Are you living to die or dying to live? Remember YOUR larger goals in life. Don’t give up on goals till you kicked their ass!
Reporting from somewhere over the Pacific: Sitting in my comfy seat on Hawaiian Airlines, I’m appreciative of the extra room afforded us. Soon we’ll be far from land on a small boat, without much luxury and a lot of long hours. I’m on my way to Honolulu, Hawaii to help deliver a sailboat to the mainland. On the plane are my fellow crew members. Both of them coming out of the West Coast Race Circuits, I sheepishly admit I’m not much of a racer. I’m here to cross half the Pacific safely on a small boat….soaking up all the knowledge I can. Even in the airport; I spot them easily as we have similar attributes: beards, ball caps, flippies, well-used and comfy clothes and confidence that shines through their easy demeanor. Going out to cruise or race along coastlines is something we’ve all done, but shooting toward the west coast of the US from Hawaii is a whole new ballgame. Our Captain’s done it before and I’ve got confidence in him and the crew. No one knows how they’re gonna do when confronted by epic adventure…I get nervous as I pack and want nothing more than to just get started. I don’t like showing up all dressed for the party just to find it’s a dud….so I’m excited to have been given this opportunity. You may not realize, but there’s folks who pay ALOT of money for heavy weather passages, offshore experiences and chances to sail with some of the big names in the offshore sailing world. Me….I look for experiences…but prefer not to go looking for heavy weather. I do fully realize that you’ve gotta be fully practiced and prepared for adventure as then it will seek you out. Neither me or Michelle is great at sitting on the sidelines…so she pushed me to accept this opportunity so we’d add more experience for our upcoming trip. As Behan and Jamie Gifford of Totem have written about…I don’t attribute my experience level to the miles sailed….but to the skills and practical knowledge gained. Sitting here reading about modern day explorers, I’m excited about this upcoming trip. You won’t hear much from me for a few weeks, but I’ll bring you photos and posts when I get back. And….at the same time I’m gone on this trip, our kids are starting school again and our engine will hopefully come out of the boat safely and quickly with my wife project managing.
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We left Thursday afternoon for another overnight crossing to Catalina Island, Ca (about 74 miles straight from San Diego). It was a rough ride, into a short steep swell and wind the whole time, under motor. For this crossing and the upcoming weekend of fun on Catalina, we took along the folks who were going to crew for us down Baja, on the Baja Ha-Ha. Needless to say, not everyone enjoyed 15 hours of motoring against the wind, current and swell (including me). We didn’t make it to Catalina. Approx 5 miles from Cat Harbor, Catalina we experienced engine failure and after thorough troubleshooting, we were forced to be towed back to San Diego via Towboat US.
I’ll write a more detailed story for my Weds or Sat post as we’re home and regrouping!
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Sailing faster and better doesn’t always mean just getting out and doing it (but that is ALOT of it)…I think it also means you’ve got to practice certain skills and start learning muscle memory as you go. Every time we take Tulum out of the slip and get out sailing, we learn something new or figure out new stuff that needs fixing. Yesterday was no exception. Taking a couple of friends and Quincy with us, we got off the slip and went sailing. Day sailing isn’t something I REALLY like to do, but we needed to get fuel for an upcoming adventure so we took Tulum out for a sail to stretch her legs. This also allowed us to take a look at what work had been done recently and figure out what was going to break or need fixing…and Tulum didn’t disappoint. We needed to tighten up the wind turbine on the stand, fix multiple cabinet doors that often come loose and clean up a broken fuse holder on the largest of the three electrical panels, meaning that would all wait until I had time to fix them today or tomorrow. So no rest for the weary, I’m off to fix multiple things before starting the next large project.
But, we were able to coax the big girl into showing a bit of her stuff with a beam on wind coming back into San Diego Bay…with RBC deftly working the wheel to get Tulum up to 7.2 knots in just 11-13 knots of wind. I was impressed and we all enjoyed the fast sailing on a heavy boat. The point here is that no matter if we’re out for a few days of adventure or one day of sailing, we’re always working to improve our skills or fix the broken stuff on Tulum so we can make her better.
LiveFree2SailFast is a website dedicated to family adventures, sailing, boating and adventure travel. We travel with our kids and Great Dane; leaving in November to sail down Baja California with the Baja Ha-Ha 2019. We’d LOVE to have you FOLLOW us on this website, our YouTube Site and our Patreon Site. By the time you read this….we’ll most likely have raised Catalina Island, California for a few days in Two Harbors as we prep to leave in November. Have a Great Weekend.
This was a great big fun week. Sometimes the milestones to accomplish the end goal are thrown at you all at once, like they were this past week.
First, my wife retired after working for the same organization for 22 years. She may decide to eventually go back to work, but we know we’re gonna go cruise for at least the next 3-5 years. Her retirement is a huge milestone for us, as it means we’re getting pretty close to cutting the docklines and taking off. There will be a bit of a sting when the money from the paycheck goes away, but we’re gonna take off cruising anyways, spending less money and already starting to practice better spending habits. We’ve decided to get rid of both of our cars, so that will be one of the final milestones for each of us….as our cars somehow represent independence for each of us I think…but we cross that bridge sometime in the next few months.
Next, a few months ago we bought a SilentWind Pro 12V Wind Turbine that’s been waiting on the right time for installation. We installed it last week while we overhauled the electrical backbone on the boat and fully integrated it into the new power plan for the boat. I’ll talk through that in another post, but needless to say, I’m pretty excited it’s up and working…nearly completely silently.
