Second Year of the Blog
If you're wondering why it's been over 4 months since my last missive, all I can say is, What a Summer. My computer's display took a major dump last July, and I couldn't see what I was typing, then I was given a Ranger 23, which has sucked up all my available time and other resources...
Anyway, I have discovered that a regular old monitor will plug into my laptop and by golly, work just fine.
I want to share the story of my mini-voyage bringing the little neglected Ranger up here to Channel Islands Harbor, in Oxnard, from the heart of Smell-A, Redondo Beach. The chart says the distance is only 45 miles, but when one thinks about a 23 foot boat with virtually no amenities (like an electrical system, working head, decent sails or rigging, or a functioning outboard motor) making the trip against prevailing wind and current, the thought isn't pleasantly optimistic. I had to figure out a few things. First was the motor situation. Luckily there was a good 9 horse available to borrow. Next was the weather. The wind and waves really kick up in the afternoon around Point Mugu, and since there was no way to avoid being there at that time no matter how early in the morning we departed, the only logical idea seemed to be a night run. Next was the running lights. Bought some flashlight style running lights designed for inflatables and hoped for the best.
So the appointed day arrived and my stalwart friend and I were driven down to the belly of the beast, King Harbor, for the beginning of our ordeal. It took from about noon (when we arrived) until 6pm before we were casting off and heading out at last. So many details had to be taken care of, and take care of them we did. I broughtthe borrowed outboard, and a bracket we had to replace the destroyed one that came with the boat, a new deep cycle battery to power the VHF and temporary mast light I duct taped onto the mast for the trip, two 5 gallon jerry jugs of premixed outboard fuel, food and water, a bottle of brandy for medicinal coffee sweetening, a propane camp stove to heat water for coffee and soup, a new GPS to help navigate, a couple of flashlights, flares, horn, PFD's and the rest of the stuff you need to have.
As we cruised out of the harbor entrance, the breeze was gently propelling the last of the Labor Day weekenders back to Marina del Rey, and the Sun was starting to sink to the horizon dead ahead as we were heading out on our 10 hour voyage. The sunset was beautiful, as was the Moon when it began to shine on the water off our beam. It's amazing how slow 5.5 or 6 knots actually moves you away from a harbor. We kept looking back, and after an hour, you could still see where we had just left from like it was right there. The cool thing was the airport, where the holiday traveler-packed jets seemed to hover in layers as they waited to land. Since we were more or less in line with their final approach paths, they seemed to hardly move at all.
The moon finally went down as we approached Point Dume, and the wind had risen to the point that as we pounded into the swells, salt spray was making it almost impossible to see. My stalwart crewmate was sleeping off his mal de mer below as I squinted into the darkness ahead trying to spot the lighted buoy off the point. Just about midnight, just past the point, the flashlight battery powered nav lights gave up the ghost. You'd think they would be up to lasting a whole night, I was thinking, but found out later the salt water had intruded and shorted them out. Luckily the duct taped steaming light held out, so we weren't completely darkened.
The wind mercifully died about that time, since we had to refill the fuel tank from a jerry jug, and it spilled all over my shoe as it was. That motor didn't die as the fuel ran out, it just ran sloowwer and slllooorrreeer. I finally got a nap between 1:30 and 2:30, and was ready to take over again as my crewpal puked for the fourth or fifth time. I think he has an inner ear problem.
The phosphoresence was really something to see as we cruised on up the coast, and before you knew it, there were the lights of Port Hueneme and just past, the entrance lights of our little harbor, and we were there. Of course, the same thing happens as you approach a destination as when you leave somewhere. Time seems to slow down and that last little bit takes for freekin ever, but we made the jetty about 4am, and I sure was happy to be there.
The trip was a fantastic success, and my seasick pal even said he had a good time. I can't wait to try it downwind sometime.
SAILBOATS WANTED FOR CHARTER
After a wet and wild February, we are finally getting some Southern California weather again, and since Spring is now officially here, it's time to get out in the wind again! Last weekend we had every boat in our fleet going out, and the big message I got was, WE NEED MORE BOATS!!!!!! Three boats went away last Winter, sold by owners who decided their boats were in the best condition they had ever been in, and it might be a good time to cash in. That's the big problem with being so dedicated to having our fleet in Bristol condition here at Marina Sailing of Channel Islands.
