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Thread: Commander #155 'Mephisto Cat'

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    San Francisco - or Abroad
    Reporting in on progress:

    Had a very enjoyable sail from Marina Del Rey to Oxnard. I shoved off at sunrise. It quickly became a nice warm and pretty calm day. I was able to go up front and do a bit of reading on the bow for a bit. The morning haze wore off right away and I could see some of the billowing smoke from the remaining SoCal fires far away.

    Picture #1 Had an amazing sunset by the channel islands on my approach to Oxnard. At the time of this picture, I am still a couple of hours out. I did not make it to my assigned slip until it was quite dark...

    It was fun trying to make my enty into the harbor. Dredging operations were underway in the entry channel that night and it was hard to make out the anchor bouy lights from the background. The handy 1.5M candlepower spotlight came out to light our way. (This is a handy thing to have on board if sailing in unfamiliar waters!)

    Unfortunately, the key that was to be left for me in the 'hiding place' by the friendly marina staff was nowhere to be found. Fortunately, I ran into a few of the locals enjoying a nice community dinner on the dock and they provided a loaner key for the night. Their BBQ'd fish smelled great... They also had a bit of mellow live music going on... They extended an invitation, but I had an early start and it was already late...

    Carol arrived at the marina around 9:00 pm. She was not feeling all that well ... (Hmmm, not good...) and was a bit tired so she went right to bed as I grabbed a quick bite. Fortunately she was feeling better the next morning. We cast off at around 7:30am for Santa Barbara.

    Picture #2 is as we approached Santa Barbara under Sail... Certainly a beautiful day and unusually warm. (Read: 'not cold'...). We pulled into the fuel dock sometime after 3:00pm and after fueling-up and having a chat with the locals about the weather forecast at Point Conception, and thoughts about rounding the point over the next couple of days we were pointed to the guest dock where we could hang out for 3-4 hours until our departure scheduled for a few hours later. It was the prime spot for people watching... It was nice & warm (in the mid 70's) in the Marina.

    Kristen showed-up after we'd had a nice dinner and Carol had a nice nap... We chased after a 2.5 gallon jerry can to store some extra fuel for the 130 or so mile passage (- just in case) and set off towards Point Conception at about 7:30pm. I hate these new so-called 'safety spouts' on Jerry cans. They are not safe, contrary to their promises (they leak!) and are not very convenient to use...

    Our goal was to round the point in the very early hours of the next morning . The next two pictures are of Point Arguello, and were taken soon after sun-up just after rounding the points.

    Picture #3 The camera flattens out the largest seas... The swells were impressive around the point, but far enough apart so that they were not a major issue. (Compare with the next shot and see how much land you can see...) The swell reflections from each of the two points caused a bit of a mess even at 15-20 miles out at sea where we were on our approach to Point Conception and Point Arguello in order to avoid this very condition. We took a bearing close to due North as we reached past Point Arguello and actually got fairly close -to the point where the installations of Vandenberg Air Force Base were visible. (Picture #4).

    The reflected swell made the seas quite messy. It was impressive to see the large swells coming at us from both the West AND the North East (reflected off the cliffs).

    We took down the main after the winds clamed in the early morning and rode the washing-machine around the point. Not the most comfortable ride, but I guess it is better to have too little wind here rather than too much... We really cannot complain... We were clear of the point at around 7 am and we had a further 85 miles or so to Morro Bay.

    Prior to rounding the point it is important to check the missile test schedule at Vandenberg Air Force Base as they test all sorts of projectile weapons there... On top of the weather, wind, swells & current issues you also have to worry about being blown out of the water by a stray missile! Fortunately, no missile firings were scheduled for that night.

    -Further details on the rounding of Point Conception are included in my next post below.

    As I write this post, we are sitting in Morro Bay Yacht Club Guest Dock (1st picture in my next post below) enjoying a nice calm lazy afternoon after a 130-some mile sail from Santa Barbara which included the rounding of Point Conception. We consumed about 7 gallons of fuel and had 3 to spare on arrival.

    Around sunset, we decided to skip Port San Luis on the coast west of San Luis Obispo and sailed a further 23 Miles to the Morro Bay. We came over the harbor bar at Morro bay Harbor at about 9:30pm last night.

    It was a very DARK moonless night during the climb up from about Port San Luis to Morro Bay, and it was a bit of a slog as the northerly winds developed -albeit lightly in the late afternoon along with a steep 2ft swell -both right on the nose slowing our progress by at least a couple of hours overall.

    We were running low on fuel and we decided to re-fuel mid-Estero Bay as I did not want to risk running out of fuel going over the bar at the entrance of Morro Bay harbor. Fortunately, the bar was not a problem that night . A quick hail on the VHF to the Coast Guard informed us that there were only 3 ft swells, with an occasional 5 footer coming over the bar but none were breaking.

