Thursday, September 29, 2011

Anchored in Morro Bay

Lat/Lon: 35 22.113N, 120 51.400W

Sorry, no pictures.

My momentum has really taken a hit this week. I left Monterey on Sunday, arrived in San Simeon on Monday, left there for Morro Bay where I am now on Thursday. Morro bay is 22 miles south of my last stop. When I was in San Simeon calling around to the possible next stops I discovered there was a festival here this coming weekend. Music, food, drink and so on. So I decided to check it out. I may leave here on Sunday or Monday.

There was no wind today so I motored over this morning, four hours, timing my arrival with high water slack as there is a bar at the entrance. A sand bar crossing the entrance, not the drinks kind. The bar was fine, the swell is dying down today.

I have a little list of projects to do while I'm here. My knot meter has stopped working so I'll remove it and clean it out. There is probably some growth on the paddle wheel messing it up. I'd like to sail after leaving here and having the knot meter working is convenient but not essential - the instruments can give you true wind speed and direction if they know the boat speed which is where the knot meter comes in. Besides, it's useful to know how fast I'm going.

As people cruise I suspect one of the most common stories they gather are anchoring stories. Like that time I was in San Simeon... I arrived and there was one boat already anchored so I positioned myself between them and a dock, splitting the distance perhaps 500 feet on each side of me. There was a W wind, blowing off the beach which was 1000 feet away. The two cruising guides suggest anchoring much nearer the beach to avoid swell and wind but I was close enough I thought. Then another boat arrives, single handed (which is cool) and captain holding beer in hand (less so). He ends up moving between me and the dock with my thinking he was going to continue forward toward the beach - but he throws his anchor over with a little chain and the rest nylon about two boat lengths to my side and four or five forward. By the time things settle down and he sets the anchor he is pretty much parallel to me a couple boat lengths over. It's a big anchorage. So at first I just think that this is good practice for later crowded anchorages, but not feeling very comfortable. I tend to make an assumption that other people are more experienced than I am, although I'm getting over this. I like the situation less and less and I realize I probably won't sleep well. If we get a shift in the wind to the forecast NW we may well bump as I'm all chain and his upwind boat will move faster and farther than me, toward me. So I move. I go toward the beach making a triangle out of the three boats, 450 feet on a side. "Nice!" I think.

The next morning I get up, he moves on south and by 6pm that night the wind starts changing direction. By 7pm, sunset, the wind is a weak S to SE, making the shore a lee shore. But the shore is far away and the winds are weak. I thought about moving but didn't. I get up several times that night to check things out. By morning the swell is increasing, the winds are increasing and there is fog so dense I can't see my neighbor 450 feet away. I can hear the waves crashing on the shore behind me but can't see it. So I move the boat again, this time relying on my radar. I go back to almost my original location where I stay until I leave.

Still working out the moral of that story. Maybe there isn't one. I could have asked the boat arriving after me to move - but as it turned out it would have been fine as the winds didn't shift. I was happier each time after I moved. Perhaps the moral is that "if you think you should raise anchor and reposition the boat then you should do it". Similar to if you think it's time to reef the sails then it is time to reef them.

I realize that as anchoring stories go, that one is pretty dull. I sincerely hope that I do not end up with Really Exciting anchoring stories!

Heavily overcast here, and cool. I miss the hot Monterey days I had although it's cooled down there too. Looking forward to more heat as I move south.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, September 26, 2011

Anchored in San Simeon Bay

Just a quick update. Luckness is anchored in San Simeon Bay which is about 85 nm south of Monterey. There is some weather developing south which I want to avoid so I may be here for a few days.

I have cell coverage but no wifi.

Its sunny here now and I'm starting to notice that the sun is feeling stronger that in Seattle. Might need to stock up on more sunscreen.

The sail here was uneventful. I left Monterey in light winds and started sailing in 4 or 5 knots just crawling along. The wind strengthened and weakened between 4 and 8 until 5pm when it started to fill in. The forecast was for 10 to 20 in the evening and I was sailing in 20 to 28 with the seas starting to develop but nothing serious. It was a dark night with highly variable weather. It would go from partly overcast to a clear cloudless sky in an hour. Then thick fog for an hour around 2am. Then cloudless/fogless again. The stars were amazing.

Monterey bay was teeming with sea life as I left. Lots and lots of seals, sea lions and dolphins. It was cool. Coming into San Simeon I saw a what I think was a blue whale, judging from it's fin.

My batteries are down 15Ah but the solar panels are working now - they were shaded by the sails all morning. They are putting out 10 amps right now. Subtracting what the boat is using I'm charging at around 8 amps. Will be back at 100% in a couple hours.

