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S/V Si Bon
Who: Steve Cook
Port: San Diego, California
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Staying focused
02/01/2011, Sun Harbor Marina

You quickly learn while preparing to go cruising that you must stay focused, this is true from the smallest job all the way up to the main goal...cruising. It is very easy to become side tracked on just about everything you do, both on the boat and in life, you're in the middle of some job and you go down below to get another type of tool, you see something that needs to be put away, you put it away and before you know it you've lost track of what you were doing in the first place. When people find out I'm retired at 55 and living on a yacht, they assume that I must have been born with money, I wasn't, however I did stay focused through life, on both my career and on raising my two daughters. As I finish up my "last few things list' I have become pretty good at remaining focused on my final preparations, as I go from one project to another I nearly always finish one thing before moving on to the next. I hope that you also will remain focused in you lives wether it be your school, your job, your family or your health, or maybe all of the above.

02/03/2011 | catherine
Hey Steve, Just caught up on your posts. Time is going by fast! You do seem to stay focused. See you soon.
Marina vs ball
01/30/2011, Marina

Ahhh life at the marina, most people would have trouble understanding the difference between living on a 41 foot sailboat at a marina slip or living on a 41 foot sailboat on a mooring ball, either way life on a boat is MUCH different than life on land. It's official now I have become use to life at the marina. On the ball I had very few visitors, seems that people feel that it is a hassle to get in the dinghy and go out to the main boat (it really isn't)' they seem to think that rolling around with the passing boat wake is uncomfortable (it isn't), I've had lots of visitors this week, Kim, Paul and Ginger brought down dinner one night, Ric came down and let me pick his brain about the Sea of Cortez (great stories), Ashley came by for lunch and my friend/electrician Mark came by and helped me hook up my new stereo (IPOD capable) and gave me an electrical 101 class.
In order to have heat or hot water while on the ball I would have to fire up my generator, which is noisy and a little bit of a hassle, here at the marina I simply flick a fact as we speak the heater is running and I'm getting a little warm (never said that at the ball). I don't really have to worry much about water or pump outs as both are only a few steps away, there is laundry available here at the marina, great showers, a small workout room and lots of friendly tenants. It doesn't hurt my opinion, Sun Harbor Marina is by far the nicest Marina in So Cal.
My original cruising plan was to be on the hook (anchor) about two thirds of the time and in a marina about one third of the time, this past week has shown me that that is a pretty good schedule. it is definitely nice to have a break from some of the issues that you have on the ball or at anchor.
If anyone else wants to bring down dinner and enjoy this little piece of paradise with me, let me know.....I'll turn on the heater.

01/26/2011, Sun Harbor Marina (still)

A Max-Prop propeller (pic) is a low drag, high performance, feathering propeller (prop), it's blades change position depending on wether the engine is in forward, reverse or if you're sailing. It is a highly respected and VERY expensive prop that is full of intricate gears. ON Monday my diver, Alex (pic), discovered that my prop had a little to much play in the blades....bummer. Yesterday Alex pulled Si Son's prop and today I'll be shipping it to Washington to be machined, this is a process that with shipping time will take about two weeks (maybe). If I wasn't planning on traveling south into foreign countries, where there is no Vessel Assist, and it would be a MAJOR headache (only a minor headache here), to ship a 50 pound prop to the US, I would probably not be having it done at this time, there weren't any huge problems, although I have noticed some vibration a few times....we'll see if that is related?
So the bottom line is, here I am stuck at Sun Harbor Marina....I know that I shouldn't have disrespected this wonderful marina the other day by saying how much I wanted to get out of here and back to my I'm "stuck" here for at least two weeks, and I can't even go sailing. I've slid back into marina life pretty well over the last 5 don't feel sorry for me just yet. When handed lemons, make lemonade, so I'm going to take this time while "stuck" in the marina to enjoy a different style of life, and to get everything done for my trip....(maybe).

01/26/2011 | Rich
I'm surprised you can't get that work done here in SD. Or at least closer than WA.
01/27/2011 | Amber
HOW MUCH DID THAT COST!?!?!?! 50 pounds... holy moly... at least you can go to the dentist, get free coffee at the marina and walk along the beautiful bay....
01/30/2011 | Steve Cook
OK my daughter called my bluff...the prop ended up only weighing 18 pounds. But I have an excuse as I wrote the blog before I shipped it.
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

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