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April 29, 2003

The Trip Has Arrived

The final preparations are almost done. Gary is finishing the grocery shopping up in the Puget Sound. I'm heading off to get two more fishing licenses. I cleaned up the house for the Admiral and the Bean. The props are going to be swapped out tomorrow morning.

I've printed out hard copies of tide times and the coast pilot. The charts should arrive tomorrow morning from GVP at Boatfix. All I have to do is finish packing my bag and get up for the 5:15AM pickup by my car service.

It seems pretty crazy that as long as the weather holds, we will pass under the Golden Gate on Sunday. The weather looks like its going to be great all the way to the Lost Coast. However, there looks like there is a low pressure system that will move close to shore late Saturday. We may be able to get ahead of it and have it push us under the Gate, but it could make the last leg more exciting than I expected. Its kind of odd as I had always expected the Washington and Oregon Coast to be the rough part and the California parts to be relatively calm.

We are still going with the original plan, save for the fact that we are going to head to Neah Bay by sunset and, sleep the night, and depart for Grays Harbor early on the 1st. Also, the crew has changed around a little. Elrod, Gary N, and I are going to be on the first leg from Tacoma to Grays Harbor. Then we're picking up Spencer and Brett at SeaTac Thursday afternoon and heading south.

April 27, 2003

Important EPIRB Tip

At the Pacific Sail Expo I ran across the ACR rep. I had a pressing question/concern about the ACR RapidFix 406 Cat II EPIRB.

While preparing the boat in Tacoma, I hooked up the NMEA out from my Garmin 76Map handheld to get the EPIRB accepting co-ordinates. The way you tell it's working is that the self test is slightly different (an extra tone and flash of the LEDs) after the device has gotten co-ordinates.

Trouble is that there is no way to tell if it has gotten a subsequent update. You could very easily find yourself in the situation where the device is activated off the coast of Oregon and it reports you as sitting in Tacoma for example. Granted COSPAS/SARSAT will figure out that the co-ordinates are wrong, but that could add 10 to 15 minutes to the rescue time. Can I say brrr here?

I was thinking that no co-ordinates is a better failure state than wrong co-ordinates... The manual only cryptically refers to a section that mentions the only way to clear the latitude and longitude memory is to activate the device, but of course you should never activate it except in an emergency. That section was awfully clear.

The rep told me to get a household magnet and touch it to the plastic over top of the piece of metal visible above the engagement lever. This turns it very briefly "on" but not fully on. Then you can run a self test and it should complete the pattern for a self test without GPS data. You can then have it grab new data from the GPS and then the self test will indicate the prescence of GPS data.

The reason this was really important is that after I wired it to my handheld, I decided to get serious and wire it into the permanently installed Lowrance in the dash. This requires a heck of a lot more work but was the right thing to do on many levels. I was just concerned that I would not be able to figure out if it is working correctly or not and now I can...

April 25, 2003

Prep Is Done

Prep for The Trip is complete. I sit comfortably in my den here in the Bay Area hatching final plans and emailing the crew.

It turned out that the port fuel injection pump only needed a good cleaning - not a full replacement. Now that that is done, I am within 50-75 RPMs of full unloaded and loaded which is a dramatic improvement and darn good enough. Also, after checking the riser, it turned out to be in better shape than originally thought and as such I now have a spare.

I finished most all of the outfitting and supplies purchasing. Due to a tip from TCY at Boatered who used to moor in the same marina with me, I hit Harbor Freight in Tacoma. Really cheap and really good tools were available in abundance. I also caved and decided to not use handlines, but to buy a couple of rods and reels and tackle to go after some Salmon on the way down.

I passed my vessel safety check with flying colors and found out that the Boat US online course that I took and passed is a qualifying new boater class. Also in the safety category I got the EPIRB accepting co-ordinates from the GPS which should speed a rescue if that was ever needed.

As I was packing my things to head to the airport, one of the Breakwater Marine guys operated my new Lectra/San for the first time. Very satisfying.

