I am so excited today because I finally have interior lights back in the boat. I guess the one thing that living on a boat on a mooring does is help with priorities and boy was I missing lights. Keith spent today identifying the massive bundle of interior wires and re-wiring them to the new panel so I'm a super happy camper tonight sitting her with a warm glow overhead rather then the highly efficient but highly annoying LED lights put out by the camping lanterns were using. Now, if only I could get hot water without running the engine, then my life would be in really great shape. Unfortunately I don't see that happening. I think it was a good thing that we were living in the harbor last year with shore power as I think the transition would have been a challenge. On the flip side, now that I know what shore power provides it's kind of a bummer not to have it. Course the bright side is that Keith hasn't wired the shore power so even if we were at the dock I wouldn't have the creature comforts of a freezer or hot shower.
We've been having a blast with the inflatable when returning to the boat in the evening. The kids get a total kick out of getting air off the top off the swell...it's better then any amusement ride. Just tonight the little boys were laughing so hard they couldn't breath. Hearing their hysterical giggles is priceless for sure.
A curfew? Yes...you read that right. Keith and I now have to be home by dark...literally! The inside scoop is that they close access to the wharf and the attached dinghy dock at night. We were completely unaware of this and proceeded to come home last night at midnight to a massive iron gate shut tight with two locks and our home securely inaccessible beyond it. Fortunately for us our buddy Neil lives a short jaunt away and didn't mind us crashing at his place so late at night. Also thankfully the little guys were at Auntie's otherwise what was a pretty big hassle would have turned into a raging nightmare!
I popped into the restaurant tonight, who is apparently the gatekeeper, to figure out what time the gates actually closed and we were told "Well, it's slow tonight so we'll probably close around 8pm". So yah....not only do we have a curfew but it appears to be somewhat variable. Brilliant!
We are still rock'n and rolling and I think fondly of the calm waters of Half Moon Bay. Hmmm....maybe a commute from there might be better. The parking situation here is, as you can imagine for a beach town in the middle of summer, a really big challenge which I think we'll just have to work with.
On the bright side, the wind was calm today and the water pretty flat so Mason took his little brother out in the inflatable and they had a ball zipping all around. Also, the beach here is a lot of fun and the shops are nice. I'm hoping we get a chance to take advantage of the town a little while we are here because I remember liking it so much when Mason was very little and we would walk down the hill from our apartment.
Meanwhile Keith has been back at the boat projects. He finished up redoing the plumbing for the holding tank and pump out which he felt was poorly designed. So now we have a new pump out access point on the other side of the boat and a fraction of the tubing passing bodily fluids through the boat. A yucky project but one I'm glad to have wrapped up. I'm lobbying hard now for the next project to be finishing the interior lighting. We are still working with flashlights essentially which is a little too close to camping to me. I'll feel a whole lot better when we can say that project is done.
South swell, NW winds or just a rolly-polly boat...not sure the root cause but we are seriously rock'n and rolling in Capitola. As noted in my last post we tootled our way south to pick up a mooring late Saturday afternoon when the wind had died down quite a bit. We put up the main and enjoyed a sail as the sun set for the day. I had never personally moored at Capitola so wasn't sure what to expect whether it would be like the moorings at Angel Island or more like the ones we've used at Catalina Island. The truth was, it was like neither one...much worse. Essentially we are being asked to thread a needle while 8 feet off the ground and riding a wave. A ridiculous endeavor! I asked Keith if he had any suggestions and it came down to hanging out on the dolphin striker to run the line through the eye bolt on the moving mooring ball while he drove the boat...um...yah! I figured I'd give it a shot....so we proceeded to try and fail miserably. On our boat, you really cannot see the mooring at all once you get close enough and in order to reach it you have to be one foot off the water which makes it impossible to give directions to the person at the helm.
