Hilbre

The voyages and travels of the sailing vessel "Hilbre"

02 June 2016
13 May 2016
07 May 2016 | San Pedro
28 March 2016
02 June 2014 | San Pedro, Los Angeles
19 May 2014 | San Pedro, California
15 May 2014 | Ensenada
06 May 2014 | Turtle Bay
05 May 2014 | Turtle Bay
29 April 2014 | Cabo San Lucas
24 April 2014 | IN Mazatlan
15 April 2014 | Mazatlan
13 April 2014 | San Blas
11 April 2014 | San Blas
26 March 2014 | La Cruz Marina
25 March 2014 | Barra de Navidad
15 March 2014 | San Patricio (Melaque)
09 March 2014 | Guanajuato
06 March 2014 | Guadalajara

Heading North

02 June 2016
Friday, May 27 2016:
Finally, the weather improved and we headed out crossing Santa Monica Bay in light wind. During the afternoon in the Santa Cruz channel, we had both a strong current and a tidal flow which had us battering into confused seas. These calmed down overnight as we headed towards Point Conception.

Saturday May 28 2016:
We cleared Point Conception mid-morning on Saturday and continued up the coast. We all were still getting our sea legs and I was a lot more tired than usual and not feeling well.
On Saturday evening we had our first significant issue which was an air lock in the diesel fuel line. This was cleared by purging the fuel lines and we believed the cause was a faulty electrical pump which was by-passed.

Sunday May 29 2016:
We then continued north overnight and I came on watch at 12:30 a.m. I continued to feel unwell and not my usual self. I had been taking stock of my health and was unsure what was going on. Maybe we were all a bit slow getting our sea legs after the battering in the Santa Cruz Channel.

The skipper was very tired and so during my watch, I planned to let him sleep as long as he needed, ready to take his watch until he woke up naturally. About 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning, we lost power again with yet another air lock in the fuel line. This took a longer to clear and once cleared we continued north. While I was asleep following my watch, a decision was made to turn around and head to Morrow Bay.

The downwind run was easy sailing while we considered what caused the second fuel problem. The fuel filter housing was suspected, as it was not filled to the top by fuel. Upon stopping the engine, to top off the filter, we were unable to restart the engine.

After a number of attempts at solving the issue, we eventually called for a tow into Morrow Bay arriving there late Sunday Afternoon. We tied up to the yacht club dock there with a wonderful view of the Morrow Rock which is a volcanic plug, sticking up over 600 feet out of the surrounding shoreline.

Monday, 30 May 2016:
Nothing could be done on Memorial Day, other than replace the solenoid on the starter motor which looked like a possible culprit. This was replaced but without success.

Tuesday 31 May 2016:
A trip south to a shop that rebuilds and sells starter motors produced a new starter. This was installed and the engine finally came to life. In the meantime, I had arranged for Anita to drive to Morrow Bay and pick me up. We would also need the transportation if we still needed to find a replacement starter.

Wednesday 01 Jun 2016:
Anita arrived late Wednesday morning and we used the car to ferry fuel to the boat and top off the tanks. The fuel dock in Morrow Bay was not conducive to going alongside due to the tall pilings without fender boards, which we did not have. The boat was then prepared for an early Thursday departure. Meanwhile, I moved ashore late Wednesday so the crew could get an early start on the sail south to Smugglers Cove.

They eventually skipped Smugglers Cove as the auto-pilot now had issues. They endured a boisterous rounding of Point Conception and instead went to Channel Islands Harbor. From there they decided to head back to Long Beach ending a somewhat frustrating trip that seemed not destined to be, at least not this year.

Meanwhile and still recovering, Anita and I left Morrow Bay late on Thursday.

Still waiting on the weather

21 May 2016
The change to the weather in early May created unsettled conditions, especially off Point Conception. Here the head winds continue to blow at 20-35 knots depending upon the time of day. We continue to wait for a reasonable weather window in this area.

On a weather hold

13 May 2016
The weather decided to take a turn for the worse and is now blocking our departure. While a small window exists that would get us some distance on Tuesday & Wednesday, it looks like it would shut us off from getting further north than Morrow Bay. As we have no fixed schedule, we have decided to wait the weather out and not leave San Pedro. Our departure now looks to be sometime around May 19/20. Stay tuned.

Ready to go

07 May 2016 | San Pedro
Weather permitting, we depart for Anacortes, WA and then Alaska via the inside passage on May 16th. This time I am crewing a friends boat, a very well equipped and maintained Endeavor 40. We expect a 3-5 week boisterous cruise up the coast of California, Oregon and Washington before arriving in Anacortes. There, we will re-provision and take a short break before pushing on through the inside passage to British Columbia and Alaska via the San Juan Islands.

