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Friday, January 30, 2015

Sailing Up From San Diego VIII: From Dana Point to Newport Beach.



It was blowing ten to fifteen knots of wind with baby whitecaps and 2 foot waves. It was a nice day and I felt excited to be heading out on another adventure!

I had just left Dana Point. Here's what happened from the beginning:

Having just sailed from Oceanside, I had anchored in Dana Pt.

During the night I had managed to row my dinghy ashore and get my battery charged. The next day, I then hooked it up to the electrical on the boat and sat and waited for the wind to start. It was a nice morning with pelicans flying overhead. The wind usually begins around 10:30 am or so and when it did I pulled up bow and stern anchor and set sail out of the harbor.

I texted my wife the following soon after I left:

Albie: "My route is 170 S for 10 miles (as wind is against me), then 300 -310 N between Catalina and San Pedro, and then to Redondo or Marina Del Rey.

A: Left Dana Pt at 10:30 am. Out at sea now on course. I love you!

Wife: I love you too. Thank you.  Travel safe.  Kids send their love.

A: I love them too! Only text me. Can't get voice mail at sea.

W: Come home to the land.  We miss u.

A: Comin! :-D xxxooo

W: Have fun!"


Out at sea I saw a pod of whales. Every ten seconds I would see another whale shooting out water high into the air. Then black dolphins came.

After an hour or two, I turned north on 310 degrees. I was about 7 or 8 miles out. Visibility was only 5 miles so I could barely make out the land.

After checking my course, plotting my route and doing the math, it seemed that I would get to Point Vicente by 8pm (if I had good winds). Then if I had light winds at night it would take 8 more hours to get to Redondo. It would take me all night and morning to get to MDR.

I was enjoying the trip. But not looking forward to the sleepy parts and the light winds and possible rocking when and if the winds died.

The afternoon sail was pleasant despite the fact that the wind was not exactly favorable.

Pulling in the jib and mainsail tight, I tried to head up as close to the wind as possible. My aim was to head  north - toward Marina Del Rey. But it was almost in vain. The wind was coming directly from the north and I was only able to head north west - and more west than north.

So that meant the only way I could head north was when I tacked north east - toward the shore. This tack allowed me to head more north than east but it also brought me inland.

This would mean it would make passing Point Vicente later on really hard. In order to pass it, I kept having to lose time by heading west instead of north - back out to sea again. So I was plagued by the need to head NORTH AND WEST at the same time but only getting ONE OR THE OTHER. And each time I gained one - I LOST THE OTHER! Oh well, I would just have to enjoy the sail for what it was. At least there was wind!

Eventually, I found myself following a beautiful sailboat ahead of me. it sped up though and disappeared out of sight.

By six pm the winds were already light. I was thinking of anchoring at Newport Beach instead of getting caught in the shipping lanes with no wind.

So much for my plans for reaching Marina Del Rey by morning!

The wind was changing direction and was against me. The jib was luffing a lot with dying winds too.

 I watched for the Newport harbor entrance. The sun was getting lower on the horizon and I looked for the harbor entrance and soon found it. The entrance was still a mile or two away. By the time I got near the harbor, I could see the green and red harbor entrance lights. Sunset was upon me.

As I entered Newport Harbor, I began to study the harbor map. It wasn't long before I realized that the entrance was two miles long.

Without an engine and having to sail against the light inland winds, I made another change of plan. It was going to be a LOT of work just to get in and then anchor. I decided to spend all that work getting home instead of getting into the harbor.

The wind was not favorable toward going north (as it was very light and I could only gain way on a close reach). I headed south west instead out to se a once more.

My wife texted me wondering if I was crazy to leave the safety of the harbor at night and head out. I texted her back letting her basically know all my reasons. I would rather work at getting home since I was going to have to work at one or the other. My wife didn't like it.

It took me a while even to get a mile out of Newport. For sure I wouldn't head north through the shipping lane till a really strong breeze came up.

Eventually I hove-to about 5-10 miles out. All was ok. I could see the fishing vessels out with their bright lights out over the horizon. But I was tired.

I texted my wife again:

A: I am well. Just woke up. I am about 10 miles off Newport. No wind last night except very mild which took me out.

W: Come home.

A: Miss u all.

W: I am sending these text with a fun tone.  We just want u safe.  Have fun. We will see u when u get home.