    The Morro Bay harbor has a relatively narrow entry, but as a result it is very sheltered from weather providing almost completely still waters once you clear the bar.

    We were feeling good about completing the long passage, but quite tired, and after tying up at the dock and a quick run to the bathroom, we enjoyed a bit of wine and some great food on the boat (everything was closed by this time). After enjoying some re-living the events of our passage and some tales about Kristin's previous adventures, we promptly fell asleep - as the proverbial rocks.

    We had barely eaten anything over the last 24 hrs, we noted. But we really did not feel very hungry over the previous day... Probably had our attention elsewhere - especially coming around the point!

    It was a relief to be past Point Conception. It is amazing how much of a psychological barrier it represents and how the 'lore of the Point' keeps many local sailors firmly either North, or South of it. Many never even think of attempting a crossing. I heard many words of warning about the Point; curiously and consistently from people who'd never been even close to the area. Those few sailors who I found had done it were only encouraging - as long as I watched the weather...

    Kristin has sadly left us as of this morning. She could only manage to free herself from other comittments for this short portion of the voyage, and we were all sad that this leg was over so quickly. We were actually a bit ahead of schedule as I had included a weather day on the schedule for this leg... so Kristen felt as if her trip had been cut short. - But now she has many good stories to tell over thanksgiving dinner!

    Ed - Thank you for the weather insight - We were a bit luckier down south as far as the weather over the last few days. I am still about 300 miles away from you in Santa Cruz, but I'll be getting further north and checking the weather closely as we make our way.

    We have checked the weather this morning and I do think we will sit out this front for the moment as it seems like there are a couple of storms which will kick up the wind & swells - not to mention the rain- over the next several days.

    The next stretch is also a long one (About 120 miles to Monterey) without much in the way of ports / anchorages / places to hide from the weather... So we will wait for the next suitable weather window.

    This weather delay suits us nicely as we definitely need a day, or two for rest after this long leg. And Morro Bay is just the place to do it. It is very peaceful and most things are conveniently within a stone's throw of the harbor. We rented a movie last night, but I fell asleep with about 5 minutes to go...

    I hear Big sur can be a bear also, do you have any insight on that area? Thank you very much!

    Our next leg is also a long one - Morro Bay to Monterey - 120 miles. There is the anchorage at San Simeon, but this is only 20 miles north of Morro Bay. After this there are no other safe nooks until a small anchorage just west of Carmel, but this is only a handful of miles South of Monterrey.

    I have found that the local advice from the fishermen, the fuel dock attendants, the local sailors etc. is invaluable. While attempting to ask the people who 'should' know best (harbor officials / Coast Guard, etc.) this produces only non-answers to any questions... I assume for fear of liability or (???). I wonder where this sort of general attitude will lead us eventually...

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    Last edited by Rico; 07-29-2009 at 11:56 AM. Reason: Adding details & Miles / editing typos

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Santa Cruz
    Ricco, glad to hear you got around the point, and assume it was a mild passage.

    Big Sur is an area that I do have a little more insight to. The winds and fog can be tough in the summer but this time of year the main issues again would be the seas and temp coming from the north. If you have ever been to the Big Sur coast area you know that there are huge cliffs all along the coastline. These cliffs can cause for a very confused sea with the swells reflecting off and washing back out to create steep peaks. Staying in deeper water is a general rule of thumb.

    If you find that you want to get out of the weather, there is a great little anchorage called Still Water Cove in Carmel (Pebble Beach Golf). The cove is protected to the north and the anchorage is walking distance to the town of Carmel.

    Hope this helps and let me know if you think you will be coming into Santa Cruz…..ed

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Santa Cruz
    Rico, Here is some shots of what is going on up in this area. If you don’t know, Maverick is just south of the Gate at Half Moon Bay…..ed

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    San Francisco - or Abroad

    Thumbs up

    Thanks Ed,
    I heard about the 15ft breakers - it looks like fun - on a surfboard! (maybe...)

    I will wait for the next weather window to continue North. It looks like this system will bring 10 - 12 ft swells... with the wind on the nose. There is no fun being in that.

    I am planning to make a stop in Santa Cruz. I'll keep you posted. It would be great to meet a fellow A-C owner.

    Thank you for tips on Point Sur, I can use all the info I can get...

    The rounding of Point Conception was a great adventure. It was fairly mild as we were shooting for what looked like, and ended-up being a very good weather window (Certainly by Point Conception terms) but it was still a long passage and a lot of work.

    We left Santa Barbara at about 7:30pm and I went to sleep at about 9:00pm. Up until that point, it had been a clear, starry night. My watch started at midnight when I was awakened. It was quite different then. I was surprised to feel the boat moving quite a bit in the swells and the sound of strong winds. I went up on deck and assumed watch with Kirstin. We were feeling the swells and wind as if funneled around the point already.