It's lunch time so I'll leave this little update at that.


Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Leaving Monterey, heading south

I'll be leaving Monterey Sunday morning, heading south.  There is fleet of boats arriving tomorrow, and the space I'm occupying, as well as all the other spaces I can fit into are going to be used.  I've been here six days, it seems its time to move on.

I liked Monterey.  Its a small city, easy to walk around.  The Marina is at the heart of the town.  On one side there is a beautiful beach which goes for miles and miles.  On the other side there is interesting coastline which is a mixture of rocks and little sandy beaches.  There is a walking path which follows the coastline in both directions as far as you could care to walk, probably much farther.

From the marina, there is a decent english style pub within 2 minutes of the harbor masters building.  Being a creature of habit, I had dinner there...5 nights.  It would have been six, but the crew of Sockdolager (Jim and Karen) invited me for dinner aboard the last night, which was most excellent.  There is a great sports facility with an amazing swimming pool within a 5 minute walk - I had my best swim there in probably 2 years.  Fishermans wharf is an easy walk away.  Cannery row and the aquarium is an easy walk away.  There are lots of restaurants within an easy walk.  The theme is that you can walk everywhere.  There is also free wi-fi which covers the marina - although a wi-fi amplifier such as the Uqiquity Bullet helps.

This is the part where I mention everything I did, including the museum, aquarium, night life etc - except that thinking back on it, I didn't do those things.  Each day I would have some sort of theme - scout out the town and figure where everything was; then go to the pub for a beer or two and dinner.  Then find a hardware store to buy a new sink stopper; and head to the pub for a beer or two and dinner.  Find an outdoor store which sells headlamps and replace the headlamp which was destroyed by all the saltwater that got into the cockpit; then head back to the pub.  Then it was time to start provisioning - I have enough food on board for a couple weeks again.  Do a few things around the boat; do laundry; and that's about a wrap.  Looking back on it, it was a very satisfying stay.  I could live here.

The coastline west of Monterey
Some of the sea life
Me!  On the beach east of the marina
Oops.  I didn't take any pictures of the town itself.  As I'm leaving Sunday at the crack of dawn (10am-ish) I won't have time to add any tomorrow.  Google "monterey" for more pics!

I'll be leaving here heading south, toward Santa Barbara with a possible stay along the coast earlier if needed to escape weather.  As I leave there are strongish winds forecast south.  The forecast region  I'm in is pzz575.  The zone south of that is pzz670.  The one south of that is pzz673.  On Saturday evening, pzz670 is showing "15 TO 25 KT WITH GUSTS TO 30 KT" monday afternoon and evening.  The zone south of that, the one that is appropriate for Santa Barbara is showing "NW WINDS 20 TO 30 KT" for monday with strongish winds tuesday as well.  So I may tuck into San Simeon for a day - I'll make that call tomorrow.  If the forecast calls for 20-30 knots, it might actually end up much stronger.  Or that was my experience earlier with 25 forecast and my ending up sailing in 33.

This cruising life is pretty sweet!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Some gathered thoughts

I've had time to gather a few thoughts and images on the trip south so far.

First of all - thank you for all your comments. I appreciate all your good wishes, and its really nice to hear from all of you.  A note on how I read them - when I'm away at sea, I'm unable to access the internet other than being able to send and receive email through a special email address I'm keeping to a small group.  When someone comments, I receive an email at my Mac email address, and it will sit there until I get back to within wi-fi or iPhone range.  So please continue to add comments, but realize I can't read them until back on or near land.

My parting view of Shilshole Marina
I'll try not to repeat what I've already written.  Getting to Neah Bay was uneventful.  I had been out this way earlier in this season and going back was familiar.

Motoring part of the way from Port Angeles to Neah Bay
Luckness at anchor in Neah Bay
Luckness at anchor in Neah Bay
A short summary of the trip from Neah Bay to Monterey, is:

Sept 5, Left Neah Bay, sailed 3 hours, motored 7 hours, then sailed in light wind all night
Sept 6, Wind died, becalmed until evening, then sailed in winds rising to 12 knots.
Sept 7, Beautiful sailing. 100nm offshore, jibed, 75nm offshore, jibed, ...
Sept 8, Slowing down in nice wind to avoid gale to the south. Hove to at 9pm
Sept 9, Still hove to in winds 28-33 knots with well developed seas, avoiding stronger winds south
Sept 10, Started to sail at 7am in 20-25 knots of wind
Sept 11, Wind died by noon, seas still developed, took all sail down by 3pm due to slatting. Pitching/rolling
Sept 12, Waved diminishing, sailing in 7-9 knots of wind
Sept 13, Winds increasing 10-12, then 20-25. Encountered 22 fishing boats at 3am 120nm offshore
Sept 14, 25-35 knots of wind, gusts to 37.
Sept 15, At anchor in Drakes Bay by noon
Sept 16, At anchor
Sept 17, At anchor
Sept 18, Left for Monterey in 10-15 kts by 9:30am
Sept 19, Arrived in Monterey by 11am after a beautiful sail.  Clear sky all night, brilliant stars, phosphorescence galore

