Sailing Vessel Warrior

Newport Beach, CA

Monday October 2, 2006

Today was spent ordering various last minute "essential" items for the boat. Some are to be picked up here in Newport Beach, and others forwarded to Downwind Marine in San Diego who offer a service to cruisers to call and pick up items on the way through free of charge. 5 hours on the telephone and Robin was definitely ready for a beer. No doubt he forgot to order that other "essential" item.

Tuesday October 3, 2006

The dreaded day has finally arrived. It's time to do a rebuild on the toilet. Robin has definitely not been looking foreward to this task. It took all day but he finally has the thing apart with most parts soaking in bleach and other parts in acid. Hopefully there won't be any problems and it will be all put back together by tomorrow.

Wednesday October 4, 2006

Toilet take 2! Well things never go exactly as planned. Robin decided that all the hose pipes to the throughhull outlet and holding tank needed replacing so thus began an epic day of rebuilding that part of the system. Michelle got the grisly chore of cleaning all the metal parts. Joy joy. Discovered that dilute HCl quickly dissolves the half inch thick layer of scale releasing ancient odours etc.... We'll spare you more of the details.

Thursday October 5, 2006

Bloody toilet still!. You won't see two more happier people when they see the end of this dare I say it.. absolutely shitty task! The end result will be a sight to behold though with all polished brass trimmings and a relaquered toilet seat. Come on! you don't really expect me to put up a picture of the onboard loo!

Friday October 6, 2006

Today was shop till you drop day. Our friends from Kolea and Parrot Bay and the crew of Warrior (that would be us) hired a truck between us and ran around town getting all the heavy things done and out of the way. For the crew of Warrior this meant replacing the 6 house batteries, doing a Costco run (there's not an equivalent of this store in Aus but it's an enormous food, hardware, electrical, you name it outlet where everything is bought in bulk, where we aquired a microwave oven, a new doozy of a rubbish bin - stainless steel and the lid opens under battery power although we don't actually use this feature (because we're too cool for that), a stop at Harbor Freight for more of those oh so necessary ship tools, although Michelle was responsible for buying the wax polisher since she's sick of doing it by hand, onto MMI Marine, and various other small shops including the absolutely essential pit stop for coffee.

By mid-afternoon we were toast and headed back to the boat to stow all those so essential supplies. Trying to find a spot for them all is becoming an ever increasing challenge in microspacial management. Having given up on aforementioned effort to stow, we decided it was time to head over to the pub where we were meeting up with friends from Canada, Pat off Chetak, Shelly and Jim, sailing on a catamaran Ebenezer and another couple who we hadn't met before also from Canada. A great night of merriment was had by all, but we were all so tired we were back in bed by 9pm and totally pushing up zzzzz's. No we're not getting old, it's all the salt air.

Saturday October 7, 2006

After a leisurely morning of dinghying to breakfast and then onto Starbucks for coffee, we headed back to the boat to do some much needed cleaning and maintenance. Robin installed 4 of the 6 new batteries and got them fully charged up but found that one new one had a crack in one corner - the battery shop refused to come and pick it up so now we have to think of something or do a half day bike ride ; Michelle spent the day cleaning stainless steel rails and scrubbing the deck, part of her enforced exercise plan. She even does it on hand and knees, what a gal.

Sunday October 8, 2006

This morning we got up and groaned - it was washing day. We gathered everything we could find that needed washing and heading on over to the Island in the middle of the harbor where we heard there was a laundromat. We got there parked the dinghy and decided coffee sustenance was definitely required for this task so headed to Starbucks, grabbed a newspaper (one of those huge weekend editions) tossed the laundry on and sat in the park across the street, reading and sipping away at the caffeine. It's a tough life doing laundry.

