22 September 2016 | Newport Beach-Shipyard
22 August 2016 | San Pedro
02 June 2014 | San Pedro, Los Angeles
19 May 2014 | San Pedro, California
29 April 2014 | Cabo San Lucas
24 April 2014 | IN Mazatlan
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
01 March 2014 | Barra De Navidad
Newport Beach & Lyon Air Museum.
22 September 2016 | Newport Beach-Shipyard
It was time to haul 'Hilbre' and check the Bearings, thru-hulls and have the bottom painted. All the mechanics are solid and 'Hilbre' now sports a clean and newly painted bottom. The trip from San Pedro was uneventful; calm seas with some fine sailing coming back until an hour or so south of Angel's gate when the head winds picked up to 25 knots; not unusual for this entry into Los Angeles Harbor.
She is now back in her slip and ready to go for a new adventure.
While in Newport Beach, we visited the Lyon Air Museum at John Wayne Airport where they maintain a number of WW2 aircraft, all in working order. Most interesting as we sometimes see their aircraft flying about the LA Basin.
Catalina Island - Isthmus Trip
22 August 2016 | San Pedro
Warm & Clear
It was nice to be on the water again and headed to Isthmus on Catalina Island for a few days on a mooring. When checking the engine a number of weeks ago, I discovered the Heat Exchanger had once again developed cracks in the brackets holding it to the engine. This had happened once before in 2011 and we had the brackets welded. This time I decided to replace the entire Heat Exchanger with a new one. This has worked well and the engine runs a few degrees cooler than it has, which is to be expected.
The trip over was quiet but we did manage to get some sailing in as we also did on our return trip. It has been a great opportunity to test all of the boats systems and everything is working beautifully.
We were last in Isthmus in October 2011 just before heading to San Diego and then Cabo San Lucas and our three years of cruising in Mexico. We always enjoy being in Isthmus and took the opportunity to do some pleasant walks on the Island.
Our next task is to have the bottom painted otherwise our regular service and maintenance program keeps Hilbre in perfect condition and ready for any cruising we decide upon.
On our return to San Pedro, we discovered that our friend on Avalon Blew lll had relocated his boat back to the Shoreline Marina in Long Beach as he found the Cabrillo Marina in San Pedro too quiet. We like the quiet and flexibility of the Marina Management in San Pedro.
Heading North on Avalon Blew lll
02 June 2016
Friday, May 27 2016:
After waiting a number of weeks to depart on my friends 40 Endeavor; Avalon Blew lll, the weather improved off Point Conception. The boat has been meticulously maintained with all of the systems replaced or rebuilt. On Friday, we headed out early morning, crossing Santa Monica Bay in light wind and calm seas. During the afternoon off Ventura/Channel Islands Harbor, we hit both a strong current and a contrary tidal flow which had us battering into confused seas for a number of hours. These calmed down overnight as we headed into the Santa Cruz Channel towards Point Conception.
Saturday May 28 2016:
We cleared Point Conception mid-morning on Saturday in light weather conditions and continued up the coast. We all were still getting our sea legs. On Saturday evening we had our first issue which was an air lock in the fuel line. This was cleared by purging the fuel lines. We believed the cause was a faulty electrical fuel pump which was by-passed.
Sunday May 29 2016:
We then continued north overnight and by the time I came on watch at 12:30 a.m. we were well on our way north and about 18 miles offshore. The skipper was tired 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 another air lock in the fuel line. This took longer to clear and once cleared, we continued north in good weather conditions and light seas. 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. It was believed to be the fuel filter housing which had an air space at the top of the filter housing, not filled by fuel. As we were in calm seas about six miles off Hurst Castle the engine was stopped to top off the fuel filter. After topping 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 and from there, had 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 as the crew planned an early start the next day on the sail south to Smugglers Cove.
They eventually skipped Smugglers Cove as the auto-pilot now developed problems. 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 long distance cruising trip that seemed not destined to be, at least not this year.