Sailing away from Neah Bay
I took surprisingly few pictures of my journey, I'll try to take more in the future.  When the seas are more developed I don't really want to have my camera on deck as waves have a surprising way of jumping into the cockpit unexpected.  On my first day out of Neah Bay there were a few waves which found their way into the cockpit.  I thought to myself, "That's annoying, now I'll have saltwater there for the rest of the trip."  Its funny as by the end of the trip I had had waves crashing over the boat drenching it and myself entirely.  There was salt water spray 1/2 way up the mainsail, covering my wind generator and radome.  There was much more water everywhere than I had expected.

Port side of interior.  Lee cloth setup.
Starboard side.  Chart on table to track progress.
Being steered by the Monitor wind vane
When I arrived in Drakes Bay after a night of relatively stronger winds, I eventually noticed there was serious chafe happening on the monitor wind vane starboard (lower in picture) control line.

This chafe had happened overnight - I swear the lines were fine at sunset when I checked them...  The bottom bullet block has rotated CCW by almost 90 degrees forcing the line going through it to chafe on two edges of the block.  The bottom block should have been oriented like the one above it.  The blocks were loose and have now been tightened so this should be avoided in the future.  I've bought enough extra line for two more replacements of this control line however...

Luckness on the end of E dock, Monterey Harbor Marina
I won't talk much about Monterey in this post, but will do so in a subsequent post.

I'll pick a few topics and blab about them in a little detail.  I don't pretend to be any sort of expert in really anything about sailing.  I'm just passing along my experiences.

Sea Sickness.  One of the surprising things to me was that I wasn't seasick.  I had prepared stories about how even astronauts (highly trained professionals) get seasick, how there are extremely experienced sailors who routinely get seasick when they return to sea.  So I was prepared to be in good company when it happened.  I'm not sure why I didn't get seasick and am not at all sure that it won't happen in the future.  There seems to be a general rule that once you've been out for three days that your body adjusts to the motion and you get over it.  This isn't always true, but is a rule of thumb.  My first two days were light with flat seas and my third day was beautiful sailing with slowly increasing seas.  If my first day had started out rough my experience with seasickness may have been different.  I didn't take any medication, but was eating licorice and ginger whenever I felt any symptoms start up.  I have no idea if they helped or not, but I like licorice and ginger and they are reputed to help - so eating them can't hurt.  The best ginger I found is from Trader Joe's, its an uncrystalized ginger which isn't sweet.  I highly recommend the ginger, even though it may not help seasickness at all its pretty yummy stuff.  By the fourth day I would say I was immune to the motion and felt no more symptoms for the rest of the trip.  After being at anchor for three days, I felt fine when I returned to sea for the passage to Monterey.  I've had the most epic case of 'land sickness' in Monterey - where the land seems to be swaying beneath you after being on a boat for a while.  Its fading away now...and I wonder if this will be tied to a new cycle of three days needed to acclimatize to seasickness again.  I'll find out next week.

Sleep cycles.  Another area I had some concern about was the 20 minute sleep cycles I was doing.  I have a device called a Watch Commander which is a 12 volt timer with a reset button.  Once I plugged it in on the first day, it would continue until unplugged.  You set a time - I set 20min - and then every 20min a little light will flash for 30 sec or so, then a fairly quiet alarm goes off for 30 sec and then an alarm as loud as a fire alarm.  You can reset the cycle at any time by pushing a button, and I would only push the button when I felt I had full situational awareness - or was about to when being woken up.  The first alarm is about as loud as a medium alarm clock.  There were a few occasions where I slept through the first alarm to be woken by the second extremely loud alarm.  Its a well thought out device.  I had read about the sleep cycles (see Polyphasic sleep and Dr. Scampi) but my experience with them at home was pretty miserable.  It turns out that being woken every 20min is annoying but perfectly livable.  This probably remains the most controversial part of what I'm doing.  Single handed sailing means that there are times when nobody is on watch.  However, being offshore is much different than coastal or local sailing.  Its something I'm still getting used to and either I will, or I'll have to rethink this trip drastically.  So far, I'm ok with the sleep cycles.  One note on the watch commander.  The web site which sells them promotes the timers for all crews, even double handed or larger.  Google it if you're curious.

