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Thread: Sailing an Ariel to Hawaii and back

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Sailing an Ariel to Hawaii and back

    for those who wanted to know this was done back in 1985 at the young age of 27.I just wanted to know what it was like beyond the horizon.It was a long hard struggle at the time,everyone thought I would be back in 3 days.I wasnt to return for 3 months,and nearly 6000 miles.when I returned,those people couldnt look me in the face.when they saw me coming they would turn the other way.I was not the same person I was when I left.It was truly a life changing event for me.it answered every question I had ...about what its like out there.it was done the right way.celestial nav,,monitor vane,there was no gps at that time.the boat performed very well.so long ago ,yet I remember every wave.nevermind the boat.its you,your desires that makes the difference.you really have to have the desire to do it.and I came across very hard times,everyone told me to sell the boat.but I had "stick-to-it-iveness"and I prevailed.from ventura california,to hilo,2300 miles, 22 days,the way there was double handed.at the last minute a friend of a friend showed up.since it was my first such trip like this I figured I shouldnt go alone.but I single handed back more than 3500 miles.41 days,the first 5 days is the worst.pounding int the trade winds brought ont the truest form of sea sickness.I lost 50 pounds.there is only so much I can say.sveral weeks later I was off again,I navigated for a crew on a 90 foot schooner,back to hawaii.I flew back from that one.that means I sailed to hawaii TWICE in 1985,and back once.two years later I graduated college with Honors.A year later I was off th hawaii again on a triton.that 6000 miles was indeed completely single handed.that was an ill fated boat.I paid for my sins and or crimes by loosing that boat in a fire.but I lost no experience or desires.I now have a 29 foot islander wayfarer that miraculously survived two direct hits from hurricaines.I have had this boat that I paid very little for for five years.I am here in south east florida.I still have the desire.got any ideas?
    Last edited by eric (deceased); 01-06-2005 at 06:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    The Sailing to Hawaii Story

    In the following posts, Eric describes the preparation of his Ariel to go off shore, its voyage to Hawaii, and finally, the return trip home. There is more to the story, but it involves motivation, family tragedy and some hard times. These parts will be included when we publish the story in an upcoming edition of the Association newsletter. We begin with . . .
    Last edited by Bill; 03-31-2005 at 12:33 PM.

  3. #3
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    Preparation

    I now began serious vessel prep. I unstepped the Ariel’s mast, zinc chromated it and gave it a black and white sectional finish with enamel paint. The top of the masthead was painted in a black and white checkerboard pattern. I added a radar reflector, VHF antenna and a light. The boom and spreaders were also painted black and white.

    I modified the mast head and tack pennant fitting to accept parallel forestays. There were two backstays also. I wanted the downwind rig that had earlier intrigued me so much. The wire to rope halyards were replaced by hardware store type nylon line. The ends were dip whipped and secured by bowline knots. There was a double block for the fore triangle to allow each jib its own halyard. A triple block allowed for two main halyards and a boom (topping) lift.

    The old wire halyards became the new life lines. There was a middle lifeline and a lower border, and I wove my own life safety net around these lifelines. I replaced all the huge original thru-hulls. I removed the head and glassed in the thru hull fitting holes. The marine toilet would be replaced by a bucket, or a toilet seat over the outboard well. A friend of mine welded a fitting to the sink thru hull that allowed salt water to be pumped thru the existing faucet.

    The forepeak became the "garage." I removed the cushions as they took up too much space. I mounted eight plastic five gallon Sparklets bottles in those stackable plastic cases you see on bottled water trucks. A separate hand pump would be used to retrieve this water. The main inboard water tank was filled with water for rinsing after a salt water shower. Any soap made with coconut oil (it may be palm oil, I forget) will make a great lather in salt water. Joy soap is the cheapest and most widely available.

