Monthly Archives: December 2012

Sea Day November 2, 2012

It’s Friday morning, around 0950, and I’m about 111 nautical miles (nm) from Cedros Island.  My position is N30 05/W115 57.  I’ve gone about 120 nm in the last 24 hours, and that’s rippin’, for me.  I know, I know, you can walk that fast.  It’s about 5 miles an hour.  But you wouldn’t be hangin’ on with each step, having someone throw water in your face, grinding squid ink into your deck at night, OR having as much fun as I am!  My next waypoint is Isla San Benito, then Cedros Island.

I’m about 8 nm off the coast, have great visibility, and the coastline is stark and beautiful. I haven’t noted any other vessel traffic out here at all, by sight, AIS or radar.  I’m on my own, and loving it!  I’ve been thinking about some of the other offshore passages I’ve made over the years, and how some of them were the most unpleasant experiences.  So many people think I’m crazy for doing this singlehanded, but I’m not on a hell ship.  I’ve sailed that boat before, and never again.  There has to be respect for your crew, regardless of the position of your other crewmates.  Makani, Kai and I get along just fine.  Now if I can just get them to stand watch…

Things I have learned so far:

The best place to catch a nap is on the salon floor, with my ‘throne’ reclined fully.

I thought I was alone on this boat, but whenever I open a locker, someone throws things at me.  Got hit in the head by cinnamon earlier…

When scooping coffee out of the can, place the can inside the sink first, unless you enjoy cleaning coffee grounds out of every nook and cranny in the cabin…

Diesel jugs leak, no matter how tight you screw on the lid.

Makani must sit in my lap whenever I begin to chart, log, or write on the computer.  I’m writing this one handed now since he’s sitting on the other.  He already changed the font when he stepped all over the keyboard.

Old cat food stinks.

I’m the luckiest person on the planet right now!

I need to go plot my position now.  I hope everyone is having a great Friday!

Mexico! October 31, 2012

Whooohooo!  I’m in Mexico!  Okay, I just crossed the border, on Willow, but I’m in Mexico!!!!

Monday evening, I got everything as stowed as I could.  This boat’s bustin’ at the seams, full of crap I swore I wouldn’t get.  But, there I am.  Anyhow, I went down for a nap at 2000, trying to doze until midnight.  I got up, and was out of my slip at 0100. Navigating by radar at 0.25nm range, paper charts and GPS plotter, I moved VERY SLOWLY through San Diego Bay.  Visibility was down to less than 100 yards.  At 0330, I was out of the bay, away from buoys and the range, and heading toward my first waypoint off Coronado del Sur.  I just crossed that waypoint off my list, and am now headed 40 nm down the coast to Punta San Miguel.  I hope to pull in to Ensenada by 1400.  Give or take.  I don’t know if that’s too late in the day to try and check in.  I’d like to get that out of the way.  I’d also like to get a Telcel/Banda Ancha gizmo for internet access there.  That may have to wait until Wednesday morning.  If all goes well, I may head out Wednesday afternoon;  if not, it’ll be Thursday morning.  I’m hoping the fog clears by then.

Navigating by radar only tests your skills a little, especially in a crowded bay, at night, with other boats moving around (read: right on my ass), and with you not knowing if others are paying attention to their navigating.  You can see no lights on land, and the lit buoys go by seen less than 25 yards away.  I guess, imagine driving your car with a towel over your head, using only the GPS deeliebob that is in most newer cars these days.  You get no outside reference points.  You just gotta keep your heart in your chest, use your whistle/horn every 2 minutes, keep a close eye on your radar, your speed down, and your fingers crossed!  Luck was with me, I took my time, and am now heading toward Ensenada.

Willow’s in good shape, though low in the water.  As I get more dialed in, I hope to purge some more stuff.  I did get an inflatable SUP, and look forward to putting it to good use down in Bahia Santa Maria.  The Baja Haha took off Monday morning with 150 boats.  I can hear them clearly on VHF.  It’ll be fun to talk with my friends, John, Cyn, and Dave aboard the Alcyone.  They’re playing in the Haha, and it’ll be good to see where they’re at.  I spoke with them yesterday afternoon and they were sailing pleasantly downwind under spinnaker.  Good on ’em.

