D E M E N T E D P E N G U I N . N E T

June 12, 2018

Boat trip – day 10

Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 11:58 pm

We left the dock just before 7am since the wind was supposed to start picking up at 2pm around Big Sur. I was really hoping that we could make better time than we did from SB to Morro since the weather was supposed to be better, but it still took us 13.5 hours. At least we made it to Monterey before dark.

Things went pretty well at the start although the swells were a bit bigger than expected, and there was this uncomfortable convergence of waves/swells coming from the north, northwest, and west which made things very choppy. At about 3.5 hours in a thick fog enveloped us and gave us about a quarter mile of visibility, the wind picked up, and there were wide whitecaps everywhere and 9 foot swells. This was very similar to what we experienced on the trip to Morro Bay. After getting kicked around for 2 hours we finally headed in closer to shore which got us out of the fog and into calmer seas, and we got an escort by some local porpoises. About an hour before Big Sur it started getting really rough again with the same chop as earlier. It took us three more hours to get in to Monterey Bay.

The best part of the day (other than finally making it to the dock) was the autopilot that we got fully functioning yesterday. It made the trip so much more manageable and dropped the stress level considerably. We also used the new stereo – Sirius is the way to go when out on the water.

Things I learned on this leg of the trip:

  • leave as early as possible in the morning
  • a properly functioning autopilot is worth it’s weight in gold
  • when crossing over swells, hit them at a 30-45 degree offset, it makes things so much smoother and not as much hull slamming
  • the wave that looks intimidating isn’t the problem, it’s the wave that follows it that messes you up
  • if the seas are rough, head towards the shore
  • have a bucket handy. If the water is rough you can’t leave the helm (even with autopilot), so how can you go pee?
  • I’ll just end on that note.

    June 11, 2018

    Boat trip – day 9

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 10:39 pm

    By this point of the trip we should have been to Brookings Oregon, or about 900 miles north. Unfortunately we’ve only gone 200 miles. We’re heading out in the morning though to Monterey, but then it looks like we’ll be stuck there until the weekend. Hrmph. Windy.com has been great for predicting the weather and when we can or can’t head out.

    Today was productive. We ran a new 4 guage 12v power line up to the bridge to replace the 12 guage one I added before we left. The old one would drop voltage when under load for some reason, and after evaluating the options, we decided to just run a big ol’ replacement. Now all the new electronics run off the new line, we’ll see if it did the trick tomorrow. We also installed a new stereo with Sirius XM, so we will be jammin’ along the way. Only other thing we did was go out and have a great dinner at Dorns. Food was great, I would highly recommend.

    Bobb has got his hands full with getting me up early tomorrow, but we’re going to try to leave as early as we can. It starts to get squirrelly up around Big Sur between 2-4:00. It’s 115nm so it should take about 12 hours again.

    Boat trip – day 8

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 9:15 am

    Yesterday was a pretty chill day for the most part. We finally figured out how to check the transmission oil and we tracked down the source of a small leak of red liquid – which was antifreeze. We dont know where its coming from yet but at least its not diesel fuel or transmission oil, and its not a lot. We also looked at the autopilot system to see how to set waypoints.

    The Nemets graciously came to pick us up for dinner at their place, with a stop first at The Brown Butter Cookie Company. The cookies and the staff were amazing, and $75 later I left with a bag full of cookies and a t-shirt. Fwiw, thats quite a few cookies…. Todd made an amazing tri-tip and Dianna’s salad was yummy – we will have to start adding avacados and apples together in salads more in the future. We had fun chatting with Todd’s parents too, his dad was hilarious. Great diversion to all of the boat stuff we’ve been so focused on and very much appreciated. We tried to kidnap their dog, Monroe, but we weren’t stealthy enough.

    When we got back to the boat we did some laundry and finished off the evening by watching Captain Ron. Good day all around.

    Our daily weather check showed that Monday was still bad, and Tuesday is going to be exceptional for the next leg, it’s been a long streak of crappy and it’s about time we’ll have some decent boating weather. Unfortunately it looks crappy again from San Francisco north for another few days starting on Wednesday. We leave tommow a total of 7 days behind schedule. I may have picked an unfortunate time do do this trip.

