West Coast and Beyond

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Miscellaneous Ship's Logs

June 28, 2011

The following are a series of entries based on e-mail received from TouchRain to Jan Wilson here in Olympia—the two days not appearing in the series are posted as separate blogs:

June 26

Winds have lightened to about 6-8 knots and we are gliding along at about 5 knots. The sun is trying to poke through the clouds and fog for the first time in days. That would be uplifting and a boost to  the old battery banks.

We are less than 1,000 miles from Sitka now. Passed that mark at about 8 am this morning.

Yesterday we passed a large, sleeping whale to port, not forty feet away and it did not twitch. Hate to run into one of those leviathans. Also saw some Albatross.

Last night we had pizza for dinner, yum . This morning I had oatmeal. Brendan did a double watch in so I got a lot of sleep. We have all been sleeping a lot.
All is well.

P.S. Wind back up and we are sailing at more than six knots.

RE:  GPS  Failure  We have multiple back ups, on laptop, two handhelds, old chartplotter, and even Brendan’s Iphone. Not a problem now, but we’ll want it when we explore the nooks and crannies of Alaska.

June 25

I baked chicken and potatoes for the boys last night. Good meal for a cold gray evening. Thanks.

Moving along smartly today at 6+ knots. Sun wants to come out, but hasn’t burned through the heavy fog yet. Need it for battery banks, of course.

June 24

Wind is picking up and we appear to reaching the westerlies, above the high.  We are just north of SF, just over 1,000 miles from Hawaii. So we have a bit less than 1,500 left to go. We did actually gain on our companion boat, witte raaf, which surprises me. We are about 200 miles ahead of them but left about 20 hours before them.

Chartplotter GPS is not working and I cannot diagnose. Basically makes Chartplotter useless. If you can find an email  address for Raymarine technical support, that would be helpful. I need to know if there is any reason the unit (Raystar 125) could be getting power (I tested at the head) but not have any lights blinking, other than a defective unit

TIME: 2011/06/24 19:59
LATITUDE: 39-06.45N
LONGITUDE: 158-23.50W
SPEED: 5.5
COMMENT: We appear to be in the westerlies, moving well toward Sitka. All is well.

Every night we look for the green flash, but we have not seen it yet.

June 23

Winds lightened up again to about 6 knots, but we are still sailing. Have used about 10 gallons of fuel. Tank holds 50 and we have 20 in jugs.

We had marvelous baked teriyaki chicken with the creamy garlic shells pasta last night. Thanks. While looking for the “green flash” as the sun set, I glanced to starboard and saw a Japanese tanker bearing down on us from about 3 miles, Talked with the skipper, who changed course, and he passed about a mile away. Good reminder to keep watch, even out here nearly a thousand miles from land.

Also, we had a nice dolphin show.

Weather seems to have changed. A bit colder overnight and we now have some fog. We are about west (and slightly south,of San Francisco.

Today we need to get the boat more in order. Our companion boats thinks we may be getting some big winds in a few days.

TIME: 2011/06/23 21:35
LATITUDE: 37-40.22N
LONGITUDE: 158-40.30W
SPEED: 3.2
COMMENT: Very light winds, fog. Sailing.

June 22

We’ve had a very nice sailing day, capped off by some watermelon! Thanks. The boys salute you.

Winds are a still light, but enough to move us at about 5 knots. Looks like they will increase Friday-Saturday as we start to round the high.

Actually, we have had a series of highs that form, join and move on. Sometimes they are stacked one on top of the other, north to south. It is like threading a needle that is constantly moving.


We motored part of the night but the winds came back up a bit. We are gliding along at 5 knots under sunny skies. Main and headsail. Seas pretty calm. What a change.

If you get my notes late, it is because the propagation has been terrible during the day and I really can’t get through.

TIME: 2011/06/22 20:50
LATITUDE: 35-50.23N
LONGITUDE: 159-48.43W
SPEED: 5.2
COMMENT: Sailiing on reach. Sunny. All is well.

June 21

Light winds and slow moving, but we have engine off, the spinnaker up, and just had a visit from several dozen dolphins.

No wind. We must have hit the first high. Will motor for a while, then it’s drift, drift, drift. Will send more later.

June 20

Ben made some great Mexican hotdogs for lunch. Failing to find the ketchup, we used picante salsa. Was great.

Wind has lightened a lot as we near the high and progress may be slowed through Friday. We will use the diesel some, but need to save fuel for gulf of Alaska and entering Sitka. Solar panels have been great and we’ve only run the engine a couple hours since Hawaii. Right now we are headed due north, sailing at about 4.5 knots in flat seas and sunny skies. We are talking daily  with Witte Raaf, the dutch boat headed for Sitka. They are about 212 nautical miles to the SE of us. They will be doing the same as us from Alaska south, planning to be in Victoria at the end of September. They got permits for glacier bay, I believe online. We might want to think about that, but it depends on Steve and Lisa’s plans. Heard anything?

Got the carpets out on the deck to dry as best as possible, but it will take us a few days in Sitka to get the boat back in shape for guests.

June 19

We’ll, at least today we have the glorious sailing we’ve been waiting for. Blue skies, flatter seas (rolling) and 7 knots of boatspeed.

June 18

We have some taken some measures to deal with the bilge water issue that should hold us until Alaska. Glad I brought spares of a lot of stuff. Sailng has been very fine, if a bit rocky and bumpy on this close reach course. When we get near the high, it should be more downwind and a bit more comfortable. We’ve had a few other small hardware failures, but nothing significant. Monti is doing well.

By way of comparison, this is way more comfortable than the trip from Barra, but the duration of  the water issues and distance from land just made them more trying. We are now living in a bit wetter and saltier environment above and below decks than I would like. But we have straightened things up and spirits remain amazingly good.

Crew is working out great. They all pitch in and never get depressed. They are here to be part of the adventure. I look forward to sharing some a bit less stressful adventure when we meet up in Alaska.

June 17

We have been a bit preoccupied. Think Barra squared. There appears to be a design deficiency in the  boat. The anchor below deck locker bilge pump is tied into the hose that drains the above  deck anchor compartment. At a deep heel, the above deck does not drain overboard, but rather flows back into the anchor locker below deck. With all the green water we’ve been taking, that has meant many, many gallons of water flowing downward into the boat. They overwhelmed the new bilge pump in the below deck anchor locker and burnt it up. We are testing various alternatives now. With the forward cabin stripped — taking over the main cabin — and water being ferried through by the bucket load — some spillage in these seas — and you can imagine the living conditions. To top it off, on my 4 am watch, a “rogue” wave deposited 15 gallons down the companion way. We now keep the top closed.

the crew —  remain in great spirits — Brendan summed it up as we were eating curried chicken last night. He said, “And why couldn’t we bring Jan along?”

You are a big part of this trip, here or not. And given the conditions so far, the “not” may be preferable for you.

I sum up the trip this way. The sailing, food and crew have been great. Everything else has been shit.

June 16

We left yesterday, Wednesday, at about 1600. We have covered nearly 150 miles in less than a day, so the sailing has been fast. I have two young sailors with me, thank goodness, Brendan and Ben. We are all doing well. You can see our daily position reports on Yotreps. Just google it. We are Wdf3813. That is our ships call sign. We have slowed a  bit, giving me a chance to write. We hope to be in Sitka in abo three weeks.

Winds have been 15-29 knots from the NE to E. Boatspeed has been 5-7.5 knots. Direction pretty much due north to pass the western edge of the pacific high for good winds.

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