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May 28, 2003

Pier 39

The admiral, the bean, and I spent the Memorial Day weekend moored at Pier 39. The marina is surgey and the bean had her first real cold. On top of that, the weather forecast continued to be about as accurate as a coin flip and missed the fog and low clouds.

All was not lost as we did have fun traipsing around the waterfront. Monday was especially nice as the weather broke and we headed over to North Beach.

The good news was that in the week proceeding, I had diagnosed a failed control panel for the Lectra/San and gotten the master shower sump working again. Also, during the weekend I was able to knock out a few of the punch down list items. Slowly but surely the boat is recovering from the delivery and I'm starting to get her into the shape I want her in.

No plans for this weekend, but I do have a few things to get done on her.

May 12, 2003


Well, the party was a blast except for one thing. The dingy that came with CP would not idle. I ended up flagging down a complete stranger that became a new friend. He and his very cool Boston Whaler fishing machine made a few ferry trips to pick up folks at South Beach Harbor. Huge apologies to the few of you who got there too late for us to make another trip. Two morals to this story - make sure to bring a spare outboard, especially if you have one in your garage, and set up two meeting points and pick people up with the big boat.

The fireworks were awesome and I think folks had a good time. We dropped everyone back at South Beach and moseyed over to Charles' marina for the night with Spencer and Tara. We tracked down some BBQ for Mother's Day and headed back to gusty Coyote Point after dropping Spencer and Tara off.

Sadly it was so windy that I had to dock bow in. I flipped it around Monday morning singlehanded though.

May 9, 2003

Party Reminder

You can get all the details for Saturday's KaBoom boat bash at the original post.
A couple of caveats to that. It would be nice if folks aimed for the top of the hour to congregate on the South Beach Harbor guest dock. Think of it as the skipper's ferry runs at Noon, 1PM, 2PM, etc. up until a final 7PM run.

Bravado should be joining us and we will either raft up, or we may just weigh anchor and loiter near the Coast Guard exclusion zone.

I've been cleaning up the boat from The Trip, and it turns out that it is actually white... Looking forward to seeing everyone.

May 7, 2003

The Rest of The Trip Story

First, anyone who ever says that Bayliner Motoryachts are not offshore capable is lying or has no experience in the matter. My 47 performed so very well in some strong conditions. I heard the fisherman complaining about some of the stuff that we rode in in style and this is without any sort of stabilization or hull modification. Anyone planning to venture offshore in their Bayliner should feel confident about the boat. Plan ahead from a weather and gear perspective, but know that the overall design of the boat is completely capable.

Second, Dial a Buoy is the coastal cruisers absolute best friend. Shore conditions rarely gave an accurate picture of how things were out there, and being able to see ahead into our course allowed me to make very accurate predictions of the ride and whether we should attempt further ports.

Elrod has much larger umm - well you know - than I do for jumping into 53 degree water. Actually they may be much smaller come to think of it. However, he did forever earn the nick name "floaty." I refer you to him to explain it.

Brett got a big exposure to blue water sailing and did pretty well for his first time out. I honestly think the dramamine was worse than the sea sickness.

Spencer, who rarely gets sick but does get a little green, now swears by the electronic wrist stimulator. I like them too, so if both of us are fans they must be working - or at least creating the placebo effect. Spencer continued to earn Heather's moniker of, "I'm glad you're not my child" with spectacular deck to dock leaps and other amazing feats.

Gary was a huge asset. Thanks man! Other than bitching about how good the Puget Sound weather was and not asking the guy about fuel in Fort Bragg, he was great! Seriously though - it was very nice to have a very competent skipper that allowed me to nap underway knowing the boat was in good hands.

We broke the usual amount of stuff you break on a trip like this. Gary broke a drink holder on the flybridge that was in-artfully installed by the previous owner. Spencer broke and fixed the air intake for the AC in the pilothouse. Almost every grate for the electric heat fell out. As predicted, the Bayliner cabinets suck at staying closed in heavy seas. I will be addressing that. We broke every stereo on board due to water intrusion or salt spray, though I have a hunch that the marinized DC stereo on the flybridge was just faulty. We broke the battery charger too. All in all, to be expected and the only one that peeves me is the battery charger - mostly because it is in a rather difficult place to remove and it should never have been installed there in the first place.

It was an awesome adventure and I would do it again. I admit that after having done it, cruising the bay seems very limiting. We will be heading to Monterey and back to Fort Bragg once I get the Admiral more comfortable or install stabilizers.

hat really blows my mind is that the boat is 15 minutes away from me as I type. All thats left is cleaning up and repairing stuff for Kaboom this weekend. Much of the stereo repair is already done!

I don't have final fuel numbers yet as I haven't been able to get over to my marina's fuel dock and fill up to see what the last leg took from a total gallons perspective. Gary and I are estimating around .8 nautical miles per gallon. I think thats pretty good for as hard as we pushed her and the size of the following seas we were in.

