09/01/2010, Richmond in San Francisco Bay
Our trip to San Francisco took (starting at Cape Flattery) 6.5 days .
Our best day was 129 miles and our worst was 97 miles.
We motored & motor-sailed a total of 84 hours and sailed 72 hours.
The furthest offshore we went was 65 miles as we passed by the Columbia River.
On the 25th we were in some rough seas and strong winds and tried to heave to in order to make supper (for the non nautical types, heaving to is a way of bringing your boat into the wind and riding the waves facing into them to reduce the motion down below. This is more comfortable as you are not moving against the waves or with them, just bobbing up and down but not making any mileage either.) As we only had the storm jib up, we were not able to bring the bow into the wind enough to heave to so we lay ahull (sideways to the waves). Once dinner was finished we resumed our course but decided to head towards Coo's Bay to possibly get some rest. It was only our 2nd full day at sea and we were tired and not yet used to the motion and watches. By the time we were 30 miles offshore of Coo's Bay, the winds had moderated so we had to motor sail. Based on the forecasts, the winds were supposed to be 15 to 20 nearer shore and 20 to 25 further out so we decided to proceed on our course 30 miles off and not stop. Next day we got hit again with strong almost gale force winds for about 12 hours.
Rounded Cape Mendacino motor sailing in about 10 knots of wind.
We saw 2 whales just around Cape Flattery and a Puffin.
We saw Pacific White Sided Dolphins twice on the trip, and Dal's Porposis once.
We saw a Humpback Whale an hour before the Golden Gate Bridge.
We saw many Albatross and various other sea birds.
We saw very little freighter traffic and only a few fishing boats.
We had a few things break but nothing major, a towel rail, the stern nav light, the nav light half way up the mast. We did make a list of things we need to improve on based on this trip but the list is thankfully not too extensive and hopefully not too expensive.
We look at this trip as a shake down cruise. We have had the boat since 1993 and rebuilt and relaunched her in 2004, and since that time we have only done one overnight trip with her. You really only get a feel for what works and dosen't when you sail 24 hours a day for 2 or more days.
We enjoyed the nightly HAM schedule with Peter from San Francisco and Ron from Vancouver. It was comforting knowing that someone knew exactly where you were at a certain time of the day. It's a big ocean and you are alone out there.
It was also fun to be able to speak with some friends who were listening on the schedule who also have HAM radios.
For the next few days we are hanging out in San Francisco - Richmond actually as we need to have our windvane fixed. Scanmar picked it up yesterday and hopefully it won't take too long to get it back. Our friends Veronica and Dennis from a boat called Vida Nova are also here at the dock. The arrive in San Francisco the same day as us.
We are hoping to get back out heading south to San Diego by the weekend so stay tuned.
08/30/2010, San Francisco
Well we made it this far! It was quite a trip. Overall we had pretty good conditions with just 2 blows that were a bit stronger than was comfortable. But all our winds were from behind as were the seas so I guess you can't ask for more than that.
The jury is out as to weather or not I actually like the 'offshore' bits. Maybe when it gets a tad warmer. I know that I like the 'cruising' part where you get to anchor out most nights and your not at sea 24/7.
But anyhow we've made it this far. We spent last night anchored in Drakes Bay which is about 30 miles north of San Fran. We would have gottend in to late so we deciced to wait and come in during daylight hours. We timed it perfectly as we went under the Golden Gate bridge in clear conditions and about a half hour later it was covered in fog and you can't see it.
Feeling very tired and need to catch up on some zzzz's. Tomorrow we are going to Richmond in the bay here to have our windvane looked at by the people who made it at Scanmar. It sailed us here very very well, but it clunks and rattles and is quite annoying to listen too.
Thank you for all you comments it was alot of fun to read them this afternoon when we got internet connection. We are having lots of fun and enjoying our dreams so far. We still have to get the boat to San Diego before the 20th of September and it's about 450 miles from here. So we won't stay too long here. Our valued crew member leaves us in a day or two so Ian and I will be on our own for the rest of the trip. So stay tuned for futher updates.
