15 days on one slant. Rosie has had to find new places to curl up as the old places don't hold her securely anymore. But her favorite place is still right on top of which ever one of us is sleeping at the time.
But the best news is we only have 596 miles to go! And now that we're on a more direct course and doing better speeds that time should tick away quickly now.
05/01/2013, 40 12 N 136 45 W
When leaving Puget Sound for points south, cruisers often refer to that turn you make outside of the Straits of Juan de Fuca as "The Big Left Turn" -- infact friends of ours on S/V Eagle named their Sailblog just that. So now, 4 years after we made that Big Left Turn, we're getting ready to make the Big Right Turn to head back down to San Francisco.
The north Pacific High shot way north right now -- that's why all of you in the Pacific Northwest are enjoying some beautiful May weather right now, and that is the reason we're motoring east right now over smooth seas with sunny skies trying to get across a ridge at the tail end of that high.
But within 18 hours we should be across and will hit some decent NE winds -- and that's when we make the turn and tack back down to the latitude of San Francisco and let those winds push us all the way there.
We'll be in bigger winds and seas than we have been so far on this lazy journey, so we spent today getting everything ready just like we were just starting out on an ocean passage. I made easy to fix passage meals, we topped off the diesel tanks from our on deck jugs and re-stowed things since we'll be heeled to the other side for the rest of this trip.
With 688 miles to go we are ready! Our seats are in their upright position and are tray tables are up and locked. Bring it on!
04/30/2013, 39 33 N 138 30 W
Well we didn't get the west winds to send us to San Fran, so now the new plan is to get out into the NE winds that are building near the coast and ride them in. We are getting in position for that by continuing our NE progress, and when we reach lat 40 (tomorrow sometime) we should start the downhill run. That also means a change in tack, so we'll lean to the other side and it will be a whole new world aboard Cetus.
Today hasn't been as nice as the rest have been -- started last night when we had to dodge scattered rain showers, that have persisted much of the day. Right now we have sort of a heavy misty rain going on -- very fog like -- and very cold. The seas have also gotten choppy -- they aren't big or white cappy, just spaced such that we bounce and crash over them which isn't real comfortable, but it also slows our boat speed.
Despite all that we got 80 miles closer to San Francisco after traveling 105 miles. 770 miles to go!
04/29/2013, 38 33 N 140 14 W
We sailed about 110 miles in the last 24 hourss -- which is pretty good for old Cetus since the winds are light and in front of our beam -- she moves best with the winds abaft the beam and around 20 knots.
But the bad news is since we're still running on this NE heading we only got 80 miles closer to San Francisco -- but that's to be expected until we can make the turn to the East, and then the South East once we hit the NE winds.
It's been another pleasant sailing day with fairly smooth seas and all's well and comfortable aboard. It is chilly outside and stayed overcast all day, with just glimpses of sun. Boy does that fill good when it pops out from behind a cloud!
We just keep on truckin'
04/29/2013, 38 19 N 140 32 W
With all the debris we see every day out here -- lots of old plastic fishing floats, bunches of old rope and net and miscellaneous plastic and Styrofoam and the occasional log -- we figured we'd bump into something sooner or later. And last night we did.
It was about 7:00 and I'd just laid down for my first off watch rest and the wind died down so Terry started the engine to keep us moving along, when suddenly there was a big thunking sound and the engine kind of stalled. Yikes!
Luckily Terry was right by the engine control's and immediately put it in neutral -- that quick move really saved our day because the ball of net we ran into snagged on the propeller -- and if it had kept turning it would have become hopelessly wrapped and we would have been in a very nasty situation. We've heard of boats struggling for days trying to get everything unwrapped -- and that was in the Sea of Cortez where you could go in the water to take care of it -- out here it would have been a horrible task.
So we were very, very lucky and in the calm conditions we just dropped the sails to evaluate the situation, and Terry got hold of the heavy net with a boat hook and we tried pulling it forward with the winch and it came off the prop right away. Whooo what a scare!
So all's well aboard Cetus and we're able to continue on.....