Anyway, if you have a 30'-36' boat built in 1988 or newer, with a diesel engine, wheel steering, roller furling headsail, and in reasonable condition (we'll bring it up to top condition for you) please give us a call or e-mail (805)985-5219 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll talk, eh? A new boat bought and put right into charter will get you a deal you won't believe, like no cash outlay for the first 5 years.
Enough with the "sailspitch" already, you say? OK. Last time I promised a review of the great sailing video sent to me by Kevin Raichl at Visual Thinking in Bend, Oregon. All I can say about it is, Wow! It is a superbly done masterpiece called "Trailer Sailor on Flathead Lake, MT" . If this video doesn't make you want to get out there and sail, you must not have watched it! The beautiful scenery of Montana so close to Glacier National Park (which is shown briefly), combined with some useful traveling information, marina closeups, sailing tips, and a "virtual week" of exploration on this vast lake make for a superb viewing experience. It also does a good job of showing off the Hunter trailerable that takes them on this adventure, but the most memorable thing about this video is the highly polished and professional production techniques used. I was impressed. If you want to get in touch with Kevin and Co., call (541) 317-0619 or go to their website from the link above.
Well, the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, my boat is calling, and as the Kingsmen said so well in their masterpiece "Louie Louie" - Me gotta go now.
I don't know if it's like this for everyone, but the older I get, the faster time seems to go by. After noticing the phenomenon a few years ago, I think I can say with certainty that the thing gets worse continuously!
So now it's full on Spring, things are really starting to pop, and it's time to get in GEAR! The charter fleet has grown here by the addition of a fine '92 Catalina 28, and I'm stil looking to add a couple more boats before Summer really hits. The boats are all starting to get some regular excercise, and with the addition of my capable "right hand girl" Helene to the staff, the fleet is looking (and working) better than ever.
Speaking of the Catalina 28, I had the pleasure of helping to bring the little beauty up here to Oxnard from Marina del Rey a week or so ago. It turned into a delightful 9 hour motor test, but what a beautiful day on the water it was. Dolphins were cavorting- thats what they do, isn't it?- seals were sunning, fish were jumping, and the sun was shining. The boat powers like a champ, doing 6 knots at 2500 rpms, just about hull speed, I reckon. I had fun playing amateur navigator, taking bearings with my new hand bearing compass, plotting our ded reckoning course, and trying my best not to look at the GPS mounted above me. I actually got us to the general vicinity I was aiming for! Now let's try that in the dark with some wind and swells...
Anyway, it's never too late to learn some old fashioned seamanship, I figure, even though one has been coddled with RDF's, lorans, and now GPS's all ones life. Never know when the batteries might run out. These days we may have great inventions like towing insurance, an active and well equipped Coast Guard, and lots of fellow boaters out there to save us if we get into trouble, but this sailor hopes to be far far away from such a comfortable venue one of these days, and it sure would be good to be prepared for anything that came along. This learning curve never stops, does it?
Your Pal, the webcaptain
Hello From Southern California,
It's been a strange couple of weeks, I tell ya. While my "real job" has been heating up, all the boats are going out and people are signing up for lessons almost daily, this web site has been sliding into the doldrums compared to what it was doing. The old hitometer was smoking there for awhile, with 800+ visitors a week piling into the homepage, then last week, it was like the plug got pulled or something. Only 600 made it. Was it my bad breath? Actually I have a theory about schools getting out and students no longer looking for a little break from the grind of study, but it could be wishful thinking? Enough of my sob story.
The June Gloom has arrived here, with the characteristic morning clouds/fog giving way to afternoon sunshine. No small craft advisories for a few weeks, and the seas are calm. Time to venture out to the Channel Islands for some Summer Fun! Midweek trips are going to be the best for getting the good spots in the prime coves, so lets all get on out there and CRUISE!
My new mega-sponsor The Marine Partnership offers some really fine merchandise for some really good value, so be sure to check them out. Their line of bottom paint looks especially good.
My daughter is visiting from Oregon today for a late Father's Day treat, and I'm going to take her for a sail. Hope you all have a great day, week, month, until we meet again. As my good friend Stuart from the Marine Partnership signs off: