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Thread: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

  1. #1
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    Default San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    OK, the wounds have mostly healed, and I've pretty much caught up with tasks that were neglected during my absence. There was some minimal interest in the "Voyage of the Wandering Star," so for those few who actually care, I'll try to relate the trip as well as the memories survive and the words flow from my meager remaining gray matter. Along the way, I'll try to impart some wisdom (and lack thereof) to anybody planning on serious coastal cruising.

    ---------------------------------

    First, the players:

    Schooner Rat (me) --- Over 30 years of bluewater sailing experience, many as a delivery skipper. Hundreds of hours of long stints at the helm under adverse conditions. The only one involved who had enough experience (and sense) to not want to undertake this voyage.

    Ken --- The new boat owner. Desperately wants to get his new mistress home. Once owned a sailboat. Among the arguments he used to convince me to go along were; "We'll have fun", "It'll be an adventure", "A once in a liftime experience." Nothing I could say would convince him otherwise. I think that what finally convinced me to make the trip was the fear that he would try it without me --- he couldn't afford to pay a qualified skipper. Call this my good deed for the decade.

    Alan --- I've known Alan since we were 13 or 14. Alan has done a lot of sailing (but not much helm time,) including a Transpac. I didn't really think I'd be able to use him for steering, but I believed that he would be able and willing to handle most of the non-sailing tasks aboard. His "Service with a Smile" attitude earned him al lot of extra warm sack time. Alan was a last minute addition to the crew and a lucky find. Dave was EAGER to make the trip...one day after having the pins removed from his broken hand. I hoped he would come to his senses so I didn't have to be the one to forbid him from coming. Thankfully his doctor (a sailor) did the deed.

    Wandering Star --- A Privateer 35 designed by Thomas C. Gillmer. Frozen snot, but despite my love of wooden boats, her being frp was a big positive influence on my "go, no go" decision. The poor old gal had been neglected for quite some time. Former owner said it was about a year, I say it was at least that.

    The Central California Coast --- Certainly not the North Atlantic or the Bearing Sea, but there is a good reason that Point Conception has been given the nickname "Cape Horn of the West." This time of year, the weather here can eat boats and crew alike.

    (more to come)
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    I read Cape Mendocino was called the Cape Horn of North America.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

  3. #3
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    I read Cape Mendocino was called the Cape Horn of North America.
    Google "Cape Horn of the west" and or "Cape Horn of North America"

    include the quotes.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Reference to one's own article is hardly an authority and lots of places a locally nick-named "Cape Horn", like the bend in the Columbia above and a bit east of the Prarie Channels. But there is an unicorporated town in Mendicino called Cape Horn that actually gets on the map.

    Anyway, that does not matter to what we hope will be an enlightening tale. Can't wait.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    There is actually a town in Mendocino County named Cape Horn.
    Anyway, on with the story
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    You have my attention .......

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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Some background:

    Ken has been looking for a boat for the last year or so, seeking my advice along the way. He didn't want "tupperware," but wasn't averse to frp with a traditional look. The first boat he found was a Tancook Schooner - wooden. The boat had lots of issues and was way too much money. The broker also had a Lord Nelson 40 just a couple of gangways away. The price was more in line with the worth of the boat. He made an offer, went for a sea trial, and had the boat hauled for a survey; but backed out of the deal for financial reasons. A couple of other love affairs followed, none of which passed my quick and dirty survey.

    Around the first of November, I got a call from Ken. He had found his boat in San Francisco and was negotiating a price. A few days later I got an email with the news that the deal had been closed, along with some pics and a 9 year old survey. I didn't know the Privateer 35, but she has a great pedigree, and the old survey looked good. This was more than I've had for many deliveries that I've made.

    The other boats I had looked at for Ken were in the LA, Long Beach area. I eagerly volunteered to help him with their delivery to Ventura. When he asked for my help on this trip, the eagerness ebbed from my body like the tide in the Bay of Fundy.

    Ken spent the better part of a week burning my cell hours while working on Wandering Star. The most serious issue was an overheating engine. With the engine finally running well, I did my best to tell him what to look for in the rig, the thru-hulls, sea cocks, hoses, etc. He got a diver to clean the bottom and give her a good look underwater. Slight pitting on the prop, but no pink. Shaft looked good, thru-hulls good, no evidence of damage to the hull. Ken was ready to go.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    no pink?
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Uh. That's all?
    A society predicated on the assumption that everyone in it should want to get rich is not well situated to become either ethical or imaginative.

    Photographer of sailing and sailboats
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    no pink?
    "It used to be a fun house..."
    I mean.. no trolysis.



    Waiting.
    Last edited by John B; 12-02-2009 at 06:15 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    no pink?
    Bronze turns pink when damaged by electrolysis. It becomes quite brittle when it assumes a pinkish color.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by elf View Post
    Uh. That's all?
    Sorry, stay tuned.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    I'm tuned

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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Good grief, a sticky. Thank you, Scott. I'll try to live up to it.

    The logistics:

    • Ken's Plan -

    Meet at his place in Ventura early morning, Tuesday November 10, Load up the gear and provisions, do some last minute work on the boat and then leave.

    • My plan -

    Roll over, assume the pre-natal position, turn the electric blanket up to ten, and go back to sleep.

    • Reality -

    I've got a few things to tie up before leaving, so Alan and I meet up and leave LA about noon o'clock. Roughly 1400 we arrive at Ken's. He's still futzing around so I have no need to feel guilty about getting a late start. I take a quick look at the provisions packed in Ken's truck. He's followed my advice pretty much to the letter. A frozen lasagne, not only easy to heat and serve, but it also acts as a block of ice until it's been consumed; for the first night at sea. Fruit, soup, cereal, pb&j, and other assorted "One Handed Foods," for after the weather turns. Bacon and eggs for a trip like this--BAD idea! I've been watching weather forecasts for the last 4 or 5 days, and they've been consistant enough that I know what to expect. "One Handed" is mostly for my benefit. I know there will be long periods when I won't have the luxury of leaving the helm. I can't tell you what wine goes with what food, but believe me, a hot mug of clam chowder is the perfect compliment to dodging 20' growlers. Heat and serve is about as complex as a meal should be under these circumstances.

    Wandering Star carries about 24 gallons of diesel. I feel more comfortable when I have enough fuel for the whole voyage. A quick mental calc tells me that this probably won't do it so I have requested jerry jugs to carry extra fuel. We have a 6 gallon jug for diesel, a 2 gallon for diesel, and a 2 gallon jug of gas for a briefcase sized portable genny. I would have liked more diesel. I still think we can't go the distance under power, but what the heck--this is a sailboat after all.

    Lots of tools. We actually ended up taking a tool box that was meant to stay in the truck. That didn't bother me one bit. We had lots of assorted bits like hose clamps, electrical fittings and such. 2 brand new bags of soft wood plugs, don't leave shore without them.

    Two brand new 12v batteries. A friend of Ken's is a distributer and has supplied them for loan/purchase. They came in quite handy, and may, now have been permanently installed. Lots of batteries for portable electronic devices. GPS takes all of the skill out of naviguessing. I was quite happy to have 2 on board. It was a real luxury to be able to quickly put an x on the chart just by reading the numbers off of an lcd. I never even used my hand bearing compass. However, I feel a need to say--DO NOT VENTURE OFFSHORE IF YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO NAVIGATE--WELL!!!!

    2 cases of bottled water. I think they'll be gone before we leave the dock. I live in morbid fear of dehydrating--serious history of kidney stones. We need more. I don't see any coffee, but Ken has already been informed that he'll face a serious mutiny if we run out. I'm not certain that the captain can commit mutiny, but I'd be willing to set a precedent if I had to.

    I asked about a first aid kit and am informed that the boat has one. In my haste to beat some bad weather, I forgot to check it. Luckily, all that was needed was the non-existant aspirin. Turns out it was a first aid kit only by virtue of the fact that it said "FIRST AID" in big red letters on the case.

    In my youth, I was no fan of safety harnesses. I'm not certain when it happened, but I've changed my mind on that matter. If nothing else, a harness makes it easier to retrieve the dead body. Wandering Star had no jacklines or harnesses. I didn't like that much.

    I didn't say it to Ken, but I still had the idea in my mind that we might make the return to Ventura by truck, not by boat.

    (more to come)
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Suspense builds ....

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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by SchoonerRat View Post
    (more to come)

    Yes!




    Steven

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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    OK, we're waiting for more with our breath baited on tenterhooks...so give!
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    This is great!
    Fly Fishing Washington's Olympic Peninsula
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Wonderful!....let's hope he staves off the exhaustion before the grey cells give out!
    More, please.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    More, please!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Running north from San Francisco in the winter, that's nasty! But running south downwind, phfft! How bad could it have been? (I wonder if they brought a series drogue?)

    Eagerly awaiting more.

    (And people say to me, what do you mean you want to be cautious about venturing into blue water without a lot more experience? Just go for it! That's how you learn! )
    When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Quick, somone hand him a beer, or something.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    First You Have to Get to the Boat:

    Tuesday Nov. 10, roughly 1530. The three of us pile into Ken's loaded pickemup truck along with Ken's daughter and a friend of her's. Daughter and friend are there to get the truck back home. The trip north was even duller than the voyage south, so I'll skip over the details; except to say that if you have a couple of girls jonesing for an "In 'n Out" in the middle nowhere, an iPhone is a lifesaver.

    Around 2300 we arrive at Berkley Marina. Upon first seeing the boat, this Schooner Rat notes again that some fool has put her masts on bassackwards. We quickly unload the truck, and while Ken, Alan, and the girls stow the stores; I'm crawling around the deck with flashlight in hand. This is "go, no-go" decision point #2.