Thus one chore done for the day we headed back to the boat, scrubed the decks, polished the stainless steel rails, and generally got everything looking as spick and span as an old boat can look. Then we had a visitor arrive. We had recieved a message from the Harbor Patrol the other night. They arrived complete with flashing lights and we thought we'd done something wrong again and they said no we have a message for you. We're thinking a message? Who the hell knows we're here to deliver us a message? Anyway it turns out that Bobby Steele happened to see Warrior moored in the Harbor and couldn't resist contacting us. He's actually been the paid professional on Warrior back in the early 70s when she was winning all the big races so we had another wonderful afternoon sipping the odd glass of vino/beer, soaking up more of Warrior's history. Bob had so many stories to tell we couldn't even begin to repeat what he'd told us but we managed to snaffle a promise out of him to write up a wee bit of History on his era on Warrior and we'll post it up on the web site. But basically he had taken up the task of looking after the boat for 1st owner Al Castle who lived in Newport Beach as did Bob. This was just after Warrior had lost its mast over the side during a Bermuda race (an event well remembered and related to us by Skip Allen back in Capitola a many weeks ago). That mast was a SparCraft mast and Al was the owner of SparCraft. Apparently he was determined that the next mast would last the distance because Bob confirmed that the present mast was the same one that he used more than 30 years ago. Amongst Bob's stories was one of completing one race (Bermuda I think) into constant 40-60 knot winds with just staysail and reefed main without any damamge - Warrior's strength impressed Bob. Another story had Warrior leading Alan Bond on the larger (and theoretically faster)Apollo III. More and more we're feeling like we're just a caretaker for this boat, that she has a life far bigger than all of us. But its great to have people like Bob still interested in the old girl and able to provide welcome advice to the new novice owners.

After Bob left we decided to go check out the party over on the beach front. It was Newport Beach's 100th anniversary so they decided to celebrate and we decided it was worth the walk. We took our dinghy across the harbor to a dinghy dock, hiked along the island to the Balboa pier where we jumped on a shuttle and landed at the next pier, Newport Pier, so we could go listen to a free concert. (Yes we're cheap bastards!) Dinner was had at some place which sells food by the bucket, and wine by the jam jar. Having thus fortified ourselves we were ready for Sugar Ray and they gave an awesome, lively performance. This was followed by the city of Newport Beach burning a few million dollars in a dazzling fireworks display and then it was time to shuttle, hike, dinghy back to the boat and push up some zzzzz's.

Tuesday October 10, 2006

We are never being boring and of course having a couple of days of rest is definitely not boring.. just boring to read about thus I won't bore you further concerning the activities of Monday Sept 9th and Tues Sept 10th.

Wednesday October 11, 2006

Bob Steele is a Director of the Maritime Museum located on an old large paddle steamer and he organised for us to dock against this old ship for a couple of days. Thanks again Bob. So we motored round and docked at the museum, ran around grabbing last minute shopping since we were now closer to Minney's the swap-meet chandlery, and the grocery store. Newport Beach is certainly exercise heaven. We walk miles to get things done.

We had Dale off Parrot Bay and Serge from Kolea with one of his crew Goerge for dinner to thank them for all their help. You guys have been so great to us thank you.

Thursday October 12, 2006

Spent today getting all the last minute chores done before we undock tomorrow and head south to Dana Point. Bob Steele arrived this afternoon with a friend of his Robby Vaughan who turned out to be another lost wayward Aussie living in the US of A (Newport). He had a new yacht built last year in New Zealand and she's a beauty, and of cold-molded wood. Our impression is that cold-molded wood is superior to fibre-glass in terms of strength and resilience but it is not common since it is much more expensive (labour-intensive) to build. Warrior was one of the 1st such hulls and Robby's new yacht Van Diemen is one of the most recent with very few in between. Yes, you may have guessed that Robby is Tasmanian and he had lots more tales to tell including some bother with Customs in Tasmania when Van Diemen (the previous name of Tasmania before it was settled by the Poms) was delivered there not so long ago.

Dana Point, CA

Friday October 13, 2006

Wow black Friday and we're taking off for further seas. Just as well we're not superstitious. Left Newport Beach this morning, taking a wee detour around the Harbor to find Robbie's yacht Van Diemen and naturally we forgot to take a photo to show you guys.

The sail down to Dana Point was cloudy, with not a stitch of wind but it was only a 4 hour jump then on into the harbor to drop the hook. We anchored just off 2 old tall ships, with a enormours cliff face behind us. Went to the Jolly Roger for appetizers and a couple of wet ones then onto the yacht club who were probably the most unfriendly batch of people we've ever met. After that bed was looking mighty wonderful.

Oceanside, CA

Saturday October 14, 2006

On the road again.. err water yes well, headed out to Oceanside and finally got a day's sailing in. On arrival we were assigned the dock right in front of the Jolly Roger (yes another one) and so it was step off the boat, step into the bar. How kewl was that. The upstairs bar gave us a perfect opportunity to study the top of the masthead with binoculors and we saw a couple of anomalies we will have to check out once we arrive in San Diego.