After our beautifully crafted failure I suggested to Keith that we try the approach used somewhat successfully at Angel Island which was to launch the dinghy and get next to the mooring while someone tosses the line from the boat down to the person in the dinghy. He agreed with the plan so we came around close to the mooring ball so I could get into the dinghy and be ready. We came by it a little faster then I was prepared for and I got into the dinghy a wee bit late so was forced to paddle against wind and current to get to the mooring. Major arm workout! Keith nosed up and dropped me the line and I was able to get it through the eye and back to Keith to secure. Quite frankly I'm sure we provided great entertainment to the others already sitting snugly on their moorings. I guess as we do this more we'll get the technique down but meanwhile I don't mind providing a little evening entertainment!
So there we are on the mooring and the swell coming in is crazy! The boat is rock'n and rolling as much or more then when we were heading down the coast in open ocean. We decided that the best plan was to get everyone snuggled in their beds for the night. The two little guys settled down pretty easily as it was, by this time, pretty far past their bedtime. Mason and Keith played some cards while I went about straightening a bit. After 30 minutes Mason says he's feeling a bit queasy so I find him some meds and get him settled into our bed in the aft cabin which is the best place to be. We managed to ride out a very bumpy restless night and hoped that some calm would come soon. Which it seems might have arrived today....thank goodness.
When we brought the boat down the coast we had high hopes that we'd be able to find a sublet in Santa Cruz Harbor - we were super lucky last year to score a slip for a few months and it made life so easy for us. This year our contacts at the harbor pretty quickly squashed that idea. I guess they are still undergoing major renovations from the tsunami that hit the harbor last year and there just aren't any spots available. So Keith and I started to assess plan 'B'. Our options were either anchoring off the Boardwalk which is free, a pretty convenient location and the wharf and Boardwalk are fun for the boys OR heading down to Capitola and picking up a mooring which is is a bit of money out of pocket (~135 a week) but we sit on a secure mooring and Capitola has some great food and beaches.
The harbor came by early Saturday to nudge us out of the harbor having already overstayed our welcome by staying on end tie for a few days and using O'Neill's vacant dock while they were out of town (the benefits of Keith working for them). We filled up the water tanks, dashed to the store for last minute items like more milk (never enough with three growing boys) and headed out to set anchor by the Boardwalk for at least the day while Keith taught lessons. I have to say Keith and I have gotten pretty damn good at setting anchor - mainly due to improved communication - so we were quickly settled. I have to admit that I wasn't too thrilled with Keith leaving us out there. He had to work and the wind was expecting to build to 30 knots and though protected by the wharf we would still get some residual. Keith's parting words were "if it gets too windy let out some scope". Hmmmm. I really hate parting words like that.
The little guys and I hung out and played cards and read or played Lego's while the teenager slept and slept and slept. Finally at noon I gave up and woke Mason up so we could venture over to the wharf which was hosting Woodies on the Wharf and more importantly has a Marini's Candy...yum! By the time the teen woke up and was cognoscente the wind had really built up and I was nervous about leaving the boat. I did let out more scope as instructed but I just can't get use to sitting on anchor when it's bumpy like that. Mason was cute, he says "What's the worst that could happen Mom?"...um...like our house going on the beach??? I have to give him credit for trying to calm his nervous Mom!
After another hour of bumping all over I finally just decided we needed to get off the boat so we paddled to the wharf and enjoyed a trip to the candy shop and doing some people watching. We hooked up later with family and Keith and did dinner then paddled our way back to the boat to decide on our next steps. I finally convinced Keith that I truly was not comfortable on anchor with 30 knots blowing so when it settled down at sunset we headed south to pick up a mooring in Capitola...which is a whole other adventure...
We arrived in Half Moon Bay just before sunset and set anchor pretty easily, which I was rather excited about because our communication skills have lacked in this department and learning a new boat and it's particular quirks didn't help. So we are set for the night and hunker down for some food and bed as we are all totally exhausted after a twelve hour day on the water.
