Saturday, 28 September 2013

Mt. Tamalpais hike

Rented a car and headed first into the ravines behind Mill Valley. Some pretty interesting homes in odd places.

Drove up to Mountain Home Inn in order to hike up Mt. Tamalpais -- the highest peak in the area (approx. 750 m).

View towards San Francisco from Mt. Tamalpais

Zoom-in on Richardson Bay/Sausalito -- can you pick out Pelagia?  ;-)

Looking north (Pt. Reyes/Drakes Bay is background)

A nice hike -- good way to get our land legs back.

Friday, 27 September 2013

San Francisco Bay

We finally "escaped" Alameda Monday morning (actually, we like Alameda).  Thought we'd try anchoring at Angel Island  at Winslow Cove (mooring buoys at Ayala Cove are $30/night -- too steep for us).  Anchorage seemed nice until we got hit by the CONSTANT ferry wakes!  Tsunami-like breaking waves that would toss us around holding on for dear life -- from 630am until 930pm - - Oh come on.  Got out of there early next morning.  

Headed to Clipper Cove on Treasure Island - -  nice spot,  protected (waves wise)  from westerlies.  Watched Americas Cup in a pub... but winds picked up so we felt we should be back on board Pelagia.  Were we glad we did.  Winds got up to 30 knots... then a friends' boat dragged anchor right on to us (they were not on their boat, having gone into the city).  Thankfully,  we got our fenders out just in the nick of time.  No harm done.  We re-anchored and,  happily for them,  their boat stayed put (in our original spot).  guide books say there are some "soft" spots on the bottom -- guess they found one.

Next day was calmer as we watched OracleUSA beat EmiratesNZ  - -  see what money can buy you?  Then Oracle had the big (BIG!) loud  party on Treasure Island... :-( 

Headed over to Sausalito and picked upmooring buoy at the Sausalito Yacht Club.  Nice place .  But very rolly moorage (still,  no tsunami wakes). Michelle woke up this morning singing "rock-a-bye baby...".

Pelagia at Sausalito Yacht Club

Pelagia at Sausalito Yacht Club

Will rent a car today for the weekend - -  roadtrip!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

VANCOUVER to SAN FRANCISCO: The culprit (of our steering problems)

Here it is, the cause of our steering problems:

Bad seals on cylinder shaft
The seals on our Wagner cylinder were nearly gone -- especially on one side. Amazing the system steered reasonably well (under power). But totally understandable why the rudder couldn't hold under any weather helm when sailing. Seal on right side looks more like a wrapping of electrical tape rather than a double-lipped rubber seal.

Rodney at Svenson's Boatyard thinks the seal on right side of the shaft may have been damaged when it was installed. We'll never know.

New seals and all seems good now.

A short sail out in San Francisco Bay (sea trial of steering fix)

Yes, it is true, we went sailing yesterday!

Our hydraulic steering was deemed (and seemed) "fixed" by Svenson's late Friday, so we decided to do a sea trial on Saturday and perhaps catch an America's Cup race.

Success on the first: the steering worked fine, even with weather helm while sailing (admittedly, we only had 10-15 knots of wind, so not much weather helm). Yeah! It turned out to be a nice sail out under the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge along treasure Island. Tons of boats out for the AC race.

Sailing towards SF Bay Bridge

Happy Admiral -- the steering works!

Skipper is happy too!

As for the AC 72 racing... as usual, the race was postponed because of weather. Previous cancellations were because of "too much" wind (25 knots corrected for current is max), or because the race took more than 40 minutes (not enough wind). Saturday it was because the wind was in the wrong direction. Huh? We had a nice sail; seemed fine to us.

Emirates-NZ AC72 speeding back to base (outpacing the speed boats!)

The AC 72s are pretty spectacular -- more like airplanes on the water -- but seaworthy they are not. Too many postponed and abandoned races due to "weather". The America's Cup will become interesting again if/when it returns to its roots.