Mission Bay, CA

sun october 15, 2006

Arrived in Mission Bay, anchored in the harbor. It was a cold miserable blustery kind of day. One day we'll find some warm weather. Mission Bay is close to San Diego by land route (just a couple of miles). The plan is to leave early and get to the Harbour proper in the morning. Hopefully we'll be able to find somewhere to stay as things are quite booked up with the Baja Haha fleet rolling in - 180 boats all heading south at the end of October. We're on a mission to clear out before they do so - the next few days will be hectic indeed.

San Diego, CA

Monday October 16, 2006

Left Mission Bay this morning to wind arriving out of the North West at about 10 knots so we decided to check out how the boat would sail just under jib alone. Amazingly she was doing 7 knots at times with just a jib up. We followed the coast around to Point Loma where we needed to be offshore about 2 miles because of thick kelp beds. Robin decided he could see a short cut through the kelp and ducked through without ending up with a forest on the rudder but it was hilarious to see a sailing boat behind us have a heart attack and literally do a 180 degree turn and bolt out to sea. He took one look at the kelp beds and panicked. We laughed but probably wouldn't have been laughing if we hadn't made it through unscathed. The giant kelp is so varigated in colour and has huge seed pods the size of small basket balls which if you hit one against the hull makes an enormous din. So best to avoid kelp.

The run up the San Diego inner harbor was straight forward with no huge Naval vessels leaving port although a huge carrier left earlier that morning - we could see it round Point Loma but we had some miles to go so fortunately missed it. Apparently when Southern Star who flies a South African flag arrived there was a huge carrier leaving port and they had port authority all over them warning them not to go anywhere near the war ship. Anyway casually sailing up San Diego Harbor we were not far from the Police dock turning basin when this sail boat under power came roaring past us at much greater than the 5 knot limit, and pulls into dock. Not only does he dock but there's 150feet of dock and he decides to take a spot fair smack in the middle leaving us with inches to spare when it came to docking our 50 footer. And I'm sorry to all the American's reading this log but seriously that was some rude manoeuvre and we actually thought typical rude yanks. Anyway, Robin seems to be able to park Warrior on a dime and much to the amazement of a few guys on the dock we had her tied up in no time without hitting the 2 boats on either end of us (including discourteous yank). Michelle headed up to see where we would be able to dock, moor or anchor for a few days but the office closed for lunch at midday and it happened to be 10 after so it was a 50 minute wait. As she was waiting outside the office she learned the real reason for the guy's actions who screamed in ahead of us. Apparently there were some vacancies at the police dock and they were on a first come first served basis so he deliberately tried to make it impossible for us to tie up our boat. However he didn't bargain for Robin's ability to park a boat. So Michelle in her totally charming way, complete with smile, let the guy know he was a totally rude prick. He looked totally unphased but his wife had the graciousness to apologize and admit that they could have been more thoughtful but they wanted the dock so badly all common courtesy had indeed left them. At least they acknowledged their faux pas. And of course they had missed the 12 am deadline by 5 minutes anyway - chuckle chuckle!

Anyway the short of it was we lucked out and managed to get a slip at the police dock for just $10.00 dollars a day for the first five days and $21.50 a day for the next five. For San Diego at that time of year that was a steal and we were very happy.

Tuesday October 17, 2006

Serge arrived on Kolea during the night. Pat from Chetak (the crazy Canadian who's single handing his 32foot yacht) was also in port and organized a lift for us with Kirt (also docked nearby - he had "rented a wreck" for a week) to go pick up our visas and fishing permits for Mexico.

Robin went up the mast somewhere around this date for only the 2nd time. Pat came over and helped pull him up. The idea is that he rope climbs one stationary rope (a proper rock climbing rope purchased for the purpose) with a halyard as a safety line. Pat reversed the process by winching him up with the halyard (saving many climbing ergs) and he used the stationary rope and climbing gear as safety. He had tied an extra loop in the foot harness and reattached to this at the top of the mast so that he could stand up and get his upper body level with the top of the mast. Worked well and he brought down the wind indicator and unbolted and lowered the boom's topping lift. Replaced the steaming and deck light on the way down. The topping lift went off to Downwind Marine where one of the friendly staff helped Robin clamp two new stainless thimbles at either end, then back up the mast the next day to put the topping lift back in place. Only two strands of the cable had broken where the old thimble had fallen out at the top of the mast but it was a relief to get this fixed even tho' it was a long way from being a danger. Robin helped Pat diagnose and fix a wind generator problem on Chetak - its great to be able to share these tasks with other cruisers.

