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Allan and Rina's Sailing Adventure
The travels of S/V Follow You Follow Me Continue....
Hangin in Marina Del Rey
Allan
10/14/2008, Marina Del Rey

After leaving Catalina Island, we retreated to Marina Del Rey for a mooring at the transient docks where we *knew* it would not be rocking.... While the Santa Ana winds did come up over night, it was nothing like the moorings at Catalina. Rina and I both got a good night of sleep. We've been exploring the many bike paths here and doing the odd errand, like getting our bikes tuned up. It's amazing how annoying the shift mechanism is when it doesnt work well. A local bike shop fixed us up great for 12 bucks. Bargain. Speaking of bikes, riding as much as we have been lately sure gives you a different perspective on cars.... it won't be the sea that kills us, but it sure could be a car.

We're spending our time here preparing the boat for our Baja Haha crew, finding homes for everything and making it easier for the 6 of us to co-exist on the boat for 10 days. Little stuff like non-skid on certain surfaces, cheat sheets for where important thru-hull valves are.... May-day calling procedures, description of important switches on the electrical panels..... Fun stuff, right?

Many have described the trip as an extended vacation.... While it certainly is a break from work and the hectic pace of California life, there is plenty to keep us busy. Just getting food, without the convenience of a car requires careful planning.... Maintaining a boat of our size and complexity takes constant vigilance. Plus, I'm a "maintainer" meaning I reeeelly like to keep things looking and working well, so I (no surprise) tend to obsess on this stuff. We were talking with some fellow cruisers at the Banning House Lodge overlooking two harbors and getting a chuckle out of the boat cleaning mania, and the long time boaters in the crowd assured me this phase would pass.... Both Rina and I are making sure we balance our days with time to read, explore and (the hard part) stay off the friggen internet,.... A time sink if there ever was one. That will get easier as well once we are out of California as wifi spots will be less frequent as we get off the beaten path.....

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10/14/2008 | Patrick Sullivan
The lee side of Catalina can really get exciting when the Santa Anas blow.......this is usually a good time to go to CAT Harbor or Little Harbor on the other side of the island.....good time to reef down and enjoy a good sail.
Boats Coming off Moorings!!
Rina / Windy & Rocky!
10/11/2008, Two Harbors, Catalina Island

Ok, my story about boats in the middle of the night, Hot, fast winds, knocking boats off their moorings. As Allan said, the boat next to us was rocking and ended up dragging the mooring over towards us, we were fending him off at midnight till 1am or so. Then Allan decided to get some sleep(yea right)...went down for a couple of hours and so I kept watch from the cockpit with my fuzzy blanket and hot tea. There was a 68' power yacht, unhooked! floating down the moorings, bang, he hits his neighbor, plows over his own dinghy(crushes it), the harbor patrol pulled him back away from the other boat he hit, and sent him off to Cat Harbor at 3am...then 2 other large sailboats get unhooked from their bow lines, spinning back of their stern line, they almost hit other boats, the harbor patrol unhooks them also and sends them off. Can you imagine coming over to catalina without appropriate crew to help you even turn the nav lights on/off or pull lines on the bow?!?!?! This 40' older wooden boat, 1 captain, 4 guest(useless apparently), engine to small for the boat, pushing it to 2000 rpms, only making 1 knot in the water against the wind. He asks the harbor patrol to help him, they said, "Buddy, maybe you should be able to handle your own boat! Put up a sail and head south!" I ended up monitoring the VHF radio all night, ended up staying in the cockpit all night...Allan came back up later in the morning. Then we went back to bed for a couple of hours....Exhausted. Feeling better now, they are still expecting wind tonight, but we rotated the boat, bow to the wind. More soon!