08/28/2010, just past Cape Mendacino
Well here is a synopsis of the trip so far: Day 1 leave Vancouver check in Pt. Roberts anchor at San Juan Island Day 2 head out Juan de Fuca but spend 4 hours taking back and fourth in front of Victoria and only get to Race Rocks so tack back to Port Angeles for the night. Day 3 Motor up Juan de Fuca straight in dead calm conditions. Coast Guard boat approaches and asks some questions. Top up fuel in Neah Bay and are past Cape Flattery by 6:30 pm in flat calm conditions. See a Puffin and a Pilot Whale. Motor all night long making our way south west. Day 4 Winds start to build to a nice comfortable 15 knots and we have a great day sailing downwind. Saw a few dolphins. Day 5 Winds built up to 20 - 25 knots and stayed all day making for an uncomfortable ride. Pot of rice flies off the stove onto the floor - we are still finding bits of rice 3 days later. Saw a pod of dolphins jumping around the boat very cool. Day 6 Motor sailing in light winds all day gives us a chance to regroup and clean up a little. Ellen is able to eat finally after feeling quite seasick for a few days. Day 7 Another day of rough weather this time up into the low 30's. Harvey and Ian were champs and took turns all day and night with the watches as Ellen hid below under the blankets (in her (my) defense it was too rough to be anywhere else on the boat and this way the bruising was kept to a minimum) Winds died around midnight thank god. Day 8 Here we are motoring and have just rounded the dreaded Cape Mendacino which lucky for us was pretty calm. We came right inshore to 20 miles or so because the forcasts are better. So here we are getting closer every day. We figure we could be in San Fran by Monday night but we don't want to enter under the bridge in the dark so will go to Drakes Bay for the night. It's taken us longer than we figured but we lost one day trying to get out of Juan de Fuca straight. We are averaging about 112 miles in a 24 hour day with our best day so far at 123 and worst at 97. That pretty much sums up the trip so far. I don't think Ian and I would have had an easy time of it with just the 2 of us. Harvey has been an invaluable crew member always cheerful and ready to pitch in and help with everything. Plus his experience with sailing his own boat to Mexico, Hawaii and back to Vancouver has come in useful too. We can't thank him enough and his wife Lynne for letting us take him for so long. A couple of tips for the leavers in the fleet coming in Sept. Bring lots of soft foam to pack into lockers because everything rattles and rolls out here. Fresh blueberries have been a lifesaver for me. When I couldn't eat or feel like eating anything else, munching on some berries kept me going. And make sure you have GOOD fiddles for your stove. Mine obviously aren't very good. Cheers Ellen
08/24/2010, 45 miles off of the Washington coast
Finally we are 'offshore'. We had a flat calm motor out of Juan de Fuca and by 6:30pm we were clearing cape Flattery. It was a beautiful calm, clear evening and as the sun set the moon rose. We had the full moon up all night lighting our way. We motored all night long as there was less than 5 knots of wind. The swells made us roll and Ian pulled out some of the jib but there wasn't enough wind to keep it full. This morning the winds picked up to 10 to 15 and we are sailing with the jib poled out to keep it open. It's still rolly out here and I have been feeling a little 'off' but managing oky. I even cooked the guys a hot breakfast this morning (not that I could eat any of it). So far we've seen, a couple of grey whales, a puffin, albatros and the odd fishing boat. Pretty quite so far. So that's the report to date.
08/22/2010, Port Angeles, USA
Well here we are in Port Angeles a mere 78 miles from home although we have logged 107 miles. The almost 30 mile difference is from tacking back and fourth today trying to beat our way out of Juan de Fuca with winds of 25 knots on the nose. We made about 4 big tacks back and fourth across the shipping lanes from 10am to 2:30 pm and were only as far as Race Rocks. The winds seemed to be increasing as were the seas so we decided to turn around and head to Port Angeles which was a nice downwind sail. What a difference when we turned the boat around and were having a really nice sail we almost convinced ourselves it wasn't so bad out there after all. But looking at the waves and feeling the wind on our backs, we knew it would be a hard slog if we turned around again. So here we are tied up to the dock and having a nice evening. The winds are supposed to ease tonight and tomorrow so we will give it a try then. Last night we had decided to anchor for the night when we realized it was blowing so hard in the straight but we thought it would be easy in the daylight. Not so much. We did work out some of the bugs today though. We tuned up the rig a little and saw that some of our lockers needed to be more securely closed and locked so it wasn't a complete loss of a day. With any luck we will make it to the big open ocean tomorrow in time for the full moon. Stay tuned.
08/21/2010, Just south of Saturna Island
So here we are enroute to San Francisco although we are still pretty much in home waters. We were up early (too) at 6am and underway by 6:30am. The river was really moving so we were sometimes achieving 9 knots of speed with the help of the current. I actually had to ask Ian to slow the boat down as I was cooking and wanted to finish before we hit the straight which can be rough at the mouth of the river. By 11am were at the customs dock in Point Roberts and checked in by noon. Harvey's wife Lynne met us there so she could take us shopping for the things we thought we shouldn't bring across like citrus and potatoes. (Harvey is our crew as far as San Francisco) We left Point Roberts by 12:45 and once out in the deep water were able to sail for a couple of hours which was nice. Now we are motor sailing along towards the straight of Jaun de Fuca. So far things are good but it is day one and it is relatively calm conditions. Not sure if I'll be spending much time here at the computer typing if things get rocking and rolling. We'll see. We've worked out our watch schedule that we will use for the first few days. Ian and Harvey's shifts overlap with mine so that I'm not by myself for the first few days until I feel comfortable enough to manage on my own. It also makes it easier to prepare meals and whatnot. So that is pretty much it so far. Nothing much to report. No wildlife yet. No fishing yet. I know the guys are keen to fish but until there is some space in the fridge they might have to hold off. That's about it for now.