Showing posts with label letters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label letters. Show all posts

05 July 2013

Motor Sailing: A Proposed Lexicon

Cruising Dear Fellow Cruisers,

The term “motor sailing” is used in the cruising community for a variety of different activities. The term is confusing because the root word is sailing which implies that sailing is the primary activity and motoring is the secondary activity.

I propose (only partly tongue in cheek) the following new terminology:

Motor sailing: The primary propulsion of the boat comes from the sails. The motor adds either speed or a better angle to destination. If the motor were turned off the boat would still be sailing.

Sail motoring: The primary propulsion of the boat comes from the motor. The sails add speed. If the sails were dropped the boat would slow down.

Sail stabilized motoring: The primary propulsion of the boat comes from the motor. The sails stabilize the roll of the boat. If the sails were dropped the boat would not slow down substantially.

Motoring: If you are motoring with your main up in no wind and flat water…you are just motoring. You are not motor sailing or sail motoring or sail stabilized motoring. It’s OK. We all do it ;)

Sincerely, People Who Do All of the Above

06 March 2012

Ode to the Launderia

P1030750 (1280x960) O ladies of the launderia.
Accepting our bag of salty, musky fabric,
returning it folded so neatly,
smelling of chemical flowers,
against wetness carefully bagged.
Cheap laundry we will miss thee.

28 September 2011

Little Scorpion Anchorage, Santa Cruz Island

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Although we had mostly overcast weather in the Channel Islands we had a gorgeous sunny afternoon to kayak around the sea caves near Scorpion and Little Scorpion anchorages. Some of the caves were pass through caves and after careful scoping of both ends (to make sure they were tall enough to not crush our heads) we went through several. What a rush. The sounds and the turbulence of the water – awesome. Here is a formation I thought looked like an elephant and apparently I’m not the only one because we later saw it marked as Elephant Rock on a map.

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We kayaked up wind until we were pooped and then floated down wind until we got to the dock used by the tour companies.

There we took the kayak ashore and hiked up on top of the bluff overlooking the anchorage. It was very nice to be hiking in the sun again and the view of the water from up high gave even more intense colors to the water. Good place to get shots of the anchorage as well.

Although we didn’t stop by Anacapa, we sailed past the arched rocks on the Eastern side on an overnight sail to Redondo Beach. We were going to stop but it was grey again and we decided at the last minute to take another overnight in search of the sun.

26 September 2011

Rays - Prisoner's Bay, Santa Cruz Island


Anyone know what kind of rays are in this video? There were dozens of these in Prisoner's Bay sunning themselves (?) in the shallow water. There were also dozens of small sharks, we think Leopard sharks, but some type of bottom feeder shark. We kept our hands out of the water around the sharks just in case.

Prisoner's Bay was nice. We would have preferred I think to be in Pelican Bay but it was packed. We arrived on a weekend morning. By Sunday afternoon both anchorages had mostly cleared out. We left Prisoner's to head to another anchorage on Santa Cruz Island - Little Scorpion.

22 September 2011

San Luis A Bimbo

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Despite a forecast for light winds we were determined to head further South in search of the sun and we motored most of the way to Port San Luis. We anchored right off the town, in front of a sandy beach, and kayaked into town just in time to catch the farmer’s market where we bought a bunch of produce. We also sat down for burgers and beer at a beachfront restaurant and I picked up a new pair of Sanuk flippy floppies made out of yoga mats – extremely comfortable and zebra print to boot.

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P1020741 (1280x960)We slept in late and made a full breakfast of fresh cilantro and tomato scramble over leftover fries with bacon and then set out at about noon for an overnight passage around Point Conception (more on that later) to the Channel Islands. We had another light wind forecast and expected to only sail less than half of the way but as it turns out we were able to sail off our anchor and all of the way into the wee hours of the morning before, about an hour after we rounded Point Conception, the wind died and we motored into a sunrise over the Channel islands.

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20 September 2011

Horseshoe Cove

I’m skipping our time at Brisbane Marina which was nice, cheap ($10!) and most importantly for us had two of our favorite people at it (Marv & Donna aboard SV Endless).
Horseshoe Cove was windblown in the afternoon when we arrived but calmed down shortly, is a nice looking cove and has this view of the bridge:
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Not a shabby way to end our time in San Francisco! Horseshoe Cove is a nice departure location to duck out of the bridge with the correct current/wind conditions and we made nice timing out with the ebb in light winds for a very slow sail to Half Moon Bay. Again, I’m going to skip Half Moon Bay because all we did was overnight there, in the anchorage behind the first breakwater with a full anchorage, mainly derelict boats.