The next day I awoke to a windless morning. Because of this, though, I was able to see through the mirror-like water and see a ball of silver colored fish swimming around my sailboat! It was absolutely beautiful and amazing at the same time.

I'm not sure what was going on with the weather but it would be the third morning I would experience on this trip where the wind started late. It was also very overcast too which added to the mysterious feeling I was having bobbing around out here at sea.

Finally the wind came up, slowly at first, and blew away the clouds! I was off again - this time for Marina Del Rey!

Thanks for your comments!

~Albie

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sailing from San Diego to Los Angeles, Part VII: Oceanside to Dana Point





After leaving Oceanside, I sailed the rest of the afternoon toward Dana Point.

 It was late afternoon when I was sailing past San Onefre Nuclear Plant.

I was about a mile or two from shore and the closer to land I got the heavier the kelp got. It started getting really thick all of a sudden and I decided to change tack and head out to sea and get away from the kelp. The kelp must have been good for fishing as I saw a couple fishing boats near the kelp beds.

While I was doing this I was reading a book. I didn't have to worry about steering as I had the tiller on "auto" by using a rope that connected to the tiller extender and then back to the port and starboard cleats - essentially locking the tiller in place. It was easy to keep the boat balanced with the rudder/tiller on a close reach (sails being pulled tight to head up as close to the wind as possible).

Soon sunset came and then darkness. And sailing out here there were hardly any lights from the land and it was really dark! The wind came out too and I was sailing along at a good clip. The waves started getting bigger too and in an hour or two they were four foot high.

Suddenly I happened to notice something swinging loose on the starboard side. I went to investigate by crawling on the cabin top and discovered that the lower shroud had come undone. I was stunned. How had that happened? The bolts that held it in place were not easy to come loose. But it had and I had to deal with it, in the darkness with a strong breeze. 

So with a flashlight in my mouth, two sets of pliers on the moving cabin top (both put in place so they wouldn't fall into the sea) and some miscellaneous parts to help me get the job done, I held on with one hand and tried to work on the shroud with the other.

 It was very difficult and time after time I failed getting the shroud secured. It was a very tight fit and hard to do when the boat was moving and tilted on its side from the power of the wind in the sails. My teeth could not get the flashlight to focus on the right area. I kept failing over and over and was beginning to feel desperate. What would happen if I couldn't do it?

Thankfully the boat was on the other tack. But if I had to tack the boat to the other side the mast would not be secure and could fall!

Finally, with a little creative power, I was able to get it done and get it to be tight too! But it had been a very stressful struggle. 

Hours went by out on the dark sea and finally I saw a lot of lights on land far ahead of me. It might be Newport Beach. That's the only place I could think of that would have that many lights. It would be a while before I was able to get there as it seemed far away. At least the wind was strong and steady.

By 1 am I was getting closer to the lights on shore when I happened to notice a blinking red and green light. I carefully observed how many seconds before the lights came on and realized that they were not traffic lights. They were definitely ocean navigation lights.

Suddenly it dawned on me that this was the harbor entrance to somewhere! I wasn't exactly sure where but maybe it might be Dana Point. I couldn't believe that I had just accidentally seen the harbor entrance lights. I had almost passed on by too!

So I sailed directly toward the lights. Still it was SO dark I couldn't even see the harbor entrance. All I saw was a rocky wall and was sure hoping I wouldn't sail into that!

The closer I got the more I could see the angle I needed to sail at to get into the harbor. It was a little tricky but suddenly the way was obvious and I sailed into the harbor. I called the Harbor Master and asked them where I could dock or anchor. They asked me if I was Albie and being very much surprised, I answered 'yes'. They immediately informed me that my wife was worried about me and was waiting for me at the dock! That was really great news! They then told me I could anchor for four days for free at the southernmost part of the harbor.





I then proceeded to sail up toward the harbor wall to anchor. My first attempt failed and I pulled the anchor back out of the water. I then reattempted it and sailed closer to the sea wall this time. I then dropped the anchor and pulled on it to see if it had caught hold. It had. I was in about twenty foot of water and put out 100 foot of line including the anchor chain. I then dropped the stern anchor too.

I then texted my wife to see exactly where she was. After I found the place where she was, I rowed the little row boat over to it:

Wife: Where is the jetty?

Albie: Let me know when there. I'll row back. I'm on boat waiting 4 u 2 find it. So tired darling.

A: No sweet friend - at the boat launch! Diagonal 2 where u first parked resting waiting 4 me. Where u bring ur boat down to launch. There's parking lot right next to it.