    The quarter berth cushions in the main salon were cut off where they extended under the icebox and the galley counter. This newly created space was sectioned off with plywood and turned into storage for canned goods. Over the hanging locker on the starboard side I mounted a kerosene Sea Swing stove. These are “gimbaled jewels" and a blessing to small boat voyagers. I carried five gallons of kerosene and five gallons of alcohol with spare burners, but I only used the alcohol to preheat the kerosene burners.

    While hauled out I did that bottom job blister repair thing that I care never to do again. I replaced the rudder wrist pins with bolts. The rudder shoe was removed and re bedded. All the deck fittings were removed and re bedded with backing blocks. The window frames were removed and the plexiglass was replaced with tempered automotive safety glass. The existing fasteners for the frames were ground flat and drilled out to accept thru-bolts. These bolts would also allow the application of prefabricated removable storm port covers, from either the inside or the outside. The deck was given a non skid "sand in the paint"surface. A skydiver’s wings were painted on the transom. This was a good looking boat.

    There was still much to do, as I now had to learn celestial navigation. This was a main key that was needed. I wasn’t just going to sail up and down the coast. I was going to get into this little space ship and blast off into outer space.

    I took the time to learn the math. It’s easy. I got an old WWII Navy surplus David White sextant from a Vanguard owner. To gain a better understanding of celestial navigation, I got in my car and drove up and down the pacific coast highway taking “sights” along the way. When I got home, I did the math and tracked the movement of the car and the sun. Now I knew what it was all about. So easy...you have two points of a triangle....one is the nearest pole...the other is the ground point of the body ...the third point.....well its too much to explain here.

    I mounted a platform on the stern rail and put two weatherproof speakers underneath. I piped the shortwave time signals into these speakers. I used a tape recorder to record the weather that came at 48, 49 and 50 minutes after the hour on radio station WWV. I obtained a sea generator with a heavy duty propellor. I also installed oversized running lights on an anchor pulpit that I fabricated out of mahogany.

    Search and rescue items included a used EPIRB and an Achilles inflatable. I fashioned some galvanized hardware store fittings to make a scuba tank with which to fill the inflatable. I tried it out, just in case, and it worked. It was better than nothing. The inflatable was stored on the coach roof. The scuba tank was stored in a cockpit locker with the hardware store galvanized fittings attached to the valve ready to be attached to the inflatable in the event of catastrophe.

    The time was getting close. According to the books, this trip should be done late spring and it was late spring. Time to provision. For food I had close to1000 different canned items, as well as dried fruits, nuts and pastas. And there were eggs straight from the chickens. Coated in oil, these eggs do not need refrigeration and will last several weeks.

    Throughout the time spent preparing the boat, I continued studying, reading, researching and questioning others who had already made the trip. All this attracted attention and people began to see what I was doing. Still, I wasn’t taken seriously – until I gave two weeks notice at my job.

  4. #4
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    The Way There

    I had given notice on my job just before the busy season and they didn’t understand why I wanted to quit after I had spent two years working nearly seven days a week. I could have made a lot of money that summer, but what I had in mind was priceless

    My father took me to the bank where I converted my savings into1400 dollars in travelers checks. This would be a three month trip where for two months I couldn’t spend any money at all. Yes, as I could not find any girls to go along, I was going to do this single handed.

    Later that day one of the other live aboard boaters at the boatyard came over to me with a friend. It was explained that “Pete” was very interested in going with me to Hawaii. I thought that since this would be my first such trip, perhaps I should not be going alone. I explained what was involved with the voyage and I gave him 24 hrs to get ready to go. He was to supply his own booze and cigarettes, no drugs, no guns and no homosexuality. In turn I would provide him with return air faire.

    The next day after Pete arrived, I started the 5-hp Mariner outboard, and in ceremonial style, used a hack saw to cut the dock lines. Putting the motor in reverse, I was officially on my way across the ocean, on my much anticipated first voyage.

    According to the sailing books and Pacific yacht race charts, the course to Hawaii should be a loop to the south. My initial heading, therefore, was from Ventura harbor to Anacapa Island. Continuing on that course would take me just south of San Nicholas Island. From there, it is nothing but deep water to the Hawaiian Islands some 2300 to 2500 miles away.

