Cetacea Swims on a Deep Blue Sea

Tales of Cetacea's Pacific Cup Adventure

13 July 2016 | Pacific Ocean
12 July 2016 | Pacific Ocean
12 July 2016 | Pacific Ocean
10 July 2016 | Oakland, California
08 July 2016 | Alameda, California
27 June 2016 | Oakland
18 June 2016 | Berkeley Yacht Club
15 June 2016 | Oakland
10 June 2016 | Oakland
08 June 2016 | Oakland

Final thoughts on sailing... and bananas

20 July 2016 | Oakland
Cetacea arrived safely back at the dock yesterday, with both the crew and boat somewhat bruised but none the worse for some wear. I've got probably a solid month of repairs after going through the gale on the way home, but having learned some hard lessons I also know what to improve to make Cetacea the cruising vessel I know she can be.

Rather than discourage me from leaving port again, thus trip has shown me that both Cetacea and I can handle more than I thought so long as we have a good crew to help out, which we did and I'm grateful for. Next time, and there will be a next time, all of us will be better prepared. So I'm going to keep this blog active for a while. Who knows.... I might want to do the BaHaHa to Cabo sometime.

There's an old superstition that bananas on a boat are bad luck. Not being one for superstition, we had bananas on the boat. Next trip, I might leave the bananas home......

Until we sail again!

Cetacea retires from the Pac Cup.. or how a small piece of brass can ruin your whole day

18 July 2016 | Monterey Bay
To all those who have bee following the blog, my apologies for the silence. Boat and crew are fine and approaching Monterey Bay for fuel. Should be back home tomorrow.

So last Thursday while enjoying a fresh breeze and a fine sunny day, the end of the hydraulic cylinder that controls the rudder and had done a fine job for 35 years decided to crack. We used the emergency tiller while I remanufactured a new end for the cylinder, and while the repair appeared fine it seemed more responsible to head the 410 sea miles back to San Francisco than to proceed 1600 more to Hawaii. The crew discussed the decision and decided this was the best course of action. WhIle disappointing to us all, it seemed safest.

To add insult to injury, that evening while typing my blog the tea pot decided to spill on my laptop during some heavy waves, hence the silent blog. Just getting into cell service now so I can use my phone.

So while the trip back did have some action packed weather moments, all are fine if a bit wet, cold and tired. The rudder repair has held fine, and more than once I wondered if we shold have kept going. But there's always Pac Cup 2018!

Thanks to everyone who bothered to follow the blog, and soery for the stress this caused on Facebook. I'll buy you all a drink to make up for it. Rum all around!

Dry Decks at Last

13 July 2016 | Pacific Ocean
The weather continues to be windy with strong waves and overcast skies all day today. Two ships have been dismasted due to heavy winds and have dropped out of the race to return to shore for repairs. But here in the cruising division on Cetacea we're taking it a little easier. Still making good time to Hawaii but exercising a little more caution about how much sail we're carrying. Not to mention Cetacea is a good boat, built heavy and made for cruising. So far she's holding up well.

And so is the crew! While James was at the helm he was kept company by Steve, Kelvin, and Bryan, despite the cold weather. Gavin cooked up a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and a warm lunch of eggs and sausage. John even shared his chocolate, so we're all in good spirits.

So at last we have dry decks. The last two days and nights have been running on a reach, so the boat has been healed over with waves coming across the decks. But today we were able to start to turn downwind at last. We're not running straight downwind and still have a lot of swell on the starboard stern quarter. But if you've ever been below decks on a sailboat that's heeling over on a beam reach know how nice it is when the boat levels out a bit as you start to turn downwind. Hence, the opportunity to Gavin to cook us some good grub today!

Over the next day or two we're hoping to get down to the traces and some warmer water. Hopefully we'll soon be enjoying dry decks every day, along with tshirt weather. But we're looking forward to at least one more cold night of hopefully star filled skies!

Better Weather!

12 July 2016 | Pacific Ocean
As promised, our first picture from underway. John, Kelvin and James are enjoying lighter seas with a fresh wind as we head West at about 6 kts. The water is now blue instead of grey and the weather is starting to get noticeably warmer. By the end of the day tomorrow or Thursday at the latest, we should be into the trades and we're all looking forward to being able to be on deck in shorts instead of foulies.

All the crew remains safe and in good health, and the seasickness is starting to pass. Everyone enjoyed English dinner tonight compliments of Kelvin.

At Sea

12 July 2016 | Pacific Ocean
Sorry for missing the post yesterday, but weather was not permitting. It was a rather rough night with strong winds and high seas up until about midnight. But when James and I came on watch at midnight, the swell had subsided and the winds were fresh. It was amazing running under a full sky of stars, especially after the moon set. Not only were there stars in the sky, but the dinoflagellates in the water made it seemed like we sailed through a sea of stars.

But yesterday was good. After a fine start at the line at 10:40, we actually had little wind after passing under the Golden Gate Bridge. On out way out we saw a lot of whales, which was amazing! And we continued to see them as the afternoon progressed and the seas freshened. In fact, Kelvin and Gavin has a whale surface not 50 feet from the boat, causing a lot of excitement no the boat and causing me to have some flashbacks to In the Heart of the Sea. But all hands are well if sometimes a little seasick.

We're currently tracking due south about 130 miles off the coast and looking forward to making the turn in the warm waters of the tradewinds hopefully by the end of the day tomorrow. When things settle down then I'll post a picture. Promise!

By the way, every boat in the Pac Cup has been assigned a GPS tracker. You should be able to track us 24/7 at paccup.org.

The Crew is Aboard

10 July 2016 | Oakland, California
Tomorrow morning at 10:30 AM Cetacea is due to cross the start line for the Pac Cup offshore of the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. Today we completed the final touchups to the boat, loaded the final provisions, and got the crew on board. There's nothing left to buy, fix, or do to get ready for the race, so now we're committed! At 8:30 tomorrow morning we leave the dock to get ourselves situated for the start line. Wish us good luck and continue to follow us on the blog!
Vessel Name: Cetacea
Vessel Make/Model: Hudson Force 50 Ketch
Hailing Port: San Francisco
Crew: Steve Armstrong, John Frazier, Gavin McDonald, Peter Masson, James O'Halloran, Kelvin Phillips, Brian Pratt
Extra: Email us at CetaceaSwims@gmail.com. Please do not include attachments as we'll be receiving emails over HF Radio. Please place the name of the crew member in the subject line for proper delivery.
Cetacea's Photos - Main
A few of my favorites.
8 Photos
Created 8 June 2016