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S/V Si Bon
Who: Steve Cook
Port: San Diego, California
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Doing things right
12/11/2010, S/V Si Bon

If you want to know how to do something the right way on a sailboat.....ask Captain Robert Svoboda. I have known Robert (whom I call Rob) for about 8 years, Rob was the brother of one of my neighbors in Rancho San Diego, he use to come over to Petr's house to do little projects for his boat and I would go over and talk (bug) him while he worked, I always marveled it how detail oriented he was, Rob and his then girlfriend Katrina lived on their boat on a mooring ball in Coronado. I moved and didn't talk to Rob again until last year right after I bought Si Bon, Robert and Katrina are now married and have a 3 year old son, Katrina is about 7-8 months pregnant with their second son and they still live on their boat on the mooring ball. Robert and I have struck up a friendship over the past year and he has taught me so many thing about life on a sailboat, how to do things and how NOT to do things, sometimes Rob will tell me something I should or should not do and I'll think to myself...."ohhh forget about that, what does he know" then somewhere down the line I find myself saying " Damn that Robert was right again". You would think I would learn to just listen to him and do whatever he says...and I am starting to. The other day I took a poke at Rob for not securing his dinghy properly.....I knew it would be one of the few if any chances I would have. This is a pic of Captain Rob (who never uses the title of Captain when addressing himself) showing me the correct way to go up the mast in a bosun's chair.....I think I will follow ALL of his advice on this one.
Robert has a charter sailing business....if you ever want to charter a sailboat in San Diego I would highly recommend Captain Robert Svoboda.

12/13/2010 | Rich
Are you practicing with the bosun's chair to put up Xmas lights?
on the hook in Glorietta Bay
12/08/2010, Glorietta Bay

Came over to Glorietta Bay today, many reasons why. I wanted to start my varnish work...which is an ongoing project, and MUCH easier to do over here than on the rollie mooring ball..try varnishing a 3 inch piece of wood when the boat is rocking back and forth several feet in each direction. Before anchoring I stopped at the public dock and pumped my holding tanks, filled my fresh water tanks and squeaked in a quick wash down of Si Bon's deck and cockpit. Glorietta Bay is always a pleasure to visit...the beautiful views, the calm waters and the close proximity to my gym/shower is a well guarded secret which I promised my mooring friends I will downplay (oops). I'll be here till Saturday...and depending on my progress with the varnish...I may duck into Sun Harbor for a day or two to finish things up. This is the Hotel del at's a beach.
Update...good thing I took this picture when I did, because I just popped my head out to check on things and we are in some pea soup fog, can't see the Hotel del now or much of anything else.....good night!

running aground and other mistakes
12/07/2010, Glorietta Bay

They say there are only two types of sailors...those that have never run aground but will...and those that have run appears that this dude fits into the latter. It could be argued that this fellow intentionally grounded the boat in order to do some maintenance such as cleaning the bottom, however the first thing you want to do, should you be in this predicament and realize that you will have to wait for the tide to come in to float the boat, is to point the deck away from the incoming tide (it wasn't)...very hard to float a grounded boat if she is full of incoming tide water. Wether intentional or not, if I ever find myself in this position you can bet that I will get out some bottom cleaning tools and at least act like I'm doing maintenance.
On another friend Robert took his young son to the park seems that homey forgot to properly secure his dinghy to the dinghy dock.....and it became a navigational hazard floating around San Diego Bay. Thank God that the Coast Guard were on top of things and were able to retrieve the wayward dinghy, properly secure it to the dock and board BabaYaga for a complete safety check.

12/08/2010 | amber gilbert
YIKES!!!! seems intense... is the boat going to drown? this looks scary :/
12/05/2010, Coronado

I am including in todays post an email I received from Catherine Buchanan as a follow up to my post on Ocean Institute, and some additional information on Richard Henry Dana JR.. Catherine Is going to be joining me on the difficult San Diego to La Paz leg of my trip, she is also planning on spending several months cruising with me once we get to the Sea of Cortez. Catherine Has extensive sailing experience, including sailing to Mexico, Tahiti, Tonga and New Zealand. Catherine has sailed with me several times and has always been a pleasure to have aboard, with her easy going attitude and her amazing skills both as a navigator and in the galley, I feel very fortunate to have her as a crew member.
I am looking for one more crew member to add to the San Diego to La Paz leg.
OK OK here's the email she sent;

Hi Steve,
Nice blog entry. Richard Henry Dana's book is one of my favorites, have read it several times over the last 30 years. He returned to his law practice and because of his intensely difficult sailing experience was instrumental in setting up the Merchant Marine to give sailors recourse for harsh treatment. What an amazing life he had. He also returned to San Francisco Bay 25 years later as a tourist and describes the changes he saw (in the appendix). It is a truly great read.
Congratulations on the single handing, that is huge. Well done! I'm back after driving for 3 days through snow and freezing rain. Yikes, glad it's over. See you next year! Really looking forward to sailing with you.
PS Catherine is an artist...check out her website.

