05/05/2013, Cruiseport Village
Saludos desde Mexico! Greetings from Mexico. All is well in Ensenada. We just got back to the boat after a trip north to pick up the car, retrieve items from our storage in Oxnard and sign paperwork on my step-father's house.
We have already made friends with a wonderful couple, Kathy and Al, on a Corbin 39 who gave us a ride as far as San Juan Capistrano. From there we were able to catch the train to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles we transferred to a bus for the two plus hour ride to Oxnard. It was a very long day with a three and a half hour wait to cross the boarder at Otay Mesa. Some folks at the marina had told Kathy and Al that the wait times were shorter there than using the crossing on I-5 known as San Yasidro. We are not sure if the information was bad or if the long wait was due to the May 1st Mexican holiday. We finally made it to a motel in Oxnard about midnight after leaving the marina in Ensenada about 10 AM.
The next morning we caught a cab to Vintage Marina to pick up the car and the dog steps that Chris made for Nixie. From there we made our way to storage for solar panels, wind generator and other boat parts. By the time we finished at storage we were hearing reports on the radio of a large fire just south of us that was causing road closures on Highway 101 and threatened closures of Pacific Coast Highway. We squeaked south on PCH just before it was closed. After stops in Santa Monica and Marina del Rey we headed for San Fernando Valley to sign house papers.
To our dismay we found that we had to take my step-father out and have something notarized AND had to drive back to Oxnard and pick up some documents out of storage. All of this had to be accomplished before 5PM! The fire was still burning and roads were still closed, but we made it by 4:30. We joked about what else could happen thinking an earthquake might be next.
After another night in a motel we were ready to head south, back home to the boat. Things moved along without a hitch until we hit Ensenada. The boarder crossing into Mexico was quick and easy. We didn't even have to stop. Just north of Ensenada we started seeing lots of bicycles along the road riding in a coned off lane of traffic. It seems there was a race/ride from Rosarito Beach to Ensenada. The finish line was at the entrance to Cruiseport Village. Traffic was at a crawl and the marina entrance was closed to auto traffic. After cruising around town for about an hour we finally gave up and parked the car. After another hour wait the road was finally open and we were home at last. Good to be back on the boat!
I promised Newport to Ensenada race results. It wasn't quite as bad as we feared. After handicap for our class rating and factoring in engine time for everyone in our class we were 14th out of 19. We didn't run the engine at all, which gave us an edge over those who did. If we could do it again...we would have still gone outside the Coronado's but not quite as far "outside" as we did. The Coronado's are a small group of islands just south of the US Mexico boarder. Serious Newport to Ensenada racers are always debating the fastest course. Stay inside and dodge fish traps and fishing boats or go outside. It's all a matter of predicting were the best winds will be. FarAway is a cruiser not a racer. We had a great time, made memories and have another story to tell.
Race photos can be found in the Gallery.
04/28/2013, Cruise Port Village
We have arrived. Seems we may have been the last boat in our class to finish the race; but we made it. We are off to the awards ceremony in a few minutes. Hoping they give out a trophy for the last boat, ha ha. The marina is great. Full of cruisers and lots of nice people. Lou's old friend Pete is here as well. All for now. I'll add photos and comments on the race and our adventures soon.
04/24/2013, Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club Newport Beach, CA
We pulled away from the dock at Vintage Marina in Oxnard yesterday about 1230 to make our way to Newport Beach. Over the last couple of months we had formulated a plan for heading on south. After several more yard sales and swap meets we were able to move out of my step-father's house and put the place up for sale. We already have, what sounds like, a good offer on the house. Very good news for us! The timing of the Newport to Ensenada race worked perfectly with our plans. So we are racing.
Under sunny sky's and with the help of our new friend Chris Higgins we pulled out of the slip we had occupied for the last six months to make our way to the fuel dock.
A frequently uttered Louism is "If its not one thing, it's something else." So here's the story of our one thing and three something else's. Shortly after leaving the fuel dock in Oxnard we had one thing and two something else's all at the same time.