Eating.  I had visions of baking bread and cooking meals from scratch.  What I did end up doing was opening a can, adding a few extra ingredients and heating it up.  Lunch was often sandwiches or if I was cold a can of something heated up.  Breakfast was bread with something - my favorite breakfast was cheese on toast done in the oven under the gas grill it has.  Pop-tarts were popular with the crew (me!)  I've been visiting the local grocery stores looking for a wider variety of easy to prepare foods and have a few more ideas.

Books/Video's.  I thought I would get a lot of reading done - but didn't even crack open a book.  It was a relatively short passage fairly close to shore - perhaps I would start reading on a passage from Mexico to Hawaii or some other offshore destination.  When I was hove to avoiding the gale I watched a video at first to pass the time.  This turned out to be a mistake - I didn't like the way I lost my situational awareness - I was no longer aware of the environment I was in in the same way.  Luckily I'm pretty easily entertained and at the moment can watch the environment around me for hours and be interested in it.

Clothing.  I keep expecting that as I travel south it will warm up.  I arrived in Drakes Bay after a clear cold night wearing: underwear, long underwear, pants, foul weather pants, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, fleece, primaloft coat, foul weather coat, neck gaitor, toque, gloves.  After arriving I turned on my forced air diesel furnace and left it on for a day.  After that it got turned off during the day and on again at night while at anchor.  Having the furnace aboard was most excellent.

Weather awareness.  My main link for weather information is my Single Side Band (SSB) radio.  It has a digital modem attached (Pactor modem) and can be used to send and receive short emails as well as receive weather faxes.  The coast is divided into a number of weather forecast regions with labels such as 'pzz575' for where I am now.  I can send an email to a site (SailDocs) and request a number of forecasts, and the site will reply by sending me an email for each document I request.  This worked very well.  There are also a couple of government sites which broadcast faxes of weather forecast images (surface analysis, wind/wave forecasts, and so on) which I can receive.  There were two main times of the day I would update my set of  faxes, starting at around 12:15 and ending at 2:30 or so, AM and PM.  The weather faxes were a little intermittent.  There were occasions where I would be receiving a fax just fine and suddenly there would be a lot of noise in the signal and the remainder of the fax would be garbled beyond reading.  They are also slow!  A single fax takes between 15 and 20min to receive.  Having this weather information was very valuable.  Even with my limited understanding of weather mechanisms I was able to interpret the information to increase my safety.  

...There was one evening, while I was hove to when I was interpreting the weather information and managed to freak myself out.  I watch my barometer on board closely, and I can correlate that to a surface forecast to estimate what's going to be happening between now and the forecast.  For example, if the pressure is currently 1020 and the forecast is for it to drop to 1018 in my area, that translates into some wind, but not very much (wind is generated by pressure differentials.  This is a vast over simplification, but a rule of thumb...)  That evening the pressure was 1026 and I calculated that it was going to drop to 1013 in about 6 hours.  That's a huge drop which would translate to extremely strong winds.  The text forecast didn't have that indicated at I watched and waited to see what would develop.  It turns out that my translation from GMT to PST was in error and the drop happened over 24 hours.  Losing that much pressure in 24 hours translated to the winds I was experiencing.  Phew.

The surface forecast showing a gale to my south.
The 96 hour forecast showing no wind after the gale.
Reading noisy images takes a little more interpretation than the nice clean images you can download from the internet.  

The passage.  Looking back on the passage, it turned out to be pretty much perfect.  I had a wide range of conditions from being becalmed to winds up to 37 knots, seas as flat as a pancake to pretty interesting.  The order the conditions arrived in was also ideal - I started out with light winds and easy seas, gradually building to more knarly conditions and ended up sailing in 25 to 35 knot winds with well developed seas. I could easily have left Neah Bay and had 7 days of 15-25 knot winds and been at my destination without the wider range of experience I ended up with.  I was very lucky in what I was presented with.

The boat.  This boat is awesome.  I wouldn't be surprised if everybody feels that way about their boat after completing a passage safely.  But that aside - this boat is awesome.  I'm loving it.

The shake-me-up tour will be continuing next week, leaving on Sunday the 25th.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Docked in Monterey marina

Lat/Lon: 36 36.148 121 53.406

I'm docked. It's hot once you get off the water! It was a beautiful sail yesterday and last night. I've had clear blue skies for two days now. Last night was a brilliant clear sky with bonus phosphorescence in the water. The wind slowly died until I was 6 miles away from my destination at which point I furled the sails and motored over to the marina as I prepped the boat.