Meanwhile, Anita and I left Morrow Bay late on Thursday.
02 June 2014 | San Pedro, Los Angeles
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.
The Bash - Part Three
19 May 2014 | San Pedro, California
Some sun and warm.
The Bash Back - Part Thee (The final leg)
We are tucked into our slip in the Cabrillo Marina in San Pedro after completing the final leg of the 'Bash.' This leg was uneventful with a light SW wind and slow long swells, barely enough to motor-sail. However, it was nice to see Angel's Gate after three years and even better to be in our slip. The "Bash" is finally behind us.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
We left Ensenada at 4:50 a.m. and headed out into calm conditions with a low haze. By 7:40 a.m. we had passed an inbound Carnival Cruise liner headed for Ensenada and were already well out of the Ensenada Bay. Our course had us headed inland of the Mexican Coronado Islands. These islands are just south of the US border. At 2:45 p.m. we crossed from Mexican to American waters and headed for a point about 5 miles off Point Loma.
Sunday, May 18th., 2014
From Point Loma, we continued about 9 miles offshore but by 1:00 a.m., we had closed to about two miles offshore just south of Dana Point. The weather continued to be favorable with just a slight wind from the Southwest; barely enough to motor-sail. We had lost the negative current and our speed over ground was at times hitting 6 knots. Our route took us north towards Newport Beach and we then adjusted our course for a direct line to Angel's Gate in Long Beach Harbor. Just after 7:40 a.m., we were at the entrance to the harbor.
On the way into Long Beach, we called Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to alert them of our arrival, providing them with our information and ETA. We pulled into our slip at Cabrillo Marina at 8:20 a.m. and the CBP arrived about 20 minutes later to perform our check in and give us our official clearance into the US. This was done in an efficient and friendly manner by three agents. This is a much easier process than going into San Diego to perform the US entry clearance which can lose you six hours of sail time. It is a great service and enables you to go directly from Mexico to the US.
We are home.
Sail time Ensenada to San Pedro 28 Hours
Distance 156 NM
Fuel used about 12.5 Gallons (a bit under a Half Gallon and hour)
Average 5.59 Knots
Wind - Light and Southwest.
The Bash - Part Two
15 May 2014 | Ensenada
The Bash Back - Part Two
We are in Ensenada having arrived here at 3:30 pm ships time (2:30 p.m. local) on Wednesday, May 14th. Overall this second leg was fairly uneventful with one overnight stop at the north anchorage of Cedros Island. After Cedros the weather was generally calm with warm clear days.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
We left Turtle bay at 5:00 a.m. and headed out of the bay in calm conditions. After leaving the bay we hit long ocean swells with some slight wind which steadily increased to 12-15 knots as we headed toward our first major point, Punta Eugenia. Here, we made our turn to pass through the Dewey Channel before making another course adjustment toward Cedros Island. We were accompanied by two other sailboats who had also left Turtle Bay an hour or so after us. As they were faster than Hilbre, they had overtaken us between Punta Rompiente and Punta Eugenia. Staying in VHF contact, we shared weather conditions as we all headed north.
Crossing the Keller Channel proved challenging with 20+ knot winds and a strong beam sea. However, with a reefed Mainsail and Genoa we spent 3 hours sailing hard at over 7 knots taking a lot of water over the bow as we plunged into heavy seas. Because of the conditions, we expected 30+ knot winds north of Cedros so we decided to head to the north anchorage which is in the Lee of Cedros Island. Once in the Lee of the Island, we encountered flat water as we headed north about a mile offshore from the Island. We did manage to use the Banda Ancha to download the latest GRIB weather files from the Internet as we passed the village of Cedros.
Just before the north anchorage, a series of Arroyos cut across the island and we suddenly found ourselves in 20+ knots of wind which increased to gusts of almost 30 knots for a few miles as we plowed north toward the anchorage. One of the other sailboats already rounding the north end of Cedros had encountered heavy seas with 35+ knots of wind on the 'nose' so both boats ahead of us decided to retreat and join us in the north anchorage overnight. By 6:00 p.m. we were securely anchored with the other two sailboats.
