November 2, 2014
We are in San Diego – last stop in the US before heading down the coast of Mexico and beyond.
The trip from Oxnard to San Diego was a first – we sailed the whole way! We did 139 miles in 28 hours (under sail), first with a light breeze, then later with a strong one. We had to tack around a fair amount, as the wind was never exactly right for our course, but Serafina did as well as 8.3 knots through the water, so we still made a good average time.
It was Hannah’s first leg of the trip, and the first time on a sailboat for her friend Sean – “the tree man.” He did great, sharing a watch with me, while Hannah was on watch with Birgit. Their 10:00pm to 2:00am watch was an exciting one – strong winds, rail dipped in the water, salt water roaring down the deck, then pouring rain. Hannah is settling right in and will be an excellent sailing companion – she was right at home at the tiller in the dark and the wind.
Special thanks to Sean, who pointed out a worn spot on the foresail halyard. A biologist, he climbs trees a lot, and thus pays attention to lines. Something inside the mast is chafing the halyards (the lines that raise the sails) when the sails are hoisted – right where they pass by the radar antenna. Big problem, since we can’t be changing out halyards every few weeks. For now, the worn spots are reinforced with polyester seizing twine. Once the foresail halyard is replaced, that may be enough. We’ll figure something out. Any suggestions? Maybe wrapping the chafe spots with stainless steel wire?
Talk about the lap of luxury. Our membership in the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club ($75 a year) entitles us to moorage at the San Diego Yacht Club – not for free, of course. What a place! If you took all the negatives about the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club and changed them to positives, and all the positives about the STYC and changed them to negatives, you’d have a perfect idea of the San Diego Yacht Club.
For example, as a negative, the STYC does not have an Olympic size swimming pool sparkling under brilliant blue skies. On the other hand, a positive, STYC has a great dive bar with fine hamburgers and two pool tables. Another positive is that I bet no one has ever joined the STYC to “do” business lunches, or to enhance their career or their “social position”…
All the way down the US coast, we felt like the leading edge of winter was just a few steps behind us. A passing cold front was what made our trip from Oxnard to San Diego exciting. But now we’re getting into something different – the relatively less detailed information about ocean weather in more remote areas, and the still-lingering East Pacific hurricane season, usually a summertime issue. Hurricane Vance is lurking along the central coast of Mexico, forecast to turn north. Vance is “only” a Category 1 hurricane, with sustained winds of 70 knots, but, still…
Vance will be history by the time we get to areas the storm might affect, and let’s hope he’s the last of the fall’s uninvited guests.
We’ll head out Tuesday or Wednesday, next stop most likely “Turtle Bay” about halfway down the coast of Baja. Most all our paperwork for Mexico is in order, including a very colorful and official-looking “Temporary Importation Permit” for the boat. We’ll pick up a Mexican fishing license at a fishing equipment store here in San Diego on Monday -and get a couple nice tuna lures at the same time.
It’s time to check the stock of critical items, like Joy dish soap, #6 coffee filters and other hard-to-find things that seem essential to life as we know it. Triscuits can be replaced with tortillas, but there’s no substitute for Joy!