I have lots of e-stuff to catch up on.

That's all for now. Signing off.

P.s. I saw a pelican! I'm not in Seattle anymore :-)

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Leaving Drakes Bay

Date Sept 18th, Time 8am

Time to move on from this anchorage. I've decided to hop past San Francisco and head to Monterey.

When I arrived in Drakes Bay on Thursday I thought I would sleep all day. After getting the boat into its 'at anchor' state I headed below for some sleep - and then woke up two hours later. I got up and started on a few chores. The weather cloths were fixed after taking the waves and imploding, this was easy. I also noticed that one of the monitor wind vane control lines had chafed very badly and needed to be replaced. I had 30' of Samson WarpSpeed on board for this purpose and replacing the line went smoothly. What had happened is that there are two bullet blocks on a stanchion to route the control line from the monitor to a block on the coaming and there to the wheel. One of the bullet blocks had rotated on the stanchion presenting a hard angle to the control line. I think this happened on the last night of strong winds I had on the trip down before arriving here. Shame on me for not noticing it earlier... I think that back when I was fitting the bullet blocks I was fiddling around with their placement and angle and then neglected to tighten the blocks to the stanchions as they were both loose. Pictures will come eventually. Anyway, I'm glad to have that fixed.

After a few chores on Thursday, I ate dinner and then headed back to bed - where I then slept for 12 hours. Friday was spent reading, cleaning up the boat a little, and a little more reading. By Saturday I was feeling pretty restored but got a late start so decided on one last day at anchor. Today I'm going to continue down the coast a little.

Monterey is a couple of days away. I'll be heading to a marina there where I can wash the boat off and look around town easily. I'll be there for a little while, and then continue south.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

At anchor in Drakes Bay

Date Sept 15, Time 12:45pm
38° 00' N 122° 58' W <Link:>
Wind speed SPEED / wind dir DIR, Sea State STATE, Heading HEADING, Speed SPEED
Barometer 1014, Water Temp 53.6, Sky Partly sunny, was fog
Log 1479.8, Engine Hours 1218.9, Batteries %100
Sail Plan: at anchor
I'm currently at anchor in Drakes Bay. Its a large bay 20 miles north of San Fran which gives protection from NW winds. Not a lot here - just lots of room for anchoring. But I'm in California! The landscape is definitely different. If anybody knows Point Reyes - this is the Bay just South of Point Reyes (its a famous computer graphics image from long long ago.)
So…I'll keep this pretty short as I need to eat quickly and then sleep slowly.
This is the weather forecast I received from SailDocs for the area I was transiting:
851 AM PDT WED SEP 14 2011
It turned out that the winds I was sailing in were 25 to 35 knots with correspondingly larger wind waves. I saw gusts up to 37 with lots of 36's in there. I saw waves that were above my head when I was standing upright behind the helm in the cockpit. Pretty lively. Earlier in this trip I was hove to in winds that were less than this, although that was to avoid a real gale further south. The winds I was in would be classified as a near gale.
The boat was pretty remarkable, she handled the conditions perfectly. She doesn't bang through the waves, but swishes. Although there is some banging when a wave catches your side and it crests just as it reaches the hull. Lots of flying water when that happens as well - I was completely drenched on more than a handful of times.
But everything is good - there was a little damage, my weather cloths which surround the cockpit were imploded by an impact of water. I still have the cloths and there is no damage to them, just the zip ties that were holding them on. They should be fixed in 10min once I get to it. Considering the noise levels while sailing in the conditions, its surprising more isn't damaged. It will take a little getting used to I think - these boats can handled way more than we think they can. Its pretty impressive.
Tired. Must sleep. There is no cell coverage or WiFi here, and I'll probably stay a few days to clean myself up a little. When I know where I'm going next, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Windy again!