    Prior to this trip, I had done many day sails and some night sails, but this would be my first experience sailing all day and all night, day after day after day. It took some getting used to. For the first three days I was like a zombie, not being able to really sleep. I was constantly checking on everything – the rigging, the self steering, the sea generator – and was constantly making celestial nav checks (mainly sun and moon lines).

    There was one very important thing about ocean sailing that I learned during the first third of the trip. Sitting in the companionway under the dodger, I saw that no matter how windy it became, nor how big the seas grew, as this boat went up and down the waves, I was always able to see over their tops.

    From my experience, sailing to Hawaii just wasn’t that ruff going. Starboard tack for six days, reefed main and single working jib, all systems were always a go. I experienced a slight form of seasickness, but nothing intolerable. Just no ability to keep food down for a few days, no fever, no headache, no real nausea, no problem. Sailing back from Hawaii (as you will read) is a different matter.

    The waters off the California coast are cold and so is the air temp. This meant that the perishable foods lasted for a while. They were, however, used first. Another thing I noticed during the first third of the trip was the change in visible wild life. No longer were there sea lions. The seagulls were replaced by albatrosses, those huge winged acrobatic gliders. If they have to flap their wings to fly, then there is no wind. Also, the further from shore we went the smaller the man-o-war jelly fish became, indicating that they were born far out at sea and grew bigger as they approach land.

    There was also a lot of floating debris covered with varying amounts of sea growth. The longer it was in the water the more growth there was. Eventually, this accumulation of crustacean sea life will take the debris to the bottom.

    Reaching the end of the first third of the trip brought us out of the prevailing westerlies and for a day or so there was no wind. Flat calm. Warm air. Warm water. We were on the verge of entering the tropics. Time to take a shower. Buckets of warm salt water. Joy soap. A final rinse with fresh water (retrieved from the inboard tank). Very refreshing. And finally, a good sleep.

    When the wind returned, it was from the east. We were now in the trade winds. I dropped the main, and for the first time, raised the two working jibs. But, there was a problem. I had only one whisker pole and the opposing jib kept collapsing. Combining the fishing gaff with the boat hook, I jury rigged a whisker pole. It worked great. It was very precarious keeping the vane gear facing dead aft as the last two-thirds of the trip would be dead down wind.

    The trade wind seas presented no problems. Constant 20 knot winds dead aft with following seas no greater than 8-10 feet. I was always at some absurd hour of the night that the large predatory fish hit, and all I had was this little rod and reel. I should have had a larger heavier fishing pole. I did manage to land several smaller tuna, skipjack, and mahimahi. I cleaned them while they were still alive and made what I called fish bombs. I wrapped filleted chunks in tinfoil with herbs and spices and cooked them on the kerosene burner.

    I was also constantly checking rigging tension, but it was never excessive. The sea generator packed a wallop and the battery never went dead. It was necessary to pull in the generator’s prop whenever trolling for fish to prevent the two lines from tangling. I had to wear gloves when pulling in the prop as the thick nylon rope would form large hockles and these could tear the skin on my hand.

    The oversized running lights on the anchor pulpit that I fabricated were eventually lost to smashing bow waves. To replace them, I went forward wearing a stripped down skydivers harness as a safety harness and made a new bow light fixture from the dime store lights that were on board. I used a hose clamp to affix this new light to the bow rail.

    Other than kerosene burners clogging up, the only other slight mishap was when the tiller head fitting temporarily came off the rudder post. There was no problem placing the fitting back on top of the woodruff key.

    Late May is the best time of year to do such a trip as hurricane season was not yet at its peak. This proved to be the case as hurricane Blanca passed 800 miles south west of the Big Island, which was 1,800 miles from us. All we got from it was some ominously fierce looking wave forms. Nothing unmanageable. When it got too windy all I did was lower one jib. I do not recall ever having to reef a working jib, but there was always one ready on its own forestay and halyard ready to go.