It’s 0517 right now, and my position is N32 26.504/ W117 11.483.  I hope you all are well and not working too hard.  Please take care.  If you would like to write me back, please do not hit the “reply” button.  Just start a new email with in the “To” box.  When you hit the reply button, you not only send your reply, you send me my letter also, and this clogs up the radio waves.  Then I get nasty notes from the sailmail police.  Thanks!

October 8, 2012 Departure

I’m down to eight days (right now, I’m at anchor in Prisoner’s Harbor, Santa Cruz Island) and am so dang excited I can barely stand it.  Just to cut the docklines and move along is a huge accomplishment.  Willow is ready, I’m more than ready, and the things I’ve done to her have all worked well, so far.  Some of the improvements are:

New Yanmar 3 cylinder engine                Haulout and bottom job

New navigation instruments                  GPS, AIS, all talking to the vhf

Upgraded canvas covers for the sun          160 watts of solar power

New wind generator                          Upgraded wiring of electrical systems

Replaced membrane in watermaker             New in-mast wiring (UGH!)

New anchor light-LED                        All nav lights LED

2 new anchors and rode                      150′ new chain

New varnish on brightwork                   Re-weld stanchions on starboard side

Properly install old SSB radio              Install Pactor modem for Sailmail

Cuss alot                                   Cuss even more

Rubout and wax topsides                     Install boomvang

New sheaves and blocks for reefing          Clean and tune rig

Repair shipstrike clock                     Change oil and all filters on the engine

Fall into the engine compartment            Get engine spares and watermaker spares

Clean out all lockers and purge crap        Do that at least 3 times

Get proper licenses for radios              Get, install and register EPIRB

Learn how to use SSB and sailmail           Install latches on all opening cupboards

Clean out and sell car                      Clean out and donate crap in storage locker

Clean out dockbox                           Renew passport

All interior lights LED                     Replace evaporator plate in refer

New ship’s compass                          Find storage for 200 lightly used nav charts

Provision                                   Don’t sink the boat

Cuss some more, for good measure            Say “See Ya!” to friends and family-the hardest part~!

It’s been a busy six months, and I can’t help but thank my family and friends for their support, patience and encouragement.  The very rough itinerary is leave Ventura on the 30th, or 1st of October, and sail to Santa Cruz Island.  This is to rest and just decompress, getting the silliness of city life out of my system.  The cats need to be in Avalon on the 16th to see the world’s greatest vet, and get their health certificate.  I’m gonna go to the world’s best chiropractor for a last adjustment, then say farewell to friends on the island.  After that, I’ll be off for Dana Point to visit with family and eat great sushi.  After a few days there, it’s time to head for San Diego for a free week in a slip, and to get as much paperwork and licenses for Mexico as possible.  Near the first of November, I’ll head to Ensenada for a day or two, and check in.  There’s a huge, 200 boat rally heading from San Diego to Cabo that I’m trying to avoid.  I have no desire to be exhausted in the middle of 200 boats.  That’s just looking for trouble.  My rough plan out of Ensenada is to spend 3-4 days getting to Bahia Santa Maria, a beautiful bay on the Pacific side of Magdalena Bay.  I’ll rest there for a few days, let the rally pass me by, and then sail another 1-2 days to Cabo San Lucas.  There, I’ll meet up with friends who participated in the rally, and we’ll head up to La Paz.  There’ll be a few stops on the way in some beautiful little coves, and then we’ll be in La Paz.  My plan is to base most of my winter sailing out of there, returning to provision as needed.

If anyone wants to visit, please feel free.  You can email me at sailmail, and we can hook up on a location and date.  You can stay on the boat, or not, whatever your pleasure.  After Thanksgiving, I hear the Sea of Cortez mimics our weather here in SoCal.  There are some high pressure, warm and beautiful days, but if a ‘screaming blue norther’ hits, it’ll be chilly. The nights are very similar to ours.  But if you want to see different places, i.e. Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan or Punta Mita, just lemme know.  It’ll take me a few days to get there, but the weather’s warmer, and they’re on the mainland, not the cape.

This trip has been about 25 years in the making, and I’m finally doing it!  Thank you so much for all your love and support!


Well, the adventure begins! I’ll catch up with a few of my posts from leaving San Diego on up to today, as I’m berthed in Mazatlan. I left my friends and slip in Ventura, CA in October, 2012, and headed south to see what I could see, meet those I could meet, and sail to places I could sail. This has been a quarter century dream of mine, and I’m so lucky to be able to set out and make it real.