Archive for August, 2009

A Puacity of Wind

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

We brought the wrong boat, we need something with a wakeboard rack for the smooth glassy waters of central California. That would be fun. Burning dinosaurs for 24 hrs has not been so fun although it has its benefits, we take hot showers, make water (from seawater, then we “make water”), bake bread, and sleep like babies even though it sounds like we’ve been left by our mothers in the trunk of a VW Beetle. I’m planning to get out my marbles later for a championship match with S to try and win back that vintage cat’s eye. Its a rare opportunity here at sea.

If you consider it unwise to make jokes at the expense of the Central California waters please know that we are laughing through our tears at the early demise of “Fritz” the autopilot. Fritz steers when we motor using a brilliant (and cost conscious) mechanical arrangement that normally steers the boat to a desired angle off the wind. When there is no wind Fritz becomes the wind to our steering gear “Twitchy” and we merrily loaf around in the cockpit while he directs Twitchy where to steer the boat. It worked well for both us, we were not tied to the wheel for a 5 hour watch and Fritz didn’t have to strain against the boat, he just has to push Twitchy around like the gentlest breeze.

In a hierarchical sense Fritz was elevated above other autopilots. He was not steering the boat, he was managing Twitchy who was steering the boat. He was promoted far beyond his peers who steer much smaller boats. But the responsibility was too much and he fried his drive motor. It was probably congenital. The timing could not have been worse, at the very start of this extended motor haul.

Twitchy is awesome.

38°36.00’N 124°42.00’W 27-Aug-09 20:47 UTC

The Cape at Dawn

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Cape Mendocino is 80 nm to port. Our weather routing seems to have worked, we have barely enough wind to ghost through these maligned waters. I’ll take 20% credit for this, the other 80% goes to a combination of delightful randomness and the prayer life of parents. We enjoy both, we sail under the eye of God the merciful and compassionate (B’ism Allah a’rahman a’rahim) and to enjoy the delightful unpredictable and random events that make life more than a merry-go-round.

We have structured our lives so that the unpredictable is usually ironic, absurd and entertaining; a 40 year old greybeard watches the sunrise at sea, listening to Gwen Steffani sing about teenage Japanese fashion and contemplating the onrushing course of the container ship Hyundai Tokyo…ridiculous!. This sort of thing makes up 90% of our existence but even we privileged yuppies are not immune from the dark side of the unpredictable. My older brother lost his life to the unpredictable while living the American dream in the heart of suburban safety. Deep thoughts in deep pre-dawn waters.

40°22.46’N 126°12.41’W 26-Aug-09 14:43 UTC

Sounds of the Sea

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

We sail in a symphony of sounds. Most we bring with us in our rigging and hardware, others we bring in our heads. Small birds make up the childrens chorus. Typically we hear:

People talking
Children crying
Anglican Hymns and

Today looks like a fine sail downwind with a double reefed headsail. Last night was a bit of a steeple chase as we made 7+ kts though a choppy 2m sea. A little taste of the notorious California Capes.

42°56.81’N 126°22.21’W 25-Aug-09 01:41 UTC

We’re Off

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

A small group of well wishers saw us off from the fuel dock this morning.

We’ve been motoring all day. Saw one fin whale and rebuilt the entire nav software suite.


Susan, Ken and Allison bound for the Juan de Fuca.

48°12.23’N 123°21.29’W 11-Aug-09 17:39 PDT

The Voyage

Monday, August 10th, 2009

The Psalmist suggests that we go down to the sea in ships and do business on the great waters to see the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep. Its an old story:

A Boat


An Ocean




We quit our jobs. We have a canned chicken. We sail for San Francisco.

47°40.66’N 122°24.56’W 09-Aug-09 23:09 UTC