    It was a very dark cloudy / foggy night which had Kristin & I navigating by instruments only while Carol slept. This is not the best way to hold a steady course in such messy seas... (Our GPS track proves this!) Our intended course took us about 15 miles offshore and the scant lights on shore were no longer visible. In fact the fog was so thick that the only light we could occasionally see was the glow from the offshore drilling platforms. This gave us at least a temporary reference to steer a course by before they quickly disappeared in the fog... Not even a faint glow was apparent for reference after that.

    There was supposed to be a bright moon out that night, but he cloud cover was so thick that the glow of the moon was not at all visible, and the oil rigs were obscured by the fog just as quickly as they appeared! We could only see the glow from a distance of about 1-2 miles away. Further away it was just pure darkness everywhere. I did the 'hold your hand in front of your face' test - I could not see a thing!

    We had some spectacular sightings of whales & dolphins. It was particularly impressive as we experienced bright luminescence which showed the trails of dolphins as they speeded underneath us, and jumped around the boat leaving ribbons of light... It was a spectacular sight!

    The hightlight happened at about 3:30am as a bright luminescent glow became apparent, and then grew brighter just underneath and all around us in the boat... This became increasingly brighter & brighter... As I lifted my hand to point it out to Kristen -who was staring at the lit GPS a this time-, this huge fin rose out of the water only a couple of feet away from the starboard rail, and up to some 4 feet above the level of the deck! (This was at about 3:30am and it was pitch dark as I described above... but I could see the large shape of the whales due to the bright luminescent glow created as its body disturbed the water.) I could not make out what sort of giant it was closest to us on that side; but it was BIG.

    I tried to hold a steady course as it was now apparent that we were in the milddle of a pod of whales of some sort... I could see them swimming all around us. They were holding our exact course...

    I was uncomfortable at the thought of ending-up between a cow and her calf... or having one of these giants come up directly underneath us! - Just as this thought gelled in my mind... a loud BLOW screamed loudly just at the port side of the boat. This loud breath from a whale's blowhole and the sight of a big FIN coming up from the water caused Kristin to scream and jump down to the middle of the cockpit! I was It was quite a rush! I was too shocked to say anything and just held on to the tiller! Then, just as fast as they had appeared, they dove and as they did so, the glow faded back into darkness...

    The whole thing happened quickly, but it seemed like it was much longer... It was an exciting moment during this long passage! It certainly made the time pass quickly as we talked about it for the next hour or so.

    Carol slept through the whole thing... (fortunately Kristin's reaction was one of excited laughter - and not fear!) We almost woke Carol to tell her about what we'd witnessed, and so she could see this in case that they came up again close to the boat, but decided not to... Warmth & sleep are so highly valued! And I was hoping that they would not come up that close to us again!

    About 30 min later I let Kirstin know that it was time for her turn to have a bit of sleep, and she responded: "Are you kidding!! I cannot sleep! After that I feel like I'm high on drugs!" this was followed quickly by: "Oh, and you are not going to sleep either!!" as she quickly realized what my next thought would be...

    So Carol got lucky and got to stay asleep through to morning. She awoke at sun-up, eager to take over the steering; a task she is not only good at, but she seemed to enjoy for long periods at a time.

    I performed our first refueling at-sea as the sun came up a few miles after rounding Point Arguello. We took advantage of calming seas while I re-fueled and managed to not spill a drop...

    Pictures -

    a.- The Morro Bay yacht club. I've been here a few times now and the people are great. There's not a lot of room, but everyone is very accommodating. This is their clubhouse. The whole waterfront is very picturesque and active - but calm & quiet. A great spot to spend some time.

    b - Morro rock in the morning after our arrival. The light had an amazing quality for most of the morning... It reminded me of Holland.

    c - My relaxed and fearless crew who made the trip very enjoyable... There are not many people I'd feel so comfortable having as crew. This picture was taken just after rounding point Conception (Point Arguello is visible in the background). I was incredibly fortunate to have Kristin and Carol along for the trip. It is amazing how many people said they'd want to join the crew, but in the end very few actually have the courage to do this sort of thing... Courage not because it is dangerous (although it could be!), but courage to get out of one's element and go do something out of the routine for a few days.

    d- The Morro Bay Yacht Club's Resident Otter having a little snooze. We felt very welcome at the yacht club. We stayed there for three days a the guest dock and then left the boat out on a mooring while Carol & I headed up to San Francisco for a few days while the two weather systems passed...

    We met couples from a handful of other boats that were cruising past (heading both North & South) during our stay. I was happy to see others out there as even freighter sightings were rare... Everyone seemed very comfortable, and having a good time. The weather was certainly
    cooperating at this time...
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    Last edited by Rico; 01-12-2011 at 02:49 PM. Reason: Adding Pix / details

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    San Francisco - or Abroad
    We had a great last sail yesterday and last night. Our course took us about 20 miles offshore as we rounded Point Sur. The rounding took place at sun-up this morning, and due to the nice conditions, we decided to pass on Monterrey and came directly to Santa Cruz which lies about 25 miles North of Monterey.