    First thing I check for is working reef points - present on main, but not mizzen. No big deal. I'm thinking that the mizzen won't get much use during the trip. The mizzen mast is right up against the binnacle, right in the way of everything, and the luff of the sail has no slides -- the bolt rope just feeds into the mast groove, dingy style. My brain runs a YouTube video of me trying to douse the sail in a blow with poor old Ken trying to steer, covered by a cloud of flogging dacron. Sailcloth looks good, stitching looks good. Only one set of reef points on the main. Not ideal, but should suffice for this trip. Deck hardware is all secure, except for the windlass, which is sitting on Ken's livingroom floor. There's no sign of corrosion where hardware is mounted on the aluminum spars. The rigging looks good. I do note, however, that out of 20 some odd turnbuckles, only 3 of them are pinned.

    Half an hour on my hands and knees, and I can't find a good reason to ride home with the girls (Other than the girls themselves, and the comfort of a warm truck.) Two more "go, no-gos" and little Wandering Star will get a chance to prove herself.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Today's Forecast - Early Morning Weather, Followed by Weather in the Afternoon:

    On any offshore voyage, watching the weather is just as important as preparing your boat. I started hanging out on the NOAA web site even before I finally agreed to go along on this trip. Weather forecasting has come a long way since I regularly did deliveries for a living. For the 2 weeks leading up to our departure, one thing stood out about the forecasts. Consistancy! The weatherman was so happy with how his predictions compared to actual observations that he felt no need to change anything. Here's a quick recap of how his predictions related to our trip.

    The first 12-18 hours - Winds from the SW 10 to 20 knots with 5 to 10 foot seas.
    The next 18-36 hours - Winds from the SE 30 to 40 knots, seas averaging 10 to 12 feet with some 20 footers.
    The rest of the way home - Winds from the NW 20 to 30 knots with 10 to 15 foot seas.
    Thursday November 12, midnight. 90 knot winds in the Northern Bay Area.

    Hmmmmm, I believe Berkeley is kinda close to the Northern Bay Area. Believe me, 90 knots of wind is not a pleasant Sunday afternoon sail. I don't even like 90 knots of wind when I'm safe in port. I'd like to spend 2 or 3 days working on the boat, but if I'm taking this boat to Ventura, I'm leaving Berkeley before noon on Thursday.

    (We'll soon get to the part of the story you're waiting for. As thanks for your patience, I'll tell you now that we made it alive and in one piece)
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  25. #25
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Don't give the ending away, fercrissakes!
    A society predicated on the assumption that everyone in it should want to get rich is not well situated to become either ethical or imaginative.

    Photographer of sailing and sailboats
    And other things, too.
    http://www.landsedgephoto.com

  26. #26
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by elf View Post
    Don't give the ending away, fercrissakes!
    Sorry, I was feeling the presence of those who like to go for the last page of a mystery first. Forget I said anything.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  27. #27
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    AHAAAAAGGGGHHHHH, he told us the ending!!!!

    ok, give the details and we might forgive you.... LOL

  28. #28
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    yea.. I would have guessed that all aboard were drowned.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

  29. #29
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Tapping fingernails on desk...

  30. #30
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Clearing throat ...

  31. #31
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Sleeping...
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  32. #32
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    Twinkle Twinkle Wandering Star:

    Wednesday, November 11, 0130. A couple of hours on the boat, and I have to admit that I'm kinda liking what I see. She has a good solid feel when you step aboard. About 18 of these boats were built. They were all sold as hull and deck for owner completion. The interior was done in birch, and has the look of a decent amateur wood butcher. One thing that bothers me is that there was no attempt to mimic the structure that would normally be found in a wooden boat. For exampe, where there should be a nice big hunk of wood holding together the corners of the cabin trunk, there is only a little piece of quarter round covering the seam between two pieces of plywood. This presents no problem with the strength of the boat, but it just doesn't look right. The trim just doesn't fit together as well as it should. This also bothers me, but Ken seems to have not even noticed. There is a deck prism in the salon - a nice touch. The only evidence of deck leaks are a small spot where the mainmast goes through the deck and a slightly larger one in the head beneath a vent. As expected, the birch has not fared well, but again, it's only cosmetic.

    I find a VHF and a GPS stowed in a locker. They were both wired to be used at the helm, but Mother Nature has had years to to do her worst on the cables. I don't even plan to make an attempt to get these operating, as we have a brand new hand held VHF, and 2 hand held GPS units for the trip. She has an RDF permanently mounted and wired into the trashed 12 volt system. I turn on the switch - no boom boom. That's as much work as I intend to do on this unit. Next to the RDF, a LORAN. Boy, is that gonna be useful! I stare at it for 5 or 10 seconds and it shows no sign of life. It might work marginally better if I turn it on, but that's more attention than It will get from me. I have now arrived at the source of the boat's electrical problems. The power panel is located in THE WORST possible place - right under the companionway. Half of the breakers are missing, half of the breakers are hanging loose behind the panel, and the rest of them just don't work. I've got no running lights, no compass light, no cabin lights; what I do have, however, is a nice warm sleeping bag. This seems like an excellent time to put it to use.
    Schooner captains love to get blown offshore!

  33. #33
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    electric stuff is over-rated
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

  34. #34
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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    At least he has handheld things... I wonder what he did for nav-lights?

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    Default Re: San Francisco to Ventura- Blow by Gale Force Blow

    time for another page please.

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