Wednesday October 18, 2006

Michelle started polishing the hull today with a wax coating. It sure does make a difference and badly needs it. Tonight we dinghied down to listen to a Joan Baez concert. (Yes another free concert - told you we were cheap.) We took our wine and floated around with about another 40 odd people in dinghys and kayaks. She still sings amazingly well and entertained us with some old and some new songs. One was a protest song against the Iraq invasion but delivered so politely that most of the audience did not realise that they had been propagandised.

Thursday October 19, 2006

This morning Michelle got up and had a sudden brainwave. Years ago when Allie Bendall came to visit (aka mama) she had her pillow, blankets etc vacuum packed which took up a sliver of space in her suitcase. This is done using a normal household vacuum cleaner. Thus armed with the memory, Michelle went in search of plastic bags capable of having the air sucked out of them and thus equipped, returned to the boat and set to work. Extra bedding, clothes, you name it were subjected to the cruel world of having the living guts sucked out of them. The extra room gained in storage compartments was impressive. Having the vacuum cleaner on board was definitely a good move. Not much else happened today that is memorable other than a visit to the supermarket, another run through Downwind Marine for more "essential can't live without" items because of course once you leave America all life ceases to exist and nothing can be purchased ...

Friday October 20, 2006

Pat from Chetak (Chetak was the horse of a Rana Pratap, a Indian famous in Indian folk-legend. Pratap was mounted on Chetak during the gruesome Battle of Haldighati (June 21, 1576), fought between him and the Mughal forces. This famous war horse was of Marwari breed. No wonder we like him.) came by and helped Robin back up the mast to reconnect the fixed topping lift and reconnect the wind speed indicator. 3rd time up the mast - all fear seems to have left the daredevil and he rapelles down like a pro. Michelle has decided up-the-mast work is definitely not going to be in her job profile. Meanwhile Robin has had the wind indicator checked on a test bench at a marine electronics shop. Seemed fine so the problem must be in the old B&G display box. The marine store advised Robin how to replace this in the cheapest possible way which strangely enough summed to about $1,000. He was not impressed and will eventually try and contact some guy known to Bob Steele who loves fixing old B&G hardware. Meanwhile we have done OK gauging wind speed by its effect on the waves, our sails, our flag, our wind generator and out wet fingers. One day we will confirm our guestimates with a wind inicator that works!

Michelle went back to Downwind Marine (best Chandlery on earth - there is always some cool item or another and of course one must have it) with Mark from Southern Star and Pat from Chetak. The first mistake was Mark had secured the loan of a vehicle to transport purchaseable gear usually ignored because one cannot carry it home in one's backpack. The second mistake was Mark is a shopaholic and could sell his grandmother's long dead cat and make it a must have item. At the end of the Downwind saga, Warrior had acquired a new windscoop (for those days when you need more breeze in your boat which one simply cannot imagine while being ensconced in cold, foggy, wind-blown California), a flopper stopper (for those days when you just cannot stand slopping around in waves), and suction cups so you can glue yourself to the hull while cleaning it and not having the dinghy shoot out from under you, thereby landing you either in the drink or 5 yards from the boat. This was in addition to the item she was sent to pickup, namely an order from Sailrite which consisted of sail repair gear, canvas sewing essentials, a canvas work book, needles, webbing, shackles, ah the list just goes on.

Ensendada, Mexico

Wednesday October 25, 2006

That banner should have flashing lights and sound attached to it. We left San Diego at 1:00 am this morning, dodging some guys fishing in black dinghies without a light but with little further mishap - we called out that they were invisible and got the usual reply that their battery had failed - Sure! Today was one of those overly calm days where Robin raises, lowers and tweaks sails, pulling out and furling up the jib too many times to count looking for that elusive puff of air. We would manage an hour of sailing then the wind would die completely and this repeated itself throughout the passage. Managed to sail without motor most of the 2nd half of the trip.