    The decision to skip Monterey made for a Looong leg - the longest non-stop boat ride I've had on the 'Mephisto Cat'; about 150 miles... but it also saved us a bit of distance overall as Monterey sits a bit inside Monterrey Bay.

    It was just Carol & I on the stretch from Morro Bay to Santa Cruz and I am happy to say that we managed quite well double-handling aided by beautiful conditions.

    The seas became a bit choppy at the Northern end of Monterrey Bay which made for an uncomfortable motor into Santa Cruz once the winds died in the mid afternoon.

    I think we would have enjoyed a stay in Monterey, but we felt we should keep going as we still have a bit more than 100 miles to go and the weather forecasts seem a bit more unsettled.

    As they say - It was worth the wait... Once the weather cleared towards the North; we set off from Morro Bay in the early morning and had a beautiful day's sail in calm seas. We also had the most amazing night... Carol took the first watch to allow me an ealy evening nap with the intention of letting Carol sleep through to the next morning.

    When I awoke around midnight, I was amazed at thow calm and clear it was. The stars were clearly putting on a show for us! The sea was so calm that the stars reflected off the still seas and made for a pretty amazing sight. Carol was wide awake enjoying the whole thing and she was not that eager to go to sleep. We both enjoyed the incredible sights for at least an hour or two before Carol finally went to sleep...

    We had a few visiting dolfins who stayed with us for quite a long time. We had bright luminescence once again, and the ribbons of light that the dolphins weaved underneath the boat were even more impressive than before as this time we had very still seas.

    The overnight temperatures were so warm that I was wearing less then than during the previous day!

    My biggest concern for starting this trip during this time of the year was that the weather would turn COLD before we arrived in San Francisco Bay.

    I definitely decided to take the trip a bit late in the year, but we clearly lucked out with the weather on the trip overall.

    Part of the incentive to do the trip diring this time of the year in spite of the potential cold & storms is that the predominant NW winds are much lighter in the winter than during the warmer months.

    We were fortunate to have the flexibility to wait for suitable weather, and were only delayed for about 7 days in Morro bay while two weather systems passed. We did spend a couple of very pleasant days in Morro bay waiting for weather, but once we realized that it would be a while, we caught a ride up to San Francisco where we spent a few days. All the other legs went like clockwork...

    - In the first picture you can see us sailing in the middle of Monterey Bay towards Santa Cruz.
    - The following Picture (Taken a moment later) shows the Monterey peninsula behind us.
    - Finally, at the dock in Santa Cruz. We arrived just in time to sort ourselves out and then watch the x-mas boat parade. And then to sleep... I really enjoy sleeping on the boat after a good sail.

    I am at the end of Q Dock in the small craft harbor.

    We are currently planning on taking off tomorrow. Sorry for the short notice. Hopefully we can meet. I've e-mailed my Ph number ...

    We'll be roaming around town and the boardwalk in the course of today. It is beautiful out.
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    Last edited by Rico; 07-29-2009 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Adding Pix / mileage

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Santa Cruz
    Rico, Glad to hear you made it to Santa Cruz. I don’t find an e-mail with you number. I did swing by the harbor around 1100 today (Mon.) and did see your boat. I will drop by again in the afternoon and see if I can find you. Feel free to give me a call my number is in the book. ………. Ed Ekers

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    San Francisco - or Abroad

    Thumbs up Made it!!!

    The Mephisto Cat is now safely in SF Bay. Just in time too as there are several COLD storm systems coming through starting tomorrow. (The bar at the Golden gate does not look too pleasant even now...)

    We postponed our departure from Santa Cruz for a day due to a bit of heavy-er weather, but because of this one day delay we fortunately got to meet Ed Ekers and had a great chat. We visited 'Pathfinder' (Ed's Ariel) and another Ariel in the SC Marina.

    It is great to see more of these great boats. Another benefit of the delay was that Kerry was able to join us for the last leg to San Francisco. And were still happy to have TWO day's rest to enjoy Santa Cruz after the long haul from Morro Bay!

    We set off from Santa Cruz on December 9th at day-break (Pic #1 below) and covered the 50 miles to Half Moon Bay by 8:00 pm. A bit later than expected, but generally on-schedule.

    Half Moon Bay is a tricky harbor to get into especially when you've never been there before - and especially when the first time is during a dark night... There are some shallow reefs to get around and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out which lights were channel markers and which were lights on shore...

    We approached from the South, as it seemed like the safest approach, and thought we had it right as we approached the harbor entry; but suddenly Kerry had an inkling of a doubt and then we all simultaneoulsly concluded that we, in fact, had it all wrong!

