Wednesday, June 16, 2021

New site for more pics and videos

Just built a new site on smugmug to better host pictures and videos. Its still a work in progress, but I am uploading a lot of still pics from the last year or so. There is also a cruising video section where you will find movies of our most recent Alaska and Channel Islands trips - all broken up into easy to watch segments. You can find the site here:

Please let us know what you think!

Hope to catch up the blog here soon with a series of pics touring the interior and exterior of Kamahele in her current (mostly complete) cruising trim.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The ReCap

From Peter:

Overall, we took about three months for our trip from SF to Alaska and back. We travelled just under 4000 miles at an average speed of 6.5 knots.

We ran the engine for 687.5 hours and burned 1385 gallons total for the trip. This gave us a burn rate of about 2 gallons per hour, though that includes trolling, docking, etc - our average fuel burn at 6.5-7kts was about 2.25 gallons per hour. Overall we got about 2.7 nautical miles to the gallon - not too bad for a 45 ton boat. The sails worked really well for stabilizing with winds in the teens or better and, in one measured test underway between Ketchikan and Meyers Chuck, cut our fuel consumption in half with steady 25 knot winds coming from an ideal direction. We need to work on the rigging though- it was hard to get proper trim sometimes with the headsail. Other than our little fuel solenoid glitch, our little ship ran flawlessly throughout the trip, and never let us down. 

We brought a little Honda 2000EU generator just in case, but we found that our solar (along with charging from the engine alternator when underway) kept our house batteries topped off just fine, running the freezer, reefer, and all our other electrical needs.

The Spectra Cape Horn watermaker worked well throughout the cruise and gave us basically unlimited fresh water with very little maintenance required.

Anchor gear (120lb Rocna anchor and 300 feet of 3/8 G4 chain on a big Hydraulic winch) was completely reliable. We only failed to set once in heavy kelp - we were tired and not very patient. Otherwise our anchor set quick and never dragged. The deepest we anchored was in about 100ft of water (well protected anchorage in settled conditions), otherwise, most of our anchorages fell in the 40-70 ft range in clay/mud or sand/shells.

The Achilles dinghy with 15hp Tohatsu motor was a workhorse and served us well for exploring, fishing, provisioning, etc.

There were a few things that made this trip possible for us (and for which we are very grateful):

The generous "cruising policy" at our homeport of Galilee Harbor.

My work, which allowed me a summertime Leave of Absence.

Our boat, which was reliable and economical to operate, and which kept us safe and comfortable throughout our travels.

Sue's Dad for help at home with mail and other misc. unexpected things that popped up. 

Our excellent crew for the long passages between SF Bay and Puget Sound!

Not sure what our next cruise will be (there are some logistics to workout before we head out for a longer trip than the one we just completed), but a short hop back down to the Channel Islands next summer is on our minds right now...    

From Sue:

Not sure if it's harder to leave or come back - both take a lot of mental & physical effort. Been home for only a few days and already the trip seems a bit like a dream. Yesterday while being sandwiched in a muni car like a sardine (it was worth it to see the new Chase center) I had to close my eyes and conjure the open spaces and fresh air we took for granted all summer. There are some things that are harder: having to provision in different locations, laundromats (machines in various states of decay and crazy costs), timed showers, missing friends and family. But the positives outweigh all that.  Discovering a beautiful anchorage, seeing a pod of dolphins or whales feed, meeting new friends on a friendly dock, taking a lovely hike through a pristine forest, looking at all the cool boats that surround you. You quickly find yourself falling into a daily routine that makes you ponder how you want to spend the rest of your time. For every one place you visit you learn about three others that sound interesting. We met many cruisers who go up every year to cruise around - we were asked numerous times if we would back in the Pacific NW next summer. Unfortunately the answer for next season is no, however in the coming years that will hopefully change. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Home Stretch

Starting to see the ocean swell as we approach Cape Flattery on Saturday evening:

I don't have any pictures or video that illustrate this well, but the first 48 hours of our transit were pretty sloppy. We had a 7-9 foot NW swell and steady 25-30 kt easterlies that refused to lay down. With the winds at 90 degrees to the swell, the seas were consistently lumpy and confused. These conditions are very tiring if they go on for too long... Our crew did a great job though, and were always ready to go when their wheel watches rolled around.