    With about 1,000 miles left to go, I began receiving Hawaiian radio signals at night on a super sensitive AM radio set. It was KHLO in Hilo and it nulled out dead ahead. Now all I had to do was home in on this signal to reach the island. The RDF wouldn’t tell me where I was, just which way to go. As we got closer, I was able to receive these and other radio signals during daylight hours. It was quite exhilarating to hear signals from Hawaii. It gave me a sense of accomplishment. As I sat there on the stern rail platform I was quite content just watching the waves and the world go by. These little boats just keep going and going and going.....

    Although it was still important to take celestial sights, with radio direction finding, navigation became less of a concern. I now spent more time just relaxing and enjoying the sea, the cloud formations and the rainbows. There were porpoise that went out of their way to come right up to us. There were pilot whales and the migratory birds. This is what it was all about for me... just seeing what was beyond the horizon.

    Around 400 miles from the islands, we could see aircraft contrails that all seemed to converge on a single point. They could have been going to any one of the major airports. At about 150 miles out, we began seeing local fishing vessels. At the end of 21st day, the outline of Mauna Loa back lit by the setting sun became visible. That is a sight I will never forget

    By night fall of the 22nd day, I could see the orange glow of the mercury vapor street lights in Hilo. Those are lights associated with bad neighborhoods where I come from, so their glow gave me some bad thoughts. We were only about ten miles off the Hamakua coast, and for all practical purposes we had arrived. It was the last week of June.

    The first rule of cruising is to never enter an unknown harbor at night. So I slowed the boat down to arrive at Hilo in daylight. At the point where we were approaching the island, the city itself was still 25 miles down the coast and there was a huge mountain range acting as a wall that blocked the wind. Out comes the outboard engine. It took a several hours of motoring to finally arrive at Hilo Bay.

    Seeing the islands in the daylight after 22 days at sea was really something. It was still early in the morning when we entered the breakwater at Hilo Bay. Further down in the bay is Radio Bay, where all the cruisers anchor or “Med” moor up to the seawall. At the appropriate time I dropped the stern hook, nosed up to the seawall and I kissed the ground as soon as I stepped off the bow. I MADE IT!!!!

  5. #5
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    Photo

    Here is STARCREST as it leaves Ventura . . .
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    Last edited by Bill; 03-31-2005 at 08:26 PM.

  6. #6
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    Less Than 30 Days In Hawaii

    Once off the boat, I attempted to call home. I had spoken with people on the VHF radio before arriving, but no marine operator was available to anyone without first having a prepaid account. Next, I lost all sorts of change in the pay phones using a Sprint calling card where if you put in a wrong account number it took your money. Finally, I got through to my father in California and then to my mother in Las Vegas

    I spent ten days in Hilo recuperating. Pete went to stay with some friends he had in the islands. I gave him his return ticket and sent him on his way. He helped somewhat, but when I think about it, I could have just as well done it alone. And in fact, on the way home I would be single handing.

    Hilo is a nice place to visit, but I had no plans for staying. There was some repair work to be done on the outboard as it was acting up. There were also some shady characters trying to sell me some sort of illegal substance, the green leafy type, but with a coast guard cutter sitting right there, I decided against the purchase.

    I left Hilo and sailed to Oahu non stop. The outboard got me out of Hilo Bay ok, and I proceeded up the windward side of the island and through the Alenuiihaha channel into the lee of Maui. Then the outboard broke down and I drifted or barely sailed into an area just south of Molokai called the "SLOT." The winds there were so strong that I used only a single jib, no main. The wind drove me all the way to Oahu where I was able to wave down a small day sailor with an outboard. It towed me into the Alawaii boat harbor where my father and his wife had flown to see me.