    Out came the big spotlight and we shined it all over... as we neared the shore, the navegation lights became more obvious against the backlit scenery and we corrected our course. We were actually headed into an anchorage area on the wrong side of the inner harbour jetty... we made a quick turn and finally made it into the harbor.

    There was no-one to be found, so we tied up to what appeared to be a guest dock adjacent to the fuel dock. It all seemed deserted.

    Kerry & Carol were eager to go grab a warm bite while I looked forward to a bit of sleep before we shoved off again to cover the remaining 26 miles to the Golden Gate and San Francisco. I poured some more of our spare fuel into the tank and got ready to have a bit of sleep in preparation for our departure for San Francisco scheduled for a few hours later... 2 am, to be precise. This is so that we can take advantage of the flooding current into San Francisco Bay).

    Kerry & Carol were much happier after sharing a good meal in front of the fire (they shared a Cioppino, I found out later...) in a warm little joint at the harbor. Once they ate and warmed-up, they returned to the boat and went right to sleep.

    We planned to leave at about 2:00am, but around midnight Carol woke up 'not feeling so good'... I guess she was unlucky and ended-up with the 'bad clam', or something else in the stew. She was quickly feeling completely miserable and soon became violently sick. Kerry & Carol went off to the on-shore facilities to take care of things (although from the sounds, I gathered that the side of the dock had to do initially! ), and after a painful while, they eventually came back to bed.

    After a couple more trips to "take in the view" at the edge of the dock, 2:00am finally came around and we faced the decision wheather we'd continue north or not, considering Carol's state... She had clearly eaten something bad, and it'd been bad enough to stir up her strong stomach.

    No one on the trip had any trouble with seasickness even as we faced heavy seas in the pitch dark, but bad seafood is a different issue...

    The call for a colder front for the following days made me a bit hesitant to delay our departure, but I was also very aware of Carol's misery and did not want to go if she was not up for it... I was hopeful that she'd be fine since whatever had made her sick was probably now long gone.

    Carol decided that we should continue and she'd try to sleep it off...

    We shoved off at around 2:00 am from Half Moon Bay to match the early morning flood tide into the (Golden) gate... 2:00am is certainly NOT the most desirable time for a departure, but attempting entry into the bay during an ebbing tide would be most frustrating and futile... The timing also allowed a morning (daylight) entry into the bay through the often busy ship's channel.

    Again, we enjoyed very nice weather and calm seas on departure, but after a few hours, the wind started picking up... Until it eventually got quite a bit rough around Montara point with strong Easterly winds gusting at about 30-35 knots at around 4:30 am or so. Fortunately, this blow only lasted for about 1 hour just before sunrise as we passed the slot opposite Coyote point which typically funnels the wind the opposite way.

    These were the worst wind conditions of the whole voyage and coincidentally came with the coldest temperatures of the whole trip. Uggh! The reported temperatures were in the high 40's (Brrr...) as reported by NOAA over the VHF. Winter was announcing its arrival, and I eagerly awaited the sunrise...

    Carol was managing to sleep fairly soundly down below, and she was being spared the wetness up above (although there was a leak or two that had remained undiscovered until these heavy seas, and the drops landing on her head contributed to her misery...)

    This was definitely the wettest portion of the trip as water kept splashing on the bow and was blown across the boat. The easterlies took most of the water directly across the bow, but some of it would inevitably get Kerry & I in the cockpit - just often enough to make it annoying. I am glad it was not too severe... Just before sunrise, and once things started settling, Kerry readily agreed to go back below into the cabin and try to get warm & get some sleep after sticking it out with me in the cockpit for quite a while.

    I am not attempting even a remote comparison here, but as we were being tossed around, I thought of the comments of the crew of the 'Gitana 13' upon reaching SF bay on their record breaking NY to SF run around Cape Horn. -They mentioned that the worst conditions they encountered on the whole voyage were the during the hours just prior to entering the bay from the South, and as a result they recorded their second slowest day in that stretch.

    Pict #2
    So close to the Bay entrance that we can taste it! -Do I really want the trip to be over!?
    You can just barely see the top of one of the towers of the Golden Gate bridge rising above the hill... (Look for a reddish speck poking above the hills at about 1/8" aft of the forward-lower stay)

    We were running with a favourable current and about a 15-20kt wind under a reefed main... After the sudden winds we saw at Montara Point, my crew felt more confortable if we left the jib down... As we were doing about 7kt over the bottom (accounting for the aid of the flood-tide current) I did not feel too bad about leaving it down...

    Pict #3
    The Gate is in full view and we are now under a full Main. Still making about 7 kts. over the bottom. Carol was feeling much better and she joined us in the cockpit at around this time to enjoy the view. It was nice to see her come back to 'life'. We were about to reach our eagerly awaited destination...

