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S/V Nereida sails around the world


The rain overnight and this morning helped to clean the dust off the boat - there's lots in the air here.  Some say it's the nearby airport adding to 'desert' dust - but all I know is there's lots of it and it's DARK!

Searching under the forepeak bunk on Friday, I finally laid my hands on the missing  new wind transducer- so that can be installed early next week.  I also made sure I could use the forepeak bunk Friday - I'd been forced to sleep on the cabin sole Thursday night.  Having moved things out of the forepeak onto the starboard saloon settee, I'd lost the bunk I've been using while the aft bunk has been unuseable because of wiring problems.

I got out the enormous Spanish  buckets I store in the engine compartment and soaked all the reefing lines, furling line and just about any other lines, halyards etc I could - all were really stiff with salt, as well as being dirty.

My replacement AIS unit for the one stolen a week ago arrived late Friday but the Garmin GPS plotter was delayed in Customs & won't be delivered until Monday now.  What did arrive was the Nobeltec 'dongle' for my laptop - I telephoned and got the permit code so now I have access to charts of the entire world on my laptop - great!

Ray brought a  ladder & had a look at the Navtex antenna - seems the coax wire down to the connector he replaced is faulty - wil need to run a new one next week (he's really busy just now & being very kind popping by so often trying to sort out my wiring/instrument problems)

Friday evening went again for a motoryacht trip (& pizza) in Ed Letzring's "Abracadabra" with the same friends as 2 wks ago -  enjoyed view of  the San Diego night skyline from the water. Then spent a lot of time emailing photos for adding in to my website and adding/correcting website text.  Also sent photos to journalist from the local 'Log' newspaper for adding to story on 'Nereida' to be published on 23rd Feb.

Saturday I had lunch with Gigi, her husband & their (triplet) 14 yr old boys - very nice lads - at C-Level with a good view of the Bay area over to San Diego city centre ('downtown').  Food was delicious - calamari etc followed by crab salad.  Rinsed out lines and replaced water in buckets.  Surprises me that water here isn't metered..!  Read a lot in J. Cornell's World Cruising Routes and read friends' emails on their cruising in S. Pacific etc before writing more for my website on my proposed circumnavigation route.

Sunday I managed to get a little more wiring done - Seatalk/RS232 connection for laptop & 12V outlet  replacement (finally!) & tidied up cables - all took far longer than I expected. Tidied & sorted a little more.  Dealt with lines, using softener and then hanging them all up to drip dry.  Soaked genoa sheets and other ends of reefing lines.  Spoke to several people on Skype - that is so useful for keeping in touch!!

I'm looking forward to lots happening on Monday .... it was good to see the rain had cleared away by mid-afternoon.

Thursday: Making some slow progress!

Tuesday saw the copper strip-laying/connecting to ground-plate finlly finished with - I 'concertina-ed' the excess with duct tape in between the folds for insulation - so I've effectively 25ft of 3" copper between the ATU and the groundplate.  All was covered over with duct tape for protection. Nice to think it's finished with!   I dealt with the wood partition by the ATU - hinged it, so in future I'll have easier access.
The dive tanks were collected by Michael of nearby 'California Diving' - too heavy to take far on my bike! Ready (serviced and filled) by Thursday, when I took in my regulator for servicing also - that might take several days to do - hopefully not too long.
Wednesday, Ray came by to check the voltage at the Navtex antenna coax connector - seemed OK (5V) but nothing at display - need to check at the antenna itself - but that needs a ladder ....  Later that morning, Dong came and changed the tachometer on the engine - it has been behaving erratically, so I thought it best to change it while I could.
Took Wednesday afternoon off work - I'd been invited by Craig Mueller to sail with him and his crew on 'Brushfire' - a Sparkman & Stephens 51 - beautiful boat, built in UK in1969.  We were lucky in that there was a nice gentle breeze most of the time, occasionally gusting up, and we had a lovely sail - winning the race! Fog horns sounded but no fog  descended as we sailed out seaward past Pt. Loma & then returned to Shelter Island. We celebrated our success with a couple of Mai Tais at the restaurant overlooking Shelter Cove Marina where 'Brushfire' has her berth.  I didn't get much more work done that evening...!
Thursday, rigger Mark Butler replaced the damaged starboard forward lower shroud and generally checked the rigging - we checked the tension very easily using my new Loos tension gauge.  I'd started to tidy up while searching the forepeak for my missing wind transducer which is supposed to be replacing the old one at the masthead - when it's been found....  Getting on well with the tidying & making of lists, but not found the missing item yet!
Neither the replacement AIS unit nor the new Garmin chartplotter have arrived from the UK - both should have arrived by today - UPS didn't keep to their promised 10am delivery for the AIS unit.... I hope it comes Friday - it needs to be fitted to make sure it's working OK - it will be useful on future passages.  What did arrive were back-up paper charts for Australia, Indian Ocean & S. Africa - ones I didn't have previously.  I now have all the paper charts I need  for my circumnavigation - so if we're hit by lightning, I can still navigate safely without instruments and laptop!! (Hopefully, I'd have time beforehand to put one laptop and a handheld GPS in the steel-lined oven to survive any strike!)