Breakwater has been beyond great. They stuck me in their boathouse and made me feel right at home while doing excellent work and doing it all for a great rate. If you need boat work in Tacoma, they are my favorite. I wish I would have found them sooner - lots of the issues I had been dealing with would be gone.

It looks like the crew is going to be Gary N., Spencer B., Elrod, Brett T., and me. I've been perusing the NOAA Coastal forecasts and the Navy FNMOC and NOAA Weatherfaxes and it looks like the weather is going to hold though the trip may end up being a little grey and drizzly. I'll take grey and wet in trade for low winds and small long period swells.

I'm really looking forward to it.

Shirts Rule

I just got back from Tacoma and I will post more about the set up later.

I opened the T-shirt from CafePress and it looks awesome. Order away.

April 23, 2003

Prep In Tacoma

Today was a relatively productive day. I sit typing in this cool little boathouse that is attached to the workshop at Breakwater Marina. Breakwater's gang is installing a Lectra/San today and is about 3/4 done and will put the fuel pump on tomorrow.

I ran all over Seattle picking up a riser (exhaust manifold) and then took the ferry over from downtown Seattle to Bremerton. I forgot how cool ferries are. The spare props have been fully tuned and they look amazing. I'm going to have diver put them on in the next couple of days.

I got almost all of the provisions and gear bought and put away on the boat Lots of little projects are done including a very nifty way to secure the fridge underway as well as the TV. I've got a Coast Guard Aux guy coming tomorrow to do a courtesy Vessel Safety Check so that I hopefully cut down on the number of actual Coastie inspections after crossing bars...

Lots done and still lots to do.

The crew continues to morph. Al has some NBC army stuff - and no, thats not the TV network - so he can't make it. It turns out that Brett has experience with Dramamine, so he is coming. As we were all afraid of, Rob can't make it. He has aircraft that he has to build. We're going to have lunch at the Tacoma Yacht club though tomorrow. In the good news department, Gary is going to go all the way to San Francisco. I forgot to mention that Charles can't make it either. At least his Iridium phone can. Thanks!

Off to close up a few projects and get some sleep. I have a riser to put on in the morning and injectors for the afternoon...

April 22, 2003

Gearing Up

I'm off to Seattle to do a whole list of work to get CP ready for the offshore voyage. I've rounded up some fishing instructions as well, and with some luck we'll have enough gear to catch some Salmon on the trip back.

April 20, 2003


Not to be outdone by Charles' custom Bravado stationary, I present the Carolina Pacific Store. I've added a link to it in the Links section.

I've ordered a T-Shirt to make sure that the image is satisfactory. I'll post once it arrives to confirm that the transfers look good.

April 19, 2003

Bravado 2002 Ha-Ha Wrapup

Charles has a nice wrap up on Bravado's round trip to Cabo/La Paz and back.

I crewed on the initial leg from Alameda to San Diego. Charles and I brought her around from La Paz to Cabo to set up Henning's trip up to San Diego on the way back. I pulled a stunning sunrise watch as we paralleled a cruise ship heading into Cabo San Lucas. There are pictures from the La Paz to Cabo leg.

Did I mention that the Breed family plan on joining us for Ha-Ha this year on CP? The plan is not 100% final, but it's better than even money that this stinkpot will join the "race."

April 18, 2003

Extra Engine Repair

For those of you following the saga of my extra engine and the problems I've been having, I have received some good news.

I sent the fuel injection pump from the original port engine - which now sits in my garage here on the San Francisco Bay Peninsula - off to Dr. Hino in Huntington Beach.

To go over some history, the original port engine was pulled out of the boat in Chicago because it suffered from this strange pinging sound. I was told that it ran fine, and the only way you could tell something was wrong was that it made a metallic noise that the starboard engine didn't make. Caterpillar of Chicago took the engine apart looking for the problem and couldn't find it. While that was happening, another 4788 with the same engines, model year, and virtually identical hours, suffered a starboard engine failure due to failure of the exhaust manifold which is a general problem on most boats and a particular problem on this powertrain. My previous owner bought the other boat's port engine when that guy re-powered and that engine is what sits in port on CP currently.

I should have the repaired fuel pump and the injectors from the installed port engine back the middle of next week. Re-manufactured injectors and a fuel pump should solve the current lack of unloaded RPM, extra fuel use, and smoking that the current port engine is suffering from.

This is good news vis-a-vis the trip as it means that we can stay relatively on schedule to depart April 30/May 1.

Interestingly - I learned from Larry Blaise, an forensic engine surveyor, that the bad fuel pump or injectors on the current port engine likely caused the turbo failure that I experienced on sea trial. When I was out testing the boat the turbo cracked and I found out that that engine had cracked a turbo earlier as well. What apparently was happening was that unburned fuel was getting into the turbo housing and igniting - cracking the housing. Additionally, the tach wasn't working and when working probably wasn't working well, so they may not have noticed that the engine wasn't getting up to 3000 RPMs unloaded. It seems I may have sent North Harbor on a wild goose chase when I thought it was a cooling problem as it was likely a fuel supply problem all along.

The Welcome Party

The Trip, as I've come to call it, would not be complete without a big boat warming/personal season opener party.

As such, and pending The Trip coming off as planned, we are going to have a bash starting mid-day on May 10th. Why May 10th you might ask. The answer is that its the first whole weekend that CP should be in the SF Bay and it is the night of KFOG KaBoom! If you don't know KaBoom, its probably one of the largest non-Fourth of July fireworks displays on the west coast. KaBoom is also a bit of an anniversary of us buying Southern Comfort as we aimed to get everyone out on her last year.

The plan is for us to take the boat up Friday night and anchor out off the pier 38 area. Then folks should show up at the guest dock at South Beach Harbor anywhere from Noon until 7PM. Give us a call on the cell phone or on VHF-16 and we'll dingy over to the guest dock to bring you out. South Beach Harbor has driving directions available, but the harbor is on the north east side of Pac Bell Park and the guest dock is on the north side of the harbor off Embarcadero.

The fireworks are at 9PM. We're going to have hors d'heuvres and some light food, but not a full meal. We should also have plenty of beverages, but don't let that stop you from bringing additional libations. Also, there should be quite a few kids ages 1 to 12.

For those of you with boats, I should have a good anchor down, so rafting is encouraged.

After the fireworks show and the bad boating show (if you don't know what I mean, you will soon learn) we will either dingy everyone over to the South Beach Harbor dock, or we may do a touch and go with CP. It depends on the situation at the Marina.

We're looking forward to the fun, friends, and fireworks and hope to see you there.

April 17, 2003

The Trip

So, I've actually put together a proposed schedule for the Tacoma to Coyote Point trip.

The plan is to leave April 30th with a crew of Gary Nelson, hopefully Rob Gibbs, and possibly Charles. I've been convinced -and it wasn't all that hard due to the amazing amount of crap I've run into in the Puget Sound - by Gary and Rob to run the Puget Sound, Admiralty Inlet, and Strait of Juan de Fuca in daylight. We're going to stop for fuel in Port Angeles, but aim to be at Neah Bay and tied up as the sun sets on the 30th. From there we plan an early rise to head offshore and down to Grays Harbor as we expect to arrive around 11AM May 1 there.

From there, I'm going to rent a car and take Gary and Rob back to one of their cars. Then it's off to SeaTac airport to pick up the rest of the crew - Charles, Spencer, Elrod, and likely Al - around 3PM as thats when I'm going to aim to land their flights. We will load up the rental and head back to Grays Harbor. We'll likely drop a few guys at the boat and take a smaller crew over to a grocery store for beer and food provisions. We plan to depart around 7PM for the correct tide timing in both Grays and Coos Bay.

Our plan is to arrive in Coos Bay around Noon on May 2. The plan is intentionally night centric as the best power cruising is when the winds are low and that is after dark. The only drawback is that the weekend in question is a new moon and that will make the crab pots a bit harder to spot. We plan to tie up at Charleston Marina Fuel Dock and then find a place to lay over until about 7PM that night. This is subject to change as I'm currently estimating our average cruise speed off shore as this is my best GPH cruise and has proven to be a good ride in rough water. Our actual average cruise may end up better. The reason for the layover in Coos Bay is that we will need to refuel in Humboldt Bay and the fuel dock is likely only to be open 8AM to 5PM. Also, to be on the safe side, I'm scheduling us to always cross bars on a flooding tide.