    Pict #4
    We have the Golden Gate in full view. The picture was taken just shy of the middle of the channel, as we headed towards the North side.
    There were a few large ships awaiting their entry at the convergence zone outside the Gate, but fortunately not a lot of traffic under the gate at this time.
    We had a bulk material freighter cross into the gate just ahead of us, but we were well clear of traffic on our stern. This gave us the ability to take advantage of the wind and crossing over to the North side of the channel and into Sausalito without having to worry about the traffic in the ship's lanes.

    We passed underneath the Golden Gate at about 9:30am on December 10th. It was a beautiful sight on an absolutely beautiful morning... (I was tempted to go for a sail around Alcatraz, but I got the impression that my crew would rather wait for another day...

    We went straight to Sausalito, and got a slip to spend the day there - and that night. We had lunch sitting on the docks while I tried to get some of the salt off the boat and sails.

    We walked to town to hang out for a bit and to see Carol off on the ferry home to the city. We were looking forward to a long restful night after a good dinner in town, but the flood tide that would aid our sail to the North Bay forced a departure time of 4:00 am the following morning (Dec 11th). Yeech!

    For the time being, the Mephisto Cat will be at the Vallejo Marina while I complete some remaining odds, ends, and little projects. I may tie up at some other locations around the bay to see what suits us.

    Upon arrival, I noticed that my old slip there was available, so I parked in the same spot I left almost two years ago...
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    Last edited by Rico; 05-08-2010 at 01:05 PM. Reason: Typos / adding mileage...

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    San Francisco - or Abroad

    The reward!

    We are in!

    It was much calmer inside the Bay. Beautiful day in the bay, but it seems that everyone is still asleep.

    We went only maybe 1.5 more miles to Sausalito and got a slip for the night. It was about 9:30am at the time.

    We rested, had a late breakfast/early lunch at the slip, shipped off the EPIRB, (and Carol too...) and after roaming around town for a bit, and a nice long hot shower at the marina, we went for a nice celebratory dinner!

    -Had some Sushi and a good deal of nice warm Sake! Then off to sleep as we need to ride the flood tide at 4:00am or we'll be going nowhere!

    Picture #1

    Picture #2

    Picture #3
    Looking back at where we came from...

    Picture #4
    We are back!
    Looking east from the entrance to the Sausalito channel:
    1st point is Belvedere Island (home of the Maltese Falcon's owner)

    2nd Point is the Tiburon Peninsula where (-I was told) the Mephisto Cat has allegedly spent most of its life... I left this as the 'homeport' on the stern as it was when I acquired her.

    - I'm such a vagabond that I would not know what to put on there otherwise...

    Beyond this is a bit of woodsy Angel Island, with the east Bay (Berkeley) beyond that...
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    Last edited by Rico; 12-22-2008 at 11:41 AM.

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Scarborough, Maine
    Awesome! Thanks for sharing your journey with us Rico! Great trip, great pics, and a great boat!!!
    Totoro (Sea Sprite 23 #626)

  10. #70
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Excelsior, Minnesota

    What an adventure!!!

    Great trip, thanks for sharing. The idea of actually going somewhere is very appealing to we poor inland lake sailors.

  11. #71
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    San Francisco - or Abroad

    A few more pictures from the trip...

    Glad you enjoyed - Thanks!

    Here are a few more... In my hurry to post updates I screwed-up the sequence and left a few good ones out.

    Picture #1
    A little company is always nice when lacking wind... I felt like tossing them another towline. The point pictured is Point Dume, just east of Malibu. (the coast runs east-west on this stretch). Note my nifty winch booties... - $6 on e-bay...

    Picture #2
    An earlier shot of the sunset above. The islands seen here are (from left to right) low-lying Anacapa Is, Santa Cruz Is, and San Miguel Is. is just visible to the far right

    Picture #3
    Offshore drilling rigs just south-east of Santa Barbara. These are similar to the ones we were happy to see due to their bright lights during our thickly clouded passage around Point Conception as these were the only points of reference we had to hold a course by. -I was not so happy to see the ones pictured, however, as they left an oil slick, were smelly, and I had to clean some globs of crude off my bow after passing through the area!

    Picture #4
    Point Piedras Blancas Lighthouse Approx: 35°39'50"N 121°17'10"W - about 6 miles north of the well-sheltered San Simeon Anchorage. (There are not many places at all to duck into along the Central California coast. This makes the weather considerations that much more important...)

    The Anchorage at San Simeon was our original destination for the day, but distances, wind, and timing for a daylight arrival at the next port suggested a departure time about the time of our arrival there. Being fairly fresh from our short sail from Morro bay, we just kept going...
    Attached Images        
    Last edited by Rico; 01-16-2009 at 01:30 PM.

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    San Francisco - or Abroad

    More Pics and a re-cap on miles traveled

    Here is a re-cap of the miles traveled from my initial route plan. I've adjusted some distance as shown by my GPS track (the easier ones to get data for), others I've used the expected route mileage. The total mileage (GPS vs Plan) turned out to be very close so any variation in any one individual segment should be fairly small.