Keith wakes me in the morning to get going early and we start up the engine and begin to pull in the anchor, at which point Keith is grossed out by how much mud the anchor and chain are pulling up. We pull out a bucket and brush and proceed to go slowly and clean. Oh and Keith asks me to turn off the engine while we go through the lengthy process. We get the anchor and chain all clean and settled and Keith asks me to start up the engine. Nut'n! No engine. So Keith goes below to tinker once again while I keep an eye on our drift (since the anchor is now up). Luckily there is no wind and no current so Steadfast just holds pretty steady but I'm a nervous wreck. Keith continues to tinker and I continue to ask if we should put the anchor back down for another 10 minutes until Keith finally agrees that whatever is going on isn't a quick fix. We set the anchor again and Keith takes a look once more. This is around 7:30am.
A few hours later Keith has back tracked the electrical and "thinks" it's the solenoid so I check online and find a somewhat local Napa Auto Parts and they say they could probably match it if we bring it in. We pump up the inflatable and row to shore to catch a taxi down the Coast to the town of Half Moon Bay. $16 later we arrive at Napa Auto Parts and the very nice guy finds a close match, close in that the brackets aren't the same but Keith is willing to go for it. We decide to grab a burrito as it's now lunchtime and we decide to spend a bit less on the ride back with the local bus system which dropped us right at the harbor for $5.25. Nice! We putter back out to the boat and Keith goes to work while Loren plays on my Nook (a gadget I'd horded for such a boredom emergency) and I opt for a nap. Keith is muttering and tinkering and I remember him saying at one point "I just want you to know, you didn't marry a diesel mechanic." to which I mutter back encouraging words because he may not be a mechanic but at least he knows one end from the other which is a far cry from what I know!
I'm laying there dozing when I hear the engine start to life. Yipee! We are back and going. I jump up, we pull anchor and off we head for Santa Cruz, a mere six hours later then anticipated. The seas had flattened out nicely but the wind was blowing from the South and right on our nose so we didn't get much help from it. This was apparent also by the number of boats we saw heading North, taking advantage of the nice weather. At most on this trip in the past I've seen two boats, this time we saw five, all headed up towards San Francisco. We push on past all the points we know so well and chug into Santa Cruz to the most amazingly beautiful sunset. A picture perfect ending to our first jaunt of the season!
We were pleasantly surprised at the time we made getting to the gate and attempted to head under her about 3:15 when an ebb was flowing and we could get a little push out the gate. We came around the point and hit a wall of 30 knot winds funneling through the gate and wave/chop pounding the boat hard. Within 5 minutes our jib was flapping, the hard dinghy had jumped out of its holder and Keith and I were getting pummeled by sheets of water. Keith and I looked at each other and decided quickly to bail on this attempt. We managed a tack and tucked back towards Sausalito to batten down the hatches and wait for the tide to settle a bit more (max slack was at 4pm).
In the calm behind the hills we tied down the jib, double reefed the main, re-tied down the dinghy with even more line and pulled on our full foulies and as much warm clothes for Loren as we could muster and decided to try again. Second time around was still pretty rough and Steadfast was taking a pounding so we decided to give it a little more time to get closer to that slack time. We tucked in again behind the hills and with just the main up turned off the engine to sit it out for a little bit longer.
After 15 or 20 minutes we decided to give it one final shot or go to plan B which was to stay overnight at Sausalito. Keith asked me to go below and start the engine....I turned the key and .... nut'n. No engine. So Keith heads below to take a gander while I stayed out of trouble and kept us going in circles that didn't come near land or other boats. After a bit of tinkering Keith gets the engine going and we get underway. Out of curiosity I ask what the problem was and he says something about water coming in and shorting out the ground on the starter, water from a faulty thru hull that he plugged and ducked tape.
"Did you just say we have a hole in the boat?!?" This was me to Keith as we are starting towards the gate. Keith assured me it was above the water line and not a concern and since he would never, ever put us in danger I figure we are good and continue our try number three at the gate.
Amazing what a little time can do - while the wind was still cranking through the slot the water had flattened out tremendously and we pushed under the gate. After which Loren jumped up and down and celebrated our passage underneath. We passed a couple tankers and turned left towards Half Moon Bay where our adventure continued...
One thing I have to say about sailing is that planning and schedules can pretty much be tossed out the window...or port hole in our case. They are merely guidelines I think...kind of like the speed limit signs seen in California.
