Our adventures began February 15, 2002.
Well, for me it started earlier in the week to pack and get food prepared
to go. Jamie left work early and picked Richard Sandvig up on the
way home. We were on the road at 1230. Things were moving
right along until I managed to allow the car to be sandwiched between a
Volkswagen beetle and a van just past the San Onofree nuclear plant on
I5N. The Audi 5000 wagon needed a crowbar to pull fenders behind
the tires and a hanger job on the muffler at a nearby auto shop to get
home. Yes, totallsville here we come! We gave Rich a beer for
his troubles and took him home. For some reason we decided to continue
this adventure in the morning (what were we thinking!)
Saturday started at 0500 for showers
and coffee. We picked up Rich and headed to Morro Bay again.
Since the car wreck was a precursor to our weekend, you can guess we had
problems as soon as we got to the boat. The batteries never charged
under shore power. We didn’t have a jump, so the guys went to marine
store and bought battery to start engine and charge w/ alternator.
Assumption was that our A/C charger bit the dust.
Meanwhile, I stowed all and any objects,
organized clothing and food and pumped up the inflatable. Little
did I know, the rollaway bottom should have been in the boat, before inflating
the tubes. Too late to redo, the guys mounted the boat and I put
the hard bottom in the bag and stowed it. Hmm, everything else worked,
I had my nifty electronic pressure band (ok, expensive anti mal de mer
device)… but my nerves were already shot after yesterday’s drive.
John and Nia came for a visit and picked
up the car keys for a Santa Barbara delivery on Sunday – yeah! No
rental car this weekend! We didn’t fuel up. We were only down
a few gallons and all the fuel docks in Morro Bay were of the piling type
with no floating dock. Ok, we chickened out for the sake of our boat
cosmetics. We’ll save that learning for more experienced days.
We motored out of Morro bay at 1430
and we put up headsail and mizzen just beyond the rock. The genoa
filled and we were moving right along. I stayed on deck and enjoyed
the warm afternoon and evening, bumping up the pulses on my wristband each
time I felt queasy. Things were absolutely uneventful until the rain
began. We were in for a good nights soaking. Around 2200
I could no longer fight back seasickness at the helm. Proof that
expensive doesn’t mean it really works. Jamie was below and Rich
and I were switching off at the helm. At about 2300 the winds began
picking up. We discussed changing the headsail with Jamie and it
was “denied”. The sail tore to shreds at 0145. Called
Jamie up on deck, the guys harnessed and tethered and I took the helm.
We started the engine to manage the boat and despite my seasickness I somehow
managed to keep the boat headed up into the wind while the guys had a sail
rodeo on the front deck.
We were only nine miles from Port San
Luis Obispo and the cap’n decided we needed to get off the water in lieu
of other poor decisions. I was drenched and incapacitated on deck,
so I crawled below and got in my bunk after a long episode of dry heaves
while lying on the sole. And through all of this, Adrian slept…
The men of the moments safely guided
us to the wharf and anchored.
San Luis Wharf
Entering San Luis Obispo was extremely
tricky in dark since there were only two lighted buoys a long ways apart.
Once near the harbor entrance you MUST have a spotlight to find the marker
buoys the lead you into the harbor, this is mainly an anchorage.
After all was quiet the harbormaster hailed us and said there was a sixty-foot
floating dock in calmer waters. Humph. What were we thinking
when we listened to him??? It was a comfortable bed to many sea lions.
They were frightened when we disturbed them and they all swam away.
At 4am we side tied and were in for a long screechy night (what was left
of it), because the dock slopped with every wave and the metal screeched
on the bumpers. A night in the “calm” did nothing to ease my seasickness.
I felt as bad in the morning as I had felt at sea. Any suggestions?
San Luis Sea lion
On Sunday morning Jamie snapped some
pictures of our snoozing mermaids, who returned to their dock, and began
hanging wet clothes from the rigging. The guys removed the
torn sail, we were able to lay it out on the dock and fold it up.
We hanked on a storm trysail (it was the only spare sail that we could
use to replace the genoa with). I won’t mention how expensive
our error in judgment and/or laziness was. Like the saying goes,
if you think you should change a sail, it should have already been done…I
took a ride up the main mast in bosun’s chair to recover the halyard and
checked rigging while in the area. What was I thinking?? Rocking
at the top of the mast did nothing for my constitution. Let me add
to this. Adrian plugged the head because he used too much toilet
paper. YES! Now we are reduced to using a bucket. It’s
not the same as when a kid plugs the toilet at home… let’s just say
we were all pretty damn surly by now. It isn’t the same as
camping when you can’t go for a walk away from it all. But we can’t
stay here. It’s not good for the boat or for us. Jamie
has resigned himself to missing work on Monday. It started raining
again just as the clothes were dry so Adrian helped me get things below
before they were soaked. We were underway once again at 1100.
I made straight for my bunk. Rich had given me a scopolamine patch
and it knocked me out but good.
I didn’t fully wake again until 1600
when I ate half a can of cold Ravioli. What happened between those
hours will have to be filled in by the guys. I was stunned to go
up on deck and see 15 to 20 foot rollers. There were no wind waves.
It was nearly smooth as glass and we actually were motoring under sail
since we left Port of St Louis. I lasted 10 minutes and went back
below. I took a shot at steering between 1830 and 2000, but it went
like this: I steered from 1830 to 1900 and then lay on deck until
2000 when I was so cold I had to go back below to prevent the shakes.
San Luis Harbor
We didn’t see much the first couple hours
out from San Luis Obispo except those pesky crab traps every half-mile.