    The boat was launched in Ensenada(Mexico) on July 12th, 2008. I spent the next few weekends (about 7 or 8) Commuting about 550 mi r/t) from Santa Monica to step the mast, install all the deck hardware, coambings, sails, rigging, do the mast tuning, fit out the interior, and do a bit of sailing prior to departure.

    I even participated in a couple regattas held by the 'Ensenada Yacht Club (A small, informal group of sailors who I ran into at the marina where I stayed). A good reason to procrastinate on all the work I had to do...

    The commuting was a bit of torture, (especially the crossing at the Border!!)but I was somehow determined to sail the Mephisto Cat to 'Todos Santos Island' and then head North crossing an international boundary as once I gotback to San Francisco, the opportunity to do that would not be readily available...

    Anyway - here is how the miles stacked-up approximately:

    Leg..................................Distance.... Cumulative Distance... Length of stay...........Facility...................Crew.... ...... Destination Arrival / Departure

    Depart Ensenada (Marina Coral Resort)........................................... .................................................. ...............................Shoved off @ 1am on a Saturday.
    Ensenada to San Diego.................. 75m..........75....................2-3 Hrs...........Customs /police dock..... Agustin & Guillermo...... Arrived SD:2pm / Departed for Dana Pt: 4pm
    San Diego to Dana point................. 65m.........140................. 2-3hrs ................ Guest dock ................ Agustin & Guillermo..........8am / 11am
    Dana Point to Newport Beach..........23m........... 163 ................4 days ............. Mooring .................... Singlehanded .................5pm / 11am
    Newport Beach to Long Beach ......... 20m ....... 183 .............. Overnight ....... Restaurant guest dock ....... Denise & Michael ........12pm / 5pm
    Long Beach to Marina del Rey......... 34m .......... 217 .............. 3 months......... Del Rey Marina .............Singlehanded ...................6am / 3pm

    Marina Del Rey to Oxnard............... 54m .......... 271 .............. Overnight ...... Channel Is Marina ........ Singlehanded .................. 7 am / 8 pm
    Oxnard to Santa Barbara ............... 33m .......... 304 .............. 4hrs ................ SB Guest Dock ........... Carol ............................ 7am / 4pm
    Santa Barbara to Morro Bay ............ 128m ........ 432 ............ 10 days ....... MB Yacht Club / Mooring .... Carol & Kristen ............... 8pm / 9pm
    Morro Bay to Santa Cruz ................ 143m ......... 575 ............. 2 days ....... Santa Cruz Marina .............. Carol .......................... 8am / 5pm
    Santa Cruz to Half Moon Bay .......... 53m ........... 628 ............. 5 hrs ........... HMB Guest Dock ............. Carol & Kerry ................. 9pm / 2am

    Half Moon Bay to Golden Gate Brg. .... 26m .......... 654 .......... in transit ......... in transit .................... Carol & Kerry ................ 10am / 10am
    Golden Gate Brg. to Sausalito ........... 6m ............ 660 ......... Overnight ..... Schoonmaker Pt Marina ....Carol & Kerry ................... 11am / 4am
    Sausalito to Vallejo ........................ 25m ........... 685 .......... Homeport .......... Vallejo Marina ................ Kerry .......................... 2 pm

    And a few more pictures:

    Picture #1
    Cruising along the California coast around Ano Nuevo Island (East of Santa Cruz once again, the coast runs east-west on this stretch).
    This is the start of the cliffs that Richard Henry Dana describes in his great sailing book "Two years before the mast".

    Picture #2
    The Pigeon Point Lighthouse (Note Kamikaze seagull in picture)

    Picture #3
    Fort point in San Francisco and the silhouette of Alcatraz Island beyond.

    Under the arch at the South end of the Golden Gate Bridge lies Fort Point. This fort was completed just before the American Civil War, to defend San Francisco Bay against hostile warships. Funny how one generation's most advanced formidable defense is another generation's mere obstacle to public transportation...

    Picture #4
    The city comes into view through the morning haze. You can see the top of the spire of the Transamerica tower in the middle of the picture.
    Attached Images        
    Last edited by Rico; 05-15-2010 at 05:16 PM. Reason: Added mileage

  13. #73
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Asst. Vice Commodore, NorthEast Fleet, Commander Division (Ret.) Brightwaters, N.Y.
    Excellent adventure and some great pics. Thanks

  14. #74
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    San Francisco - or Abroad

    Reconditioning of the original coambings

    Ok... Now back to our sheduled project documentation program -already in progress:

    The Coambings
    The Mephisto Cat came to me with what I assume are the original coambings. They appear to be Teak (evidenced by Smell, feel, & grain) and although they were well weathered to the gray patina commomn to weathered teak, and had a bit of mold in the areas not exposed to sunlight. Fortunately, they responded quite to just a bit of cleaning-up and looked relatively good for the next year without any oil or varnish.