We had a moment of Canadian pride when we were sailing down in light crap wind with a swell, fighting for miles, and the entire time there was another boat trailing us, also fighting for miles under sail. It turned out to be another Canadian flagged vessel SV Sea Whisper whom we met briefly and hope to get to chat with them somewhere warmer.

09 September 2011

Treasure Island and Angel Island, SF Bay

While at the Aquatic Park, we took my parents for a day sail to Angel Island where we docked and walked over to the old immigration camp complete with the poetry of the Chinese immigrants who were kept there for long periods of time and often denied entry.

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We spent 3 weeks at Clipper Cove between Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island. The wonderful thing for us was that it is a MUNI bus from there to downtown SF and we had purchased MUNI passes for the month of August. We were able to zip into town on the bus at will. The anchorage could be windy but not as windy as the Aquatic Park if you tucked in close to the beach and we found good holding in mud. The only downside is that on the weekends it gets quite crowded and a large number of the incoming boats don’t know so much about anchoring. We’ve already told that tale.

The view of downtown SF from Treasure Island is beautiful and we had access to the marina dinghy dock (normally off limits) which made coming to shore and toting goods back and forth painless. I somehow managed to not take a picture of the anchorage.

We also met a number of boaters while anchored there – more on that later

28 August 2011

Letters to the void

Dear American Powerboat Raft-up,

I understand that you arrived at the Clipper Cove anchorage after dark which must have inhibited your ability to judge distances. Also, the fact that you and your party crew were (presumably) drunk might have had something to do with your poor depth perception. Your friend, the small powerboat was already anchored a little too close to us but in the dark you must not have realized that rafting your much longer boat to theirs with a second anchor might bring you even closer to us when the currents switched in this anchorage, as they do every night. We're still not completely certain why you went to sleep with your running lights on.

You must have felt very comfortable with your drop location to sleep through Carol's repeated attempts to wake you by shouting from our boat and then banging on your hull from our dinghy when our boats were within 30 feet of each other.

Once awakened, we are very glad you informed us that one of your engines doesn't work, that your boat is difficult to maneuver, that your two anchors would inhibit you from swinging even though we watched you do so for an hour, and that your crew is passed out, BUT that you have insurance.

That will surely make us sleep better at all tonight.

Sincerely, the wide-awake and sarcastic crew of SV Estrellita

15 August 2011

The Aquatic Park

We’ve now spent two weeks, over two visits, at the Aquatic Park in downtown San Francisco. P1020401 (1280x960)The city has carved out a section of beach and water for non-motorized activity including a regular contingent of hardcore swimmers.

Sailboats can stay at the park but not powerboats even though sailboats are allowed to use a “small auxiliary engine for safe maneuvering” as long as they keep a bow watch for swimmers. You can stay for 24 hours at any time but for longer stays you need to email the park and request a permit. As far as I can tell this is only to prevent people living permanently at anchor in the park and it is easy for a true visitor to get a permit.

The following opinions are purely based on our tastes and the conditions we had when we visited.

P1020455 (960x1280)The pros:
  • You are RIGHT downtown at the foot of Ghiradelli Square by Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • Views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge (when the fog isn’t obscuring it).
  • Did I mention it was FREE?
  • Having swimmers hang onto your anchor chain for a rest is cool.
  • Cool stuff happens like a group of Polynesian vaka’s arriving on the beach or the sounds of live blues in your cockpit.
  • Bus lines and cable cars within a block of your dinghy that go to every section of downtown. Excellent base for exploration.
  • Good holding.
The cons:
  • P1020394 (960x1280)It’s windy in the anchorage and the swell from passing boats is fairly constant. Of course, you only feel the swell after midnight when the wind dies down. *groan*
  • You beach your dinghy and lock it to a post and hope no one takes it. We felt the need to return to our dinghy before full darkness so we didn’t have to evict anyone sleeping in it (or worse).
  • If you combine the previous two cons you get two people trying to row a tubby inflatable without an engine in high winds to and from the beach every day.
  • The fear I feel when trying to maneuver in and out of harbor with swimmers heads everywhere. 

26 July 2011

Day 6: Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge

After sailing 667nm over 5 days, the winds finished the spluttering they had begun the night before and died on the morning of the 6th day.

Rather than bobbing around in the shipping lanes hoping any longer, we fired up the Volvo and began motoring toward San Francisco. Bittersweet - we had wished for a rip-roaring sail all of the way to the Golden Gate Bridge but we were excited to be making landfall safely and in good time. Our reward for motoring was plenty of electricity to run the radar full-time the sixth night rather than in timed sweeps. Visibility wasn't great and there were tankers everywhere. Plus, more hot water for showers.