Still working on wiring, SSB and electronics!

Sunday morning, I moved to a new slip conveniently close to the clubhouse here - no more biking to get there from "Nereida"! A beautiful hot day - proper 'California' weather! Spent much of the day finally getting started on laying a new 3" wide copper strip between the ATU and new (2nd!) ground-plate for my SSB radio (the hope is to improve even further my transmission on the radio... we'll see how successful that is as I sail down to Mexico & on...).  Difficult because the copper had to go behind wooden strips in the aft cabin laid against the hull and there isn't much space there - had to unscrew every piece of wood to persuade the copper to lay correctly & took most of the day doing just that.  Today (Monday), I've replaced all the wood and screws and nearly finished laying the copper down to the ground-plate.  I'm covering the copper with sticky tape in the hope of slowing down any future corrosion.  All very time-consuming!

Ray Marchetta came by to do some more on the Navtex and chart-plotter wiring - I'd spent ages on Sunday soldering together some fine wires to get NMEA input from the C70 Raymarine unit to the FLS (Echopilot forward-looking sounder) - but made an embarrassingly, stupid mistake doing so - so complete wasted effort!!  Oh well,.....!  The Navtex coax connector below the antenna needed replacing and Ray soldered the wires into a new  (gold-plated!) connector - so it should last a good time. I later finished connecting up the chart-table instruments - all there now working fine (sigh of relief!) - and put in a new support for the C70 display at the chart table - means I can have it up or down - useful having the radar display down below  on overnight passage.  Still some wiring issues to sort out tomorrow, but basic instrument wiring now almost complete.

Dive cylinder refills didn't happen today - tomorrow, hopefully.  Tanks are stored over the ground-plates under the aft bunk so had to be moved anyway for access and laying of that copper strip.

Trying to finish a book  over dinner tonight -  "White Slaves of Maquinna" - fascinating true story of John R. Jewitt's 'enslavement 'after capture at Nootka on the west coast of Vancouver Island by Chief Maquinna in March 1803.  Having sailed the area, including Friendly Cove where Nootka lies, last Sept/Oct, I've found the book particularly interesting. (And I need to return it to the friends I borrowed it from!) 

20 yrs since America's Cup came to San Diego!

Well, there's been a big celebration this weekend at San Diego Y.C. of the 1987 win by 'Stars & Stripes', quite a few of the original crew attending the big dinner tonight (Saturday 3rd Feb)- chatted to quite a few people attending event. A replica (built 1996) of 'America' came in to the dock in front of the clubhouse this morning - lovely-looking, BIG boat!
I managed to get quite a few 'fixings' done today - including cockpit mount for C70 display & remote wireless control plus wiring & connectors. Need to deal with replacement 12V outlets in saloon and copper strip to ATU tomorrow - after moving slip from A19 to D4, in front of clubhouse.
Yesterday, returned to SDYC via 'short cut' close to shore after Mark finished installing last few mast steps. Steve Harrison did an excellent, solid job adding bushings & bolts to the gooseneck & vang fittings & the boom was put back in place. A shroud needs replacing and the new wind transducer needs to be fixed at the mast top. Also the mainsheet needs replacing. Later that day, I biked up and down hills (!) to 'Sports Chalet' to buy new dive fins - great view over to Mission Bay on the way back. Excellent burrito bought for lunch/tea on way back also. Arranged for dive cylinders to be collected on Monday for re-filling, if possible - may not be acceptable in the USA!
Thursday morning, I had motored around to the dock at Butler Rigging - tight squeeze in between jetties & boats to berth, manhandled in by Mark and Stephen. Later, as Mark was busy riveting the new mast steps, I had excellent news from Jeppesen/Nobeltec - David Neal called to say they had decided to let me have the entire world charts coverage - fantastic news! That partly compensated for the bad event of Tuesday when my daypack was stolen from in front of the bar here at SDYC, along with my yellow Coca Cola baseball cap (that I was particularly fond of!) - not that the daypack and contents were that valuable, but unfortunately I'd put my new AIS stand-alone unit in it with a view to getting a mount for it - so that now needs to be replaced from England.
Thursday evening was very sociable and pleasant. I biked along the foreshore on a footpath to reach the South Western Y.C., on the opposite side of the bay from SDYC, for Dennis Conners' amusing talk on 'Cotton Blossom', her renovation and his campaign in the Classic Boat Regattas in France & Italy last year. I met up with Jack (Sutphen), whose guest I was, and the talk was preceded by a buffet - no 'burgers this night!

Monday 29Jan07 Still dealing with instruments and wiring!

