Saturday, August 20, 2016

In Between Boat Projects...

In between boat projects we're always finding time for lots of fun.  Taking Tessa to the beach has become a regular adventure, that little puppy has sure turned into one heck of a swimmer! But sometimes she's plays harder than her body is ready for.  Last week she turned on her front left leg to chase down a toy in the soft and wet beach sand.  Her entire body turned but her leg did not.  She yelped over and over, tried to get hobble back to me and finally just fell over and laid down.  After determing nothing was broken, we got back in the dinghy and headed home.  She had a few days of R&R but was still limping pretty noticeably so we took her to the vet, they weren't able to diagnose anything we didn't already know but did prescribe a muscle relaxant, Meloxican, and after 2-3 days shes now back to swimming and playing.  Our lesson learned is that after a fun day of playing, when we notice she's exhausted we need to stop throwing the toys.

My two beautiful girls!

Tessa getting hauled around after turning her ankle.  Poor thing struggled to even make it to the grass to do her thing 
We spent a fun weekend rafted up in Glorietta Bay and got some good sailing pics on the way there with sv Volare and sv Starbright with Mantus Anchors holding us down snuggly!

Sailing puppy!

SeaGlub about to head under the Coronado Bridge

SeaGlub from Volare

Volare chasing us down

sv Starbright

Time to get our beach on!  The puppies are ready too!
Mark and Linda ready to go play on the beach

The girls getting some sun

The boys heading back to refill the cooler

Swimming puppies!

Mantus Anchors holding down the raft up
Mantus dinghy anchor at work

And most recently I got to go play around on a classic little sailboat, a Hobie Cat 18.  Tons of fun and made a short video about it here:

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Battery upgrade

One of the last few 'before-we-go' projects was always to replace and upgrade our battery bank.  We were wired with two 245amp AGMs but we were wired for three.  Last week when I began to survey and prep the area for the new batteries, I realized we could probably fit four AGMs giving us a total of 960amp hours available.  In order to do this we'd have to lose one sock drawer.

The decision was easy enough, the process actually not much more difficult.  I removed the drawer and built a frame for the battery case to sit on.  The fiberglass case to hold the battery amazingly fit super super snug.  With the help of two friends and the admiral (Monica) we heaved out the old batteries just using the spin halyard and lowered four new ones down.

The two older batteries

Drawer removed
Frame built
Fiberglass batttery case installed

Four new AGMs

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Starbright Makes Her Way to San Diego

Starbright at anchor

After 10 great days in the Sea of Cortez on the charter trip (see post here) I was granted an opportunity to sail with recent retirees Mark and Terry southbound from San Francisco to San Diego with several planned stops along the way.  I was really looking forward to this for several reasons, getting back out on the water, sailing with good friends, and maybe actually getting to sail this passage versus our passage last year on SeaGlub where we motored the whole way to Point Conception.  Well.... I wasn't let down.
We left on a Sunday with predicted winds of 18-20kts near San Francisco and supposed to increase to 25-35 over the next few days.  As we left the slip the winds in Marina Bay were 16-18kts and we knew we were about to get some real sailing in under our belts.  Thanks to Terry we had several pre-made meals like chili, spaghetti, and elk ghoulash where all we would have to do is heat them in a pan to eat, plus we had a thermos we'd fill with hot water to make Cup-o-Noodles for the rougher parts of the passage.  As we exited under the Golden Gate Bridge, the weather was pretty crappy, and therefore pretty easy for us to say goodbye.

But the crew was in good spirits and very well protected inside Starbright's cockpit enclosure.  As fate would have it, though, we were teased by Mother Nature for as soon as got outside the Gate, the winds virtually stopped!  Huh?!  What happened to the 16-18kts blowing us out there?  What happened to the predicted up to 35kts???

Ask and you shall receive....

A few hours later we put the sails back up and then made days of 150 and 165 miles and rounded Point Conception our third morning out to sea.  We did find the 25-35kts, and we had sustained winds of 20+ all through out the nights, and we stayed double reefed pretty much the whole trip (and we did make it all the way to Santa Barbara despite the tracker shutting off somewhere before our final destination - 380 miles!).  As you can see from our track, we basically did two gybes per day, once before dark taking us well offshore, then again in the morning in preparation for the winds to pick up and take us back to within sight of shore.  We had a blast and Starbright performed magnificently!

380 miles SF to SB

first morning in Santa Barbara - back to shorts and flip flops!
After Santa Barbara we stopped in the Channel Islands for a bit, two different anchorages, Pelican Bay which required bow and stern anchors but offered pretty good protection until the Santa Barbara sundowners hit in the evenings with winds of 25-30kts, just be sure your bow and stern anchors have you pointed NNW!  Here's our anchor plot from one day in Pelican bay:

We also stopped in Smuggler's Cove, beautiful place and easy anchorage with good holding, but for the second straight year my experience was less than recommendable.  The exposure to the south swell in summertime can and did for my trips leave the anchorage a bit too rolly. 

From there we headed off to Two Harbors Catalina, had a great couple of days, then headed to Dana Point, a new marina for me(by boat at least).

The guest slips were reasonable rates and generally available if you call ahead, you can even reserve months ahead of time.  The anchorage was the surprise to me - bigger and deeper than I had expected, I could see us going back there on SeaGlub later this year.

After 12 days we arrived in San Diego where Starbright took up her new temporary residence in the San Diego cruiser anchorage which is available to non-San Diego residents for up to 90 days - for free!  You just have to stop by the customs dock on Shelter Island and request a Cruiser Anchorage Vessel Inspection (mostly just checking that head thru hulls are closed and no oil or fuel in the bilge).

We had a great trip and I want to thank Captain Mark, Terry, their wives and especially Monica for a granting me this time away from home.  

Approach into San Diego