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We Got Pooped!
Allan
10/11/2008, Two Harbors, Catalina Island

What a night.... after a wonderful day, with smooth seas and light winds, the Santa Ana winds piped up about 1am this morning. All sailboats were moored fore and aft "bow in" facing the shore, and when the winds, sustained at 22 knots with gusts to 25-30, hit us, they hit our big fat flat sterns and pushed us all around. We stayed put, but the brand new Catalina Morgan 44 with a rookie driver was inches away from gouging a hole on our port midship hull. Several boats had to be untied because they were dragging the weights on the sea floor.... and once loose, their only option was to go all the way around the island to Cat Harbor, a 2-3 hour motor, to anchor in the better protected anchorage.

So what does "pooped" mean? When you you get pooped, it means waves come over the stern of your boat into the cockpit. Several times waves came through the open transom and filled the cockpit floor with 3-4 inches of water, which then drained quickly. Nobody slept for the remainder of the night due to the crashing of waves on the back of the boat, which made it shudder. Rina ended up sleeping in her big fuzzy blanket in the cockpit, with the VHS tuned to channel 9 listening to all the calls for help from harbor patrol. Speaking of harbor patrol, they were fantastic. Calm and collected at all times while helping boaters get out of trouble. Rina has a great story about a boat full of people with only one person qualified to run the boat.....coming up next.

Santa Ana winds are predicted for the next couple of days so we are plotting strategy.... if not too bad, we are headed to Avalon, if worse, we'll head to cat harbor tomorrow morning to wait them out.

and yea, this picture does not *even* begin to describe what the conditions were like.....

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10/13/2008 | gene
Glad all is well. On 10/9 the NWS had called for strong offshore winds late 10/10 or early 10/11. They were right on.
Morning in Catalina
Allan
10/10/2008, Two Harbors, Catalina Island


After a brisk motorsail from Marina Del Ray to Catalina Island in light fog yesterday, we awoke to clear skies and even clearer water this morning. The anchorage is quiet while we enjoy morning tea in the cockpit. While quiet now, it's expected to much busier later today as cruisers descend on the harbor for a weekend cruisers rally.

We conducted an exercise in battery management last night. Normally our batteries will deplete to about 60-70% of capacity overnight, without any concern for amp conservation. We pretty much leave whatever lights on we want, leave the inverter running to power TV's and Stereos and such, as well as leaving the refer/freezer running all night.

Instead, we powered down everything except the lights after watching a thoroughly depressing movie (Monsters Ball). The lights we did use were LED's so they drew very little. This all made a huge difference and we woke up to 86% battery capacity, down from only 88% when we went to bed.... This all translates into less charging time, either through the engine alternator if we are motoring or motorsailing, or via the genset while we are in port. As we will be in port for the next 3 days, minimizing genset time is a big deal. Another reason is that you never know if the genset will break. While in Santa Barbara Marina, a main transformer went out on the dock for 3 of the 4 days we were there, forcing us to use the genset to charge batteries. After an hour or so, the genset would quit with a "oil pressure" error" We had seen this previously, with intermittent oil pressure sensors. Turns out the spade connector to the sensor was installed wrong, with the spade between the plastic shield and female connector, and had rattled loose, but not off, causing the intermittent behavior. Since reseating, it has worked fine.... a good example of the sort of persistent monitoring and troubleshooting required on the boat (see boat lesson #1 from previous post)

Anyway, time for some downtime for the next 3 days...

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10/10/2008 | Alyssa Alexopulos
Dad, I like your new scruffy look... keep it up. no joke. lol. it suits the cruise.
mom, i'm still jealous of your wide-brimmed hat.. you look great in it! I wish I was there to make friends with your dolphins, seal, and bird.
Megan can't wait to see you guys. I think she has the whole house to herself that week you guys are in san diego.
10/15/2008 | Don Durant
Did you install a Mastervolt generator? I had exactly the same error message & the same issue w/ the spade connector while we were in the Delta last summer. At least you knew what the problem was. Fair winds, Don
Assume the Position!
Rina / SUN!
10/09/2008, On Passage to Marina Del Rey

Wow, I guess I'll be doing alot of this....assuming the position in the cockpit, sitting in the sun, watching for sea life...AND WARM! I'm really enjoying this adventure. I'm still trying to find things to do since I did most of them before we left( hint, hint, allan)...LOL Can't wait for Catalina Island, off there today! Cruisers PotLuck in Two Harbors and the Avalon Jazz Festival after that! Hope everyone is doing great!