Back in Alameda, we are provisioning today and will settle-up with Svenson's Monday morning and actually try to go cruising in SF Bay Monday.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Repairs in exotic places... we must be cruising!

OK,  Alameda is not exactly "exotic" (but it is a nice,  friendly and relaxed place).

We have done a number of fixes/improvements,  but we are still shut down trying to figure out/repair our hydraulic steering.  (Rebuilt helm pump but slipping still a problem.  Now will rebuild ram/cylinder. Fingers crossed.)

No idea when we will be done.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

VANCOUVER to SAN FRANCISCO: Some photos Neah Bay to SF

Rounding Cape Flattery (11am, Sept 2, 2013)

Off-watch snooze
On watch


Our very experienced crew (Jim)

Bad weather coming...

During the gales, we were too "involved" to think of taking photos.... In retrospect, too bad.

Golden Gate Bridge (~1pm, Sept 9, 2013)

Golden Gate "Lucky Hats" (a gift from Jim)


For those interested, here is a detailed graphic of our route from Neah Bay to San Francisco.

Pelagia's route (September, 2013)

(If anyone is interested, we can send a gpx or kmz file.)

In retrospect, if we were to do this again, we would stay within 40-60 nm offshore (as we did on SV Sapphire in 2012):

  • winds within 60nm of shore were significantly less than we experienced (while we experienced 35 knot winds, closer to shore winds were 20-25 knots)
  • <60nm is far enough out to be away from fishing fleets and traffic, but close enough to head in to harbour should a major blow (such as we experienced) be predicted

Monday, 9 September 2013

VANCOUVER to SAN FRANCISCO: (recap) Neah Bay to San Francisco Days 5 to 7: Gales, steep seas & steering problems

We had 48 hours of gales and steep seas off of the southern Oregon/northern California coasts. It was not fun, and made much worse by concern over problems with our hydraulic steering.

The forecast called for 20-30kn NW winds, with a warning of "steep hazardous seas".

259 AM PDT FRI SEP 6 2013

259 AM PDT FRI SEP 6 2013

WeatherFax for Sept 10, 2013: Surface and Wind/Wave(m) forecasts

By 3pm, the winds had built to 20 knots; at 430pm, seas were building and winds were 24-27 knots. By 9pm. we had winds up to 38 knots with steep confused seas (12 feet with 7 second period!), sailing under mostly furled yankee only. Fin our Hydrovane was having significant trouble holding course, and we found our hydraulic steering was significantly slipping with any weather helm sailing. We decided to run under bare poles with the autopilot holding course while we made 5 knots. There were definite times we (or, at least, some of us) feared for ours and Pelagia's safety! 

Next day was supposed to decrease to 20-25 knots. However, that night, we again had gale-force winds up to 36 knots and large seas. A lousy night. We kept the motor on due to our concern for the hydraulic steering. We also had Fin steer while motoring for about 12 hours -- but we stopped that after the Hydrovane rudder tube was found to have turned a bit off centre (turns out, the bolts all needed tightening: note for future routine maintenance).

By Day 7, winds and seas were down considerably. Such a relief! Nevertheless, concerned over the hydraulic steering, we motored on to Pt. Reyes, arriving at Drakes Bay in thick fog at 11:45pm.

Regardless of the late night, anchored in Drakes Bay, we quickly caught up on or "state-line" rums, plus a "few" more.

After arrival in San Francisco Bay, we headed to Alameda to arrange repairs. We were exhausted and needed days to catch up. (But at least our underwear were clean.... ;-)

The first 3-4 days of the trip were a good, albeit rough, sail. The last 3 had bad weather (gales and hazardous seas), significant equipment issues, fog and way too much motoring. The three of us -- David, Michelle and crew Jim -- did well together. We were very fortunate to have Jim join us as (very experienced) crew: Thank you Jim!

VANCOUVER to SAN FRANCISCO: Arrived San Francisco!