    After about a week my father and stepmother went home and I moored out in what was then a free anchorage called Keehee Lagoon. I stayed there for about a week preparing for the return trip home. There were a lot of provisions left from the trip over, so I simply filled my water tanks, got a loaf of bread, some soup crackers and a large bag of oranges. Heck, California was only 3500 miles away.

    STARCREST IN HILO HARBOR
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    Last edited by Bill; 03-31-2005 at 08:27 PM.

  7. #7
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    Sailing Back - 3o Days North, 11 Days East

    It was nearing time for me to pull up anchor and head back to California. According to the books, the return sail should be done before hurricane season reaches its peak in September. It was now the end of July.

    I picked up a used 2 hp outboard as a spare since the one I had was really in poor condition. That engine barely got me out of Keehee Lagoon, but it was soon no longer needed as the wind picked up smartly. As I rounded the leeward side of Oahu, I was to throw a lei in the water. Legend has it that by doing so, some day you would return.

    Conditions on the first night heading north were not so bad. I was able to keep the north star slightly off to my left. That assured me that I was headed east of north. The second day I thought I had picked up some debris on my fishing line. There was no fight just a constant drag as if it was a large plastic bag. It turned out to be a beautiful mahi mahi about 5 feet long. I saw its blue yellow green profile shining about 15 feet under the boat. But it snapped the line and got away.

    Beginning the second night and continuing for the next four days, I had the worst seasickness in it truest form – headache, nausea, chills, fever, vomiting. It was brought on by the boat’s constantly pounding into the trade wind seas. Every 5 seconds the boat surged upwards and pounded downwards on the backside of the waves. I distinctly remember the boat pounding so hard on one wave that I ran up into the V berth to check on the repair job where I had filled the thru hull holes for the head. The pounding lasted until latitude 27 or 28 when the winds finally died and I was no longer in the trades. As ill as I felt, I now forced myself to eat small tidbits of food and take small sips of water.

    Although that first five days heading north was pure misery, everything worked fine including the vane gear and the generator. The top of the working jib, however, was in shreds. Keep in mind that as miserable as it was, the boat had no problem heading north. Just keep the north star off to the left....and each day it was 2 degrees higher.

    After all the pounding into the trade winds, at about latitude 27 or 28, I sailed into the high pressure system and the wind died. According to the books I had read, it could have stayed that way for weeks. I took advantage of this by trying to regain some sense of normalcy(???). I was about 600 miles due north (and slightly east of) the Hawaiian Islands. That’s the middle of nowhere. Five miles to the bottom.

    I took a sea water shower and ate my first decent meal of fresh cooked spaghetti. I used a can of beef stew as meat sauce and sprinkled parmigiana cheese on top of that. After five days of not eating, I remember that meal as a feast. I also regained regular bowel movements. As it would turn out, the worst was over.

    I was becalmed for four days in this particular area. It was quite scenic. The sunrises and sunsets were spectacular. The sea was as flat as your kitchen floor. What I needed was a diesel inboard, but instead I had two non functioning outboards. And even if they worked, they had only a limited range. So I drifted. I rationed my food and water, not that it mattered. I grew tired of the canned food and only ate out of necessity. I felt my self losing weight. On the second day, a school of mahi mahi appeared directly under the keel, so I tried fishing. They did not bite.

    Then I noticed that even as calm as it was, the fishing lure went down at an angle. Checking the angle against the compass, the lure appeared to be heading to the south. What that meant was that the boat was riding a northbound current.

    On the third day of drifting north, I went rummaging through my provisions and found a bottle of Kalua that someone had given me before I left. I don’t drink alcohol, but half of that bottle went down like chocolate milk. When I "came too" the next day the jib was back winded and I was headed west. I don’t know for how long, but it didn’t last.

    With the end of the fourth day came the end of the first spell of no wind. The next day brought 15 knot winds out of the east for 36 hours. This was fantastic. The seas were less than 2 feet and this great wind drove the boat 180 miles in 36 hours. I was headed 35 degrees magnetic, well east of north, and we carved an arc in the sea under full working sails.

