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

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.

Boat trip – day 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:05 am

Since we knew we weren’t leaving today we took it easy this morning. We left to get lunch, did some shopping, then made it back to the boat for some work that needed to be done. We needed to find out what was wrong with the autopilot – which turned out to be a voltage drop when the hydraulic pump was activated. We got that fixed, and I sewed up some tears in the canvas on the bridge. We also replaced a hose clamp on each of the stuffing boxes that had rusted off. Apparently the old ones weren’t stainless steel….I may go back and get more to replace them all jic. That’s something you don’t want to fail while under way. We tried to replace the back deck flood lights but found out the brackets weren’t the right so we bagged that idea. We also tried to locate and remove the engine zincs so they could be inspected, but one of them would cause a flood of raw water to be dumped into the engine bay, and the other two we couldn’t get to budge even with an impact driver.

Other than that, we loaded up on some useful clothing items at West Marine. Because our trip from MDR to SB was so unseasonably cold, we got jackets and all-weather pants, Bobb got new shoes because his were leaving marks all over the boat, and gloves. I also got a snubber just in case we need to tie up to a mooring ball at some point during the trip. If we stay another day then we’ll tackle rebuilding the toilet – the vaccuflush system has a slight vacuum leak that I believe is caused by the gaskets in the toilet, so hopefully this will finally fix it. In the mean time, we have to turn it on, use it, then turn it off.

As of right now, the weather predictions for the coast seem to get worse and worse until Friday, so we may be stuck here longer than we’d originally thought. We’ll find out more on that tomorrow. I’m starting to think I may need to extend my vacation by a week, but I’ve started looking at where we can try to compress our trip by skipping ports.

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.

April 27, 2018

Adventure update, and bucket lists

Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 11:32 am

I read an article today about two young boys – 5 and 8 – who are sailing a toy boat around the world. They equipped the boat with a GPS tracker and shoved off in 2017, it’s still travelling the world now. They have a “bucket list” of about 500 items and they are almost half way through it. Makes me think – why do people create and execute bucket lists during the latter half of life, why not when we are young?

On to the update: I bought a lot of stuff for the boat now – epirb, floating vhf with gps, AIS, autopilot, tender, new 14′ 8db vhf antenna, marine cell repeater, etc. For the past week I’ve been struggling to get my AIS to connect to my radar and navigation displays over nmea 0183, and even though the provided software says the AIS is transmitting and receiving (I can see other boats via the software) I still can’t pick my own transmissions up on any vessel tracking site yet. So I can’t see any other boats on my displays and I can’t find my boat on any tracking service. If at least one of those two things was working then I wouldn’t feel as stressed. It’s very frustrating.

Just about a month left until we leave and I still have so much to do. I head back home on Monday and won’t be back until the end of May about a week before we leave, so I *have* to get some of this stuff taken care of before I head home next week.

March 27, 2018

Moving a boat from Marina Del Rey to Puget Sound

Filed under: boat trip — admin @ 12:56 am

In the past two years we’ve moved from Los Angeles to Oregon, and then six months ago we moved back home to Washington State. There are lots of details in between all the moves, but it’s not relevant to this story – or at least better told at a later time. In July of 2016 we bought a boat – a 1985 42′ Jersey Dawn. I still work for a company in LA and the thought was to stay on the boat when I travel to LA one week a month, and then eventually move the boat up to where we lived. That “dream” didn’t start to come to fruition until recently when we moved to the Puget Sound area. Puget Sound is a mecca for boaters – sail or power. LA isn’t bad as far as places to travel to, way better in my opinion than the Oregon coast where ports of call and easily accessible destinations are few and far between, but it can’t compete with Puget Sound with everything from Olympia to the San Juan Islands, to Canada and beyond. But I digress.

I started doing research on piloting a power boat up the Pacific Coast. I quickly found there was a serious lack of personal stories or general information available. Even doing a search for a central repository of ports along the coast was impossible (I have yet to find any such data repository, other than scanning the coast using Google Maps, but maybe I’m just searching wrong…). If there were any accounts of trips northward up the coast, it was usually told by sailboat crew/captains and usually doing a southbound trip.The needs an operations of sailboats and power boats, and northward vs southward trips, are usually different by several aspects. I have been around boats almost all my life and it’s one of my life’s passions. That being said, the majority of my boating experience has been on lakes and in the Puget Sound, but never the Pacific Ocean.The boat we now own was decided on for a few specific reasons, one of which is that I believe it to be very sea-worthy – since we always planned to make the trip up the West Coast. Even though I have every faith that the boat will make the trip, it’s more in my knowledge and capabilities that I’m concerned about. We all need to start a new experience and adventure somewhere though.

The trip is currently planned over the first three weeks of June of this year. If we travel an average of 100 nm a day, then the trip should only take two weeks, but I added an extra week because of all the reports of unpredictability of the ocean and weather north of San Francisco and because the boat is 33 years old and it’s likely something will break on the way. I’ve also read about port closures if the weather is too rough and other complications like moving sand bars in places like San Francisco and the Columbia River. I plan to document, and possibly video, much of the trip. I have two people that will be making the trip with me – one for the entirety of the trip and the other we will pick up in Newport Oregon for possibly the remainder of the trip. The total distance will be in the area of 1300 nautical miles. The goal is to make it to home port well before July 4th so we can take it out to watch fireworks from Olympia to Canada.I hope to provide as much information as I can in case someone else is looking for the same information I’ve been working on compiling, with much difficulty, for the past two months. I’ll document all of the provisions, upgrades to the boat, ports, distances, travel times and many other aspects to the trip. I have at a minimum two more trips to LA before the planned departure and I still have a lot to do. I expect to update at least twice a month before the trip, and hope to update daily during the trip.

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