W: K

I then rowed the family out on the dinghy and we all slept on the sailboat that night.
The next day we had fun exploring Dana Point together and playing at the beach. :-)


It would be a couple days before I would set sail again out of Dana Point for Newport Beach and then Marina Del Rey.

Thanks for your comments!

~Albie


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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sailing from San Diego to Los Angeles. Part VI Up to Ocean Side!




The wind was up and all seemed well until I got a ways out to sea. From that point it was apparent that the wind was going to continue from the north making it clear to me that I could only sail north west close hauled.

 After a couple hours I got about five miles out and then the wind promptly stopped! 

So much for getting anywhere today. I watched the sun go down and then darkness came on.

 I could do nothing but take the sails down and wait for the wind. But there was nothing but sheer calm all night!

I took notice of all the land sights and lights around me. Tonight I decided to sleep in the V-birth instead of out in the cockpit. Basically the reason for this was because of the dead calm. The ocean waves were pretty flat too.

Throughout the night I would wake myself up every fifteen minutes or so and look out the hatchway above my head to see if any boats or ships were coming my way. Nothing came.

 I could see the fishing boats bright lights however, scattered here and there over the ocean horizon. For some reason this night is etched in my memory but for what reason I am not sure. Not really anything happened!

 But perhaps it was the feeling of being alone at sea overnight without any stress or adventure that I remember.

I reflected back on what we did in San Diego as a family before I left. Basically, here's what happened:

Upon arriving and anchoring in San Diego (Mission Bay), my family had a nice time swimming in the clear water around the boat, making sand castles in the sand and collecting shells.

After taking the dinghy over to the boat or swimming there, we cooked dinner on my boat stove, lit some candles for light and eventually fell asleep on the boat night after night.

On the way down to San Diego, my lower shroud had broken near Catalina Island and I had to fix up a jury rig to help support the mast on the trip. Now during the vacation, I took the time to take the jury rigged Lower Shroud off and attach it to the mast with a real stainless steal 'S' hook. This seemed to really do the job and I was ready again to sail.

So to test it out I took the family sailing around Mission Bay.

 This was a bit of a dream come true as my wife and I had always wanted to sail there.

At one point we were sailing under a bridge across from Sea World and the mast barely cleared the top of the bridge! That was a harrowing experience! We sailed on the calm water all around all the different isles and bays. It was fun!

On our last day we visited Sea World! But I eventually had to sail back up to Los Angeles and left the following day out of Mission Bay. Bringing us back to where I was now.

It had been a nice vacation! I especially liked swimming in the warm teal green water near our boat. So that's what happened in San Diego.

The dark night at sea passed peacefully. I remember the faint glow of the candle I had lit glimmering in the cabin, the occasional flicker of my flashlight on the countertop to get a snack.

Slowly through the night I drifted with the current unawares a couple miles south down toward Point Loma.

In the morning I was not aware I had drifted so far as the landmarks had not changed that much. It was only the visit from the Coast Guard that woke me up to the fact that I was further south than I realized. 

After giving them permission to check my boat for drugs and hideaway people - they promptly believed that I was not hiding anything after I confirmed I had nothing and after checking my drivers license. They then decided not to come aboard.

 Revving up their four huge outboard engines, they took off.

I was then left alone to wait for the wind. And I waited and waited.

Usually the wind picks up around 10 am but not today. I waited while the suns heat beat down upon the boat. Thankfully I could go down into the cabin and open the hatches for ventilation and get some relief from the sun! 

Finally around 1pm the wind came out and I slowly began to sail north past La Jolla.

But it was a slow ride as the wind was not exceptionally strong an I was fighting the current too. What should have taken a couple hours took all day and I was just clearing the San Diego area by nightfall.

Thankfully the wind kept up nicely till 11 pm and even after this there were enough spells of wind to leave the sails up and I very slowly made my way toward Oceanside.

 I just kept on sailing as long as there was wind and by early morning had made my way to the two big smoke stacks near Carlsbad. It took a while to clear them but by morning I could see the Oceanside area. 

I remember the feeling of sailing up the coast that night. The wind was constant but not very strong. Sometimes it seemed like it had completely disappeared but when I looked at the sail it was still full - so there was must have been some wind somewhere! 

By sunrise I was closing in on the harbor. But I couldn't see it. In fact only the landmarks I could identify on the map confirmed I was even at Oceanside. Without the map, I could of been anywhere!