Alaska here we come

28 March 2016
Stay tuned for a mid May departure from Los Angeles for Anacortes, WA and then the inside passage through British Columbia and Alaska.

The Bash

02 June 2014 | San Pedro, Los Angeles
The Bash:

There are many individuals who are willing to offer advice on doing the Bash but have never done it. Of the people who I talked to who have done it, the best advice was seek out good weather windows, be patient, do not have a schedule and go as far north as you can as fast as you can. Books on doing the bash have lots of advice but in all honesty, it is all up to weather windows and good news does not sell books. Lots of people have done the Bash, you only hear about the horror stories. It is a miserable and often uncomfortable point of sail, but it is possible to complete it without having any major events.

Indeed, we were careful to ensure that the boat and the engine were up to the task. If in any doubt don't do it, getting major parts or doing major repairs can become a big and expensive problem. Having extra crew, and there were three of us, was helpful to keep watches short. We did three hour watches and having three crew was a good balance for a 36 foot boat.

We had many spare parts on board as well as extra fuel and oil filters. We changed engine oil in Cabo, Turtle Bay and Ensenada. All fuel filters were replaced in Cabo and all fuel taken on board was put through a West Marine (Baja) type filter before going into the tank. We also changed the transmission fluid. It was not clear how much fuel we would need to get us to Turtle Bay or from Turtle Bay to Ensenada so we acquired two 'Mexican' Panga style jugs each holding about 11 Gallons of Diesel for about 60 Pesos each in Puerto Vallarta. We already had 6 five gallon containers and while our fuel tank holds 25 gallons, we only used 20 for estimating purposes. The total fuel we carried for each leg was 70 gallons. This was all based upon our estimated burn rate and our speed over ground estimate that allowed for up to three knots plus headwinds. We refueled in Turtle Bay but not in Ensenada and ended the trip in LA with a full tank and five gallons to spare. We had plenty of engine oil on board should we blow a seal or have other engine issues.

The plan called for preparing four pre-cooked main meals that would just need re-heating so that galley time was minimized. We had plenty of snack foods available for whoever was on watch.

We did not have a SSB radio but we did have a Telcel BandaAncha Internet modem which may have worked for getting GRIB weather files in Mag Bay. However, we were too far away from the antenna so although we got a connection, it would drop after a while. It did work in Turtle Bay from the anchorage and also as we passed Cedros Village. While it was slow, we did get the weather information we needed. Otherwise, you have to rely on other cruisers for weather reports or use an internet cafe in Turtle Bay.

We started out from Cabo with a good three day and possibly four day weather window. We cruise at about 5.5 Knots and as recommended we hugged the coast about 2-3 miles off until south of Mag Bay. There was no noticeable south current this close in and we only noticed the current when off Mag Bay which was running at about 1.5 knots. We did encounter sea mist and winds of 15-20 knots on the nose for a few hours at nightfall.

Continuing north with good weather, we closed with land about 30 miles south of Turtle Bay having taken a direct route from Bahia Santa Maria to Bahia Asuncion. After coasting north about 4-5 miles offshore, we finally arrived off Turtle Bay in a morning mist that cleared as we entered the bay and dropped anchor.

The first GRIB download was disappointing as it looked like the next weather window would be five days away. In the end we were anchored in Turtle Bay for a full week along with some other cruising sailboats, one with a leaking oil seal and one with a broken Transmission. During that time a few other sailboats with delivery Captains came and went, usually just spending one night for rest and refueling. One of these boats did return one day as they found the going to be too stiff. The rest of us waited out the weather. The week passed quickly enough with trips ashore for supplies and to stretch our legs. The main concern was fresh water however, we carry 72 Gallons in three tanks along with about 21 gallons of purified drinking water. With careful conservation we still had 25 gallons of fresh water and 5 gallons of purified drinking water when we arrived in Los Angeles.

We finally got another good weather window of four or five days and anxious to get out of Turtle Bay, we gritted our teeth and set out after a week of heavy wind and seas had stirred everything up. We knew we would have a rollicking first day until the seas settled down. Indeed, we had long swells but favorable wind in the 10-15 knot range for motor sailing all of the way to Cedros Island.

Our route took us through the channel between Punta Eugenia and Isla Natividad. We did benefit for the time we were in the lee of Natividad but strong beam seas and wind hit us after that as we continued the crossing to the lee of Cedros Island.