Just before midnight on our second night out found us just past the Columbia River bar in Oregon. We had set a course to bring us a little closer inshore to get out of the bigger offshore swells. About ten miles off the beach, the engine suddenly quit - just like someone turned off the key. I was sleeping in the wheelhouse (with Sue on watch) when this happened, and I was up immediately (0-60 in 2 seconds). Will also woke up and stood by the helm with Sue while I popped down to the engine room for some quick troubleshooting. It become clear pretty quickly that the issue was the fuel supply solenoid on the injection pump. This is a little plunger that opens when you turn on the ignition circuit and allows fuel to reach the injection pump. When you turn off the key (remove voltage) the engine stops. Volt meter showed no voltage at the solenoid so I rigged a quick jumper from the battery to confirm the problem. The engine fired right up 😁. It ran for about half a minute, then shut down again - this time with a stream of smoke coming from the solenoid 😕. So apparently the solenoid was cooked (and had also blown the fuse in the ignition circuit). When I had jumped 12 volts directly from the battery, it continued to fry. With the engine down again, I began to search for a quick solution. I knew that we had a spare (but slightly leaky) injection pump somewhere. It turned out to be in a hatch, under a couch, in the main cabin. after a bit of digging we found it, and I removed the solenoid from the spare pump to replace the failed one on the engine. The whole process took about an hour, and seas were good enough to lay down for us a bit while we were drifting off the beach making repairs. I've often wondered what it would be like to lose your propulsion in the ocean in the middle of the night. Guess I can check that off the list now...

This is the little bugger that stopped our engine. If we hadn't had a spare, I think I could have removed the plunger, threaded it back into the injection pump, and used the fuel supply valve at the day tank to start and stop the engine. 

Back to normal operations onboard...

Kona loved to jump into the captain's chair any chance she could. Once there, she wasn't easily moved. Even piled with five pillows she wasn't moving. Definitely provided some underway entertainment.

Wind and swell from astern- much better ride now:

Catnaps underway:

Spotting dolphins on the bow is always a treat. Once the dolphins showed up, the rest of the ride was very smooth and trouble free. They are indeed a good omen...

On our last night at sea, around sunset, just off Point Arena, we got a special treat. We noticed a whale blow in the distance. It seemed bigger and wider than the usual ones we usually see from humpbacks. Suddenly we saw a large shape in the water - looked similar but different. Moments later, it surfaced right next to the boat on our port side. Turned out to be a blue whale - which is the largest creature on earth. The proportions of it are massive - much bigger than our boat. We suddenly felt very small next to this huge creature. Looking around we saw two other blue whales in the area, though none came so close. Definitely an amazing way to end our journey.

Dawn of day six found us approaching the Marin headlands:

Point Bonita lighthouse:


So we made our transit non-stop from Port Townsend to Sausalito in about 6 days. Not too bad considering the initial slow going for the first few days. We'll have some more thoughts about our trip in a future post once we get settled in to our regular routine here at home...

Port Townsend, Sept 28th

Julius on his first watch:

We decided to stop at Pt Townsend as we had friends who lived there and we wanted to see their new boat. We also had some time to kill as the swell off Cape Flattery was pretty high and we were planning on waiting a bit until it went down. We let the crew drive a bit to get them comfortable with the boat. Got a slip at a marina downtown and immediately got out to explore the town and stretch our legs while we had the chance. Pt Townsend has a lot of character and public art and also a great skateboard park (according to Will and Julius).

Peter and Heidi on their new boat Moccasin:

We definitely could have spent a few days here but the swell around Cape Flattery was improving and we needed to get a move on. Winds and seas were threatening to build near the end of our trip and we knew we needed to be home by early Thursday in order to avoid them. We went to sleep early and tried to rest up before the big cruise down the coast to our homeport of Sausalito.

Anacortes, Sept 24-27th

A short uneventful trip across Rosario Strats brought us to Anacortes where we planned to spend a few days relaxing, prepping the boat, and visiting with friends. This was also our pickup for crew for the trip down the coast to Sausalito. I like Anacortes a lot. It's a real traditional maritime town with shipyards, excellent marinas, and a cool downtown with great food.

Marty & Dana, who live on Whidbey Island, generously offered to pick our crew up at the airport for us. After weeks of being just us, we suddenly had lots of friends around. Our crew for the trip south was Will (from our previous trip up the coast a few months ago), and Julius who is our good friend Heathers son. Julius completed a trip to Mexico and back last winter with his family and was eager to rack up some more sea time. When they arrived, we took a walk over to Dakota Creek shipyard where the last of three ferries for the North Bay ferry operation were built. 

The last boat (LYRA) is coming along well and should be ready to head down to SF in early spring of 2020. 

Exhaust system (Julius for scale)

Fishing Fleet was prepping for crab season:

This boat really caught my eye. A rare steel Romsdal Trawler built in Norway in 1965, and restored to perfection.

A proper monument for a maritime town:

Kona getting some rest for the last leg of our trip:

Hmmm.... a car appears to have jumped the curb and taken out the front entrance of the local DMV:

Seals were making good use of the empty floats here:

Ran across a Corvette club party on our way back from dinner. This is the new Stingray:

Ready to go...