Arrived Drake's Bay in thick fog Sunday eve at 11pm. Anchored. Had several excellent stiff rums, and had the first quiet motionless sleep in a week.

On Monday, after several hours of motoring in windless thick fog, we arrived under the Golden Gate Bridge about 2pm on Monday September 9th -- could barely see the bridge.

Inside the Bay, it was mostly clear and blowing 26 knots.

We are now at the friendly Oakland Yacht Club over in Alameda.

More to come!

Friday, 6 September 2013

VANCOUVER to SAN FRANCISCO: Days 4 & 5 (am): Neah Bay to San Francisco

Spoke (wrote) too soon in last post. We've had over a day of light-to-no winds combined with uncomfortable swell. So lots of motoring, interspersed with trying to sail. Over the 4.5 days, we've sailed at least 80% of the time (actually, we've motored only 13 hours since Cape Flattery on Monday). Last night's sails up/sails down etc left us pretty tired today.

This morning we jibed back towards the coast -- we were getting to be too far out. Likely we'll try to stick around 50-70 nm out. Currently sunny with 10-15 kn NW from behind. Good sailing though rolly. Fin our Hydrovane has been doing a standup job the whole trip.

Biq question now is the weather. We download text forecasts and weather faxes -- there is such a confusing plethora of regions etc. But it seems we are in for some 25-35 kn NW weather with large seas Sat/Sunday. Oh great, another test.

We may not have shown up on AIS due to our distance from the shore. We may show-up now as we close within 60 nm again. We've been posting position reports on YOTREPS.

This is a slower trip than last year -- there will be no "5 or 6 days" to SF this time. Currently we are about 70 nm due west of Crescent City. We cross a state line tonight. Yippee, another S-L drink! (The last one 2 nights ago was wonderful.)

All for now.
At 9/6/2013 5:26 PM (utc) our position was 42°28.35'N 126°10.22'W

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VANCOUVER to SAN FRANCISCO: Days 3 & 4 Neah Bay to San Francisco

Wednesday saw us sailing very comfortably in 10-15 knot SE winds, with much reduced swell. Not a fast sail, but enjoyable. Wednesday eve the forecast decrease in winds came late at night (after a brief squall causing a reef in the main late in the night). Thursday morning (5am), the winds left us. So we motored.

By 9am we were back sailing, the wind clocking around to the NE. Expected to increase to NW 15-20 tonight and 20-30 over the weekend. Oh boy.

Crew is all well (a little tired from last night's antics).

Current location (Thursday @ 10am PDT): 44 degrees 05.4 minutes N; 126 degrees 30.86 minutes W

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

VANCOUVER to SAN FRANCISCO: Days 1 & 2 Neah Bay to San Francisco: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!

One night at the dock and 1 night at anchor in Neah Bay. Forecast off the Washington coast was for SE 10-15 knots with 5-6 foot SW swell. NW winds were not forecast until at least Wednesday. Other boats (4 of 6) decided to wait it out until Wed.(Current forecasts now indicate the NW winds will not begin until later Thursday (and will be light).

So, we decided to head out.

It has been a wild bouncy noisy ride. We are currently 60 nm West of Gray's Harbour. Heading approximately South (200 deg T) at ~4.5 kn. One reef in the mainsail and genoa furled down 20%. Likely another 18-24 hrs of this. THEN comes possibly too light NW winds.

We shall see. See our positions and AIS track are found on the "Where are we" page.
At 12/30/1899 12:00 AM (utc) our position was

Sunday, 1 September 2013

VANCOUVER to SAN FRANCISCO: Neah Bay... waiting for wind

Long motor yesterday Port Angeles to Neah Bay. At least it was sunny and calm.

Currently in Neah Bay waiting for some winds. Likely we will leave tomorrow with a forecast of S/SE 10-15 kn winds (yes, winds against us, but at least not too much).

Pacific High not expected until at least Wednesday.

Happy Labour Day.