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S/V Si Bon
Who: Steve Cook
Port: San Diego, California
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Life raft
01/24/2011, Sun Harbor Marina (still)

When I tell people that I'm getting ready to sail a boat to Mexico, Central America and hopefully beyond, the first thing most people say is "aren't you afraid?", and I respond back "what should I be afraid of?", most of the time their response is either pirates (I'm not going to Africa) or the boat sinking. If you are a regular blog follower you already know of many of my backup plans...but just to recap; Si Bon has an onboard bilge pump that pumps 400 gallons per hour (GPH) of water out of the boat, I can also turn my generator into a pump that will pump an additional 120+ GPH, and just for the hell of it I recently purchased a portable pump that is rated at 3700 GPH (yes 3700 GPH). I also have three different types of emergency plugs to stop the incoming water and 2 VHF radios and a HAM radio to call for help.
All that said, if the boat sinks you need a back up for that also....this weekend I picked up my Revere 6 person life raft (pic), which was one of the things on "the list". A life raft is a survival capsule of sorts, it has tubes for buoyancy and a drogue for stability, it has a First Aid kit and signaling devices, it has some emergency rations and it has a canopy to protect you from the elements. In addition to my life raft I also have a ditch bag (pic) with more emergency items and an EPIRB (pic) which will lead Search and Rescue to us. Now all I need to do is figure out what to do should any pirates decide to make the long trip from Africa to Central America to highjack me...and yes I am afraid, everytime I drive up Interstate 8 I'm afraid some asshole, in a hurry to get home to sit on his fat ass, is going clock me at 85 MPH and put an end to my cruising dreams.
Due to a faulty part put in on Friday I'm still in Sun Harbor Marina...and getting use to marina life again.

01/24/2011 | Karen
Id feel safe sailing with you anytime!!!! Im enjoying the blog Steve!
01/24/2011 | Ashley Cook
glad to hear your plan isn't to go down with the ship :)
01/24/2011 | Ashley Cook
glad to hear your plan isn't to go down with the ship :)
01/24/2011 | kathy
You bet - much more dangerous driving than crusing. Nice back ups to your back ups. Have you practiced with your crew to get the Revere out of the storage to toss overboard?
01/25/2011 | Phil Anderson
Steve...when you get a chance look up MC Reinhardt......I guarantee you'll find inspiration from her quotes and blog "Testing one's limits may create a risk factor but it is the only way to find out what you are truly capable of" MC Reinhardt
Sun Harbor Marina
01/21/2011, Shelter Island

I'm back at Sun Harbor Marina for a couple of days, there are a few things on "the list" that I'm getting taken care of, it's difficult for most contractors to work on boats on a mooring ball. I was busy all day yesterday meeting with various contractors and also had Si Bon's bottom cleaned while here. Being at Sun Harbor also gives me a chance to do laundry, fill water tanks, pump out holding tanks and give Si Bon a much needed bath, it's also nice to see old friends and hit Jimmy's for happy hour. Today I'm going sailing with my good friends Paul and Kim, Paul is celebrating his 70th birthday and has friends and family from out of town, it is MUCH easier to take a large group sailing from the marina as opposed to the ball.
That said, it's funny how MY attitude about the ball has changed in the past 3 months, I originally thought that I would be chomping at the bit to get back over here....I'm not, I thought I would be spending 5-10 days a month here....I haven't been here since early December. As much as I like Sun Harbor I now can't imagine trading my sweeping views of downtown, the Coronado bridge, Tidelands park and Coronado golf course, for this view (pic) of the back of a bunch of boats, most of which the owners never use. I'm now chomping at the bit to get back to my ball. Looking forward to our sail today and leaving for Coronado in the morning.