Have been very busy making very slow progress - everything takes so long! Have now tidied up wiring behind cockpit instrument panel, finding several surplus wires and reducing stupidly over-long ones in several cases. Cleaned up mucky area where I'd used sticky tape to hold back-up autopilot control head in place for several months and then fixed gaskets behind all the new instruments and fixed them in place properly - which involved cutting the fibreglass behind the cockpit instrument panel for a good fit. I'm now in the middle of cutting out a large hole in a panel behind the chart table for a new 'multi' (graphic) display. I traced some wires down to the chart table - may leave a couple for future use (possible NMEA, 12V power supply) - and then turned my attention to the aft cabin. I'm now having to sleep in the saloon until I've finished there!
I found that the 5A fuse had blown on the course computer, explaining why it hasn't been working recently! But I also found, on doing more wire tracing, that the colours were, as I'd been suspecting for some time, not always as they should have been when connected up at the chart table end of the run - black=data and clear=ground was a very confusing way of wiring things - a problem left over from the Vancouver 'expert' re-wiring! Problem was resolved, in the cockpit area also, by keeping to black=ground and yellow/clear = data (found thin, black, heatshrink tubing came in handy in places)
Last Friday had an evening off work when Ed Letzring, of SDYC, invited me to join him with some friends on his motoryacht 'Abracadabra' for a trip out to the protected bay outside Shelter Island - lovely to be moving on water once more - even in a 'stink pot'!! Afterwards, we went to 'La Scala' Italian restaurant - had a very enjoyable evening & it was really nice to relax in company for a change! I'm also looking forward to Thursday evening - Jack Sutphen, also of SDYC, phoned me this morning to ask if I'd like to join him & some friends going to a talk Dennis Conners is giving at the South Western Y.C. nearby - to be preceded by 'burgers' at the 'Boll Weevil' - reputedly the best place for them in town!!
It actually rained for the first time late this afternoon!
I stayed up really late (until 2am!) to phone England (9-10am GMT) to chase up people. Musto are being really good and helpful on the clothing front - I'll be well kitted out when that arrives in a few days' time. Others assured me that they have not forgotten me and things will definitely be happening very soon.... we'll see..!

New equipment arrives - but slow on wiring front!

It was lovely & hot working in the cockpit this afternoon!  I was busy adding an extra length of cable to depth transducer cable so it would reach display unit (needed 6 butt connectors, shrink wrap - and eventual soldering of one joint to make good).  Seemed to take forever - very fiddly, & I'm too inexperienced & have to think what I'm doing all the time..! Want to shorten some of the other over-long cables nearby  tomorrow. Still trying to identify some cables - Ray Marchetta, who'll be helping me here at SDYC, kindly lent me a device for tracking hidden wires (as used for tracking/identifying buried telephone wires...!) - so I should be able to identify/find all my unknown wires now, given time!
Finally received new Raymarine equipment - thought the radar scanner looked too large to fit within stern arch metalwork - but, although it is slightly larger than the old one, it should fit fine - sigh of relief! Will be fitted next Wednesday, if not before - definitely need help handling that scanner - it's quite bulky and awkward.
The gooseneck parts are due to arrive from SeldenUS on Monday - so should see that (and mast-steps) done by Tuesday, hopefully.
Time marches on...... 1st February is next Thursday.....

Some progress finally being made

Over last few days, some progress has been made - fridge is now repaired & working fine, North Sails collected the mainsail and genoa which they have kindly agreed to service for me free of charge - thank you, Jon!  Andersen (Lars Legarth) sent free winch spares from Denmark (in addition to a replacement handle for one dropped overboard on the sail up to Sitka from Hawaii in August!) - thank you!  Steve Harrison has taken my boom and gooseneck fittings to his workshop to repair/renew - toggle and other parts were badly worn (see photo) after ten years of cruising with several recent offshore & ocean passages.
I've finished checking over the cockpit wiring and started on chart table area - things are slowly making sense & looking up!  Working on that tonight.  Not looking forward to running new wire from mast-top for new wind display, nor for new radar scanner on stern arch...!
Mast steps are due here tomorrow, as is new Raymarine equipment (including radar scanner and replacement control head for autopilot) 
I've been looking at order for back-up paper charts - needed chart catalogues from just about all world regions - West Marine have ordered missing ones to be here Friday - nice to know the NIMA ones are free!  Tried sending email plus photos to 'blog' site via Flickr - reasonably successful but took a long time to upload.  Useful experiment for when on passage.  Finding photos taking quite a time to organize - especially if I want to reduce them in size for emailing.
Had an enjoyable lunch as guest of a group of bridge-playing ladies I met this morning here at the SDYC.  Should have been working on wiring ..... but it's nice to relax occasionally!