The north anchorage consists of a series of small beaches, a few at the head of Arroyos and we did encounter some strong wind gusts of 15-20 knots while at anchor but these died after sunset. Each of the beaches support a colony of Sea Lions. A small ledge, just off each beach provides 25-30 feet of water for anchoring but the ledge does drop off steeply. It is easy to get blown off the ledge so we sat anchor watch overnight to the accompaniment of the Seals barking on the beach. An almost full moon provided plenty of light overnight.
Monday, May 12, 2014
There was a warm morning wind as we took in the anchor at 5:00 a.m. and headed out to begin the full 24 hour crossing of Vizcaino Bay headed for the north end of the Sacramento Reef. To our surprise, and relief, the sea had settled down and while we had 7-12 knots of wind on the nose, we encountered only long ocean swells and a current that varied between 1.5 - 2 knots. The day was sunny and warm as we plowed north across the Bay. At night, the seas became even calmer as we closed with the coast, but it was not without its challenges.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
By 3:45 a.m. we were 16 miles Southeast of San Carlos and in the early hours of the morning, we ran into some strong currents and a confused seas from upwelling's caused by the steep undersea contours and deep canyons of the continental shelf in the area.
It is easy to see why this is a notorious area for wrecks and indeed the reef is named for the famous 1872 wreck of a 270' side wheel passenger steamer which went down here with a great loss of life. In his book Sou'west in Wanderer lV, Eric Hiscock talks about the loss of the schooner 'Goodwill' and 12 hands on this same reef in 1969. Today, it is a popular fishing area and with GPS, not as notorious as it once was. We passed almost seven miles to the West of the reef and did see the very bright beacon marking its location.
During the day, the sea was once again calm and while we still had 7-12 knots of wind on the 'Nose' we made slow but steady progress north against this and the current.
Just north of San Quinten, a Hunter 45 sailboat called 'Wide Open' with either an Australian or New Zealand flag passed by us, crossed our bow twice and then headed off to the Northwest only catch us up about an hour later. They did not respond to any of the regular VHF channels that we tried. While they were within waving distance, they never acknowledged our presence and eventually fell back. This is most unusual behavior for sailboats meeting each other in a remote ocean area.
The evening wind north of Isla San Martin had us bouncing in a sea stirred up by 20 knot winds which were once again on our 'nose.' By dusk, the wind had subsided and we continued north pass Punta Colnett about 60 miles south of Ensenada under mainsail alone. Eventually the sea calmed down and with just a slight swell and a full moon we continued against the current, now anxious to be in Ensenada.
Wednesday May 14, 2014
After midnight the sea became glassy with just the hint of a swell and with a full moon we had a wonderfully quiet night. Morning brought a setting moon in the West and a rising sun in the East. The continued clear sky and warm sun made for a very pleasant morning.
During the morning, we had a visit from a small yellow finch that was quite tame. It explored the cockpit, seemed unconcerned by the presence of humans and even sat on Anita's leg for a time. He continued to wander about the boat exploring everything before heading off to shore.
At 2:00 p.m. we made the important turn off Punta Banda into Ensenada Bay, just an hour and a half from our destination, Marina Coral. There, we were given a short slip on 'F' dock in a narrow fairway which made for some tricky docking maneuvers, but at 3:25 p.m. we were securely tied to the dock. Part Two of the 'Bash' now behind us.
On Saturday morning we start the final leg to the Cabrillo Marina in San Pedro, Los Angeles.
Sail time Turtle Bay to Ensenada 71.5 Hours
Distance 350 NM
Fuel used about 37 Gallons (a bit over a Half Gallon and hour)
Average 4.9 Knots
Wind - mainly Northwest occasionally West with coastal land breezes in the evening.