    Then the wind died for the second time. Now the weather was cooler. No more tropics. Latitude 34, or 35. Grey overcast skies. There were yellow tail under the boat and I caught a small one and cooked it up. The seawater was now cold and this hindered my desire to bathe.

    Four more days of no wind. As before, on the 5th day another unforgettable sight. On the northern horizon, as far as I could see, it looked like a never ending team of horses racing from the east to the west. It was the wind. It was a good wind and those horses were wave tops. No more becalmed. This was good wind headed my way and soon the sails began to sing.

    There was, of course, just one problem. The number one rule in sailing is that you can’t sail into the wind. And this wind was dead out of the east and that’s the way I wanted to go. For five days I carved a northeast arc in the sea under full working sail area or less. According to the books, the east bound tack should be made around latitude 38.

    Meantime, another problem developed that could have caused serious navigational problems. The horizon mirror on the sextant was corroding and there were no spares. Actually, the horizon mirror situation wouldn’t be as bad as I thought at first. It was corroding alright, but I could still make out the horizon, the sun or moon with it. The stars and planets, however, were out of the question. It was very important that northbound, I have the north star for latitude. I could have done noon sights, but this is not a favorite method of mine. It can only be done once a day during the meridian passage of a celestial body. If you don’t catch it right on time you will miss it. This is very tedious and time consuming compared to the relative ease of a Polaris sight, which can be done twice daily at sunrise and sunset.

    So I figured thusly: I would sight Polaris through the un-silvered portion of the horizon mirror, just as if I were sighting a star. I would bring the horizon up to the star, swing it upside down (you won’t find that in any book) and I read the arc. I did these sights very carefully as it is not a recommended way of navigating. I figure that the reading had to be accurate to within one degree.

    I spent five days headed northeast like a bat out of hell at hull speed or better. It was cold and I kept putting on more layers of clothing. The ride was also getting too ruff to light the stove. The alcohol just wouldn’t stay in the preheat cup. As a result, I was eating beef stew cold, right out of the can. And, I was still losing weight.

    After some 30 days of sailing or drifting north, it was becoming a long and arduous voyage. In fact, I had spent too much time headed north. I had long passed latitude 38, but it was not possible to tack east due to the unfavorable wind direction. No problem headed northeast.
    Last edited by Bill; 03-31-2005 at 10:22 PM.

  8. #8
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    Ready About

    Now I was always on the VHF trying to contact people and did make many such contacts. One large bulk freighter called the Fort Brontenac actually contacted my home and told them of my situation. This large freighter passed about 3 miles astern of Starcrest as they motored on a great circle route to Kobe Japan from Los Angeles. Finally, at about latitude 46 plus, I made contact with a cruising vessel that I had met up with in the islands. They were headed to points further north than I and said that there was no reason for me to be this far north. They advised me to "flop over now," which I did.

    The next day or so took the boat far south. I lost latitude rapidly and was afraid I would end up in Mexico, as a friend of mine did a year earlier. But, this would not be the case. Soon the wind shifted to the north east, then the north. There was now no problem heading east. In fact, these were the most majestic sea conditions I had ever experienced. The beam-to swells were about 10 to 15 feet and they would surge up and down, or undulate much in the fashion that a snake moves its body. In the trough of one wave all I could see was a wall of water. As the boat would surge up on top of these huge swells, I could see forever.

    The challenge now was navigating, as sighting the horizon was tricky. I used special 90 degree azimuth bearings which I had to figure by doing the calculations backwards. This could be done twice a day any time the sun or moon was bearing due east or west.

    It was about 1,100 miles to the coast after turning east. Soon I began laughing as I knew I was indeed truly homeward bound. Through the next few days, I had to interpolate from the way north and then extrapolate from the way east – just where was I when I turned east? To this day all I can figure is that I was above 46 north and slightly east of 147 or 148 west. That’s about 600 miles south east of Kodiak Alaska. And the weather was cold enough for it to be so.