Lovely sunshine, interesting, graceful waterbirds, but little progress made with boat jobs

Things have been VERY NEGATIVE with very little progress over last few days on any front, except engine (starter circuit, cracked alternator bracket and engine mounts now all OK)- no parts or equipment have arrived, although I have spent a time sorting out an order for paper charts. The fridge is no longer working because of a slow leak in an aluminium pipe which is not repairable. So I spent an age contacting Sweden (Najad) & websites & an agent in San Francisco - finally finding someone who can possibly send the correct replacement pipe & evaporator on Monday. Spent hours trying to resolve a problem I thought I had with Skype (I could hear but wasn't being heard...). Biked half hour each way to Radio Shack to buy a new headset which turned out to be unnecessary. Finally got Skype working after several hrs of frustrating effort.....!
Gooseneck toggle not being being dealt until Monday also - the guy concerned had a car transmission problem so nothing happened on Friday. Feeling pretty frustrated at moment! Only positive news from Saturday is that I refilled two empty propane tanks and filled the empty water tank!!
Busy today (Sunday) with writing more for website and also with chasing wires, ready for getting help with that - also on Monday... Hopefully, things will begin to happen next week, but I need to make several phone calls to the UK over Sunday night to chase things up... Time is disappearing....

Jobs galore!!

Beautifully clear sky all night and day - but COLD air! Only 6C at 0830 and no more than 15C over the day.
Joblist  Rear engine seal replaced. Aquadrive engine mounts (new Oct '05, Lynnwood Marina, N. Vancouver) found to be loose (badly installed) - to be re-done tomorrow. Gear oil replaced- discovered there is a drain plug, I hadn't known existed, to make job easier! (Still learning things about my engine!)   Faulty engine-compartment blower found to be OK - implies power supply problem.... will hopefully be resolved once new relay in place in ignition circuit.

Decided to list all jobs outstanding - goes something like this:
Mast steps - instal.  Gooseneck toggle - replace.   Wind-vane at mast-head - replace & run new wire;   SSB radio - run 3" copper strip between ATU & new ground-plate;   InmarsatC terminal - fix in proper position (has been lying loose for over a year!);   New AIS standalone receiver - fix and run wire;   New Raymarine multi/repeater unit - fix & sort out wiring;   Deal with faulty wiring to chart table area from both cockpit and autopilot course computer;   Navtex - replace display unit & check aerial for corroded fixing;   Fix, & run wire from, new radar scanner and also chart-plotter (when each received);   Fit new ST6002 (autopilot control head) once received;   Calibrate autopilot and new speed display, also check ship's compass.  Investigate faulty 12V outlet at chart-table;   Finally (although I've probably forgotten several items!), I have to sort out papers, books, CDs, magazines etc and, most importantly, the forepeak needs lots of attention (ie tidying!) ready for stowing sails, gear & provisions for forthcoming long passages

14thJan07: a resident blue heron surveys the boats at San Diego Y.C. from an adjacent roof.

I flew back from LHR on Thursday 11th Jan, after a month of frantic catching-up back in London & having visited the London Boat Show twice. A very productive two days as, apart from seeing several friends, I gained practical support/sponsorship from several manufacturers & the promise of some from others. Musto will be sending me out clothing (and I was delighted to find myself chatting with Mike Golding on their stand for a time), Andersen replaced a winch handle lost overboard on the way up from Hawaii to Sitka and will supply free spares for my winches in future, Selden will be giving me a major discount from now on anything I need, Raymarine have promised to send me a new radar scanner and C-series display unit, GarminUK are almost certain to supply some very welcome equipment, Nasa Marine gave a major discount on their stand-alone AIS receiver unit, Brunton's supplied several spare anodes for my Autoprop, PTFE bearings were donated by Ambassador Marine for my Ropestripper and Icom UK donated a spare hand-held mic for my SSB radio.

This weekend has been busy with trying to work on my website ... very time-consuming.

Tomorrow, my engine rear seal is being dealt with - that should stop the oil leak that has been causing the flywheel and starter-motor to be covered in oil for some time now.

I shall be dividing my time this week between getting to know the new Admiral 9.0 Nobeltec charting software, working more on my website and completing my instruments/wiring project in the chart table area - at the moment, nothing is functioning down below!!

Another major project is installing mast steps & a new wind indicator and replacing the very worn goose-neck toggle with a new one incorporating a bronze bushing. Before I left in December, I replaced the gas spring in the rod-kicker and spent several days sorting out the wiring & new instruments in the cockpit area so that they are all functioning and 'talking' to each other.

I expect to be kept very busy for the next 3 weeks, probably!

