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S/V Si Bon
Who: Steve Cook
Port: San Diego, California
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The dinghy
01/11/2011, Coronado

When told of my cruising plans someone once said to me "the boat is your house, the dinghy is your car". The dinghy (dink for short) is now a vital part of my everyday life aboard Si Bon, I use it anytime I want/need to go ashore. The dink, as everything on a cruising boat, comes with it's own issues, it's not like you just blow up this rubber boat and all is well...where do you keep it while underway? what do you do with the powerful 8 horsepower outboard? What about at night when the dink thief's are looming about? For now I've decided to keep my dink on deck while underway, this means that I first have to use a mini crane, which I have installed on the stern (back) of Si Bon to hoist the 80 pound outboard off of the dink and onto a bracket, I then attach a halyard (used to raise and lower sails) to the dink and hoist it on deck, last but not least, I secure the dink and the fuel tank to the deck of Si Bon. This all sounds easy enough....until you try it by yourself with 10-15 knot winds and rolling seas. Don't want to jinx myself...but I've gotten pretty good at it. The other day I was dropping my engine off Si Bon and onto the dink, when a neighbor rowed by and stopped for a chat, as we talked I looked out and saw some pretty good sized wake headed my way...I wanted to try and finish before it hit us, so I kicked the outboard around with one foot to get it in the right position, at the same time I started dropping the engine until it was on the dink's transom and then quickly attached it to the dink. My neighbor commented "looks like you've done this before". This is one of the many jobs which seemed so difficult a year age...but is now just another part of life aboard Si Bon.

01/13/2011 | Ambi Bambi
Nice pic...Dont dink around too much...haha
"The Island"
01/10/2011, Coronado

Even though I have lived in San Diego my entire life, I have not ever spent much time in Coronado, in fact if not for a few of the kids soccer games and some kind of top producers weekend with Home Funding...I would say I have spent no time here. Coronado has a kind of small town Mayberry feel, mixed in with a Beverly Hills at the beach feel, mixed in with a military town feel. Yesterday Amber came down and we went to breakfast at a place called Clayton's Coffee Shop (pic), a old time diner that was founded in 1941...and other that the prices being higher (Wed they have 5 cent coffee for the military), not much has changed there. As I continue to explore this "island paradise" (it's not really an island), I find it kinda funny that I am preparing to sail away to explore distant shores, and this cool little place was right under my nose. But it's NOT really an island.

01/10/2011 | amber
This was a much better coronado experience than the previous one involving all the firetrucks and ambulances..haha enjoy your last few months on the "island"
Last few things
01/08/2011, Coronado mooring anchorage

With a March departure date fast approaching....the heat is on (not weather wise) to get the last few things done before leaving. Many potential cruisers will put off leaving until those "last few things" are all done, then one thing leads to another and they never end up cruising, it seems that there are always going to be those "last few things" to do.
From the beginning I wanted to get my main systems figured out and make any kind of adjustments that I felt were needed...and I wanted to get the improved systems in place early so I knew what I had. My biggest improvement has been Si Bon's electrical system including the addition of the solar panels. As I sit here pondering my "last few things" list I am thinking that there is nothing on the list which would prevent me from leaving tomorrow if I wanted to.
So I will move ahead with the "last few things" list...I'll buy some spare parts, go to the dentist, get my taxes done (uuggg), sell my truck, think about upgrading a couple more things and dream about warm weather, but I won't let the list get in my way.
It's funny how no one ever loses the excitement of dolphins playing in your wake. This pic is looking south across Bahia De Todos Santos (Ensenada) the background is the Pacific coast of Baja and it's many points and islands.

Ensenada recap
01/07/2011, Pacific coast

If you are a blog follower than you already know that we had a great trip to Ensenada. As is typical here we did less sailing than we would have liked to, but we were able to sail about half way back before motor sailing the rest of the way. It was cool to finally be in Mexican waters and realize that they are pretty much the same as the US waters. I was able to meet a great new potential crew member in Lee, who is a hard core, old school sailor guy who has been living on his boat...on a ball, for the past 10 years. Since Lee is an easy going (important) dude ready for adventure, it looks good for future sailing adventures together.
This pic is looking south from Ensenada, it reminds me of the gateway to cruising adventures, as I will be sailing between the point on the left and the island on the right as I make my south in March.

Return from Mexico
01/05/2011, Pacific coast

We left the Marina Coral on Monday morning at about 1145 and as planned we started sailing soon after we got out of the narrow marina entrance. Si Bon is a fantastic light air boat, we had about 7-8 knots of wind, sailing between a reach and a broad reach doing about 5-6 knots, to a non sailor that means that the wind was coming towards us from an angle (using the clock) of about 8:00 -10:00. As is typical in this area the wind gradually decreased as the afternoon turned into evening, I had set a threshold of about 3 knots boat speed, meaning anything below that and we start motor sailing, we hung in there until about 1800,when we were down to 2 knots and Rich pointed out that someone could walk faster than what we were sailing, I knew it was time to suck it up and fire up the massive 42 horsepower Westerbeke. As you might know I love sailing at night, it's funny how small things can keep you occupied, as you are constantly on the lookout. As we approached the coast off of Rosarito Beach we came across a VERY large tanker which was about 10 NM ahead of us, we spent about 2-3 hours trying to figure out if he was underway and if so which way was he going, or was he just sitting off the coast waiting to load/unload at the Rosarito Premix facility? Turns out, after unsuccessfully trying to hail him on 16, that he was just sitting there going no where.
We pulled into Shelter Island Police dock to clear customs at about 0130 Tuesday morning, we cleared in with the littlest of effort (a story I don't want to tell on the blog). As the Skipper and crew were all tired and there were no Harbor Police around I decided we would go to sleep illegally at the dock until someone kicked us out, we were able to get about 4 hours of shut eye, got up made coffee and pulled away from the dock as the morning shift was arriving for work....sweet.
It seems that my adventures just keep getting better and better and this was one of the best trips yet...I'll be doing a recap blog in the next couple of days.

01/05/2011 | amber
And...... YOUR DAUGHTER GOT TO WAKE YOU UP!!!! getting back at you for all the years of waking me up at 5 am to do the dishes... sweet sweet vicory :)
Marina Coral
01/03/2011, Ensenada, Mexico

Our stay here at the Marina Coral has been amazing, Marina Coral is a new resort just north of downtown Ensenada, it has a 4 star hotel with full amenities which as a marina guest we are able to take advantage of....and we all have. The people here, both employees and the marina residents have been super friendly and very accommodating to us, I definitely plan to return here even if it is only for a brief stop on my way south.
Our plan is to leave the Coral sometime around noon today and sail (not motor sail) back to San Diego, right now the weather guess is calling for the wind to be in our favor until Tuesday afternoon and we should be back by then.....we'll see how that comes together.
This is the sunset last night over the beautiful Marina Coral.

01/03/2011 | mark
Great trip Steve. We spent the weekend
Camping plaster city. Very cold trip in the low 30.s
01/04/2011 | Ashley Cook
that is gorgeous!

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