The idea to blog on the way down the coast was a good one. IDEAs normally are. However, in REALITY there was no way to execute. I attempted to dictate into my phone and send it to our Webmaster Gail when we had an connection. Thankfully, she is a kind and considerate person and quickly realized that my ramblings made no sense what-so-ever and did not embarrass me by posting as is. Now, as final preparations are underway, I will summarize the trip down the coast.
This was a shake down sail designed for us to figure out processes that make us efficient and to see how we work together as a double handed team. Double handing demands that every action be worth while. There is little time for anything extra and you need to make each task pay off. We learned a lot; the least of which is that we make poor decisions when we are tired (duh). Remarkably, we learned this lesson over and over on the way down.
We picked up bad fuel in Victoria and/or stirred up gunk in the fuel tan, so at sunset on the first night, rounding Dunce Rock, we lost the motor. No worries the winds were good in the Pacific and we could sail downwind a lot faster than we could motor at this point. The next day, Doug was able to drain, filter the fuel, and replace filters, so when we were not making 6 kts. we would motor. A beautiful day, I shook off my foul weather gear and continued to helm in my stocking feet while enjoying a visit from a pod of Dahl porpoise.
Plan “A” included a stop in Newport to clear customs and refuel. We passed the mouth of the Columbia a good distance offshore on the direct route to the mouth of Yaquina Bay. We were making good time, and knew of a favorable weather window if we did not dawdle, so we decided to sail thru to San Francisco. (Note: we carried no spare fuel.)
The wind and waves were perfect at Cape Blanco so we took this opportunity to film our man overboard drill for the race committee. Mock Mary (two gallon water jugs, one full, one not, tied together with length of rope) was tossed overboard while we sailed downwind under spinnaker. Doug was able to mark the MOB position, throw the lifesling, douse the spinnaker, and get me back on board in a short time. (Note: we both plan to stay on board for the duration of the race!)
Winds got light after this and right about here we realized that our fuel supply was pretty low. We sailed with the kite up till early morning when we rolled out the jib just north of Cape Mendocino. We were pretty tired at this point. We had weather information, a plan, and skill, but somehow, someway, we found ourselves further offshore and with a full main and class jib up when things got interesting.
I think I will save the next (last) 30 hours for another entry. Let’s just say, if we thought we were tired before we rounded Cape Mendocino we had not seen anything yet, and the poor decisions were just starting to compound.
By the way, I noted previously that the auto helm was on board. Yes Otto Helm was with us however, he was a complete slacker. Hanging out below, he refused to be connected and we did the trip without him. Summary: 800 Miles, hand steered, double handed.