Busy preparing for return to boat from UK

The New Year has been no less busy than the fortnight around Christmas, trying to make sure I've not forgotten any of the many items on my 'to-do' list for Nereida as well as personal, medical and financial matters - all very relevant when you're proposing to be away sailing for months at a time - especially when you're expecting to be in a variety of countries on the 'other side of the world'!
I've been very occupied with organizing content for my new website (www.svnereida.com) , which is now up & running, although still some work to be done.  Bryan & Mike ("Nightwinds") have been kept busy over the holiday period also!!  Many thanks, guys!
With the London Boat Show starting on Friday, I've also been busy organizing myself for that.  I took some instruments/parts down to Raymarine in Portsmouth and discussed my problems with Paul Lawson, meeting with International Marketing Manager, Fiona Pankhurst, about possible sponsorship while there.  I  visited Nasa Marine with my Navtex unit - to be told it is working fine, so on my return I'll need to check out the antenna connection on the pushpit arch.  I've contacted my local Volvc-Penta dealer to order another injector and get a spares kit for the fuel lift pump - I'll be seeing them at the Show. I've been talking to David Neal at Jeppesen about my Nobeltec upgrade to Admiral 9.0 and the list of charts I'll be needing. I'm also talking to Musto about clothing they have offered to supply me with.  I'm trying to get hold of a Workshop Manual for my Fischer-Panda generator. I've sorted out some computer problems on a boat laptop. And I've been very busy all the while, in between other jobs, getting my mounds of personal papers under control (and reduced somewhat - into the bin with as much as I can!)

Nereida SW of Cape Mendocino, CA

Strong conditions right now, just as there were during last night & this morning: 30-40 kn winds & corresponding big seas knocking boat about regularly! Definitely NOT motoring weather!! It had calmed down a bit to around just 25kn over the day - lovely sunshine, although not warm, & lots of spume in the air. 
The Kiss windvane is doing well, helping to power the batteries!
Check Shiptrak in Winlink for more details!  Hoping to make Richmond Y.C., San Francisco,  on Sunday 22nd, if not sooner, for finish of final SSS race of the season .

SSB - connections cleaned - TX OK!!

Just goes to show how corrosion stops a radio in its tracks!!!
Had two kindly ham guys (Owen and Ed) come to try to help me with radio problems this morning in Pt Townsend, before my longish passage down to SF.
Came with meters and lots of friendly, helpful advice - got me 'squirrelling' behind the inaccessible parts of my boat woodwork (where I'd hidden the ATU).  I needed to dismantle a few bits of woodwork, but it turned out to be well worth the time & effort spent since the result, according to the Net Controller (Aaron Benson) of the Northern Boaters Net (Ludlow, WA, area), was a 1000% improvement in his reception of my transmission - wow!! I came 'booming' out when I tested the system - so, hopefully, all is now well on board 'Nereida' and Winlink (and SSB radio in general) should work fine. What a relief!! (We'll see how easily I connect in when I go to send this...!)
I leave for Neah Bay and points south, towards San Francisco, tomorrow (Sunday 15th Oct) - weather looks fairly settled but calm, so may have quite a bit of motoring - but hopefully the sails will get used also!! Main thing is that there is no obvious bad weather forecast just now.
I just hope that this passage with be free of the many problems each passage has had this year so far...!!! 

Port Angeles, WA

'Nereida' sails south again

'Nereida' is about to sail south to San Francisco from Cape Flattery again - hopefully leaving over Sunday/Monday 15/16th Oct, once the predicted SW winds have swung into the NW.
I'm presently in Pt Townsend, about to make for Pt Angeles and then Neah Bay, to wait for the expected good weather - I'll probably have to motor a bit, since forecast is for 10-15kn NW once the front has passed through. High pressure seems settled still over NE Pacific - so I'm trying to take advantage of it!
Winlink is not happening just now, due to TX problems, although I may try to investigate it while on passage.

Pt Townsend, WA, USA

Portage Bay (near Petersburg), Kupreanof Island, AK

I anchored overnight yesterday (Thurs/Fri 7/8th Sept) near to the W entrance to Peril Strait, having finally 'escaped' in the early afternoon from Sitka - where I got to on 15th August with more engine problems. You'll remember I got seawater into my fuel on the way N from Hawaii and had to change filters and an injector whilst at sea before I could get the engine to start. It was just as well I did, since the wind died on my last day coming in towards Sitka, so I had to use the engine - but it died as I throttled back to come in to dock & I eventually had to get towed in to a slip by the friendly Hbr Office people...! I ended up having to replace both the fuel lift pump and injection pump (DHL & Customs problems and a frustrating fortnight's delay there!) and finally replaced all 3 remaining injectors (which were faulty). 
Then I had problems with the copper 'crush' washers (on which the injectors sit) not sealing adequately and so allowing exhaust gases to escape. A long job every time for each one because access is SO difficult and it's such a fiddly job - I've usually dropped at least one tiny copper washer to beneath the engine every time...!! I'm reasonably expert on Volvo engine injectors/alternators/ timing/belts now... I also took the starter motor apart to clean it and annealed lots of copper washers in order to re-use them - no spares of any use to me available in Sitka!!! I must have taken out & replaced my injectors at least several times each - what a fiddly, complicated business! Good learning process - but one I could have done with undergoing elsewhere at a more convenient time - I'm short of time in Alaska and also in B.C. now...
I was up to my eyes (and forearms!) in my diesel engine all hours of day and quite a few at night also.  I got myself an allergic rash from all the diesel splashing on me each time we tried the engine, having tightened everything up finally, hoping it would be OK.(In 'we' I'm including  the kindly, knowledgeable mechanic named Alan Horoschak who was helping with & supervising my 'hands-on' learning process!  "If you're going to keep on single-handing, you'd better know how to deal with your engine - this will happen again sometime..."!).

