(See 'Articles&Interviews' page for Latitude 38 August 2008 report of my sad grounding in Mexico in June)
August was a busy month, with thoughts of a new boat taking up a lot of my time!
The return upwind sail to San Francisco on "Islander" that I'd been looking forward to turned into a bit of a nightmare & had to be aborted just over a day out from Kauai due to water leaking in from several unseen places & eventually reaching to above the cabin sole, despite my efforts at baling out. With no bilge pumps working and a 3 week passage ahead, it was clearly not sensible to continue on. On closing the coast of Kauai after dawn, the Monitor wind-steering (which had been working quite well up to that point) came adrift from the steering wheel due to broken hose-clamps - mendable, given time & plenty of patience, but since I was then sailing nicely within 6 hrs of Hanalei Bay I decided it was simpler & safer just to handsteer the remaining distance in to the anchorage and hope the slowly-rising, oily bilge-water wouldn't cause me a major problem - I got in safely, after heaving to while I baled out a bit more & checked my position and course to steer ...
I then flew to London for a few days, celebrating my birthday by signing a contract for a new boat - a Najad 380, just over a foot longer than my old Najad 361. I had lots of small but important (to me) changes I wanted, so I then flew to Sweden to discuss these in detail with the Najad yard at Henan, north of Gothenburg, on the island of Orust- traditionally, a centre of Swedish boat-building since Viking times. By focussing on thoughts of the new boat, I'm avoiding the sadness of remembering the last painful days of my old 'Nereida'. There's certainly lots to think about for 'Nereida II' & I feel quite excited over the thought of sailing her by next Spring - she looks a lovely boat, is similar in many ways to the Najad 361 I know so well, is designed to sail well, and with my changes she should work well for me. I was even more cheerful last week when I saw the insurance money come into my account!!
I'm now in San Francisco where I've been both looking for new items for the new boat and also looking over & sorting out the salvaged items from Mexico, brought up by Skip Weahunt on 'Annamarina' - a big "Thank you" to Skip for his kindness there. Quite a lot has had to be thrown away as being too water-damaged to be worthwhile keeping and I have to figure out how to get the remainder to the U.K. I was fortunate to be offered the use of space on shore by Ruben of 'Sparky', while I sort it all out - a slow process. Ruben also gave me a lot of help yesterday, moving the gear using his old truck - perfect!
I have a few more days here in the Bay area of San Francisco, sorting old gear and researching/buying new gear, as well as catching up with friends here, before going up to British Columbia this weekend to join the Ocean Cruising Club Desolation Sound Rally for some sailing in those lovely waters.
I was very sorry this morning to hear the sad news of Skip Allen on 'Wildflower' who is himself safe on a freighter but had to abandon and scuttle his boat after damage during 40-50 knot winds on Sunday on his return passage towards Santa Cruz - he had been expecting to make landfall on Monday or Tuesday. I hope that Ken on 'Harrier' and Rob & Aaron on 'Feolena' all make landfall safely soon. (For news, see www.sfbaysss.org)