We used Soltron the whole way and I was quite impressed. Also, port now comes up to 3000 RPMs loaded. I think the final step was to run her hard.

Now to enjoy crusing the bay and delta.

Fort Bragg to San Francisco Bay

We got up early and I started up early as I wanted to make sure we weren't going to have to jump the engines. No DC charger (and being too lazy to rig the one we bought) meant there was some risk that we would have to start the genny and use its battery to start the Hinos. Everything started just fine and we motored over to the fuel dock.

When we got there it turned out that it didn't open till 7:30. We waited and once it opened fueled right up. It turns out we probably could have made it to Bodega on what we had in the tanks, but there wouldn't have been much of a reserve. The fuel dock guy commented on the fact that we had tried to reach him and was sorry that we hadn't as he would have gladly gotten us going Sunday late afternoon. Darn it!

We headed out and the sea was up. The bar crossing was easy, but the swell was 4 to 6' and there were wind waves too. The period wasn't too bad. We got out and once turned south, calmed into a decent watch rotation and had the autopilot on. Forecasts were for combined seas to 9' at 6 seconds and we started to see them. Things picked up as we rounded Point Reyes, and I stayed at the helm from there all the way to the Golden Gate.

What an amazing and relieving sight that was. We crossed under at about 4PM with 25kts of wind gusting to 30 and a howling sea in a small craft advisory. It was spectacular. We dropped Spencer at South Beach Harbor and headed into Coyote Point. After hosing her down, collecting our stuff, and installing the car charger, we closed her up and headed home. That was about 6PM Monday May 5.

Eureka to Fort Bragg

We pulled across the Eureka bar and it was rough. The bar itself was just rolly, but the seas were running 6 to 8' every 7 seconds with two to three foot wind waves. Let me mention here that square seas are no fun. Gary and I set up a 45 minute relief schedule and we started handing it back and forth. Gary handed the helm off to me as we were halfway between Cape Mendocino and Punta Gorda. As soon as we were abeam Punta Gorda, the sea started to settle down. I ended up flipping on the autopilot and we started to migrate up to the flybridge as the temperature climbed.

I had been warned off the Noyo River entrance by a boat owning doctor of my daughter's. I must say that because of how easy many of the other bar crossings had been, I was much less worried. We headed in toward the Noyo river and it was stunning. The pictures of the bridge and the river there are great.

As we pulled in, Gary had a fateful conversation with a local dock rat about transient docking at the Marina. It turns out there is no real transient dock there, but you just kinda slip into where there isn't a boat or isn't going to soon be a boat. Minutes after us, a salmon fisherman who we passed when crossing the bar pulled up next to us. He told us that the fish weren't biting that afternoon. That was a bit of a relief as I had nixed fishing on the way in in hopes of finding fuel and heading on to Bodega or SF. We bought two salmon caught the day before from him. We grilled up some salmon and brought out some beer. Gary's grilling skills were up there, but it is hard to do wild fresh salmon wrong.

As we are finishing up a beautiful sunset lit dinner, the dock rat comes over from the other side of the river. It turns out he is a charter fishing captain. We get to talking and he finds out we are here in need of fuel. He tells us that we should have told him that and that unlike Eureka, it was relatively easy to get the fuel dock open on a Sunday by making a phone call or two. Gary had convinced me that it wasn't worth stopping at the fuel dock on the way in and hadn't asked the dock rat like Rex the petro distributer had mentioned in Eureka. Our captain friend tried to roust them at 9PM as we coulda easily high tailed it in the very favorable sea conditions to at least Bodega Bay - which has a 24 hour fuel dock - or on into SF. He couldn't find anyone but did tell us that the fuel dock would be open around 7AM the next morning.

We watched a movie or two and went to bed.

Eureka to?

I woke up around 7AM and started wandering around the Marina with the thought of getting a shower and finding out when the fuel dock open. I quickly found a guy ahead of me in the shower and a harbormaster telling me that it was a one fuel dock fishing town and that said fuel dock was closed on Sundays.

The crew had been ecstatic the night before because getting into California was a real psychological hurdle. Now we were a little less optimistic about getting back on schedule. I grabbed a shower on the boat and Gary offered to buy me some breakfast at the decent little restaurant at the marina. We grabbed a copy of the phone book and started dialing for diesel. I was kicking myself for not taking on a full fuel load back at Crescent City, but even in hindsight, crossing the bar with light left was far more important to our health and safety.

Gary was a little impatient with the petroleum distributors and came up high and dry. My next thought was to try to rent a pickup, a barrel, and a hand truck. After calling the rental places, they all told us to call Rex at one of the petroleum distributors. As soon as I called the right place and navigated the phone tree, he was paged and called right back. It turned out that he was the local little league maven and since there were massive rain delays that morning, he could get us 160 gallons of diesel in two pickup trips as his fuel truck was down. Brett went to get a battery charger with the fuel guy in between trips as we had found the new Xantrex inoperative that morning. 160 gallons on top of what we already had would get us to Fort Bragg and the Noyo River.