But wait! The wind picked up again after most of a day of motoring and we sailed the last 9 hours into San Francisco. Slowly, very slowly at first, and then briskly under the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito where we took a mooring buoy at the yacht club. The white sail on the right side of this picture is us (THANK YOU RYAN!).

Did I mention in the SUN? We've been in Sausalito a few nights now and we've had glorious sun and blue skies every day. We wake to sun and clear skies here but can see the fog over San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge every morning but so far it has burned off even in SF by the afternoon.

Route: Headed for the Northern approach to SF at approximately 120 degrees magnetic.
Sail plans: Motor and then full main and genoa. Under the bridge with full main only to keep the speed comfortable in case of gusts.
Mileage: 124.1 nm motored and sailed in 32 hours with an average speed of 3.9 knots.

23 July 2011

Day 5: We jibed

And on the fifth day, we jibed*.

We went past Cape Mendocino outside of 126W and then jibed to angle toward San Francisco. By late afternoon we also stopped slowing the Estrellita down and allowed her to start doing what a Pretorien likes to do - eat ocean miles**. So we sped through the night until dawn when, just as we were getting cocky about our great weather window choice, the winds dropped, the swell remained high, the sails started popping and we started wallowing along very, very slowly.

We celebrated our anniversary with a porpoise show on our bow, hot showers in the sun and butter chicken.

It was sunny all day and clear skies all night until the morning when the grey and fog returned. I've decided that our feelings about everything are temperature related. Essentially it was the same sailing day today as yesterday but because I could sit outside enjoying it in the sun, it was fantastic.

Route: Jibed to approximately 125 degrees magnetic toward entrance to SF. Wind increased throughout the afternoon until we had about 20 knots apparent on average most of the night. Swell has resolved itself to "mostly NW" with a lot of slapping waves from other directions.
Sail plans: Double reefed main and a scrap of genoa, then then double reefed main only, then full main.
Mileage: 133 nm sailed in 24 hours with an average speed of 5.6 knots.

*Non-boating friends, a tack or a jibe are when you change the direction you are heading so that the wind is on the other side of your boat and you also change the sails, keeping them opposite of the wind. While coastal/inland sailing you will usually do this a bunch of times on a short trip, maybe dozens, so it is freaky cool, when sailing offshore in larger weather systems to be able to keep the sails on one side of the boat for almost 5 days.

**OK, she's not a racing sled, but we can pretend, right?

22 July 2011

Day 4: California begins

Day 4* started out with some tough family news by SSB and ended with the morning of our 4th year wedding anniversary. A day of personal lows and highs that will be permanently part of our memories of this passage.

Today we passed the Oregon-California barrier about 100nm offshore and celebrated with a bit of 2 Pac & Dr Dre singing California Love.

On a sailing front this was the day of "mostly the sames". We had about the same amount of wind (15 knots apparent), maybe a bit more, from the same direction, maybe a bit farther North. The swell was mostly the same, maybe WNW instead of W. We had sun during the first day and misty wet overnight. Same sail plan.

The same sail plan meant an easy day work-wise for the crew. No sail trimming or changing, only a few tweaks of course to the windvane and Estrellita sailed herself all day towards San Francisco.

Honestly, without the sun, the sailing was a bit boring although we prefer boring to *too* exciting. It's hard to complain that everything is still going just fine, right? Still, it was a day we were both just getting through rather than savoring like the previous few. The nights have been more difficult because there is heavy cloud cover and misty rain. Rather than spending our night watches ogling the moon and stars and wildlife like we did in Hecate Strait, we have been huddled beneath the dodger getting damp and clutching our tea.

We're past the half-way mark. All is well and the weather forecasts look great for continued sailing. We plan to start the engine for 30min or so at some point in the next few days to make sure it still works and so we have some hot water.

Route: Began angling back inshore very slightly. See above for wind/swell.
Most common sail plan: Double reefed main and a scrap of genoa.
Mileage: 133.7 nm sailed in 25.5 (forgot to mark at 24) hours with an average speed of 5.2 knots.

*Because we started the trip at 10:30am every "day" is 10:30-10:30.

21 July 2011

Day 3: Oregon again

It has occurred to me that I've been titling each day according to land borders that are entirely theoretical constructs to us right now. I'm fairly sure I could see some mountains at one point yesterday but otherwise we can't see the coast.

Day 3 has been the best kind of passage day - uneventful. It was sunny except a bit of mist overnight. There has been a nice amount of wind. It is still very rolly, enough so that I have been woken up from a dead sleep slightly in the air from a bad side wave.