I'm now headed S as fast as I can (see Winlink Position Reporter) - initially to Vancouver Island (I hope to pull in to Victoria to see some of you at some point), but eventually to SF and on to Mexico - I hope!!!

I got up extra early Friday morning - one hour earlier than intended - & wondered why the sun took so long before it rose...!! Got to Sergius Narrows right on time for a good transit - but found a huge Alaska ferry behind me in the narrow channel ... and then another ahead coming the opposite way!!

What a beautiful day Friday was. We actually had sunshine from quite early on, making a nice change from Sitka's perpetual rain - and Dall's porpoises twice visited Nereida's bows as I passed through Peril Strait, not too far from the Chatham Strait end.

The snow and glaciers on mountain tops not that far from the water had a clear effect on the air temperature as I travelled down Chatham Strait toward Baranof Warm Springs - it got really cold, not helped by the sun being hidden part of the time.

I had a fabulous long soak in a tub of hot spring water & even managed to clean up my nails a bit from the grime & oil of the engine repair work! ...and later I had a couple of glasses of wine over a lovely meal with people from a charter fishing boat on the dock who kindly invited me to join them..

By contrast, what a horrible bumpy day today (Sat 9th) was - back to horrible, murky, grey, cold, rainy weather... with strong wind (20kn true) on the nose - I was bashing into it, with quite nasty waves as the afternoon wore on, to get to my overnight anchorage. I came through some nasty choppy water (shallows) as I rounded Pt Gardner in to Frederick Sound from Chatham Strait- only later did I see that the Pilot warns of that area to give it a good berth.... oh, well!! Only good news was sighting a group of humpbacks nearby for a time as I passed Pinta Rocks, nth of Kake, early this afternoon - they weren't at all bothered by the rainy, windy weather & disturbed seas!!

Had a nice salmon dinner tonight after getting in to the deserted Portage Bay anchorage quite late: 7pm. Was only making around 3.5kn (down to 1.5!!) for quite a time, as waves built up over the afternoon. There was also a nasty strong outflow from the narrow entrance channel to this bay causing very disturbed, swirling water - I had to be extra careful not to be taken sideways on to the shoals on either side.

Wrangell Narrows tomorrow should be fun with 'spring' tides! No point in getting to the entrance until 2pm - it's 20mls long and tides meet 12ml from N end.. Need to catch the end of the flood tide initially and then I should find it ebbing from the middle on south. 

Engine problems in Sitka

Well I arrived on 15th August around sunrise (see photo) - with engine dying every time I slowed engine down, was unable to dock in tiny space available behind big fishing boat -  couldn't slow boat down to stop at dockside by going astern! So had to anchor & wait until Harbour office opened for kind people to tow me in to a slip.
Then my engine repair course began....A major problem since ordering in a replacement fuel injection pump has been DHL not being helpful over Customs clearance in LA when thepump first arrived in US from UK - compounded by someone in the UK not putting my name in the correct 'slot' on the address form - the parcel ended up being addressed to 'yacht spares in transit', rather than to me!
Thanks to friendly, very helpful, Customs lady (Sharon) here in Sitka, I finally got my pump this afternoon (Wed 30Aug) - I would have had more major problems without her helpfulness.
Now I'm having big problems installing the pump - I need to remove so many other bits & pieces (with difficult access) to get the old pump out and the new one put in its place - and then, of course, everything has to be put back and timing etc checked - not a quick job and, yes, I really want to be moving south.... Of course, the boat is now in chaos with the engine work ongoing..
Sitka is a nice (but very, very rainy!) place but I've mainly been trying to get boat problems dealt with in the meantime - including ones left over from passages. This has definitely not been a relaxing layover - I've been tearing my hair out a lot of the time! And the lovely views are 99% of the time invisible behind heavy rain or mist/cloud following heavy rain!!
Today, I filled the water tank, 2 empty propane tanks and 5 diesel jerricans (ready for topping up diesel tanks tomorrow) as well as biking to Customs & then out to the airport and back before getting down to the engine. I went up mast Sunday to retrieve the topping lift and also to replace a burnt-out deck light. And I've spent ages most days recently trying to sort out the pump freight problem over the phone and looking at passage-planning.... the less time I have once I've finished here, the more I'm having to look at alternative passage plans. The weather isn't getting any better.... and may force me to change my plans completely at the time I'm finally able to move on.
I'm just hoping not to have to spend too many more days here, working on the engine before it's fixed - & I'm looking forward to getting down to Vancouver Island so I can relax a bit for a very short time (I may have to make a long offshore passage to save time, IF the weather permits, missing seeing the dramatic coastline in order to avoid a lee shore!!)  I'll need to head south again fairly promptly to SF to get more outstanding work done. I'm seriously getting worried about the time of year and the weather deteriorationg and causing me problems...
I shall be keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well over next few days....