12/09/2010 | Phil Anderson
Hi steve.....I checked out Carol Buchanan's web site...WOW...she is really talented....I think your trip to La Paz is going to be inspirationally off the charts. "Seeking inspiration I went to the sea..."
Home sweet home
12/03/2010, Coronado

After being gone for nearly two weeks it's nice to be back home on the ball at Coronado. I had a GREAT trip, of which I single handed all except the short move from Dana Point slip to DP anchorage which Yvette helped me with. I had lots of visitors met many new friends and of course had plenty of adventure. My big accomplishment was the fact that I did single hand Si Bon in many different situations, I docked at unfamiliar docks, I anchored in unfamiliar anchorages and I furled and unfurled the sails in tight areas. I soon learned after buying Si Bon that my dreams are not my friends/families dreams and if I want to make my dream of cruising the Central/South American coasts come true, I better be able to handle my boat by myself, in whatever conditions the good Lord throws at me. This is good advice for everyone, that if you have a dream...don't count on someone else to make it come true. One funny thing that I only realized last night after returning, it was one year ago Thanksgiving weekend that I found Si Bon at a dock in San Pedro, made a lowball offer on her and had my offer excepted within hours....what a year it has been.
When at sea, you're never really alone.

12/03/2010 | Janice Bushell
Way to go Steve! Congrat's on your singlehanding....I found your blog this week and I am really enjoying your adventures...Blessings as your plan your next sailing steps in the Lord!
Ocean Institute
12/02/2010, Dana Point

I'm back in Mission Bay and will be sailing home later today. On Tuesday, my last day in Dana Point, my friend Yvette came to visit me, we decided to take a walk and went over to a place called Ocean Institute, Ocean Institute is a fairly large facility which includes a learning center with teaching labs, ocean aquariums, a maritime learning center, a research vessel R/V Sea Explorer, the tall ships schooner Spirit of Dana Point and brig Pilgrim. The Pilgrim is a replica of the ship that Richard Henry Dana Jr. worked on from 1834-1836. Dana was a 19 year old Harvard University student who left his studies and took a job as a common sailor aboard the Pilgrim, he kept a journal of his travels and it was made into a book called Two Years Before the Mast (Ric), while we were in the gift shop I bought a toned down version of the book to read on my back to San Diego. One of the many thing OI does is to bring young children onto the Pilgrim and teach them what it was like to be a sailor aboard a brig in the 1800's, life was VERY difficult in those days for the men who carried freight from the east coast to the west coast and back. As Yvette and I were walking back we saw a group of young children, maybe in the 10 year old range, lined up at the entrance to the pier that leads down to the Pilgrim, the kids had bags to spend the night and were excitedly listening to some dude dressed up like a sailor of the 1800's barking out at them, and responding back with a very enthusiastic " YES SIR MR. SO AND SO", Yvette and I stopped to watch and the sailor dude yelled that he needed two volunteers for galley duties, two young girls came quickly up from the back of the group and the sailor dude stepped up to them and in a VERY loud voice yelled " GET YOUR FOOT OFF OF MY PIER, WHO GAVE YOU PERMISSION TO STEP ON MY PIER" and then proceeded to rake the poor little kids over the coals for not obeying orders. Yvette and I looked at each other in shock, we walked to the other side of the pier listening to sailor dude continue to rant and rave at these poor little kids who by this time were responding back in very meek little voices "yes sir and so". Well Yvette and I decided this horrible abuse of the little kids had to stop so we set out to find someone in authority and came across a guy by the name of George Mack, who is the History Coordinator, Maritime Department for OI, we explained the horrible things we had witnessed and George responded back "good, that means we're doing our jobs", well Yvette and I looked at each other in disbelieve....has this whole place gone crazy, George picked up on our shock and immediately began trying to calm us down. George explained that the children have been working towards this day for some time, they had to read the book, they had to learn to do different types of jobs required of sailors in the 1800's, they leaned to tie knots and most importantly they were prepped that they were to be treated the same as an ordinary sailor would have been. George, whom is the most passionate man about his job that I have ever meet, then began telling us about all of the things the kids have been doing and were to be doing during their stay aboard the Pilgrim, they are put to work cleaning, hauling freight, hoisting sails (in a mock set up with pads, see pic) rowing the smaller boats around the bay and standing watches throughout the night. George took us into the training facility and showed us how to "lay on"(pic) while hoisting/furling the sails, and showed us many other teaching aids which they use.
Ocean Institute is a VERY well respected teaching facility founded in 1977, that has received numerous national awards, their mission statement is "to inspire all generations through education, to become responsible stewards of our oceans". George could have just told us to take a hike and mind our own business, instead he took at least an hour of his valuable time to educated us about a very special program.
I would also like to add that the parents, teachers and kids are given a chance to opt out of the program, it is also explained to the kids that yelling at people is not a proper way to act and as demonstrated to them no one likes to be treated that way.

12/02/2010 | Ashley Cook
that sounds pretty awesome pops! what a fun little adventure!
12/05/2010 | mark

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