Your $500 boat
Here you go dreamers.... Cash in some air miles to San Carlos, claim your vessel, hoist a flag of your choosing and come buddy-boating with Liberte. What's the story behind this boat, you reckon?
Write and let me know.
Bugs and body scanners
12/02/2010, San Carlos
Time for Rebecca and I to tear ourselves away from work, snowboarding, family (very difficult) and snow shoveling (not too difficult to leave that). It's time for Leg Two of Liberte's Bellingham-to-Cuba voyage to commence. We flew out between snowstorms from Spokane to Phoenix, and battled cold bugs and body scanners, passing de time with our own version of an in-flight movie, "Girl Who Played With Fire" on the iPad - note the splitter for his-and-hers audio.
Incredible dinner out with Manu Kai owners Tom and Debbie Davidson in Phoenix, then we woke each other up with miserable coughing at various times in the night at our little Best Western room (where they take dogs). Next morning we shuffled gear from one bag to another to "make weight" for our international flight to Guaymas, Mexico.
The landing was an abrupt descent over the mountains, but the landing was smooth and the air was warm when we walked down the airplane steps. Immigration and customs went without a sweat - David always gets the cold palms going up to the officials - as a little guy he and his family were stopped at customs in Turkey and "detained" for a few days. They did ask for dog papers and we were fortunate to have gotten Sammie's from Alpine Animal Hospital the day before leaving - regs say the dog must have a Health Certificate signed by a vet 48 hours earlier, plus be up on all the requisite vaccines.
It's good to have a familiar and comfortable place to wait out the disorientation that happens from whizzing at 600 mph to a strange land. For us in San Carlos, that place is Hotel Marinaterra, looking out at the twin peaks of Terrekawa, also known locally as Tetas de Cabras, or goat udders. We crashed here until "our souls caught up to our bodies" as the Austrialian aborigines used to put it.
Rebecca and Sammie are especially happy to be back in the southern sunshine. We're downshifting - and it feels good.
11/14/2010, Coeur d'Alene
By now, it's snowing in the mountains, and we've hauled the boats, including Sizzler, the 60-foot cold-molded daycruiser built by Hagadone Marine, pictured above in her off-season cradle and winter jacket. As captain of this boat, David noted that in her fourth season on the water Sizzler recorded the most sailing days yet. We also helped yank the turboed J90 "Eye Eye" after a #2 finish in the Commodore's Cup, and the North Idaho College sailing program's Colgate 26 "Study Aboard."
We've had some outstanding sailing this summer - but as the lake levels drop and the osprey leave town, it's time to plan our own migration.
We fly Spokane-Phoenix-Guaymas Nov. 29 and 30, and have a room reserved at the Marinaterra hotel while we commission Liberte. We're having Jesus at Marina Seca put a couple fresh coats of ABC#3 ablative bottom paint on and fix a scratch in the keel (hey, who put THAT there?). I've also got a replacement cutlass bearing ready to go on.
We plan a month in the Sea of Cortez, with Christmas at "The Hook" and New Year's in La Paz. See you out there!
Liberte in cruising kit
Here's Liberte, heading NW in the channel between Los Muertos and La Paz. This photo was taken by our friends and sometimes buddy boat 'Ithaki.' Thanks, Anastasia and Deano!
You can see a few bits of the kit we added to Liberte for our cruising plans. We kept it simple but well-planned:
Manson Anchor - oversized for the boat. Definitely a good piece of gear.
North Cruising Sails - Made from Norlam and Nordac, with a rope luff on the jib and full battens and a deep third reef on the main. The QuickCover doubled as a storm sail off Cape Mendicino on the way down the coast.
AquaPro Dinghy - Bought used from the Dinghy Doctor in San Diego, this was an excellent upgrade. Powered with an 8hp 2-stroke Mercury, it goes scary fast with just me and the dog. With two people and a couple bags of groceries it's still up on a plane. We made numerous surf landings with this setup. The whole kit only weighs 150 pounds, so we can haul it up on the beach pretty easily. We use the main halyard to hoist the outboard on and off. The dinghy has an aluminum bottom and weighs only 75 pounds, so it's easy to hoist onto the foredeck using the spin halyard.
Seylor inflatable kayaks from West Marine. Great gear. We use them everywhere, and keep them inflated on deck most of the time except for major passages. Sometimes we go weeks without using the dinghy.
Fish flag from Pete and Amy - essential to any yacht. It makes a great wind indicator and "weather fish." (If it's wet, it's raining, etc., etc).
What you can't see in this photo is the PowerSurvivor80E watermaker and the saltwater galley pump, two other modifications we've found to be very nice. We also carry a full compliment of safety gear including a well-stocked ditch bag and satellite phone.
Also not shown is the "Scottimini," our simple bimini which uses the existing structure of the boat with no new holes to drill. It gets its name from Scottie, our longtime crew member who helped design and build it. Scottie used round batten material fore and aft, tied into the dodger and the backstays. The material is "captain navy" sunbrella to match the rest of the boat. The bimini stayed up for our entire season (except for this delivery), and was a most valuable piece of kit.
The SolarStik on the transom proved its worth from the beginning, and continues to provide enough wind and solar power to keep us off the grid indefinitely if we so choose.
We have a Raymarine chartplotter mounted at the helm, along with an ST4000 autohelm. We do not carry radar, but you can see the Davis Instruments deluxe model radar reflector mounted in the rigging. We have an AIS Class B that puts large shipping targets on the chartplotter, and sends them our position as well.
The boat has a small integral diesel tank, so we fill 6 jerry jugs of diesel for longer trips, extending our range to around 600 nm. We can easily refill underway using a pretty neat and simple device called the Magic Siphon that we discovered on our way around Vancouver Island.
We've been very happy with Liberte and the few upgrades we've made to make her a sweet little coastal cruiser.
San Carlos, Mexico, marks yet another new arrival for Liberte. In this case, an arrival made all the more sweet by knowing she's completed her intended travels for the season. The 4,000 sea miles and 8 months from Bellingham were as rich an experience as we could ever hope for, with every adjective you can imagine. To reach the harbor, we made an overnight crossing of the Sea of Cortez in big following winds, making landfall at dawn at the dramatic high-cliffed entrance. This view from our hotel balcony on the last evening in Mexico will serve as a nice screensaver during our time away, and a good reminder of all that awaits here onboard our beloved Liberte. Rest well, girl.
After haulout at San Carlos, Liberte goes backwards down the road, complete with police escort.