    June 9, 2018

    Boat trip – day 7

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 5:06 pm

    We had to move the boat this morning so we untied and went to the fuel dock to fill up the tank. Put in just over 181 gallons (just over 15 gallons an hour @ 10.8 kts into the wind, waves, and current for 12 hours). After that we found a day dock to tie up to until we could move back to the yacht club dock, and headed out to find a hardware store. Along the way we stopped and had breakfast at The Coffee Pot Restaurant. After that we set out to find where we catch the trolley to get us to North Morro Bay. After walking the mile and a half, we finally found a stop about three blocks from the hardware store….. We got some stuff, were pointed to other stores to look for some of the other items, and eventually had walked all the way back to the boat. We were expecting to move the boat back to the yacht club, since the sailboat races were done, but the wind had picked up so much that we couldnt get the boat off the dock – we couldnt even push it two inches off. It even damaged more of the isinglass. With 34 knot winds and whitecaps in the harbor, we’re stuck waiting it out.

    June 8, 2018

    Boat trip – day 6

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 9:34 pm

    Had to do some canvas repairs after the voyage yesterday. It’s not pretty but it’s functional at least. Bobb washed down the boat, re-secured the tender, and washed all of the exterior carpets. We did the engine checks, topped off the oil (“diesels love their oil like sailors like their rum” Captain Ron quote), and tried to figure out how to check the transmission fluid level – but we have a few more days to get that figured out since it still looks like we won’t be leaving until Tuesday morning.

    We have to move the boat off the dock by 9am because the yacht club needs it for their weekly sailing thing. We’ll fuel up and find a place to tie up until they are done. I suspect we’ll need about 130 gallons of diesel, at least it seems to get cheaper as we’ve gone north. We’ve put in 93 gallons to top off the tank in LA @ $4.87/gallon, then 97 gallons in Santa Barbara @ about $3.45/gallon. The trip from LA to SB used about 12.5 gallons an hour @ 10kts, which is what I would expect for dual diesels based on what I’ve read.

    We did a little tourist shopping today – I got two cinnamon rolls and a hand carved statue of a marlin for the boat. Every boat needs some kind of sculpture or interest piece that is boat/ocean/water themed, I think I finally have enough….

    Boat trip – day 5

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 12:39 am

    We left Santa Barbara at 8:30am into perfect conditions – sunny, light breeze, mild swells (2′ @ 8 seconds). That was about to change…. As we got closer and closer to Point Conception the wind picked up with every mile, and the swells got considerably rougher – all the way to Morro Bay. There was at least twice that I thought we wouldn’t make it – and I don’t mean the current leg we were on, I thought we were going down. I always thought that Point Conception was the worst part of the trip for just about any boater. It did suck – 6′ swells and 24mph winds with 32mph gusts, but then we passed Arlight. The waves (8′ @ 8 seconds) and swell (5′ @ 8 seconds) was going SW, and the wind waves (2′ @ 14 seconds) were going NE. Picture a washing machine. This never let up the rest of the way to Morro Bay. We had constant heavy walls of spray from the bow hit the upper isinglass which made it hard to see, and then on top of that we had to keep a vigilant lookout for crab pots so we didn’t get the lines caught in the props, and I almost got thrown out the back once from a seated position at the helm, and Bobb almost wiped out once as well. We even had the props come out of the water several times (the props are *under* the boat). It was nasty, scary, and I’m hard pressed to think of another time that was as unpleasant. 12 hours later, we made it. This part of the trip was a true test – the boat handled it amazingly well and far exceeded my expectations, the engines were strong and flawless today, and Bobb and I made it through and learned a lot about the process and ourselves. Here’s a short video of what I thought would be the the worst of it all, but I was wrong.

    There were some casualties – we lost the front window mesh (we saw it when it blew off…), the flybridge canvas was partially ripped off the support in the front, the interior looked as though a tornado had gone through it, there was some water leakage around some windows that got on this laptop and also damaged a few mostly insignificant items inside. We *almost* lost a cover for the the aft storage locker but it fortunately fell into the box itself.

    The conditions for the next few days are predicted to be as bad or worse until next Tuesday, so it looks like we might be stuck again for a few days since I’m NEVER doing a trip like that again. We have some things to fix anyway, but I hope we don’t have any more delays since we’ve already lost three days as it is.

    Time to raise a glass of Sailor Jerry’s, the rum choice of this captain, and put the day behind us.

