Jan 14 2014

Video of 10-month Sailing Trip from Florida to New Zealand

Published by under The Adventure


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Jun 23 2010

Baja Bash: Bahia San Hipolito to Bahia de Asuncion (June 23, 2010)

The sail today from Bahia San Hipolito to Bahia de Asuncion is a short one–a bit longer than 20Nm. So far, I have been either motoring or motor sailing the entire distance. Today, however, I wanted to try full sail into the wind to see how it affects the speed of the transit, and because of the short distance, I could sail all day and still make it the next landfall in daylight. And, well . . . it was brilliant.

Marishanna’s pedigree is really shining on this trip. She is a fast boat. With her 5’6″ headroom, no noise or temperature insulation, and missing necessities for cruising, she excels in one area–speed. Under sail in a a breeze that freshened all day to a steady 22knots, Marishanna sailed a steady 6.5knots.

Bahia de Asuncion is a fairly large, well-protected anchorage, and there were 8 other boats anchored in the bay. On the far West side, there is an rock island with a couple that lives on it–and, a huge colony of sea lions, pelicans and other birds and healthy kelp beds surrounding it. Although it may be possible to travel between the island and the shore, it is shallow and not recommended except with local knowledge.

When I pulled into Bahia de Asuncion, I saw that my very, very good friends Ryan and Kristina on Caramello (think apple pie . . . . ) were already at anchor and on shore, and I anchored in 25 feet of water about 200 yards behind them.

All in all, the day and the experiment were both a success: I did not lose a significant amount of time under full sail, used zero diesel along the way, and had the beautiful, quiet, blissful experience of sailing that hooked me in the first place–all while returning the boat any myself safely to California . . . .

Later in the evening, I spoke with Ryan and Kristina from Caramello and without the internet access, I have been without fresh weather information (still tinkering around with the SSB radio). My weather info is about 5 days old. They had fresh information and were leaving at 10pm to sail the flat seas and relatively small winds to make the final 50 miles to Bahia de Tortugas.

I liked the idea of joining them, but had just set the anchor at 3pm, and would need some rest before an overnight passage. So, I opted to follow them in the early morning, rather than through the night.

They also loaned me two jerry cans of diesel fuel–because I still do not have access to the bottom 75% of the fuel tank because of the lifting pump problem.

27°08.068′ N
114°13.473′ W

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Dec 01 2009

Racing Towards Bahia Santa Maria

Somewhere during our first leg of the trip, we had forgotten that this was a race. We had started joking that “we are cruisers now,” and as we would collectively make decisions, we would posit, “Are we thinking like racers or cruisers?”

The two groups are not mutually exclusive, nor are they in confrontation with one another. For example, there was a green-hulled boat only a few feet longer than ours who smoked by us, and it looked like a pretty comfy ride. Turns out that it was a custom-designed Farr 44 purpose-built to cruise comfortable AND go really, really fast while doing it. The point is that on the first leg of the trip, all of our little-racers-within were lulled into a sweet nap while we “enjoyed ourselves” in the cruising mode.

On the second leg–something snapped. Or popped. Or awoke. In all of us. Maybe it was the adrenaline from the start. Or, more likely, it was pulling into the Bahia de Tortugas with 60 boats from the fleet already waiting for us. I, for one, thought a we pulled into the last anchorage, “Wait a minute. We are down here on a RACE boat–with no insulation, exactly ZERO exquisite staterooms, with a two-burner stove and a one-holer toilet seat for which we fabricated a CURTAIN to give us the illusion of privacy, and weighing roughly less than the diesel, water and provisions you are carrying on-board . . . and, YOU beat us?”

Regardless of what the motivation was, each of our little-racers-within awoke from their nap, and they were hungry. No motor. Spinnaker through the night. No set the spinnaker to a conservative setting and forget it. This was war–or, better, this was a RACE! There isn’t really a trophy, per se, but we wanted an illusionary one. We wanted “bragging rights” which has its own HUGE currency in the superstitious, over-indulgent, beer-swilling, story-telling world of sailors. And, race we did.

The winds picked up and were blowing around 25 knots during the end of the first day, and Nathan hand-drove for hours–keeping the boat on the edge to drain every ounce of speed out of her . . . because Marishanna shines in these conditions: downwind, big seas, and 25 knots of breeze. If it wasn’t for the warmer water, she might have thought she was at home in San Francisco.

With the spinnaker up and sailing downwind, a racing sailboat can do magical things. If the driver knows what he/she is doing, they feel the wave approaching (there is also a rhythm to it), and they turn the transom of the boat to sit firmly on the wave, and for a few brief moments, the hull partially pulls out of the water and basically “surfs” down the waves. By definition, sailboats should only be able to go a certain speed calculated by the length of the hull. In these brief moments, however, a light, fast, raceboat with a large spinnaker sail up, properly-designed stern, a powerful wave, and a good driver, and you can reach speeds above your hull-speed (Marishanna’s hull-speed is in the mid-to-high 7 knots).

With Nathan driving and the conditions right, we peeled off consistent 10’s–for awhile, doing it with almost every wave. We hit some pretty regular 11’s and saw numbers as high as 15 knots. And, that is how you win races.

Sailing to Bahia Santa Maria was about 280 nautical miles. We ripped off the first 180 miles in about 20 hours, and as the wind died from 25 knots to 15 knots and down to 10knots, we continued to drain every ounce of speed we could get from the boat.

Somewhere in the early hours of the morning (around 4am), a bit more than 2 days after we started, we crossed the finish line. We weren’t the first to arrive, but at least we were respectable (in the top 20) and, had our pick of the anchorages.

And, yes, the green boat was already there . . . .

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Nov 07 2009

Pacific Ocean Sunset

There are still a lot of details to sort out in the next few days and writing time has been pretty sparse. The Baja Ha-ha activities are still happening, and we are sorting through customs and various paperwork. Right now, we have a slip in the marina in the middle of it all. The restrooms and showers are wonderful, we are in the middle of the night-life and close to everything. In another few days, that is going to change . . . .

I will be moving the boat to an anchorage right outside of the resorts and using the dinghy to get back and forth to town. There are currently roughly 100 boats anchored out in the bay, although in a few days, they will start to peel out for their various destinations. Some will sail towards La Paz, Mazatlan, or Puerto Vallarta, and others will begin sailing against the winds on the delivery back to colder climates (we call it the Baja Bash). Still others will sail down closer to the equator in preparation for their “Puddle Jump” to the Marquesas.  I will stay here in Cabo San Lucas on my 40-foot floating city.

While still sorting and officiating all of the things that need to be officiated, I tempt you with this–another stunning sunset on the Pacific Ocean.

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