We left as soon as the last of the fuel had been taken on.

Newport OR to Coos Bay?

We got underway at first light. Crossing the bar and the westward leg leaving the area were lumpy, but not too bad. When we turned down to the south, it became a downright OK ride. We headed south for a couple of hours and as I looked around, I said, "We're going to Crescent City!"

We kept running, and I had the dial a buoy info for the Port Orford, Crescent City, and Eureka near shore ODAS buoys, and the observations just kept getting better and better to the point that I declared that we were headed to Eureka. All of the crew got some good rest as we handed off an easy helm among everyone. About two hours out from Crescent City, Brett pointed out that fuel was looking like an issue.

We all started re-running calculations and It became pretty obvious that we would be in a very low fuel situation trying to cross the Eureka bar at dusk. Since none of us had crossed Eureka before, we wanted to have some light. I moved the throttles up to WOT to go get 150 gallons at Crescent City fast enough to make Eureka by a few minutes after sunset. We fueled up and ran for it. I cooked some dinner and we prepared for a difficult bar.

The bar was trivially easy. We pulled into a slightly rainy Woodbey Island marina, had a couple beers while installing new fuel filters and doing a couple of other general maintenance items, and then hit the sack expecting to find fuel at around 8AM Sunday Morning.

Grays Harbor to Newport OR

We pulled out of Grays Harbor at dawn. It was a rather rough ride as we were taking quartering/beam seas as we headed west to get into deeper water. We headed out about 4 miles and then turned southwest. Following seas of about 4 to 6' and 2' of wind waves stayed with us for quite a while. Things calmed down a little on both sides of the Columbia River effect. It was pretty amazing that the river still had influence on the Pacific 5 to 7 miles out. The autopilot could handle it and we let it.

The seas picked up a little more with swells to 6 to 8 feet for the last hour into Newport. We turned the AP off, and Gary expertly guided us across the bar as Newport is as close to a home port as he has ever had. Sadly, this is one bar crossing that was exciting enough on the way to the bar that I didn't have time to remember or find my camera.

We quickly fueled up paying almost less than a dollar. We motored over to our slip to clean the ship up a bit and check the forecast. Weatherguy told us that his forecast was for the winds to die down around midnight and then stay down until about 11AM when they would pick up and start creating wind waves from the southwest above two feet which would have been a hell of a ride. Basically he was forecasting the low to not get onshore in California and be in our way. He advised that we head for Coos Bay and layover there. We decided that we would just go at first light and make a decision about whether we were stopping at Coos Bay from the water. This was the low point of the trip for the crew.

Gary and I took a cab around the booming metropolis of Newport to find some supplies. We needed a bicycle pump to add air to the hynautic steering and a pair of powered speakers as we had toasted the 110v amp in the salon due to a sea spray leak. The mission was accomplished, but no internet access or Cingular cellphone access was available - and hence these updates coming after the fact. It turns out that in almost every port we stopped in Cingular did not work, but Gary's Verizon phone was always loved and worked nicely offshore through my Shakespeare antenna.

After Gary and I got back and the crew had completed a quick wash, we saddled off to the Rogue Brewery. It was amazing that there was this excellent Microbrewery 100 feet away from the boat... They had a little restaurant in the brewery as well as a true bar, so we partook of fine barley and hops. I do believe we even sampled the Dead Man's Ale. Back to the boat for much needed sleep and a plan to get going at first light.

May 5, 2003


I'm too beat to relate the story, but it is one of missed forecasts and hunting for fuel docks.

The pictures are up and I will write up each day tomorrow after I get some sleep.

May 1, 2003

Good Start - Still In Grays Harbor

We had a very good start to the trip. The boat is running very well and the newly tuned props have made a dramatic improvement to ride quality. We had some crazy fun as we ran the Strait of Juan De Fuca with 4 foot wind waves and 25 knots of wind. Gary got the props out of the water, but we had a blast riding the bucking bronco.

We pulled out of Neah Bay at first light this morning and we had an amazingly good ride. The swell was about 1 foot every 12 seconds with less than 1 foot wind waves. We easily got into Grays Harbor before noon.

The crew pick up took longer than expected and we didn't get away from Grays until after sunset. The wind had picked up to 15-20kts and without visibility, and with a 3-4 foot wind wave on the beam, we decided to flip around and head back to the dock.

We're going to wait for first light. The forecast is for a northerly wind at 20kts decreasing toward afternoon. We're going to stop short of Coos Bay at Newport OR so that we're guaranteed a fuel dock before closing. We plan to turn right around depending on our forecast update there and head for Eureka with a potential divert of Crescent City. Much of this leg depends on a big low pressure system moving onto the Central California coast so that we don't have to deal with it.

Gotta go get some sleep. Its going to be rough on the way out, but should be better once we turn south outside the crab pots.