From Hawaii to the "Pacific NW"

Well, I thought I'd write a 'blanket newsletter' to bring things up to date - it seemed a good idea an hour ago since the seas had calmed down a bit - but we're back into crashing & slamming about.  It's not too easy using the laptop on a lurching boat - so I hope you'll forgive me for the non-personal approach!!
I went to let a reef out a short while ago & a wave laughed at me as it crashed over the boat and came shooting over the cockpit awning, drenching me from head to toe!! My hair has so much salt in it from frequent wettings like that that it's getting curly!! We're rushing along at 6.5-7.5 knots with 2 reefs under mainly grey skies in quite big seas - being in the NE Trades means the seas are able to build up to easily 8-10 ft or more. Nereida gets picked up & dropped off a wave, slamming her side into the water with a great bang! A good test of a sturdily-built boat!! We're presently headed due N insofaras that's possible, with Hermann (Windpilot) in control - so as the wind shifts, so does our course, but generally we keep our northerly heading. At least the water is still fairly warm at 26C. 

I decided to head north sooner rather than later, since the summer was moving on, but waited for the annual outrigger canoe races held in the bay - the finish line ended at 'Nereida'! I visited the old lighthouse Reserve nearby - beautiful tropicbirds (both red- & white-tailed), boobies, frigatebirds and shearwaters, and breeding albatross, were flying around this lovely bit of coastline. As I was leaving, I sailed along the Na Pali coast for a time to see its dramatic scenery (Jurassic Park etc, etc were filmed there).

Most of the rest of the Fleet were ahead, having left in 2s and 3s over the days before. I left with Canadian 'Haulback' and another boat 'Seafire' (US) is close behind - both are headed to the Strait of Juan de Fuca whereas I'm headed to B.C. further north, if I don't manage SE Alaska (possibly Sitka) - my final destination is very weather-dependent!

The weather has been typically strong Trades - but quite different sailing from the Race because it has, so far, been upwind & so much 'bumpier' - very, very wet sailing & far more difficult to move around the boat without getting thrown around & bruised!! But there have been many sunny spells when I could lounge in the cockpit & relax, despite frequent seawater dousings! And lots of heavy rainsqualls also.... keeps me on my toes with reefing etc! 

The Pacific High is, yet again, not behaving as it normally does, but the hope is that by the time we get to above 40N we can 'turn right' in W/SW winds over a newly-formed High towards B.C/Alaska, so long as we can maintain our northerly track to avoid being headed earlier.
In the meantime, the ex-race fleet keeps in touch with each other with daily rollcalls - so we know where everyone is - see www.sfbaysss.org/transpac/transpac2006 for 'the return' details (and for my daily race logs if you missed those). My position is reported daily by me, as usual, on www.winlink.org - Position Reporter - KC2IOV if you want to keep track of me.
Best wishes from the bumpy Pacific (what a misnomer!!),

Left Hanalei Bay Mon 24th July

Now en route back north to Alaska/B.C. - we'll see which destination the weather permits!! 

Left Hanalei Bay, on Kauai, Monday afternoon.  Had a false start when I found the autopilot wasn't working, so had to drop the anchor again while I sorted it out - fortunately a minor problem, so easily resolved.

Then sailed along the dramatic Na Pali coast for a look, before heading off  north as the sun set.
Making good speed - but on a close reach, so no spinnaker! 

PS See the same SHTranspac site for return check-in details:  www.sfbaysss.org/transpac/transpac2006

Finish of SHTP06 in Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii (Days 21&22)


SHTP06 Belt Buckle
Originally uploaded by


I never wrote about my Single-Handed TransPac Race finish around midnight 14/15th July - it was far too easy to enjoy being at anchor or on shore & no longer constantly on the radio (& shore Internet access was somewhat difficult)
I came in around the NE of Kauai island, Hawaii, just before midnight, local time, hoping to stay on a run all the way to the line just NE of the entrance to Hanalei Bay. I was in VHF contact with the Race Cttee from well out - which gave a great feeling of arriving. The wind shifted more & more but I persevered, eventually sailing most of the last part by the lee - so much so that I kept backing the main. Taking down the pole for the genoa was going to take me too long (I was very conscious of how close 'Second Chance' was to me on corrected time, having done many calculations over the last few days!!), so I eventually furled in the genoa and pulled in the main just to get me over the finish line asap - 0022LT!! Not exactly as a purist would want, but it worked!!
The 'welcome' party then came aboard with a Hawaiian lei to adorn my neck, Mai Tai, pineapple and lots of welcoming hugs & smiles. I eventually gladly started up the engine & gave over the helm to Jim of 'Haulback' (winner in 2002, 2nd in '04, who had just completed his 2 yr solo circumnavigation from Kauai) - who sounded reasonably competent to entrust it to, while I sorted out my anchor and pole! I have to admit it took them a time to get me to come down to earth (should I say water??), I was so happy to have finished!! (My distance sailed was over 2400ml- further than anyone else)
I was helped to anchor temporarily overnight in a safe spot in Hanalei Bay - and then all minds were on 'Ergo' coming in with a broken forestay - Bill made it safely over the line.
Wow! I was on such a 'high' I couldn't stop smiling!! Thank you, Lucie, Ben, Jim & Sylvia for making it such a lovely arrival! 