01/21/2011 | Amber
yes the downtown view is better :)
01/24/2011 | Kathy
Great picture Steve. Glad to have you here for a day or two anytime.
01/25/2011 | Phil anderson
I can see it'll be kicking back on the boat in some outrageously beautiful spot and the views from "the ball" will be long forgotten.......go for it !!!!
01/19/2011, Coronado

Navigation is a VERY important skill for a cruising sailor to have, we have no road signs to look at or service stations to pull into and ask, "where the &*#% are we?" In this day of high tech electronics many mariners rely on their GPS's for ALL of their navigation needs, this is not a good idea. Si Bon has two onboard GPS's, one at the helm (steering wheel) and one down below at the nav station (a desk area), in addition to these I have also recently purchased a handheld, battery operated GPS. Even with three GPS's onboard I still feel it is very important to keep track of where you are by using pencil and paper navigation, meaning that once an hour you go down below, you get you latitude (lat) and longitude (long) from one of the GPS's and you mark a "fix" at the correct position on the paper chart (pic). Over the course (no pun intended) of the past year I have become very good at pencil and paper navigation, I now am anxious to go below and see what progress we've made since the last fix, I even test myself by using landmarks and a compass to take bearing and mark my estimated position (EP) on the chart and then compare it to the GPS fix.
If you look closely at the pic you will see where I've written my Lat/Long on the left side of the chart and you will see little triangles along the coast on the right where I've marked our position.
Anyone who thinks that you don't need pencil and paper navigation in todays world, should ask themselves, once I lose the ships electronics, how long will those two AA batteries in the handheld last?

01/20/2011 | Phil Anderson
Hi Steve.....I'm afraid I might fit in the "wanna go sailing sometime" people...but seriously......after Super Bowl weekend..... is there a chance we could connect and go for a sail ? I really want to do the Cabo to PV leg and I guess it isn't gonna happen unless you get to sail with me and determine whether i'm crew worthy or not. by the way ,skiied Squaw Valley Wednesday..maybe you ought to go out one more time before you cast away..Phil Anderson
01/17/2011, Glorietta Bay

I've been over in Glorietta Bay (pic at sunrise) since Friday morning, I'm not sure if I've mentioned before how much I love Glorietta Bay...but this weekend reinforced any doubts I may have had. The air temps have been in the mid to high 70's, Saturday I went for a great sail with a new potential crew member and Sunday I got to take in some football. They only let you anchor here three days a week, so in a few minutes I'll be weighing (hoisting) my anchor and heading back to my mooring ball (poor me).
I know that there are probably a lot of side bets going around about how long Steve would last living on a mooring may be time to pay up as I have slid into mooring life pretty well. I originally thought that I would return to a marina sometime around the first of February so as to have a little break from this difficult life before leaving on my cruise. Although I am going to have to have a slip for a few days to get some small projects done, I am now thinking that I will stay on my ball until I leave, I am now feeling that it is actually going to be easier to do final preparations for my trip from the ball...especially once I sell my truck, which will be the first time in almost 40 years that I won't own a car.

Invitation to go sailing
01/13/2011, Sunny San Diego

Things on my "last few things" list are coming together nicely and March 1 is just around the corner. People always say to me "oh I would love to go sailing sometime" and I tell them "great let me know when you want to go" and then I never hear anymore from them, this seems to be a common issue with all boat owners. Soooo if you want to go out for a sail in United States waters better get ahold of me quick...and don't say "let me know when you are going" I LIVE ON MY BOAT IN THE WATER...I can and will go anytime. I will probably have one more mini cruise in late February with another potential crew member and I may take some little cruises around here before then, but day sails on San Diego Bay are also an awesome way to spend an afternoon.
When a boat is in foreign waters you fly the host country's flag on your starboard spreader (pic) and after 1700 (5:00 PM) you fly the Happy hour flag on your port spreader....cheers.

01/13/2011 | Jeff Butlerq
Hi Steve, funny you write this blog, I remember talking about wanting to sail or boating in general and people always flaking! Glad you bloged about it! I'd love to come out anytime in the next few weeks. Thanks again for the ride and tour of SiBon. A very beautiful boat and well kept!

Not a flake. :)
01/13/2011 | Karen
You know if I lived there I would be bugging you to sail weekly!! LOL!!! I havent put you or sailing out of my mind whatsoever.. !! really enjoying your blog Steve.. Im living vicariously through you at the moment especially when it is -27 here and wishing I was in the sunshine sailing!!!
01/16/2011 | mark
We raced Sat. Went right by you as you were headed into Glorita bay. I tried to hail you on the radio.
Did not do all that well in the race. Lack of good wind. Boat looked good steve.
01/17/2011 | Tera
looks great
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

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