Date Sept 14, Time 5:30pm
38° 29' N 124° 31' W <Link:>
Wind speed 25-30 / wind dir NW, Sea State 8-10ft, Heading SE, Speed 6+
Barometer 1016, Water Temp 58.1, Sky Blue!
Log 1391.6, Engine Hours 1218.3, Batteries %90 (-39Ah)
Sail Plan Double reefed main, staysail
Yesterday was 20 to 25 knots. Today its 25 to 30. The seas are building again. Its feast or famine!
I'm heading toward shore, everything is fine here. If it looks good, I'll be on shore tomorrow. If not, then I'll head down the coast until I like the harbor and conditions better. Still plenty of food here, although I've run out of blueberries!
The weather is pretty amazing. It can go from totally overcast, low dense clouds to a completely blue sky in a few hours today. Then back to cloudy again. There is weather moving around - me too. Its good to have motion.
The batteries last night finished the day, at sunset down 108Ah. By the morning they were at -86Ah. So the wind generator was able to run all the boats systems as well as contribute 22Ah to the bank. Not dramatic, but with its lame voltage regulator, that's not bad.
On the energy topic - my TackTick wind instrument at the top of my mast's battery died yesterday. There had been dense cloud for a few days and all my solar devices were slowly stopping. My solar vent in the hatch in my main cabin died yesterday as well. Losing wind information was annoying. It died early yesterday morning, so I left it off all day, turned it on as it got dark and it lasted until the morning when it died again. Today has been sunny finally so it should be good to go again. Hopefully my future cruising destinations have more sun that I've encountered so far...
My plan in heading so far offshore was to avoid other traffic. Last night as I started my move into shore I came across a fleet of 22 fishing boats at around 2am and 120+ miles offshore. That was interesting. I made my way through the middle of the fleet - they are well spaced apart, with help from my radar. It can only pick up the other boats at around 4 miles away, but they are pretty small targets.
That's it for my semi-random collection of thoughts. I warned you at the beginning of this series that these will be a little random and raw didn't I?
More will follow when I have a little more time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Was becalmed now just calm

Date Sept 12, Time 8:21pm
41° 05' N 127° 05' W <Link:>
Wind speed 8-12 / wind dir NW, Sea State low long swell, Heading ESE, Speed 4.5kts
Barometer 1023, Water Temp 60.8, Sky low cloud/Stratus
Log 1219.7, Engine Hours Unchanged, Batteries %76 -91Ah
I had expected to spend all day bobbing around, becalmed, waiting for wind. There was some wind this morning at around 3am and I tried it out. The wind was 7-8 knots but the seas were still rolly with left over wind waves and around 6+ ft swell. I got the sails up but they were slatting unmercifully so I lowered them, turned my anchor light back on and went back to my 20min sleep cycles. The wind died as it turned out anyway. Around 1pm a little wind started to show up. At 2pm I was moving and have been moving ever since. When I was becalmed yesterday and last night I drifted 20 more miles out to sea and 36 miles north - both in directions I didn't want to go. By now I've made up for lost ground and if the wind holds I'll be able to make progress towards my destination all night.
Its been overcast all day, dense stratus - low cloud. My solar panels hardly produce any power at all in those conditions - less than 5amps so my battery bank is down again. The wind generator isn't producing anything right now as the winds aren't high enough. The forecast was for stronger winds tomorrow. We'll see.
Its nice to have the boat heeling and sailing into the waves again. Its a much easier motion, easier to relax. Short high swell and choppy wind waves while there is no wind isn't much fun as it turns out.
Probably three or four days left, depending on how much wind turns up. I'd like to continue to avoid running the engine unless I need to. If the wind dies, the trip will be extended…until I lose patience. Which is unlikely.
Everything well here, I hope the same is true of all of you.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pitching and rolling, day one

Date Sept 11, Time 1:30pm
41° 21' N 126° 46' W <Link:>
Wind speed 4kts / wind dir W, Sea State Confused (7ft swell 4 sec, 2-3 ft wind waves leftover, different directions), Heading None, Speed None
Barometer 1016, Water Temp 54.5, Sky Overcast and misty
Log 1194.7, Engine Hours Unchanged, Batteries %94 (-22Ah)
Sail Plan Genoa poled out, main double reefed to reduce flogging
The boat is pitching and rolling through around 30 degrees on all sides while not really moving at all. With this much wind on flat water, I would be moving along slowly. In these waves the boat can't get going. Once the boat moves a swell will come along and basically removes all headway while rolling and pitching the boat. I've been trying to simulate "what would a trip to Hawaii be like" where I can't motor to the nearest port to get out of some conditions - but this is starting to get annoying.
Yesterdays sail was good. The wind stayed strong in the morning and started to fall gradually in the evening to 18-22 kts at midnight. Todays conditions were forecast - the NW wind was going to switch to W 5 and then S 5-10 in the evening. So I have most of the day to look forward to similar conditions. Monday is also light wind, tuesday is N10 to 15, wednesday N 15 to 20. So this trip is getting longer and longer! No worries, there is no hurry.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sailing again!