Our trip took us down the US coast 3 miles offshore, heading between the Coronados and the Mainland which we passed by at 4:00 am. The lights from San Diego followed us for 20 miles, the Coast Guard on the VHF was still very dominant all the way to Ensenada. We wondered how far down we would have to get to lose their constant dominance of the radio channels. Ensenada is 63 nautical miles from Point Loma off San Diego. Robin managed to call his Mum in Tassy as we crossed the Mexican border, reporting that we had successfully escaped the US and not roused the large Coast Guard vessel parked just inside the border. There was a serious element to this "escape" as it was never clear to us that we had all the necessary US papers for Warrior - a US vessel reregistered in Tasmania, Australia carrying an Australian flag and owned by Australians who were green card holders in the US. We had tried to find out whether we needed a US cruising permit and had never got a clear answer or a permit - we decided that we would not tempt fate by officially clearing out of the US and so we just sailed away. There was also the matter that California could argue that we owed sales tax of $5,000 on the boat (plus penalties). Then there was the argument with Moss Landing Harbor who had claimed we owed them $1,000 for the month of June even tho' they had accepted our monthly docking fees in advance. A court document had appeared in our PO Box at Moss Landing - we will never know where it originated as we instructed our Moss Landing ami to put it back in the Post Box unopened and close the Box ("return to sender, address unknown"). All in all it was a relief to be in Mexico and at least one of us will never return to the US. We shan't mention the war!

Our first impression of Ensenada, Mexico was of an old working fishing port, and stuck smack in the middle of it is a huge area where cruise ships dock. The anchorage is just off the side of one of these mammoth water vessels, and their generators are not quiet. But we are here in Mexico and very happy to have arrived. We stayed on the boat for the night, and will head ashore to Immigration first thing tomorrow morning.

We seem to have gathered travelling companions around us as Chetak, Kolea, Parrot Bay, and Stormcat all arrived over the course of the day/night. Immigration will be very busy tomorrow. Stormcat had caught a nice big Pacific Bonito just before getting to Ensenada. So Pat from Chetak and ourselves scored an invite to go to Stormcat for the evening meal - nothing like fresh fish. Stormcat is a new Hunter - very comfortable.

Thursday October 26, 2006

Immigration.... now that was an experience. 3.5 hours later we had our visas confirmed, a temporary import permit for Warrior and also got Mexican liablity insurance. It was very slow because of the long line at the "bank" counter which took our money several times. Our impression was that we should have done all this in the afternoon since everyone was their early to beat the afternoon rush which probably never happened. But again it was a relief that the Mexican authorities showed no indication that they wanted to see papers clearing us out of the US. Had some XXs to celebrate (the local beer is definitely missing one or two Xs). Later Michelle went to the bar with Pat, the Stormcat guys Nelson and Sandy, Serge, Dale etc. Robin had been lamenting stomach pains all day (that was quick especially since he had not eaten any local produce) and went to bed.

Friday October 27, 2006

Got a local bus (for a tiny no. of pesos) a few miles down Highway 1 to Costco for mega shopping. Got a cab back for less than $10 with full backpacks. Meanwhile Pat had scouted out a place to taste wine from the local Mexican region just inland from Ensenada. Went there for a couple of hours in the afternoon and tasted a dozen or so wines. Bought 6 dozen at $6-10 each to partially restock Warrior's depleted cellars (various imbibers later confirmed that Mexican wine was good). The nice guy serving us (and trading new words in Spanish for English and Italian) got a big pleasant surprise when we said we would buy this that and the other. Got a cab back to the boat which then delivered Robin to a local hospital for a physical check up. We had cancelled our US medical insurance and were in the process of obtaining much cheaper worldwide insurance (excluding the US), but the new insurer wanted Robin to have a physical because of the advanced state of his age - they were not impressed by his statement that he had had a physical not so long ago back in 1970 before he went to England for the 1st time. He had told the insurers that he would not do it in California (cost $200 plus) but would leave it till Mexico (cost $40). The doctor spoke some English, did not tap his knee with a hammer, said his pulse rate was too high and ignored the explanation of running round town, wine tasting etc. He finally wrote, "Max (for the M. in M. Robin) in this moment don't have any disease that put his life in Risk". Multiple sics! In passing he confirmed Robin's diagnosis that he had an inflamed colon and gave him two lists of what food he should and should not eat. Robin figured he had got a mild virus (the odd hot flush, sore skin etc) and that it would go away irrespective of diet. It went away a couple of days later ignoring said food lists. Still it was all very efficient for this so-called developing country - we have yet to see any lack of civilisation and note that Mexico predates almost all of the settlement of the US.