  9. #9
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    Almost Home

    Heading east was not with out its own special set of events. On one dark moonless night, as I gazed star ward, a couple of interesting celestial sights were visible. First, I noticed that the north star was unusually high in the sky. Second, the winter constellation Orion was visible very low on the northern horizon, way below Polaris. Orion was minified in size from its usual winter appearance and it was also inverted.

    Then there were the sailing events. For several days the lee rail was constantly awash and it was frequently necessary to bail the bilge. Just a nuisance, but then I discovered that both the anchors were gone. They had been secured to the bow rail and the hawser pipes sealed before departing north from Hawaii. Also, I had removed the rhode from the shackles on the anchors. I guess those anchors made their way to the bottom

    This time of sailing was very much an up and down ride, but there was no pounding. And thankfully, no seasickness what so ever

    The weather was very cold when I began sailing south. I tried in vain to lite the stove for heat, but no luck. It was also clear that after two weeks of no showers and wearing the same clothes, I smelled really badly. But who was I going to offend, the fish? Now, however, I needed to prepare myself for the return to civilization. Once I got down into the warmer latitudes, I filled the Sun Shower apparatus with fresh water from the inboard tank. Those plastic solar heater bags work really well. I took a fresh water shower and changed my clothes. It was then I noticed that my clothes were literally falling off my body. I guessed that maybe I had lost five or ten pounds. It would later turn out that I had lost more like 50 pounds!

    It was now possible to “home in” on the AM stations along the coast using the RDF and get some sort of a vector indicating where I was. Somewhere along the way I decided to throw the sky dive harness overboard. To make a long story short, a few years back a friend of mine borrowed this skydiving rig from me and got killed on that jump. I decided that it was not something I wanted anymore.

    Some 48 hours of fluky, light wind showed up about 200 miles from the coast. The situation was, however, nothing like the earlier drifting of four days at a time.

    At about 200 miles, I was able to home in on the long range beacon at point Arguello on 302 KHZ. This was important for my safety. I was nearing land, the skies were becoming somewhat overcast and that made the sextant useless. I kept the angle to the beacon slightly off to my left to pass it to the south and not to end up right on top of it. If those beacons are followed close enough, it is quite possible to end op on the rocks on which the antenna is located.

    After a number of attempts, I was finally able to contact a marine operator somewhere in Central California. I spoke to my parents for the first time since before leaving Hawaii and told them that I would likely reach Ventura within a day or so. Not that I was exactly sure where I was. I knew I was getting close to land as I was now seeing kelp, seagulls and sea lions.

    It was the 40th day since leaving Hawaii. There was a fair wind, but now there was fog and no sight of land. As I lay half asleep in the cabin, I was suddenly alerted by the sounding of five prolonged warning blasts from the horn of a nearby ship. Quickly I ran up on deck, and there coming out of the fog I saw a huge ship. It crossed my bow only about 350 yards away! I immediately released the wind vane and altered course to cross its stern. Clearly, I was in the northbound coastwise shipping lanes.

    After that incident, I began keeping a constant lookout for ships. I also needed to navigate around several oil rigs and their related mooring buoys. The afternoon of that same day, either the fog bank lifted or I sailed out of it, but like magic, sightly off to my left and about seven or eight miles ahead, I saw the rotating beacon on Point Arguello. Just a few miles off my left beam was California’s mountainous coast. This was my first sight of land since leaving Hawaii.

    Going around Point Conception had its own set of problems as things on the boat now started to break. The jib tack pennant fitting that I devised did not allow for enough free play for the jaw end of the turnbuckles and they each broke in succession. I went forward using the mainsheet as a lifeline and created one turnbuckle out of two broken ones. Then the gooseneck failed. It just isn’t over till its over, is it?. There were two tangs, one on the boom and one on the mast, that allowed me to jury rig a gooseneck with just one bolt. At this point, I was quickly learning how to be resourceful.