Lou was below when I noticed steam coming out of the port side cockpit locker. He scrambled up on deck and noticed that the engine temperature gauge was pegged to red hot. The engine was immediately shut down and Lou began preparation for raising the mainsail so we would have control of the boat. For those of you unfamiliar with sailboat rigging, the mainsail is raised by attaching a line to the head of the sail. That line is then pulled on to raise the sail. The attachment hardware is a U shaped piece of metal that has holes at the ends to accept a removable pin, called a clevis pin. The clevis pin is removed, the ring at the head of the sail inserted into the U and the clevis pin is then reinserted to secure the sail on the main halyard for raising. Metal corrosion is a constant problem when living in a marine environment. When Lou attempted to remove the clevis pin from the clevis he found that the pin had corroded and could not be removed. At this point we were adrift and had no means of controlling the movement of the boat. Fortunately we were not too close to shore and the winds were light. A quick rummage through our spare rigging hardware unearthed a suitable jury rig. With the mainsail raised and me at the wheel it was time for Lou to see what was wrong with the engine.
While in Oxnard we had the water pump replaced, along with getting the alternator replaced; which as you may recall died as we were rounding Point Conception. The engine mechanic and Lou spent a good deal of time bleeding the coolant system after the water pump install. Unfortunately for us not All of the air had been removed. Air in the system was the cause of our engine overheating problems. We bled the system through the bleed valve and by removing the radiator cap to the expansion tank for about two hour before the engine was happy and stayed cool.
If you are keeping score, we are up to one thing and one something else. Unfortunately I was the cause of the second something else. Lou was stuffed into the engine compartment trying to bleed air out of the coolant system when I noticed that the engine temperature was again pegged to HOT. In my panic to get the engine shut down, I turned the key the wrong way and broke the ignition switch. Fortunately the emergency shut off string that we had attached on the trip south from Seattle was still in place. Lou was able to jury rig a new starter switch. Thank goodness for all of our spare parts.
We spent the next two hours bleeding air out of the coolant system, running the engine at no more than 1500 RPM. We finally got things back in working order just about the time for sundowners. We put our feet up and relaxed after a day of one thing and two something else's all at the same time.
We had a quite night, with me taking the first watch. By about 0400 we were nearing the entrance to Newport harbor. We motored slowly outside the harbor entrance until about 0745. After leaving the fuel dock we made our way to Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club where we were to tie up. It was here that our third something else occurred. Lou was maneuvering the boat into position to back in to our Med tie at the dock when SNAP the shift lever broke off. Adrift again with the boat in neutral and no way to shift into gear. Fortunately a pair of pliers and finally vice grips made a workable substitute for the shift lever. By 1000 we were tied up to the pier ready for a good breakfast followed by a well deserved rest.
The Newport Race Association has several social events we will enjoy over the next two days. The race begins Friday morning with our start time at 1100. We are not expecting to win in our class but will have a good time; but best of all we will be in Ensenada, Mexico when we finish.
02/07/2013, The House in San Fernando Valley
Well, so much for a post every few weeks. You would have all been bored silly had I done that, though things are moving forward, albeit slower than we had planned. We are still having modifications made to the boat. The current project involves removing the forward water tank to create more storage. We have found a wonderful woodworker down here. He has already built a new bookshelf and shoe rack located just forward of the mast. He has also added fiddles to the chart table, an additional wall above the chart table for the clock and barometer and fiddles to the chart table seat so we can add a cushion.
We now have a set of solar panels for the bimini (not yet installed) and a wind generator (not yet installed). We took a trip out to Garhauer Marine Hardware yesterday to talk with one on the guys there about a pole to mount the wind generator. Lou is out at the boat today taking measurements.
We had a garage sale here at the house last weekend and got rid of a bunch more "stuff." The hope is to have a final sale near the end of this month getting rid of all of the things in the house that are not going on the boat. We still don't have a firm date set for when we will head south to Mexico. Repairing the alternator continues to be the biggest thorn in our side. The new Balmar is not fitting the old mount. Lou is working on a plan.
I added photos of the modification mentioned above, and a few others, to the photo gallery.
Our boat "FarAway" is a Pearson 367 Cutter. She was built in 1982 and launched in 1983. FarAway is hull number 46. Only 49 Pearson 367's were built.