Eventually we caught up with a school of dolphins that were feeding, and
since we were going their way, some of them decided to tag along and show
off for a while. Towards afternoon as we approached Point Arguello, we
passed some curious looking structures that belong to the Air Force… We
rounded Point Conception in the dark and had no troubles. There were many,
many oilrigs along this stretch of the coast, at night they looked like
little cities floating on the water. The conditions were nice, we
still had huge swells but the period was long and not much wind. About
1200 Rich heard our name announced over the hand held VHF that was in the
cockpit “All vessels be on the lookout for Flying Cloud four souls on board…..”
apparently neither I nor Eileen had called our friends in Morro Bay to
let them know that we were going to be late coming into Santa Barbara!
Whoops! (Sorry Guys) I promptly contacted our friends John and Nia and
let them know that all was well. They were mighty relieved to hear from
me and we were glad to know that someone was thinking of us. Our entrance
to Santa Barbara was uneventful and one of our easier night entries to
I have no further recollection of the
trip until the guys were hollering to each other on a loudly guided Santa
Barbara Marina tour. I shoed up and went on deck to help tie off.
When I got up there, one of the bumpers was still on deck. I tied
it off and plop, it fell in the water. I dropped the lifeline
and recovered the bumper. Re-hooked the line, tied off the bumper
again and plop, it floated away so fast this time I couldn’t get it.
Was I completely stoned on the scopolamine? So I jumped onto
dock with the stern line and held boat in place until someone pulled it
close and tied it off. Weak weak weak. It was 0330.
Rich said the Coast Guard hailed us on the VHF and an alert was put out
for all ships to watch for us. We didn’t check in with the Schmitt’s
before leaving St. Louis Obispo, and John contacted the Coast Guard “just
in case”. Thanks John. Someone has to be vigilant. Jamie
gave John a nice morning wakeup and everyone was relieved. While
Jamie was clearing us with the harbormaster, Rich went for a walk and recovered
the elusive bumper.
Santa Barbara was so kind. They
said we had to be off their dock by 0500. They gave us a slip assignment
and our next fiasco began. Tide was running and the wind was blowing.
The guys were tired and we were all low on good judgment. This was
only the second time Jamie’s maneuvered a boat into a slip. When
Jamie turned Flying Cloud hard to port and gave her more gas into the slip,
the boat moved forward far enough to clip the bowsprit and anchor on a
piling and we were now moving sideways down the marina towards the floating-dock
walkway. Somehow, he managed to get the bow pointed toward this dock
and I climbed out on a bowsprit wire and jumped to the dock. While
I pushed her bow out so she made a comfortable side landing, Rich was ready
with bumpers and stern line. We tied off. This is where we
spent the night. It was the captain’s mutiny. He was willing
to pay a fine not to wreck our boat. To Rich’s chagrin, once again
we had no A/C power for a heater and we couldn’t light a fire because the
dinghy was too close to the chimney on deck. He was in for a chilly
night w/o the engine.
In the morning, Adrian woke Rich by tickling
his nose and with a string and giggling until the rest of us awoke.
Jamie was not happy with our world; I was upset w/ Adrian for waking a
much sleep deprived Rich. I am sure Rich had the same thoughts.
I made use of the Santa Barbara shower facilities and Rich and Adrian went
for a walk. The bear stayed below for more hibernation. After
cleaning up, I deposited my stuff and went for a walk. I found the
“boys” at a café, so I treated them to a big hot breakfast.
It was so good, but I was only able to pick. We combined leftovers
for Jamie (nice, huh?). Upon our return, it was slack tide and there
was no wind. We risked life and limb and roused the bear. After
his feeding, he dressed and willingly moved the boat. This time we
docked to perfection. We tied off, added a spring line to keep the
bowsprit behind the dock locker and started cleaning up.
We talked to John again around 0930.
He was already on the road with the car and predicted a one-hour arrival
time. We again made a clothesline of the rigging and boat.
Somewhere in the mix, we cleaned up below deck and the guys managed their
showers. We were a scrubbed and happy bunch when John arrived.
Chips and beer were the order for the day. Jamie took John to the
train station for a scenic trip home from Santa Barbara to Morro Bay.
We loaded up the car and left Flying Cloud behind with much relief.
And I drove home for a very tired, trusting bunch.
The rest of our sails should be gravy
train. All the marinas for the remaining length of the coast are
4-6 hours apart. We will have nice short day sails and should enjoy
our weekend visits to the new places we will experience. I am still
inclined to go sailing. I have still convinced myself that my seasickness
will subside over time (ok, so maybe I’m screwed). If we can’t be
hardcore sailors, at least we can be fair-weather day sailors. Besides,
the islands are close enough for me to handle on any given weekend.
In hindsight, we all should have stayed home. It was by far our worst
adventure. But we learned oh so many things the hard way.
Our next destination is Ventura.
Transients can stay for up to 3 weeks and then must seek a new home.
We are considering hauling the boat here. There is a reputable boat
yard and it’s a short drive from home, three hours.
For more hindsight, we found out why
the batteries weren’t charging on the A/C charger. Jamie bought a
new charger (now a spare) and took our new batteries to the boat the following
weekend (Feb 23rd) with his folks. Before installing the new equipment,
he did some testing and discovered that a wire meant to go to positive
on the port battery was on the negative. Thus our starboard battery
was acting as a resistor and the charger couldn’t overcome the resistance
to charge anything (thank god!). The alternator charges using
a different set of leads, hence we were charging while motoring without
trouble. Another reason not to rush anything electrical or otherwise.
The next “ish” is the head. I think we will be doing some fun plumbing
upon moving the boat to Ventura.
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