Had dinner with Akio-san and Pat back at a restaurant owned by the wine-tasting lot in a very old stone building that had once been a tequila distillery. Akio was known to us from previous exploits. He lost one arm in his 20s (now in his 50s) and the Japanese authorities had refused to grant him a commercial fishing licence because he was armless. So Akio decided to prove his abilities by sailing single-handed (quite literally) around the world via Antarctica. He did a 57 day crossing from Japan straight under the Golden Gate without stopping at Sausalito or San Francisco, and on down the SF Bay until his boat came to rest at the furthest possible place, the Port of Redwood City. He had given an account of this journey via an interpreter to the Redwood City YachtCclub and this had been written up in their monthly newsletter. We happened by the Port a few weeks later in July and read about Akio. And there he was, still armless, in Ensenada. His boat's name is Emu II (registered in Japan) tho' somehow we have completely missed getting an explanation for this Australian name.

Cabo Colonet, Mexico

Saturday October 28, 2006

Departed from Ensenada 2:40am this morning, navigating the tricky breakwater entrance to the harbor with no difficulty. It is really only tricky because they are extending the breakwater area, therefore it looks nothing like the charts and guide books depict. The danger is that the obvious GPS waypoint from charts would place a boat on the rocks of the new breakwater. That is why we have multiple backups like radar and good old eyesight.

Set the first waypoint to 31 32.0'N 116 43.5'W which guided us through the Channel between Punta Banda and the Southern tip of Santa Todos Island. We checked that waypoint off at 4:40am and changed course bearing 156.5o magnetic to a point just outside Rocca Solidad, a nasty huge pinnacle of rock poking up out of the water about a mile offshore. It formed quite a sight as we approached it at dawn, the sun forming a halo around it. The wind strength was up and down but again we managed to sail about half the way without use of the motor.

Parrot Bay had left the previous day and was already there (he rarely uses the motor and if the journey gets too long he heaves to and goes to sleep for a few hours. Pat in Chetak and Akio-san in Emu II arrived a couple of hours later just after dark. It was cool/cold and windy so we all said Hi on the VHF and went to sleep in our respective rocking abodes.

San Quintin, Mexico

Sunday October 29, 2006

The plan for today was to head to Isla San Martin (pronounced Mah-teen), a straight 30nm shot straight down the coast. The island was a small round volcano cone about a mile in diameter, and shaped like a Chinese coolie hat with a couple of what looked like about 500 foot peaks. We were looking forward to stopping here as there was an anchorage in a tiny curving cove and there were supposedly lava tubes which we wanted to explore by kayak.

We raised the mainsail at 6:15am and caught a swift 20knot wind all the way to San Martin, however this amount of wind didn't bode well for the anchorage and once we arrived, we saw that the wind was blowing straight onto a lee shore and increasing. We had bought fishing lures in San Diego along with 1/8" line and bungies to act as shock cords, but had had no success. Then within a short space of time we landed two large Pacific Banditos. The yachties fishing technique does not include sport. The fish bites giving the bungy a twang. We do not lower sail, or deviate from course. Just plough straight on, tiring the fish on the end of the line until one begins to feel sorry for the fish. Then on go the leather gardening gloves and and the fish is hauled in and draped on the transom. A trusty bread knife sawn through the gill area quickly despatches 20 lbs of flapping fish, doing the necessary tuna bleeding at the same time. The blood goes all over the transom and congeals very rapidly but a bucket of seawater fixes that. But there is no avoiding a messy deck for the subsequent filletting. Sashimi for breakfast is the reward.

Stormcat had come directly to Isla San Martin from Ensenada and Serge in Kolea had done the same. We anchored but did not like the prospect of worrying all afternoon and night about whether we would drag our anchor if the wind got worse. So aborting our plans to stop at the tiny island we up-anchored and followed Stormcat, Chetak and Emu II on to Bahia San Quintin (you guessed it - pronounced kin - teen), another 10nm further down the coast. Everyone on Kolea was asleep and we could not raise them by VHF. They waited it out on the island without mishap. We arrived to a 25knot gusting wind and decided to anchor off Playa Santa Maria. Laid out 210 feet of chain and sat snug the entire night.