SHTP06 Navigation Award
Originally uploaded by

I had a good sleep and  then re-anchored closer inshore, near the rest of the race fleet, with the help of Jim ('Haulback') and Ben (RC)

The good news was that I had made the Trophy Party, held later that  same Saturday evening - so I kept to my deadline & didn't miss the party!! I became the proud recipient of a SSS TransPac belt buckle, a plaque and a lovely framed photo of 'Nereida' just after the start, about to pass under the Golden Gate Bridge.

I was also surprised, but delighted, to receive the Navigation Award - because I took a route different from everybody else, I wonder?? It seems appropriate that it will be held, with my name inscribed on it, at the Oakland Y.C. in Alameda who were so hospitable to me before the Race started.

A good evening was had by all!!

Hanalei Bay is a beautiful spot to anchor in & I soon became used to looking at 'Puff the Magic Dragon' every time I looked over to the hills fringing the long beach on the W side of the Bay - his head, eye, snout & body were very realistic! (Yes, it was composed here... & 'South Pacific' was filmed here.) 
Over the following week, my pulpit was repaired beautifully by Tony, the excellent local welder, and is probably stronger than it was before and I acquired a good length of cable to wire in my autopilot properly (I finally got my aft cabin back into use!). 
It was great to meet up every evening for 'cocktails' under the 'Tree' by the beach and watch the sunset. I really relaxed and enjoyed being in company - faces were put to the voices I had come to know so well over the previous 3 weeks!

(If you've got to this page from my website, you'll need to keep hitting 'previous' page to access the other 20 days (!) of daily logs from the SHTP Race - or go to my log entries from my 'Travels' page by using the 'Web Log' link to get them 10 at a time)

SHTP Day 21 - last one before the finish!

Friday 14th July (Bastille Day!)

Interesting! Looking at yesterday's log, I could copy the beginning word for word for today! Heavy rain, strong winds, big seas (even confused, this morning) over the night and morning, clearing up to give a lovely sunny afternoon, still with good winds but lessening seas. The strong winds have certainly given me a boost for miles run over today. We've been regularly doing over 8knots.

Before the clouds came, there was a brilliant, clear night sky - so many stars, a couple of satellites wandering across, a meteorite shooting overhead, warm air - so lovely just to sit in the cockpit and absorb it all. I felt it was an appropriate happy ending to my voyage - I even started singing!

During the day, as so ofen recently, a pair of sooty shearwaters came by, skimming the waves, and then, delighful to see, a pair of delicate-looking white-tailed tropicbirds flew around 'Nereida' for a time while I was relaxing in the sun this afternoon. They looked as though they were thinking of landing - but that's not so easy! They make a particular kind of clicking noise which caught my attention to look up & catch sight of them.

Bill on 'Ergo' has had a tough time protecting his forestay, with the strong winds veering and backing with each rainfall together with the rough seas knocking the boat about as they do. He even put a couple of reefs in his main - winds were 25 kn, gusting 30 kn, for quite a time. I hope he keeps following winds all the way in - he's about 17 mls (2.5hrs) behind me, so should also finish early tomorrow morning. The Race Committee shore party are all prepared to help him after he crosses the line - he's not been able to furl or lower his twin foresails as a result of his broken forestay.

It's a pity, but I'll definitely be crossing the finish line off Hanalei Bay in the dark - would have been nice to have had a view of the island on my way in. I'm hoping the wind doesn't change drastically as I get closer to shore - I've been warned there could be a night-time katabatic wind, which would be quite different from the ENE Trades we've had for days now. ETA is around 3-5am PDT (midnight-2am Hawaiian time). It will seem odd not to be on a heaving boat after all this time!

I'll sign off & go and collect up the few flying fish on deck from last night - a daily routine I forgot about today, with the bad weather this morning!

At 1945 PDT: 22 22N, 158 39W ; DTF: 48.2n.ml ; 24hr distance run by ship's log (to 0845): 164 n.ml.


P.S. Just found myself surrounded (at a good distance of 2-3 mls) by 4 US Navy warships! Surprised to see any boats after 3 wks without any! But there is a big Navy base near to Hanalei Bay so...