Friday, October 24, 2008

san francisco part two

As we left the strait of juan de fuca, the big ocean swells were already rolling in. the winds and currents were mostly for us, but the open ocean swells were funneling right down the straight, forming big close packed swells. Our first attempt a week earlier was during a new moon. We had left around 14:00 so as we entered this big swell area it was very dark and stormy. Sometimes our boat would slid down a swell and it would feel like we were being sucked down into a back abyss only to be lifted up into the sky and then back down the next swell all in the blackest night. This made some of us a feel a little seasick, but it was exciting too. Our second attempt we were more prepared for the big swells and we also were more ready to set sail as we found out it is much more comfortable and fun to sail rather than motor especially in bigger winds and seas. Coming out of the strait rounding Tatoosh Island we cut out to the open ocean until we were about 100 miles offshore.
By the third day we had our sea legs and started to eat a little more than fruit until our stomachs settled..
Leaf and I both got sick a little but we recovered and felt the relief of our bodies adjusting to the sea.
Doing repairs on the rigging while underway were some of our more challenging moments. The bail which is a steel strap that is bolted on the boom to hold the boom vang on broke under way, the preventer held the boom down so it was ok until I replaced the broken vang with a piece of chain that works so well I am not going to replace it.
Catching the tuna was a big highlight. When we first heard the fishing reel whine we thought something must have broken. Then we heard it again and ran out to the cockpit. Leaf reeled in our second line to keep it out of the way, Yvonne got the net ready and I brought the tuna to the side of the boat Yvonne scooped it up in our big net. When we bought the net we wondered if we would ever catch a big fish in it.
We ate our fill of fresh tuna steaks. It was a great. The next day the sea was so calm we lay and rested totally becalmed. We enjoyed the rest and the warm sunny day.
That evening the winds built up quickly and all the sudden the swells were about 12 ft and the winds around 30 knots, I found I could not drop the mainsail. Due to my inexperience reefing during a storm and the wire winch (brent swain says “wire winches should only be in museums“) jamming the halyard, we were sailing down wind with our mainsail up with the wind and seas building. At this trying time,our faithful and perfectly working wind vane named “lucky the monkey” broke off. Fortunately he fell of slowly. I had time to disconnect the control wires and to tie on ropes to hold it if if fell off entirely. Soon enough the whole rudder disconnected and for over two days of storm sailing it held on floating in a very stable way like a knife in the water that really helped us steer by being an accidental sea anchor. So Lucky helped us even in its completely disabled state. We love our self steering system and will rebuild it and upgrade the attachments Once we figured out how to use the windvane properly we found we can sail in all point of sail with much more comfort and ease.
We saw very few other ships once we were out of the shipping lanes. A few fish boats and a few freighters.
We have had a great time in San Francisco, people are very friendly and people watching along Fishermen’s Warf was lots of fun. We toured the boat museum and did some shopping in Chinatown. The customs officer was very nice and friendly. The whole bay is very kind to mariners. We called the coastguard and asked where we could anchor and they told “anywhere as long as you are not in a shipping lane”. so we tucked in the aquatic park reserved for sailboats, rowing and swimming. For three days we were anchored right in front of the city while we checked out the shopping, museum and galleries. A great reward for our first blue water sail.
Presently we are anchored in Sausalito for a few days for upgrades and repairs.
We play catch with leaf in the park and Yvonne just made a chocolate cake for Leafs birthday.

Sausalito is nice with still strong elements of the past bohemian days of the area. Old trucks and folksy folk living along the waters edge with lots of character mixed right among the yuppiest of the yuppies and lots of tourists. There are a few well placed dingy docks and a library that gave us full use visitors card. It is very warm (26C). Some locals say this is the nicest time off the year here. We are finding a little time for sunbathing and enjoying inexpensive California wines.
Best wishes


terra said...

Sounds like you are having a fantastic journey so far, I look forward to your next blog. Please send Leaf my happy belated birthday wishes! Much Love, Terra

Susanne said...

Happy birthday Leaf from all your friends at Surge. You will have to write and tell us about San Fransisco and the other places you stop at along the way. Take care.