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Gallery Updated
Allan
10/08/2008, Santa Barbara Channel

We've updated the gallery with more pics, by request and will try to do so more often..... Click on the Photo Gallery link to the right...

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One of those moments...
Allan
10/08/2008, Santa Barbara Channel

...when it all makes sense. We left Santa Barbara at 630am and caught this sunrise in the Santa Barbara Channel. Calm seas, a nice warm wind from the starboard beam, and the boat moving smartly thought the water. When you try to imagine what it will be like out here, this is what comes to mind for Rina and I. We both just stood at the rail of the dodger, gazing at this sight for 30 minutes....

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10/08/2008 | Mike Wolf & Family
I am very happy that you have reached such a goal. I prefer much bigger ships, but on the ocean is the main thing. We are sorry that we missed going out on your ship before you left. In a few years we will need to try an get out there. Dustin would really like it. But for now it is ice hockey. Keep the pictures coming. I really envy you and am pretty jealous. Take care. the Wolf's
Note to Lindsey
Allan
10/07/2008, Santa Barbara


Hi Lindsey,

Thanks very much for your comment on our blog and more importantly THE adventure.... Our plans are to finish out the month in Newport, Catalina and San Diego, then head down to Cabo with the www.baja-haha.com cruisers rally, then spend the winter on the pacific coast of Mexico, down to Puerto Vallarta. In the spring we will head back up to the Sea of Cortez. From there, we really haven't decided where to go next. We figure we will learn a lot from fellow cruisers (as we have already) about the best time to be where to dodge hot weather, hurricanes, persistent rain, etc.

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Kick'en Back in Santa Barbara
Allan
10/07/2008, Santa Barbara

The last couple of days we have settled into a pattern, late morning rise, coffee/tea, followed by an excursion into town on our bikes. We did a wonderful Sunday brunch at a sidewalk cafe on State Street with decadent "endless mimosas" and crab benedict .... yum. The pic above represents our usual "catch", bringing food or other stuff back on our bikes.... We've traversed 6-7 miles away from the Marina on our boat to find little parts here and there. We found a great deal on some fishing gear so we can catch a little sushi on the way down the coast of Baja. Difficult to see, but Rina has a fishing net strapped to her bike and I have a 6 foot fishing pole, plus our racks loaded up with gear.

We've met some nice people here in the Marina. We attended a benefit for the Sea Shells youth sailing program, consisting of wine tasting and tours of various boats at the marina. Afterward we hosted a couple who are preparing to cruise on a similar boat as ours, so we had lots to talk about. In our neighborhood we have met the local rigger after catching a lady walk her dog and then let him poop right on his dock lines, suggesting that she clean it up. Unfortunately she did'nt clean it very well, as a couple of hours later he went to pick up the dock lines and as we came back to the boat, he had a funny look on his face.... I explained that we had suggested that the dog walker wash off the lines, and he asked if it was black lab.... sure enough... apparently she does this kind of thing ALL the time.... He's threatening to glue her dock lines to the dock.....

While we've had fun here, it's off tomorrow morning to Marina Del Ray, right off Venice beach for a day or two.

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Friends on the Dock at Santa Barbara
Rina / Sun after the morning rain
10/04/2008, Santa Barbara

Here's some friends that I made on our dock...very nice, they really don't have much in conversational skills...but I liked them. I've heard many stories of these seals taking over boat decks....thanks to our high free-board, they can't reach us.

ok, off to do more chores...boatwork is never done...funny, huh?!?!

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Who: Allan & Rina Alexopulos
Port: Sutter Creek, CA
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