Keith, Loren and I headed up to Napa on Thursday night to check out Steadfast and get her ready to go. The plan was to take off first thing Friday morning between 6 and 8am in order to hit the tides we wanted. The only part of the plan that seemed to work on the schedule was the getting to the boat part.
We got up Friday morning and proceeded to get the boat ready. There were quite a few things that needed to get moved back onto the boat, like jib sheets and cushions. In addition, I needed power for my laptop, cell phone and mifi as I was planning on working the day on the boat while we toodled down the river. Keith didn't have the car power outlet (formerly known as a cigarette lighter) setup so he took time in the morning to get that installed again. We got underway a little before 10 and started our jaunt down the river. I actually enjoy this time, reading the charts, looking for the right bouys or signs and ensuring we don't go aground is fun for me. We made it out to Mare Island and called the bridge operator to open it for us. This is another part of the trip to Napa that I get a kick out of. All traffic has to stop as the operator raises the bridge for us to go under. In my minds eye I'm envisioning my adoring fans looking on as we pass under the bridge. In actuality it's probably just car loads of people cursing my timing and wishing I'd hurry the hell up so they aren't late to their next appointment or some such. I prefer my version - though I haven't gone so far as to do my queen's wave. Maybe next time.
We raised our main and motor sailed our way out into San Pablo Bay where we saw a few big boats. We actually made great time as Steadfast seems to happily chug along at 7 knots and even past 8 with the tides help. We made it past Angel Island and out towards the Golden Gate and that is where our first adventure began....
Today was the big day...Steadfast went back in the water. Keith and Mason drove up last night and stayed overnight in order to get done with some of the last minute To Do's - like removing the paint tape and putting on the prop zinc. Then at 10am the process began with lifting the boat onto the trailer and dropping her in the water. The whole time Keith was sending me text messages and my tummy was doing somersaults with nerves. I'd had nightmares of thru hulls popping when the boat hit the water or some seal or another leaking so profusely that'd we'd need to pull her back out. I DO have a very active imagination! Needless to say I was thrilled when I got the final text that not only was the boat in the water but the engine started on the first try and they had moved the boat to the guest dock.
Oh my goodness...there are muscles that I'm feeling that I didn't even know existed! My weekend was spent under the boat, first buffing the old bottom paint then applying a new layer and the end result....my arms feel like they weigh an additional ten pounds each but the bottom looks fabulous. We just have one more zinc to find for the prop and the boat is ready to go back in the water (from the bottom perspective that is).
Meanwhile Keith was working on finishing up his lengthy to do list.: new packing gland, new fuel hoses, finishing wiring, etc etc etc. Then we worked to get all the boat repair stuff off the boat and she looks like a real functional boat again. We are going to chat with the yard about when they can drop her back in the water then, barring any unforseen adventures, (ie engine not working etc) I think we are going to take her over to Alameda for the rigging to be assessed.
Keith is pretty concerned about the mast being raked too far back, and chatting with Pat on Bumfuzzle - he said neither his nor the other two Spindrifts he has seen have raked masts. Safety says this needs to be looked at by a professional....so off to Alameda we go and further delays to heading down the coast to Santa Cruz. This seems to be the boating way - schedules really should just not be part of the equation. This is a little challenging for a Project Manager to adjust to. Perhaps if I were retired and could change my whole mindset but I'm not retired and that's the way my brain spins.
As a family we are sorta settled in 'Cruz now, hang'n with our friend Neil (Uncle Neil to the kids - whom they totally adore). It's cozy but do-able as we push to wrap up the key projects to get the boat in the water. Keith ordered the new hose for the engine (read $$$$) to replace the one that wasn't broken but not ideal. I'm sure you can sense a little marital drama there! In addition, the new brass 90 degree hose fitting is on an overnight delivery for tomorrow at Napa. Hopefully these are the last items we'll need to get that engine all beautifullly running again. We are going to focus on cleaning things up this weekend and schedule the drop in the water...provided Keith doesn't find anything else that isn't broken but not ideal again. :)
I'm the wife of the captain, a mother of three boys and a PM in the corporate world. This blog is my view of life and activities related to our boat.