    They were untreated, but in great shape. I would guess that they had been varnished at some point long, long past, but it seemed that they had received only oil -if anything- in the more recent past, and nothing for at least the last few years.

    I do not have specific 'before' shots (I missed these...), but you can see them in some of the previous pictures of the boat on this thread.

    After a couple scrubbings with a bit of Ajax cleaner (A bit odd, yes... But it works great on teak!) they came right back to a nice light brown color. This encouraged me to do a bit of work on them and to eventually get them all varnished-up.

    Originally, I thought I would not bother removing them, but since I had already taken everything else off of the hull, I thought I might as well...

    In hindsight I am glad I did. Taking them off allowed me to be able to get a nice prep on all surfaces while working in comfortable positions, and to do the repair described below.

    It was a bit of a bear to get them off as they were quite solidly attached to the boat. There was a bit of well-cured polysulfide against the fiberglass and this held them on quite strongly even with all the fasteners removed.

    Reinforcing/Repair of the coambings.

    The coambings are positioned with a slight curve to them and this provides a bit of rigidity against bending of the wood plank in the vertical plane, but it still remains a wide piece of wood that is only supported laterally at the cab attachment, and at the winch stands, and at the bottom edge (at the3" or so...) as they are fastened to the fiberglass.

    As I mentioned, my coambings were in great shape, but a bit of eager help in removing one of them caused a longitudinal crack along the sharp corner cut into the coambing as it transitions from the deck onto the cockpit's side. (See last picture below) The removal of the polysulfide bond responds much better to warmth from the sun, small wood wedges, and some guitar strings (think cheese-cutting wire) as opposed to brute force...

    I did not want to have a weakened coambing as I thought the crack would only get worse over time, but I also did not want to have an obvious repair with wood or metal reinforcements visible.

    I thought of using a loooong stainless or bronze wood screw from the bottom edge as this would remain invisible. Failing to find such a beast I used a length of coarse-thread 316 stainless-steel allthread rod and epoxy.

    First I glued the cracked surfaces together. Then I took a 5/32" drill bit (9" long, I think it is...) and drilled a hole through the middle of the thin dimension of the coambing. I smothered the sides of the hole with epoxy (using a twig from a natural broom) and then used my drill motor to screw in the length of 3/16" stainless steel all-tread rod into the pilot hole.

    This not only pulled the two pieces tightly together, but it should provide solid reinforcement against future side-load stresses that may cause cracks. Especially towards the front where the Commander's coambings are up to 12" tall... and towards the very rear where the stern-most few feet remain unsuported.

    After seeing the results, I proceeded to put four more pieces of rod into this coambing. two more as further reinforcement where the crack was and another at the unsupported rear end close to where there is the rear sharp corner cut into the coambing.

    ...then I put another three pieces of rod into the other coambing. - Just for preventative strengthening...

    The holes look large because I drilled a 1/2" hole about 1/2" into the coambing to allow for the jaws of my drill to drive the rod below the edge surface of the coambing and then filled this in with resin.

    The driving/screwing of the rod takes quite a bit of torque, as you can imagine. The trick is to keep the pilot hole in the middle of the material - a bit tricky with such a long drill bit / rod.

    Out of the six holes I drilled, I only sort of screwed one up. The rod actually came onto the surface but only at the very tip. I ground this down to make smooth and left it. (Somewhat visible in the third picture) - Not too bad for work with a hand drill...

    I then cleaned the wood up, did a bit of sanding, and over the course of the next few months sanded and applied some 8 coats of Epifanes clear varnish. The pictures were thaken sometime in the middle of this long process so the coambings do not look their best at this stage.

    Epifanes is wonderful stuff. (It is made in Holland - one of my of my most favourite former homes!) I've had good results with it and it is amazingly long-lasting. It really brightened the coambings up nicely... They look pretty amazing and it is one of the first-things that people comment on about the little boat.
    Attached Images        
    Last edited by Rico; 02-11-2009 at 05:59 PM.

  15. #75
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    San Rafael, CA

    great coaming repair

    Like the wrinkle of your driving the allthread in with the driver.
    Should be locked in there til kingdom come.
    I believe it may be better than what 338 got which were two 6" long 1/4" bronze rods in each of the corners. Drift pins!

    I'll wager there isn't a single Commander or Ariel that doesn't have this splitting problem coming out of the knotches.

    The rod may be all that is needed - yet the coamings get a lot of bending moments on them - not from sitting against them so much, but sitting on them, and sometimes standing on them.
    The aft end might also have a small corner block added on the deck at the end - with it screwed into the coaming and the deck, Something to make absolutely sure the top can't be moved on these 'open ends'.
    Last edited by ebb; 01-02-2009 at 02:04 PM.

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