Date Sept 10/11, Time 11:30
42° 54' N 127° 04' W <Link:>
Wind speed 25-30 / wind dir NW, Sea State 6-8ft 4sec, Heading SE, Speed 5-6 its
Barometer 1016, Water Temp 61.7, Sky Blue
Log 1092.4, Engine Hours Same, Batteries %100
I'm sailing again! I decided that the conditions to my south that I was trying to avoid have passed and I can get going again. There were 40+ knots south, with larger waves. I'm glad to be sailing again - being hove to in perfectly fine sailing conditions was a little annoying, but it was an ok choice.
I ended up drifting 75 miles in 36 hours and finished 125 miles offshore. I'm heading SE now and will probably end up around 75 miles offshore around sunset, when I'll jib again and head SW overnight.
The sea state here is a little challenging - 6-8 feet isn't huge by any means, but at 4 seconds it means a pretty rolly experience. Still feeling good.
Not much to update here. Oh - I was making some sandwiches to eat, peanut butter and honey, while still hove to this morning. Suddenly a wave crashed into the boat and sent things flying. Check this out - I had the bread laid out as you do when making sandwiches and had just added peanut butter to one of the pieces. The boat rolled and the other piece of bread flipped on top of the peanut butter and they both landed on the cabin sole. A little stroke of luck. Stay tuned, there are many more fascinating stores to come. Hey, what do you expect, I'm lucky to be able to type at all right now.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sept 8th update - slow down, speed up, slow down, ...

Date Sept 8/11, Time 2:40
44° 20' N 126° 09' W <Link:>
Wind speed 20 / wind dir NW, Sea State Wind waves 4ft, swell 6ft, Heading SE, Speed 5.7
Barometer 1024, Water Temp 62.6, Sky patchy sun/cloud
Log 1048.7, Engine Hours 1218.3, Batteries %88 (-48Ah)
Sail Plan: Double reefed main, Staysail
Sailors need to be paying attention to the weather. I've been downloading the text weather forecasts as well as the radio fax weather charts via my SSB. There are gales forecast for the Cape Mendocino area. This is no surprise, as it seems there is always a gale in that area. Almost.
I had good wind last night and made good progress. 16 knots of wind at 4am, 19 at 8am, 17 at noon, 22 at 4pm, 20 at 6:30, 18 at 11pm and all night. At around 6:30pm wednesday I did some heave to practice as I hadn't hove to with these new sails before. It worked nicely - for non sailors, heaving to is a way to 'park' the boat for a while - its a balancing of forces so the boat lies with her nose about 45 degrees off the wind, drifting very slowly forward and sideways. Its one of the techniques for handling storm conditions - it works up to a certain wind speed then you change tactics.
As the gale is forecast to be south of me, around latitude 41 I wanted to slow down today to delay things until I had more clarity. Its been a slow day here, around 10 knots of wind but the boat was heavily reefed and I was moving at around 3 to 4 knots. Wind has just a arrived and I have a plan I think. I'll head south to latitude 43 and delay there until saturday morning. Then I'll continue south not crossing latitude 42 until saturday night when the gale is expected to be blowing out. The seas will likely be lively but is workable.
This boat could likely sail straight through the gale, and there will likely be a time when I'll be doing that - but not on this first passage for me. I'm taking a more conservative path.
I've been thinking of my destination - and its open right now. Perhaps San Francisco, perhaps a little further south.
Things are good here. I'm feeling very good and eating well. I've had no sea sickness at all (touching wood when I say that) and everything is working well.
This may be the last update for a while as when the sea states get more lively its harder to sit and type.
S/V Luckness signing out, for now.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sept 7th update. Offshore heading SE, SW, SE, SW, ...

Date Sept 7th, Time 12:20pm
45° 52' N 126° 00' W <Link:>
Wind speed 19 / wind dir 209, Sea State: building wind+swell, moderate, Heading 195, Speed 6.7
Barometer 1022, Water Temp 59.9, Sky Partial cloud
Log 947.1, Engine Hours 1218.3, Batteries %80 down 77Ah
After leaving Neah Bay I tried to sail for a while but the wind died and I wanted to get out of the traffic lanes and get offshore so I motored on and off until 9pm. The wind was light but I was in a good area and I was satisfied to have the motor off. The wind was 5.5kts and variable strength and direction. The swell died down until it was almost like a lake. The weather reports are for light winds monday and tuesday - this turned out to be true.
Tuesday was light wind and I spend it drifting around until around 8pm when it strengthen and finally reached 12 knots. By the time it reached 4 I was moving nicely, 5 knots had me going 2.5 knots and finally at 12 I was making progress south. Overnight the wind strengthened to 16 knots. This was in line with the text forecast for this area. Spending most of the day bobbing around was interesting - lots of quality time thinking about this and that. I also found time to actually do a bit of work and moved 5 gallons of diesel from a jug into my tank, so its almost full again.
Wednesday (today) has been good. I'm now varying between 75 and 100nm miles off the coast. I'm south of the Columbia river, currently heading on a tack offshore making good time. The monitor is steering perfectly.
The batteries started today down 55Ah as there was cloud yesterday all day and the solar panels weren't generating much. This morning the batteries were down 92Ah (out 400, around 200 usable) but there is more sun and its recovering somewhat. If I get one sunny day I think I'll get back to energy neutral, still waiting.
Jibed last night at 300 at 100nm offshore to head in and again today at around 11 going offshore again. The winds are nice.
The text weather forecasts from yesterday had the winds building again today, which is fine. The boat is handing this nicely. So far (touch wood) no seasickness and I feel good. I'm well rested, which is a little bit of a surprise. Sleeping in 20min increments has been fine so far - when I tried that at home for two days I was shattered and hated it. Now I want to get up every 20min to check things up and its going well. I'm up most of the time, but need to get some sleep.
Everything working well, spirits are high.
There may not be a post for a while (until I arrive?) as I want to minimize SSB usage as its an energy hog.
S/V Luckness, signing off for now.