We also knew that we would need to be able to be off the grid (a slip with A/C) and still run our watermaker and other power sources for long periods of time. I opted to overhaul the power backbone on the boat so we would be able to run most of the boat using DC systems…vice having to use a generator all the time. We opted to route the incoming A/C through a massive inverter/charger that would be able to handle the load from our portable water maker, so we bought a Magnum MS Series Pure Sine Wave Inverter/Charger and installed new power cables to push charge up to the panels mid-ship. The massive Magnum MS 2812 will be able to support plenty of juice throughout Tulum and was a significent investment in our own internal infrastructure. Although we hired a very, very smart electrical expert to help us install this and the Wind Turbine, it was priceless education for me. I’ll discuss further in another post on the subject.
Finally, the day before my wife’s retirement when we had 15 out of town guests arriving for dinner on the boat….our new liferaft arrived (2 months early). But…so much better than late. With me actually getting a haircut to get all pretty and trimmed up, my wife had to write a big check to the gentlemen delivering the raft and haul it on the boat. I’ll write a much more detailed post on our thoughts on why we bought this particular liferaft, but needless to say…it’s here. Our Revere brand liferaft arrived shiny and new, with a deck cradle. I’m pretty stoked as this is another milestone for us…replacement of the old liferaft was one of our mandatory requirements to leave.It’s been a crazy fun week and weekend and now we’re moving on to other projects. This week we’ll have an expert electronics installer working with me to install our Iridium Go and marine broadband router, helping to modernize our communications backbone. I’m pretty excited by all this. Needless to say, there was some stress last week as the entire master berth needs to be torn apart every time we work on batteries or need to get into my back closet…so I’ll include this parting shot of what the salon looks like while that work is going on…while living with a Great Dane and two small children on the boat.
We leave with Baja Ha-Ha in early November and invite you to follow our blog to share our adventures.
Sometimes I need to slow down and breathe, savoring the moments in life happening around me. Last couple of posts I’ve alluded to how much July would throw at us…..and it has. I’m drinking it up. And, my lack of writing means I’ve been working…a lot.
But more important than the boatwork (by far) is the fact that my wife will cross one of life’s bridges tomorrow; by retiring. I’m very proud of her. Her retirement is a major personal milestone. – Did you know that most jobs don’t offer retirement or retirement plans (in the US) anymore? I didn’t know that- Although we are headed for a family milestone in Nov, her retirement is pretty huge for our family.
Teagan’s working on her first killer video for Kids Corner Friday and we’ll look at it to see if we can post it tomorrow or if we’ll do some more editing on it. With the completion of several very large projects on Tulum this week, I’m able to get back to the website.
If you know us, this blog will be a great way to communicate with us when we leave.
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Slowly, projects have started to come together here on Tulum. I’ve already ranted and raved about how I usually have 2-3 projects going at the same time, but sometimes it’s hard to know what they are and see evidence they’re getting done. A neighbor was surprised last week when she asked if we still had major projects to complete on the boat. I couldn’t help but stifle a giggle, as it’s obvious even our closet neighbors don’t realize all the stuff we have going on the boat at once. But finally, some projects have started to gel and I’ve pretty happy that they’re starting to come together.
Today I finished the blinds. I’ve been working on this project for several months and on various occasions it’s really been slow. The old ones were the metal pull shades that tended to be really nice in port, but would have been a nightmare in rough seas:
Michelle picked the fabric and I spent the next four months working on different projects, without thinking through how much work some curtains would be. They were more work than I imagined, but today they came together and I’m done with that project:
Today I also climbed the main again and re-installed our new check stays, made of Dyneema. They went up quick after I finally climbed the mast in early morning (less wind) and they really seem to sexy up the boat!
I’m concurrently working on sewing our new dinghy chaps (kicking my ass) and we’ve confirmed our appointment to get our new stainless welded onto Tulum for our new antenna farm and wind generator. Going to be a busy July!
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We’re making baby steps toward leaving in November….one thing at time but at least three projects going at any one time; if that makes any sense. Last week we knocked a couple things off the list as we were between “Camp Grandma’s”. We were able to get the kids their new passports (both parents have to be there/you must have a passport with more time on it than 6 months before you leave the country), we did our last Minney’s run (coming home with several great finds) and we officially emptied out and gave up our storage shed! This last one was huge, as it means we’ve cast off the safety net of being able to throw the junk in the shed and not worry about it. Ever figured out how much junk can go into your car before you reach a breaking point? See my wife’s Jeep right about now-
As I said above, I’m in the middle of three different projects with mando mid-July completion dates (before we have boatloads of family and friends here for my wife’s retirement). I’m currently knocking out the varnishing projects (inside and out), working on making my own dinghy chaps (despite getting several polite suggestions that others could help make them for a fee) and working on getting the stainless project done that will hold our new antennas and wind generator off the stern davits. This is one of the last major expenses we have besides the new liferaft.
So, no kids column today as the kids are at Camp Grandma but Quincy will be back Sunday with more advice and wisdom. Till then, keep reading!
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Heading from San Diego to Catalina Island by sailboat is fairly easy…unless you want to try to sail the distance via a straight course. Most of the time the wind blows from the north straight south, meaning most boats will be heading directly into the wind to get to Catalina on the shortest course from San Diego. If you have time; you can tack toward Catalina Island, but that will add infinite hours to your sail. There are also folks who break up the trip by heading for guest slips in Oceanside or Dana Point, making it a 2-3 day trip just to get to the island from San Diego. We neither tack or break up the trip getting there; but we do have to motor TO Catalina, always trying to sail back. Seriously, without the motor heading to Catalina it’s just no contest, as we usually don’t have the time it would take to do the long sweeping tacks (on a rhumb line it’s approx 72 miles to Catalina just from the 4th buoy outside of San Diego). We’ve done this trip many times from Oceanside when we had a boat there, but it’s a different animal from San Diego. Read on for more- (more…)