Other than a fishing boat that kept trying to dance with us, we've seen almost no traffic. By the Strait of Juan de Fuca and by the Columbia River we say a lot of shipping traffic and last night we were surrounded by tuna boats but today it has mostly been just us out here.

Marge* has been steering since we left the coast of Vancouver Island and so our job is to navigate, keep an eye on the systems of the boat for breakage, tweak Marge or the sails, watch for other boats, download and listen to the weather 4 or so times per day, take care of our bodies, and enjoy. A mellow day on all of those fronts so for the first time this passage, I read a book during part of one of my watches.

Route: Still angling slightly offshore to position ourselves outside of the forecast 35 knot winds in a few days in N CA.
Conditions: NW wind in the teens. Swell is slightly more North than West but mostly still a roll factory. Finally reaching all day as we had expected to do from the outset.
Most common sail plan: Double reefed main and a scrap of genoa.
Mileage: 122 nm sailed in 24 hours with an average speed of 5.1 knots.

*Marge is our nickname for our Hydrovane windvane whose tall blue sail reminds us of Marge Simpson's hair.

20 July 2011

Day 2: WA & OR Coast

A rainier day yesterday with slightly more difficult sailing winds. The showers marching in from the ocean brought sharp wind increases and then very light winds keeping us on our toes. We both feel less queasy even though the rolling was intense earlier this morning -- enough for the sleeping person to catch some air. Winds have picked up nicely by this morning so things have smoothed out. We've slowed the boat down a bit and have headed a little further offshore this morning to stay clear of some heavier wind expected near the coast tomorrow. The boat is sailing well and we are eating up the miles.

But the important part of the Day 2 was at 10pm last night when we caught a tuna!

You should know that Carol is the fishing instigator in our family. I join in or I help but I don't get the gear out on my own volition. Yesterday, for the very first time I decided to do so. I got out the tuna line still on the rusty cardboard and metal roll and the new green spoon I had picked out and told Carol I was going to catch a tuna. I trailed the line about 100ft behind the boat on the surface. On Carol's next watch he saw a bunch of fishing boats and it made him look at our line and realize we had a fish. After hauling in the tuna we realized we sailed through the night surrounded by dozens of tuna boats each equipped with huge spotlights on their deck. Easy to see and they moved relatively consistently so easy to avoid.

Tuna sushi for lunch today. Pictures of our gorgeous first tuna aboard Estrellita when we get to land.

To watch our progress, click on the "Where are we NOW" link in the box on the upper righthand side of this blog.

Route: We had unexpected SW winds most of the afternoon and evening. We had enough sea room to turn slightly toward shore (up to 140 degrees magnetic at one point) to make the ride more comfortable. The forecast was still calling for N or NW winds. By 2am I was able to turn back just offshore of the original course (180M).
Conditions: Mostly SW wind with long periods of under 10 knots. Still a rolly West sail. Mostly close hauled although we switched to a beam and then broad reach in the early hours of the morning.
Most common sail plan: Double reefed main and some amount of genoa.
Mileage: 132 nm sailed in 24 hours with an average speed of 5.5 knots.

19 July 2011

Day 1: Southbound from Tofino

Leaving in the "not too distant future" ended up meaning leaving yesterday at 10:30am. Our weather window came earlier than we had kind of hoped, but we spent a day frantically getting ready and we've now finished our first day at sea.

I can't see land. And not because of fog this time. How cool is that?

What a great departure. We had some mild stress related to leaving the marina. A sailboat grounded on its way out of the marina so we delayed our departure an hour or so for a higher tide. We had a bunch of helpful people ready for our undocking in the strong currents and tight docks of the 4th St Wharf but we slipped out easily. After motoring out of the channels from Tofino to the coast of Vancouver Island, we raised our sails and pointed at 126 W. We've been sailing strong ever since.

While hailing friends on the VHF as we sailed away from Canada, three other boats we've met chimed in on the radio to with us safe journey. Thanks to SVs Rosemond, Osprey and Sven for adding a special personal bon voyage to our departure.

I love this boat. If every passage was like yesterday more people would fall in love with passage making.

Route: Went to 126W from Tofino. Following it South. Plan to jibe around Cape Mendocino.
Conditions: Mostly West wind averaging about 12 knots (apparent) varying from 7 to 20 with West swell. Rolly. Began 24 hours close hauled, mostly have been sailing beam reach.
Most common sail plan: Double reefed main and double reefed genoa.
Mileage: 146 nm sailed in 24 hours with an average speed of 6.0 knots.