S/V Adventure

Follow the O'Neil family, sailing in their Catalina 42, on their 2-year sabbatical to see the Pacific coast of the US, Mexico, and Central America, Galapagos, the South Pacific, and New Zealand.

08 June 2012 | Home
05 June 2012 | 100 miles to the Farallons!
02 June 2012 | 475 miles off the coast
31 May 2012 | 579 miles to go
30 May 2012 | 694 miles to go
30 May 2012 | 800 miles to go
29 May 2012 | 915 miles off California
28 May 2012 | Past halfway between Hawaii and SF
27 May 2012 | Past halfway between Hawaii and SF
26 May 2012 | Halfway between Hawaii and SF
24 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
23 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
22 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
21 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
20 May 2012 | Pacific Gyre
16 May 2012 | Pacific Gyre
16 May 2012 | Pacific
18 September 2011 | Home
07 September 2011 | Crossing the southern tip of the big island
05 September 2011 | Pacific

Adventure hits a Long Line

16 April 2008 | Destination Galapagos
Today, on Kathy's watch, we hit a Long Line. To Kathy's defense we were 200 miles from the nearest land. She had, merely, made an improper assumption that we'd be safe from such menaces.

For those of you who don't know these Long Lines are thick line that hangs between multiple buoys. The line drapes below the buoys and waits for an unsuspecting sail boat to snag it.

To Kathy's credit, she was able to see the Long Line just before it was too late and quickly turned off the engine. Unfortunately, we had still snagged the line. I was awakened from my nap.

"Hey Dad! We hit a long line!" Casey yelled. "Sean, get up here!" Kathy barked. I quickly moved out of bed and to the cockpit. Behind us were two buoys: one marked with its distinctive caution black garbage bag flag; one orange coke bottle. Kathy had it all worked out. "We need to cut the line. You should probably have your life jacket on when you go out on the stern. You can pull up the line with our boat hook."

I was overwhelmed by the situation. I'd just woken up, my stomach felt queasy, and I was being barraged with how best to solve the problem. I immediately took control. "Kathy! Stop! I know how to handle the situation. We need to cut the line..." Kathy hands me a knife she's already holding"...and I'll need my life jacket..." Kathy hands me my life jacket that she's already holding "...and I'll need the boat hook." Casey hands me the boat hook which she was already holding.

I quickly cut the first line and realize that only one of the buoys is going away. We're still being tracked by the orange coke bottle. We find the second line and cut it away. Now all we need to do is check the prop.

The wind was blowing at 12 knots, and even when we were dragging two buoys Adventure was still making 4 knots. We had to slow her down. After performing a heave to and pulling down the main we were able to get Adventure to slow to 1.5 knots. The seas were still 2 to 5 feet though. Kathy handed me my mask and fins and I tied a long line to myself.

The water was warm as I jumped in and I could clearly see the bottom of the boat. I just couldn't see what was below me in the abyss. I tried not to think about it. A small amount of line was on the prop and it had already been severed. I took a deep breath and kicked like mad. I was able to reach the prop and remove the remaining line easily.

As I fell back to the stern of the boat I noticed that 15 feet of line was still attached somewhere forward. I took a deep breath and started making my way forward. As I got just forward of the keel I dipped my head under water to examine the situation. It was then I got a quick blow to the head. Adventure had rolled and I was hit. As I came back up for air and to rub my head I realized that the line was wrapped around our sonar.

I was breathing hard now as I had to keep kicking to keep up with Adventure. I took a deep breath and dived under. I kicked hard and made my way to the sonar. I pulled on the line as hard as I could and it wouldn't give. I moved to the other side of the sonar and pulled hard. I was running out of air quickly. The line released and not having enough air reserves I attempted to surface on the opposite side of Adventure. I kicked hard - too hard; both fins dislodged from my feet. I made it and the surface. As I looked below I saw that the line was free and so were my fins. I then noticed that the line I used to tie myself to the stern was stuck on the bottom the the keel. If it had been just a few feet shorter, I probably would not have been able to surface on the opposite side of the boat. Phew.

I told Kathy as I got to the stern of the boat about the line and she said she'd pulled me back in. That's when I realized that I'd just foiled her plan. If she'd pulled me on that line, I would have been keel-hauled.

Casey came to me with a towel, "Hey Dad! What's that blue stuff on your head?" She was referring to where I'd been bashed in the head by Adventure. "Oh! Your finger is bleeding too." My middle knuckle was bleeding. I'd scratched it on some barnacles that were attached to the sonar. I decided to milk both of these wounds to their full benefit. In the end, I got hot dogs for lunch and a shower.
Vessel Name: Adventure
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 42
Hailing Port: Marina Bay, Richmond CA
Crew: The O'Neil Family
About: Sean (Captain and Line Man) Kathy (Helmswoman and Cook) Tara - 12 years old at trip start, Casey - 11 years old at trip start (Crew and Students)
Extra: We're on a three-year sabbatical from the daily grind to see the Pacific coast of the US, Mexico, Central America and the South Pacific and stopping at New Zealand.

S/V Adventure

Who: The O'Neil Family
Port: Marina Bay, Richmond CA