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.
I’m around but distracted because Tulum has been hauled out since late Tuesday but her bottom’s not even started yet. The damn cold and wet weather patterns have not helped. These Jan/Feb/Mar months have been the wettest and coldest I’ve ever experienced in San Diego. In order to save approx $1400 dollars on hotel or Airbnb costs, we elected to stay on the boat and then yard happily obliged. We have power and our crack poop pumper showed up at the yard with a 100 foot hose to clean us out,,,although the yard has very nice heads and a private shower. Climbing the 16 feet to the boat via ladder has not stopped the girls but they have had to learn to slow down and allowed me to help them across the expanse from ladder to boat. The yard starts early in the day and ends work early in the day, something we’ve gotten used to and have worked through. I think we’ll go back in the water by this coming Thurs/Fri, just in time for Michelle to get back from her Japan trip and miss all the fun boat work in the yard projects. I’m sure she’s jealous!
There’s a haul out and spa week coming next week for Tulum V and I can’t wait. She needs this TLC and maintenance prior to us leaving and this happens to be one of the milestones we need to check off prior to starting more serious shakedowns come spring and summer. Here she is hauled out for survey:
Good Morning Everyone, it’s been a crazy long week and more to come next week. This whole week I’ve been working on the boat (of course) but I’ve also been going to night classes at Training Resources Limited Maritime Institute (TRLMI) for a Diesel Engine Maintenance Course. YES, I’m still trying to improve my weak mechanical skills and since I have a firm grasp on my own failings, I already know that I’m not the greatest at mechanical stuff…..and the high jump! As a bonus this afternoon, we were allowed to go on a field trip to check out the engines on Captain Zach’s Newton 46 dive boat. Zach is one of the students in the class and owns Waterhorse Charters and Dive Shop (in San Diego). Because San Diego has a large sunken warship (Yukon) just off the coast, Waterhorse Charters specializes in taking folks out there who come to train for thier PADI or other Wreck Dive Certification. The boat is spotless, has more than required safety gear and his engines are in great shape. I was pretty impressed, cause I’ve been on some pretty janky dive boats in a couple of places, but Captain Zach knows his stuff and has a Master’s License to prove it. Me and him sat in class for a couple of weeks in January 2017 at the (then) Maritime Institute for our Masters License Training, but Maritime Institute has since become TRLMI. I get to wander around the San Diego Sunroad Boatshow tomorrow and then finish up my last Engine Class tomorrow afternoon as well…too much fun. I’m getting LOTS of stuff knocked out on the boat and the next two weeks will be huge weeks for the boat. Next week I have someone coming on the boat to look over my spinnakers with me. Pretty excited, as I don’t have much spinnaker time and every second counts for good experience. In order to shore up some of my weaker points and stop paying ripoff prices for work I can probably do, I’ve also signed up for a week of class for Outboard Engine Maintenance in February and another week of class for Onboard Electrical Systems in March. If you’re interested in these skill sets, TRLMI offers the classes and has a world-class training facility where you’ll get hands-on + instructors who are willing to take the time to explain crucial details along with real world experience. If you want these skills, highly recommend you sign-up for a class somewhere and improve yourself.
I’ll do another couple of posts with more detailed info and pics on Waterhorse Charters, TRLMI and the boat show.
So the above reasons are why I missed Wednesday’s post, but I’m working hard to stay with it. Today was another painting with bilge paint day on the boat before I went on the field trip and I’m gonna have to throw a second coat on tomorrow, then be done with that portion of the paint project. I’ll have some pictures of before and after to awe you with my painting skills and the nastiness of the areas painted….you’ll see we’re making slow progress. Next week it’s into the engine room all week to clean the engine, change the coolant and the oil and then attempt to get to the impeller to change it. My engine is literally put in backwards because of the velvet drive and V drive operation…so getting to the critical bits of it is literally painful boat yoga for midget’s and my kids won’t go into those spaces. I try to bribe them, pay them and threaten them but they will won’t go into those impossible to get to engine spaces so I have to do it….next week. Ok, still got paint on my hands so I have to clean up- see ya-
It’s important that both men AND women have both hands-on experience and theoretical knowledge in order to gain more confidence and safety on the water when sailing or boating. Learning must occur to spark experience. This can be done through boat shows, conferences, reading and hands-on experience- but the point of the first sentence is that it should and can be done by men AND women, not just the manly man on his boat! You see men on boats a lot. This is changing, especially as you immerse yourself in this world and start learning that there are more and more women involved with boating and sailing than you might have thought. There are women sailors and boaters who follow this blog and I hope more will follow as we go. I digress. Calling all Women Sailors and Boaters: If you have the means to get to it, there’s a very good Sailing and Boating Convention just for women coming to Southern California in February 2019. It’s called the Sailing Convention for Women and while it’s not the only one, it’s the only one on the West Coast in the near future. The Convention date is February 2nd 2019 in Newport Beach, Cali, USA. When me and Hotwife were going through the morning and afternoon seminars; I was a bit jealous because there are so many cool seminars that I would like to go to, but she’s going instead. I’ll stay here and babysit (I mean parent).
PS: If you’re around the convention and spot Hotwife, tell her hello-
It’s Veterans Day Weekend and perfect San Diego weather, but we’ve chosen to stay on the dock to keep up our project momentum and give us a chance to take a deep breath. (more…)
Right now we’re on the dock; but as of next October we want to be heading toward life under a giant sunset somewhere. Our equipment and energy choices will have an effect on that life, as we have no desire to sit on a dock somewhere for an extended amount of time. Here’s the story of the curveball thrown at us in the last 3 weeks and how Fate seems to have intervened to help us with some of our equipment and power choices. (more…)