Coasting north we did encounter winds of up to 30 Knots blowing down the steep Arroyos just south of the north anchorage in Cedros. Two other boats that had tried to continue crossing Vizcaino Bay turned back and anchored with us overnight. The north anchorage of Cedros is an open roadstead with a few small beaches inhabited by Sea Lion colonies. We anchored on the shelf in about 25 feet of water about 200 yards off one of the beaches. The bottom is gravel and rock and if I anchor there in the future, I will use a trip line on the anchor.

Our final three days from Cedros crossing Vizcaino Bay found us in long swells, up to 18 knots of wind and a strong 2 knot current. We closed with land just south of the Sacramento Reef. From there, we stayed about 3 miles off shore and inside of the continental shelf. We had been told that north of San Quintin the weather is often benign and it was. The final leg from Ensenada to San Pedro was uneventful and our clearance into the US was handled efficiently at the slip in the Cabrillo Marina in San Pedro.

Would I do it again? Probably, but not any time soon. It is a long, somewhat uncomfortable trip where you need lots of patience and some perseverance in a well found and equipped boat. But it can be done safely with careful planning, taking no risks, having no schedule and paying close attention to the weather.
Vessel Name: Hilbre
Vessel Make/Model: 2003 Catalina 36 MKll #2135
Hailing Port: San Pedro
Crew: Family and friends
About: Experienced coastal and off-shore crew in all conditions.
Extra:
We bought Hilbre in Kemah, Texas in December 2005. After 2½ years on Lake Mead, we relocated Hilbre to the Cabrillo Marina, San Pedro (Long Beach), in May 2009. At that time we prepared the boat for extended cruising. We participated in the 2011 Baja Ha-Ha to Cabo San Lucas and then continued to [...]
Hilbre's Photos - Main
San Blas over Palm Sunday
16 Photos
Created 18 April 2014
Views of the city, museums, tunnels and places of interest.
46 Photos
Created 12 March 2014
Views of the city center historical district.
22 Photos
Created 9 March 2014
More views of the area.
19 Photos
Created 1 March 2014
Some views of Barra and the Marina/Resort
18 Photos
Created 21 February 2014
Views of Punta DeMita in Banderas Bay.
10 Photos
Created 19 February 2014
Views of Tenacatita and the Mangrove tour.
9 Photos
Created 19 February 2014
Chamela Bay and the village of Perula.
15 Photos
Created 19 February 2014
A few views of places around the Bay.
7 Photos
Created 8 February 2014
Views of the La Cruz Marina, a cruisers get together and the Sunday Street market.
18 Photos
Created 3 February 2014
Sailing from San Blas to Chacala.
10 Photos
Created 1 February 2014
Our last day in San Blas.
12 Photos
Created 1 February 2014
Views of the town and places of interest.
26 Photos
Created 25 January 2014
The fort, church and Tovara Springs Jungle Cruise.
26 Photos
Created 25 January 2014
A few picture of the Eastern side of Isabella as we check out possible anchorages.
13 Photos
Created 25 January 2014
A tour of old Mazatlan.
17 Photos
Created 22 November 2013
Some views of Mazatlan in late November and early December. It includes a visit to Cerritos, Bruja Beach and views of Marina Mazatlan.
21 Photos
Created 15 November 2013
The official name of the mission is Misión San Francisco Xavier de Viggé-Biaundó. Located in the mountains not far from Puerto Escondido/Loreto.
10 Photos
Created 27 April 2013
Views of Agua Verde.
10 Photos
Created 27 April 2013
Some vies of La Paz and the Costa Baja Marina/Resort
7 Photos
Created 27 April 2013
Mazatlan to la Paz via Los Muertos.
12 Photos
Created 10 March 2013
Cerritos and Playa Brujas in Mazatlan.
8 Photos
Created 27 February 2013
A few views of the Mazatlan Carnival
17 Photos
Created 14 February 2013
Some views of Mazatlan.
21 Photos
Created 29 November 2012
Some views of the Copper Canyon area of Mexico.
37 Photos
Created 21 November 2012
The train through the Sierra Madre to Copper Canyon. The train climbs to over 8,000 feet and is quite spectacular. A definate must for any rail enthusiast.
23 Photos
Created 17 November 2012
Some views of El Fuerte where we started our rail journey on "El Chepe." The town is quite pretty and the people we met there were very friendly and helpful. It is a great place to visit and to stay.