    June 6, 2018

    Boat trip – day 4

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 11:36 pm

    Today Bobb got the toilet rebuilt, but unfortunately even though it did slow the vacuum leak a bit more it didn’t fix it. It needed to be done anyway, so it wasn’t wasted time but it’s frustrating, kinda like an intermittent electrical issue in a car. We did a full engine check, found that each engine was about a gallon short on oil so we topped them off. I replaced the rest of the hose clamps on the stuffing boxes, and then we topped off the fuel tank and took the boat out for a test run to see how it handled in the rougher weather. The wind was about 15-20 knots and the swells were around 7-8 feet. The wind wasn’t a problem but the swells made for a fairly wild ride, but the boat held up well. The only issue was that we pushed the engines up to 15 knots and one of the engines started running hotter than the other by about 15-20 degrees. When we slowed back down to 10 knots it went back to normal (about 7 degrees difference between the two engines), so that means I have to flush the heat exchanger for better raw water flow at the next opportunity. We were out for about 30 minutes before turning around and heading back to the marina. If it works, here’s a link to a video I took of the ride: June 6th test run

    We decided we are going to head out tomorrow at around 8am. If we make it around Point Conception then we should be able to handle just about anything else in our path.

    June 4, 2018

    Boat trip – day 2

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 11:46 pm

    Today went pretty well. Since I’ve owned the boat the most I’ve done with it is drive it around the harbor and I went fishing once outside the breakwater. Because of this I didn’t have total confidence in the engines and propulsion systems so we took it nice and easy at a leisurely 10 knots. The boat did great – all systems ran well and she purred along the whole way. The only thing that didn’t go well was it was fricken’ cold and we had to change from shorts to pants and put on layers and hats around Oxnard.

    We saw hundreds of porpoises, lots of pelicans, and clusters of sea lions sunbathing and some were even bounding into the air like the porpoises having a good old time.

    It took us 7.5 hours, but we made it to Santa Barbara and found a slip for the night. I asked the harbor patrol dude what the weather was supposed to be like up the coast tomorrow, he said, “I talked to one of the fishermen today on the docks, he said he wasn’t going out for the next three days”. So I got the slip for three days just in case. Looking at the weather, it doesn’t seem to improve until the weekend….. We may be stuck here for a while, but we’ll leave at the first opportunity. The next leg of the trip is 105 nautical miles (120 miles) and we’re going to try upping the speed to 15 knots to see how she does.

    June 3, 2018

    Boat trip – Day 1

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 10:45 pm

    We haven’t left the dock yet, so we start off the trip now a day behind. We went to pick up the tender yesterday and by the time we got it back to the boat it was 4:00pm. Next task was to lift it onto the boat with the davit, but every time we tried to the bow of the tender would lift up and go almost completely vertical. After many adjustments and attempts to level it out we finally just bit the bullet and lifted it up, I leaned on the bow to level it, we pulled it over the railing and finally got it on the front of the boat. We don’t have chocks built in to the boat (they were removed at some point) so we temporarily used the extra bumpers to lower the tender onto and then strapped it down to stabilize it. After a lot more futzing, we finally found the sweet spot for the straps and were able to get the boat to lift level. We ended up making some temporary chocks out of the foam wrapping that the tender was packaged in, but that’s a long story and kinda boring so I’ll leave that part out. By this time we were pretty wiped out, but we needed to make a run to Home Depot to pick up some things, and we needed some dinner. At this point we took inventory on what was left to make us comfortable to head out in the morning, and the list was still longer than we wanted so we decided to postpone the trip by a day. We still needed to do some major organizing of the interior because there was stuff everywhere, we had a few engine things to do still, needed to do some food provisioning, and we needed to complete the “custom” tender chocks.

    I’m happy to say that we finally got the tender sitting straight on the bow of the boat today (it actually looks pretty good, thanks to Bobb), picked up a few more things we needed, and went grocery shopping. We expect to leave around 9am in the morning, hit the fuel dock, and then head to Santa Barbara. The guest docks there are first come first served so we run the risk of not being able to get a slip….not sure what we’ll do if that happens, but at least we’ll have time to figure it out before it gets dark. I’m estimating it will take us about 5-6 hours to make the 72nm (83 miles) trip, fingers crossed.

    May 28, 2018

    Five days left until departure

    Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 9:40 pm

    Time is counting down, and I’m both excited and apprehensive to start this adventure. I only have a few more things left on my todo list before we leave, but it will require a fair amount of time to get done. The hardest thing was completed today at least, I got the hydraulic pump for the autopilot primed and working (although there’s still a very very slight hydraulic leak at the fittings to the pump). I’m picking up the dinghy and motor this weekend and I still have to clean up and organize all the crap strewn all over the interior of the boat. I still have two more full non-work days to tackle the rest of the task list.

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