We should pull into Humboldt Bay around 10AM, but the nearest fuel dock to the harbor bar is about 4 nm north in the bay at Woodley Island Marina. I hope to be exiting the bar by 12:45PM on May 3 with a full load of fuel. If things hold to the plan, we should cross under the Golden Gate Bridge around 8AM Sunday May 4, 2003. I plan to hit the fuel dock one last time at Coyote Point and then stern her into her new slip.

All of this is of course pending a decent weather window. I think the most extreme conditions we are willing to be out in are a 9' swell with wind waves to 2' and 25 or less knots of wind. I'm also really hoping for non southerly winds and we should be able to get them. I've got a pro doing our forecasting, and I'm watching weatherfax, the bouys, and the NOAA coastal forecasts.

Slip to slip, I've calculated a distance of 908 nm. That translates to 67 hours and 50 minutes of on the water time and doesn't count layovers or time fueling. I'm going to pass on calculating the cost in diesel, but I can tell you that we should get just over 1nm to the gallon so you can do the math...

I will post updates up to and during the trip here. We should have GPRS internet access in the various harbors.

Hello Coyote Point

The Admiral and I stopped by Coyote Point today after a nice lunch together as this is her spring break and she has the day off. It was a classic "summer" afternoon with sustained winds at 24kts from the west. Our slip is on the channel side of the northeastern most finger at the marina, so even though its exposed to the wind, there is no finger across from the slip making docking less of a challenge. We dropped off our documents at the harbormaster's office and enjoyed the view.

Bye To Tyee

It was kind of sad. I had to call Shari at Tyee Marina and tell her that I would not likely be staying at Tyee past May 15.

On the one hand, I'm really excited. I've got a slip at Coyote Point again, and the plans are coming together to get the boat together and get her down the coast. However, my stay at Tyee has been one of the best experiences. I can not recommend the marina or Shari the harbormaster too much. Their worry and care for my boat and me has been fabulous. If you are looking for a marina in Tacoma, don't hesitate to go with Tyee.

To just give an example - I had ordered a new multi-band PCS cellular antenna from George at Boatfix and had it sent to Shari's attention at Tyee. Because I'm coming up after hours next week, she asked me if I wanted her to leave the package on the boat. How cool is that?

Next Puget Sound Trip

I'm coming up to the Seattle/Tacoma area the night of April 22. I'm taking the boat over to Breakwater Marina to have a Lectra/San installed and have them put the re-manufactured fuel pump in. I'm going to do the injectors again myself now that Dr. Hino has taken a look at them.

Also on my list of things to do:

Make sure the dingy is running

Figure out a blue water refrigerator security system

Test the windlass and anchor

Install the NMEA input into the EPIRB

Fix a leaky port pilothouse window

Generally get her ready for The Trip south to the SF Bay.

I know that Gary is out of town. I'm hoping to run into Rich on the docks and maybe catch up with Ted or Rob.


A really big thanks goes out to Rich Hudson - Auquaholic 32 on BOC - for stopping by the boat on Tuesday. He sent my spare injectors down to Dr. Hino in Huntington Beach for re-manufacturing. While he was there, he snapped these pictures on April 15:

These are great as I had not really thought to grab photos of the boat at Tyee Marina.

It just so happened that Rich just bought a new to him 38' Bayliner that he is docking temporarily about 6 slips away from CP. Small world.


Boating is an inherently social activity. As such, Carolina Pacific has enough goings on that I decided that a central web presence was easier for me to maintain than keeping up with everyone's email. If you're crewing or coming to a party or cruising with us, this is the place to get the latest info.

Don't forget to check out my boating pictures for an archive of past Carolina Pacific events.

Call it a less navigationally oriented ships log.