The closer I got though, I started to identify a lot of tall masts rising up. But for some reason I couldn't see the harbor entrance.

The wind came out stronger as the morning progressed and I kept heading closer and closer. The thing that surprised me was how long it took to actually get in. By 11am I finally came in through the rocky harbor entrance! I docked the boat at the harbor patrol extra dock and finally got to get a solid hour of rest!

Thanks for your comments!

If you like this content, be sure to share it and subscribe.

-Albie


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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sailing to San Diego Part V




"Before my eyes closed I noticed how beautiful it was sleeping under the stars out at sea! And then I fell alseep for a short while. All went dark in my mind and then I woke up about 15 minutes later to adjust the tiller slightly as the sails were making noise and the boat was slightly off course."




Many hours earlier however, I had been on a mission to sail into Mission Bay by evening time. But the wind had almost died and the current was against me. Besides this I didn't have an engine so that put me at the complete mercy of the wind.

Here's what happened: I was constantly watching the wind when after discovering the red harbor beacon, the wind decided to blow so slightly that I could barely feel its effects on the sails. Yet it was still there as the windex still held its true position. But the current now I believe was stronger than the wind and I sailed around for the whole hour realizing in time I was getting nowhere really fast!

 But I had been so excited that I had made my goal of getting to San Diego today and I was determined to get in that harbor so I kept hoping against hope that I was surely making at LEAST a little headway.

I tried staying awake for hours in my
quest. I remember nodding off many times. I would wake up trying to spy the red harbor beacon again and sometimes lose its excact position again and having to fight for five minutes or more to reclaim its position. By 2 am, my body was becoming quite cold - even with two jackets on. My body temperature was dropping as it does late at night and also I was exhausted.

 So I jumped down into the cabin and then into the V-birth to grab my sleeping bag and blanket and dragged it up into the cockpit. Also I  grabbed the smaller blue rectangular seat cushion as it was so perfect for me to lie on tonight. Then placing them out on the cockpit seat, I got in.

 Looking all around me I took notice of every boat out at sea. There was still a couple boats on the horizon shining their bright fishing spot lights out into the dark ocean night. But they were far away so they didn't bother me. It was then while thinking all about this that I decided it would be best to turn on my upper shroud deck light just for added safety besides my running lights, so other boats were sure to see me.

After doing this I hastly got back into the warmth of my brown sleeping bag and then pulled my daughters 'Sleeping Beauty' blanket up over my shoulders. Before my eyes closed I noticed how beautiful it was sleeping under the stars out at sea! 

And then I fell alseep for a short while. All went dark in my mind and then I woke up about 15 minutes later to adjust the tiller slightly as the sails were making noise and the boat was slightly off course. I took a look around me another time, then I went back to sleep. Thoughts of some boat crashing into me sometimes worried me. But the lonely sea was still just as lonely when I sat up in the sleepinbag and looked around.

And then I went back to sleep again. After a while and the boat and I had really not gone anywhere, so I hove to. I backed the jib sail on the opposite side and this made the boat go back and forth but not really forward. But as the wind was so slight it took a while for the boat to do anything!

This routine of waking up every fifteen minutes went on for at least a couple hours untill the sheer exhaustion had left me, but I was still tired.

And then suddenly the wind just died out completely. I could tell because the boat rocked and swayed in the three foot swells without the pressure of the mainsail or jib keeping the 'nose' of the boat tilted slightly into the waves and moving forward. Without the winds pressure, the waves just rocked me around any which way they liked!

And the waves were not tiny. There was a big swell running tonight and the waves were typically about three foot high - but not dangerous. So I got up out of the brown sleeping bag and hooked the boom up to the back stay. Now that it couldn't jump around from side to side with the boats motion and whack me in the head, I jumped up to the deck and took down the main sail so that it wouldn't flap around making noise and such. Then I went back to sleep. I continued to watch every fifteen minutes or so but I was very tired and only cast a seconds look for ships and then fell asleep again.

 So this time I must have slept longer for when I awoke I notced that the boat and I had drifted into the kelp bed.

So I carefully put on my life jackeand got a flashlight and an oar and put them and the large ropes into the dinghy. I then attached the two ropes together and attached the new larger rope securely to the boat by way of the back cleat. Then un-attaching the line that held the dinghy to the boat I pushed the dinghy and myself away from the boat out over the big three foot swells. Even in the kelp the waves were substantial.

