West Coast and Beyond

N 20° 41' W 105° 18'

Onward to Alaska

May 23, 2011

TIME: 2011/06/19 20:57
LATITUDE: 30-17.65N
LONGITUDE: 159-37.12W
COURSE: 359T
SPEED: 5.9
COMMENT: Bumpy sail close hauled as we head due north in 16-25 knot winds.

Touch Rain left Nawiliwili on Kaui June 15 on a 2,500-nautical mile passage to Sitka, Alaska. The same day, Jan and Jordy flew back to Olympia to take care of some lose ends at home. We will meet back up in Sitka in early July.

The crew for the passage includes Michael and Brendan and Ben, Two sailing friends of Michael’s daughter Ellie and her boyfriend, Alex. Brendan and Alex helped bring the boat down the west coast to San Diego last August.

All I (Michael) have to say is, “Thank goodness for young muscle and enthusiasm.” Brendan and Ben have been great through the first four days of this expected 21-day passage. And there have been challenges. These involved the first rule of boating — “keep the water on the outside of the boat.”

We had not even got out of sight of land when one of our water tanks started leaking at the top. Lesson — don’t depend too heavily on screws to remain water tight. Just about the time we cleaned that up, we hit some rough seas - we were close hauled - that sent a lot of green water over the bow. Water came pouring into the shower, overflowing onto the head floor. I tore out the ceiling liner above the shower to find water spurting through two holes that a previous owner (PO) had filled with caulking rather than proper epoxy filler. After years, the caulking had just disappeared. As a temporary measure, we screwed a couple lag screws up from below to stem the flow.

Following that, a somewhat more serious water issued showed up. Our deck anchor bilge pump line and moulded in anchor locker were tied into same outlet. As green water came over the bow, and into the above deck locker, it siphoned below deck to the anchor locker, overwhelming and ultimately burning out the bilge pump. This overflowed into the cabin. We removed dozens of bucket loads of water and put a fix in place that should last til Sitka. Suffice it to say, it involved rescue tape, a garden hose, a spare bilge pump and various other items.

All that whining dispensed with, we are now sailing under blue skies. The seas are still messy but wind and boat speeds remain quite nice. This is good since we are closing in on the Pacific High, where wind will drop dramatically and air temperatures will be cooler. Could be very slow for a few days. We are hoping to skirt the west side of the high for better winds and wind direction, but the high keeps changing location. This sailing stuff is a lot of lucky timing as well as art and science.

We have been eating quite well so far, mainly due to Jan’s advance planning, prepared meals, and good foresight in telling Brendan where everything is rather than relying upon me. Her chicken curry and penne pasta were outstanding, as were the blueberry muffins and brownies that Brendan baked. And we now actually have enough space in the fridge to keep a couple of beers cold.

Onward to Alaska.

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