Stormcat decided to brave putting the dinghy in the water and did the rounds collecting us all off our various boats and we gathered over there for nibbles and drinks. In 25knots of wind that was quite an undertaking but an improvement on sitting in our isolated abodes.

Turtle Bay, Mexico

Monday October 30, 2006

This next leg was to take us across Vizcaino Bay to the northen tip of Cedros Island, a 135nm crossing. We pulled anchor, undersail, at 10:15am and plotted a course that would take us 4 miles outside Sacramento Reef. Wind conditions at this time were great, 10-15 knots which was moving the boat along nicely; the 4-foot swell from the west was slightly annoying but we headed 15 degrees off course to give us a broad reach and fill the big jib. Trigonmetric calculations showed the extra knot of speed easily outweighed the extra mile or so we had to travel. Once we were abeam of Sacramento Reef (now over 5 miles away) we turned to run due south to Cedros, the swell was behind us and pretty comfortable. Stormcat had stayed close to land to check out another anchorage further down the coast. Subsequently they did anchor for a while south of Sacramento Reef but the swell entering the anchorage was not very comfortable and they followed on soon enough. Chetak also stayed closer to shore in case he felt like anchoring (135 miles is a long way single-handed) but also chose to run south all night like us - he is a lot slower than us in his 32 foot craft when wind is about. His routine is to reef in and take cat-naps, waking at least once an hour to check radar etc. Not sure what Akio did. But our decision was to make the big jump out of sight of land in one go no matter what the conditions - we have the benefit of a large ocean-going craft and gale force was not expected or predicted. With the wind almost directly behind us the big jib was of no use (flap, bang, boom!) and we had rolled that up as soon as we turned south. But the wind increased probably up to 25knots or so and soon we doing up to 8 knots (averaging 7) with the boom right out and the main plastered against the mast spars. But we are cautious. As darkness approached a nasty cross swell had got up so we were rolling around a bit and Otto (the automatic pilot) was working hard. We decided to put two reefs in the main. Robin headed for the mast with life vest and firmly tied to the life lines. We pulled in the boom a bit and winched down to the 2nd reef while still going downwind at numerous knots. Thanks Doug (back in Moss Landing) for telling us this was the best/safest way to proceed - here we were successfully living the lessons. With the 2nd reef in that lowered our speed to 5-6 knots but Robin was then able to grab some sleep leaving Michelle on watch in a reasonably un-worried state.

The wind picked up a bit more and we were averaging about 7 knots till about 3am when the wind finally started to abate a little. The running swell was starting to peak at 12 feet with every 8th wave being nasty which made the motion a little uncomfortable but otherwise the run was hapless and we made good time. For all of that, while there was plenty of spray over the bow, we took no water at all in the cockpit. Of course it was cold again - whats new!

Robin slept from 11:00pm till 5:30am, Michelle being on night watch duty and we arrived at Cedros Island around 8:00am on the 31st. Since we still had good winds at this point, we decided against stopping to anchor at Cedros (the first anchorage looked very bumpy and we were committed to keep going at the 2nd) and reset our course to head for Turtle Bay, which would mean crossing Kellan Channel, heading through Dewey Straight and around the point into the bay. Running down the inside of Cedros, Michelle caught 3 fish in 7 seconds and decided perhaps that was enough fishing for the day, although they were all Pacific Banditos which we were getting a little tired of. By the time we got to Turtle Bay we had caught a total of 15 Pacific Bonitos, thrown some smaller ones back and filletted the rest mostly for storage in the new freezer which by then was working hard earning it's keep. Pat on Chetak had vowed to can most of this. But Oh for a Yellowtail or Dorado.

Crossing Kellan Channel was a lot of work for Robin due to the constant windshifts, not only in direction, but in windspeed as well. One minute it would be gusting to 25knots and we were doing 9 knots, the next it would die down to almost nothing and we motored to recharge batteries and get us there. We finally arrived in Turtle Bay 4:00pm, ate a quick meal and headed to bed. Shore would have to wait till tomorrow. That was our longest sail to date of 180 miles averaging 6 knots.