The dinghy just rode them 'matter of fact' like but it was more of a serious matter for me because about a month ago I had tipped the dinghy upside down and had to swim back to my sailboat. But getting back to the big swells - the previous reasons though, for tipping the dinghy, were nonexistent tonight so in that I was glad and when I got out to where the dinghy finally stretched the rope taught and was at a place to tow the sailboat, I paddled harder trying to manually pull the boat out of the kelp.

It was kind of hard and at first all I managed to do was row in circles! With the weight of the sailboat pulling hard against any forward motion, I was getting frustrated. At last though, I figured out that if I paddled at a steady pace first on one side and then the other, the sailboat began to move.
I got the boat a certain distance with great struggle and effort. After half an hour I was truly worn out and had only pulled the sailboat half way out of the kelp. I gave up at that point and knew that I was going to either have to try again later or wait till the wind came out for more power. So I returned to my sailboat.

 As I pulled myself in with the connector rope, the distant lights off of Mission Bay and Point Loma helped illuminate the dark night sky and the dark black ocean. Each wave was illuminated on its hump as it rolled inward toward shore.

When I got back, I wanted to go to sleep but I was partly fascinated by the boats slow movement with the tide and partly worried to see exactly how far and at what speed I was traveling through the kelp bed. At first it appeared as though I was not moving at all. But after a few minutes I saw that this was not true and that I was indeed moving very slowly.

I realized that the kelp was kind of good and bad. It kept you in but it also kind-of held you still so you wouldn't drift much. So I was kind of thankful. I must have sat there watching my slow movement through the kelp for at least half an hour. By that time I knew that I would have some time to rest, but at some point the boat would get too close to the shore.

I attempted an experiment and threw out a bucket on a rope as far as I could toss it. I wanted to see if the pressure on the bucket caused any further reduction of drift. But I couldn't see any real difference so I brought it in. Then I decided to sleep in the V-birth on my bed instead of out in the cockpit as I was extremely tired by this point having been awake now for an hour and a half at least. Also I was not in danger of hitting anyone or vise-versus inside the kelp bed.

The next morning before the sun had fully risen, I tried to reach down over the side of the stern and unwrap all the kelp that had worked its way around my rudder. I knew that the keel probably had a bunch of it too but there was little I could do about it. When the wind came up around 9 am or so I sailed very happily out of the kelp. I was surprised how easily I did so and realized that this would not be the case if I was a motor boat!

I thought I saw the entrance to Mission Bay, so I headed straight for it. But alas, as I entered that area I saw that it was a beach instead of the harbor entrance and that the entrance was just on the other side of this sea wall!

 I saw that I still had time to cut across and get to the other side without tacking - so I did just that. In hindsight it might have been a little impulsive though because just as I was cutting across the sea wall, a huge breaking wave hit my boat broadsides and knocked me and the boat for a major roll. Even though I've been out in huge ocean waves during storms and gales, I've never been hit by a breaking wave like that before.Thankfully it just have me a big shock but the boat handled it quite well!

Soon I had got over the shock and was heading into the harbor entrance. I called the Harbor Master on my VHS and they told me a good place to anchor.

Soon I was dropping the anchor in about 20 feet of clear water from the beach. I had found a place that was away from the other boats and in no danger of swinging near them. Dropping the stern anchor too - just in case helped give me peace of mind. I was finally here! I immediately gave my wife a call and went down into the cabin to relax a little.


 Come visit my blog next week to see what adventure I had next leaving San Diego and then heading back up to Los Angeles once more!

Thanks for your comments!

If you like this content, be sure to share it and subscribe.

-Albie

http://SailingWithAlbie.blogspot.com

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My new Mast!

My new Mast!
Because the mast is now 29 feet, I found a Catalina 27 sail that fits it real well. CLICK on PIC to go to page all about different masts on the boat!.

Sailed to Catalina

Sailed to Catalina
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After Sailing - bonfire on the beach!

After Sailing - bonfire on the beach!
Wow! It was so hot! You could cook your hotdog two feet away from the fire!
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Welcome to Sailing with Albie!

I made this blog because I wanted to share my adventures at sea with all of you! Some of you may be wishing they had their own boat or just want to 'get away' even if just at home on the web. So each week I decided to write down my feelings while out at sea and share them with you. If you enjoy them, please feel free to come back here weekly and see what's new. Also please share the blog with your friends and with those who you know like sailing!



Thanks!



Albie

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