Monday, September 5, 2011

48 degrees and falling

Sept 5, 2011, 2pm
48° 19' N 124° 55' W <Link:>
Wind 3.6kt/SSW, Low swell, Heading SSW, 6.4kts, motoring
Baro 1018, Temp 60, Water Temp 55.4, Sky blue
Log 810.9, Engine Hours 1202.9, Batteries %100
I left Neah Bay this morning, this note is being written 'at sea'. I'll try to write a few of these, but by no means will there be one every day. If a week goes by without my next note, nobody should worry. Seriously. Also, I won't be editing these very heavily. They may be a little raw. Although this one is fine - I'm currently fully alert as I'm not yet sleep deprived. That will come...
I arrived at Neah Bay on Saturday evening, after a mixed motor/sail from Port Angeles (about half and half). Sunday I went to a store to pick up a few last minute things, ordered a pizza and ate half of it. I brought the other half back to the boat as leftovers and have just finished part of it. Yum. The rest of Sunday was spent preparing the boat and myself for the trip south. I deflated the dingy and stowed it in the garage (quarter berth), attached the inner forestay and yanked on the staysail, attached the trysail to the mast, hooked up the monitor wind vane, attached the boom jib preventers, got the series drogue ready and stowed so it is easy to access, hooked up my lee cloth so I can sleep on my port berth, fastened all the locker lids down, got my charts and instruments out on the cabin table and added shock cord to hold them in place and lastly installed the jack lines. I also baked some potatoes and pressure cooked some beans - some easy foods to prepare later. I read that baked potatoes are a good food for at sea - as when you're puking them out they come up easily. Just something to consider. This is research I failed to do while on land - picking the most easily puked foods. A gap in my preparation.
I also downloaded more weather information - it looks like light winds are expected around the Neah Bay region with stronger winds down south. This is what I'm experiencing so far. While it is attractive to wait for more wind so I can be a purest and sail the whole passage - waiting for wind can be a two edged sword. I might not get exactly the wind strength I hope for. So anyway - I'm away.
I left Neah Bay under motor and as I left the harbor there was around 12 knots or west wind - so I raised sails. I tacked back and forth, fighting a weak flood current and as I started my turn south the winds backed and weakened. I ended up with around 4.5 knots of wind and feeling that I should be making more progress out of all the shipping lanes while I have daylight - so I started motoring.
My destination remains San Francisco although this can change at any moment depending on what's going on here.
I'm looking forward to the next 7 to 10 days. I'm not expecting an easy passage, but it should be interesting.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day one

Anchored off Port Townsend, 7pm at 48 96.7N 122 45.2W. Temp in cabin 60 deg. Sea temp 50.9. NW 10 to 15. Grey and raining. Via iPhone.

I won't be blogging every day. That would quickly get tedious. However as this is the start of my trip I wanted to note it. This is day one! Yipee!

I got up at 5am and dropped my car off at a friends house. She drove me back to Shilshole and I ate and was gone by 8am, leaving in heavy fog. The radar worked well as did my AIS displays. I rode the ebb all the way here arriving by 12:30.

I'm starting to discover little things I've forgotten. I've lost a jacket somewhere last month and just bought a new one here. I also bought some food I forgot. Who woulda known - there are stores outside Seattle. I might not have needed to buy quite so many provisions before leaving...

I was able to watch a warm front sweep across the region once the fog lifted, naming the different types of cloud. The weather course I attended all of last week is starting to pay off. It's grey and raining now (nimbostratus, stratus) and mostly understand why. Cool.

S/V Luckness out. For today.