    That night, the stories about how rough it is around Point Concepcion proved to be at least somewhat true. Somehow, the boat broached momentarily and seawater came flooding over the coamings and swamped the cockpit. I swear this water was glowing bright green from all the phosphorous. This was nothing, however, that the scuppers couldn’t handle. Just in case, that night while in the main salon I wore a float coat and kept an EPIRB nearby.

    The next morning I was in the lee of Santa Cruz Island, well inland of the ship lanes. With less than 20 miles remaining to Ventura harbor, I sure could have used an outboard. I made another radio telephone call to my father and I asked him to try contacting me using the VHF on his boat. Soon I heard him calling my boat’s name. Next thing I heard was the Ventura harbor patrol respond that I was no longer in the area, but rather that I was in Hawaii! My father informed them of my return and told them my approximate location. As I started to respond to my father on the VHF, someone began to stepping all over my transmission with unnecessary conversation that belonged on another channel. He was broadcasting on channel16 mind you! I was finally able to make contact and get him switch to another channel.
    Last edited by Bill; 03-31-2005 at 08:31 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Orinda, California
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    41 DAYS & 6000 MILES - the circle was complete

    That wind was very light as I slowly sailed past the breakwater. When I headed into the familiar turning basin to drop the main, people on nearby boats started blowing horns. I guess word of my return had spread quickly. As I proceeded under jib alone to the fuel dock, I noticed there were people on the sea wall watching. I didn’t know them, but I guess they knew of me. When I jibbed into the Ocean Services fuel dock and got off the boat, I was simply not the same person I was 90 days earlier. I was brown, bearded and nearly 50 pounds lighter.

    The security guard at the dock advised me to stay onboard until the harbor master came. They were concerned that I might have had fruits and vegetables onboard. Not likely. I was down to just three dozen cans of food and maybe ten gallons of water.

    As I stepped onto the dock, I noticed that my legs had atrophied from the knees down. Lets face it, there’s not much leg room on any small boat. Any way, the voyage was over.

    I left the boat in the care of a trusted broker and a few weeks it was sold. I don’t know where this boat is today, but if you see it, please do me this favor: Take hold of its parallel forestays and pat it on its bowrail for me. Starcrest gave me the most unforgettable 3 months of my life during the summer of 1985. That little boat honestly truly and really did...RUN WITH THE BIG DOGS

    I was brown, bearded,and devoid of fifty pounds. . .
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    Last edited by Bill; 03-31-2005 at 08:28 PM.

  11. #11
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    Sep 2001
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    Epilog

    Several weeks after returning to California, I was off again. This time I was the navigator on a 90 foot schooner sailing to Hawaii. I flew back from that trip. Taken together, that means that I sailed to Hawaii twice and back once in1985. Three years later, I was off to Hawaii again on a Triton. That 6000 miles sail was done completely single handed.

  12. #12
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    Sep 2001
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    Asst. Vice Commodore, NorthEast Fleet, Commander Division (Ret.) Brightwaters, N.Y.
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    1,823
    Wow, eric. Quite an accomplishment.

    Thanks for taking the time to write it up. A good read.

    Stick around. I'm sure we would all like to hear more.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Pembroke Ontario Canada
    Posts
    582

    Wink

    Thanks for the story Eric .We all appreciate it !! Any additional sailtrim or combo's to sea conditions appreciated. Thanks again #50

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    middle earth
    Posts
    120

    Post my email address

    if anyone wants to ask me about this you can email me directly sc2rom@yahoo.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Pensacola, FL
    Posts
    720

    Heard elsewhere.....

    In another thread Eric said;

    [size=3]
    [size=3]I am now in dania beach florida on an Islander wayfarer 29.has anyone seen my old boat???it probably still has the black and white paint finnish on the mast.I would really like to know where it is?[/size]
    Eric, do you remember the hull number?

    Anyone ever see it?[/size]


    s/v 'Faith'

    1964 Ariel #226
    Link to our travels on Sailfar.net

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