20 Photos
Created 16 November 2012
Sunrise going to Topolobampo and some views of Los Mochis and the Marina Party.
11 Photos
Created 7 November 2012
Some views of the condo the boat and the final launch back into the Sea of Cortez
10 Photos
Created 7 November 2012
Some photographs of Hilbre going to dry storage in San Carlos.
13 Photos
Created 18 April 2012
Pictures arriving in San Carlos, the Marina and the boat storage area.
16 Photos
Created 11 April 2012
Some pictures of Santa Rosalia, BCS, Mexico. It is an old copper mining town on the Baja peninsular.
22 Photos
Created 5 April 2012
A few views of the anchorage at Puerto Viejo on the island of San Marcos.
5 Photos
Created 5 April 2012
Santispac cove in Bahia Conception.
7 Photos
Created 5 April 2012
Views of San Juanico. A very pretty and photogenic area.
24 Photos
Created 5 April 2012
Sunrise over the Isla Coronados as we sail up to San Juanico.
4 Photos
Created 5 April 2012
Views of sailing to Puerto Ballandra and the Ballandra Cove.
7 Photos
Created 5 April 2012
Puerto Escondido and Villa del Parma Hotel
19 Photos
Created 5 April 2012
The mission San Francisco Javier which is about 25 miles into the hills behind Loreto. A fun drive.
15 Photos
Created 18 March 2012
Views of Loreto and the first mission in the Californias.
17 Photos
Created 18 March 2012
From Agua Verde to Puerto Escondido
17 Photos
Created 15 March 2012
The trip from San Evaristo to Agua Verde and the Anchorage.
11 Photos
Created 15 March 2012
The pretty bay of San Evaristo, so nice after two full days of sitting out the 'Northerner' at Isla San Francisco.
5 Photos
Created 15 March 2012
Our stay at Isla San Francisco.
8 Photos
Created 15 March 2012
Views of the trip from La Paz to Caleta Partida on the Island of Espiritu Santo.
12 Photos
Created 15 March 2012
Gray Whales in Magdalena Bay near Puerto San Carlos.
18 Photos
Created 25 February 2012
Carnival in La Paz
32 Photos
Created 21 February 2012
La Paz Marinas, Carnival, Club Cruceros, Costa Baja & National Geographic Explorer.
11 Photos
Created 18 February 2012
Sun Dog and sunset in Caleta Lobos
5 Photos
Created 10 February 2012
A few early pictures of La Paz.
4 Photos
Created 17 November 2011
Views of the marina where we are staying.
11 Photos
Created 17 November 2011
Los Frailes anchorage. Views of the area.
12 Photos
Created 17 November 2011
Views of Cabo, Cabo Marina and at anchor off Cabo beach.
12 Photos
Created 17 November 2011
Last leg of the Baha Ha-Ha and arriving in Cabo San Lucas.
11 Photos
Created 5 November 2011
Leg Two of the Baja Ha-Ha and Bahia Santa Maria
25 Photos
Created 5 November 2011
Views of Turtle Bay, Mexico and the Baja Ha-Ha Beach Party.
15 Photos
Created 5 November 2011
The start of the Baha Ha-Ha in San Diego and the first leg to Turtle Bay Mexico.
9 Photos
Created 5 November 2011
17 Photos
Created 18 October 2011
Pictures of the old strut and the installation of the new strut.
7 Photos
Created 1 August 2011
A few pictures from the 2011 West Coast Catalina Rendezvous
11 Photos
Created 12 July 2011
On the way back from Ensenada, Hilbre and Avalon Blew lll stopped Catalina for a couple of days. Avalon was full but we obtained moorings in Descanso Bay.
14 Photos
Created 29 June 2011
A two week break at Marina Coral in Ensenada with Avalon Blew lll (Endeavor 40) and Midnight Snack (Valiant 42) of the LMSC Pacific Fleet. Hilbre arrived a week ahead of the group however we all sailed back to San Diego together.
24 Photos
Created 29 June 2011
A selection of photographs of our friends and guests at Lake Mead.
18 Photos
Created 27 June 2011
Lake Mead Sailing Club events and a really fun group of people who enjoy sailing and having a good time. There is a link on the sidebar to the LMSC Wesite.
17 Photos
Created 27 June 2011
Views including Hilbre in Texas, launching her into Lake Mead and photographs taken on various trips around Lake Mead
17 Photos
Created 27 June 2011
Pictures from the upper reaches of Lake Mead taken over a six day trip. We had wonderful weather and even though we motored some of the time, we also had some great sailing.
13 Photos
Created 27 June 2011
Pictures of us
6 Photos
Created 27 June 2011