Here are FarAway's statistics:
LOA: 36.5' (with added bowsprit and Monitor Wind Vane 40')
Beam: 11' 5.5"
Displacement: 17,700 lbs.
Ballast: 7,300 lbs.
Mast Height above DWL: 47'4"
Sail Area: 599 sq. feet
Fresh Water Capacity: 100 gal. in two FRP tanks (was 150 gal. removed forward tank).
Fuel Capacity: 50 gal.
Designer: William H. Shaw
FarAway is a capable offshore boat and we have made many modifications to her to improve her sailing characteristics and safety.
|About Our Boat FarAway||
11/04/2012, The house
I thought I'd share some thoughts and lessons learned from the trip south. I must admit I had no idea what to expect when we took off from Seattle. I have been out on an offshore passage with John Neil and Amanda Swan Neil aboard Mahina Tiare. I have to say, that trip really didn't do a lot to prepare me for the trip down the coast. Don't get me wrong. I would highly recommend a trip with the Neil's for gaining offshore experience; but our trip down the coast was nothing like my South Pacific experience.
As you have seen in our blog, we were a crew of three. Much smaller than the crew of seven aboard Mahina Tiare. This made for a much different watch schedule than what I had previously experienced. We elected to do a four hours on, two hours off during the night. The watch schedule typically started at either 8 PM or 10 PM.
Before we left Seattle Lou had talked about heading out one hundred to 150 miles offshore. In talking with Jon, who crewed with us on the way down, the decision was made to stay closer inshore, traveling at about three miles offshore. I'm certainly glad we made that decision! It allowed us the opportunity to be able to pull in and get some much-needed rest. We made short hops the first couple of days, stopping in Port Townsend the first night and in Port Angeles the second night.
Our first long passage was between Port Angeles and Newport Oregon. We left Port Angeles in the early AM and traveled about fifty-five hours before stopping again. Its during that stretch when I had my meltdown. Details of the meltdown went something like this. Lou had gone below to get some rest. He was to be up by 7 PM. I saw the light on in the galley. He even stuck his face up to the window and stuck his tongue out at me. Next, I started smelling something. Thinking he was preparing dinner, I told Jon, "smells like Lou is making something to eat, probably canned chili, but at least it's something." Next thing I knew he came out on deck with a cup of hot chocolate! No chili. That was all it took, I was in tears and sobbing about having to cook dinner. I was sent below to get some rest. Lou ended up opening the aforementioned can of chili. After a couple of hours sleep I was good as new and ready to stand my watch. Two lessons were learned. First, take care of yourself and sleep when you need to, don't be a hero giving away your sleep time to other crew-members or to cook a meal when what you really need is rest. Second, don't overestimate what you can cook on an offshore passage in a rocking and rolling boat.
Things that go bump in the night will continue to go bump in the night, so don't ignore them. When pounding in to headwinds and choppy seas there isn't much that can be done about the bump in the night, but when you are anchored, that's a different story. As we settled in for a well deserved night of rest at Cojo Bay anchorage, I commented on the frequent banging I was hearing in the main saloon where we were sleeping. Lou opened the hatch and stuck his head out to see if he could identify the source of the noise. Nothing was easily identifiable. Needless to say, the banging continued throughout the night leading to a very poor nights sleep.
If you think you should do something, you should! Same anchorage. Same night. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Cojo Bay anchorage was very rolly. As Lou was settling in to his settee for the night he said "I should put up the lee cloths." (For the non sailor readers, lee cloths are designed to prevent the sleeper from falling out of the bunk due to the motion of the boat.) Too tired, it'll be fine. Wrong! Lou kept feeling like he was going to fall out of bed all night and I kept thinking the spinnaker pole was banging against the mast. A few days later we discovered that the banging was actually our Seven Seas Cruising Association Burgee flapping against the flag halyard.
As with many things in life, you never know what something is going to be like until you actually do it. You can imagine, read all the books you can find and take classes; but the reality is getting out there and having the adventure. Lou and I have both learned a few things on this trip. We have a lot more adventure to experience and will learn many more lessons along the way. Here's to living life to the fullest!