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S/V Nereida sails around the world

Tuesday 1st August 2017 It's 7p.m. and the fog that lifted over the day dropped down again earlier and is now getting thicker. The air is cold and damp...19C. The wind died completely some time ago, but I did manage a short motor sail with a full genoa adding to the mainsail and catching some breeze to help our speed just a little, until the apparent wind moved forward and died away again. I've been delighted to find three black-footed albatrosses keeping us company several times today. When I saw the first one flying our way this morning, its long, 'bent' wings caught my attention immediately but I'm so used to seeing albatross gliding 99% of the time in the Southern Ocean that I didn't believe I was seeing one - until I realized that, with almost no wind or uplift from waves to help it glide, it had no choice but to flap its wings if it wanted to move! In the calm sea, I've also seen a yellow and white jellyfish looking like a badly scrambled egg and a short while ago I spotted a disturbance in the water and part of a grey and white body appeared for a moment - either a very large solitary dolphin (unlikely) or a whale or shark... Of course, I made the usual mistake of rushing for my camera - and saw nothing more! Weather is still looking calm for several days but I'm aiming for a point 180 miles off Cape Meares, OR, hoping to sail NE in the NW wind that is being forecast to arrive by then - we'll see! Keeping a constant eye on weather forecasts, as usual when on passage... I doubt our fuel will allow us to reach further than Neah Bay, if that far, but I'm hoping to sail in good wind by the weekend. I was surprised to get a call on the VHF this afternoon, asking me to go the Baja Net frequency - where I chatted with Ken, KE6WC, and Jan, KM6G, both in Gualala - just a little further north from where we were. They knew Nereida had left SF last night and were not far off their shore from our AIS signal. The sea is now glassy calm but there's quite a large W swell. Time to get a meal before the light goes completely.... and put the hot air heater on before checking in to the Pacific Seafarers' Net shortly.

I can’t believe we’re only now making this final leg of our passage N to B.C.! But a lot of good jobs have been done on the way, in different places, so the job list has shortened.

Left SF at midnight under low overcast. 7kt of headwind until passing under the GG Bridge soon died down to give light wind and the deck was soon wet with heavy dew and threatening fog all night.

9 a.m. - Sun is struggling to get out, there are frequent patches of fog and the sea is glassy-surfaced. Pairs of small murrelets (like a sea duck with black top and pointed beak & white underbody) are often seen resting on the surface, in between diving for food. The state of tide has a noticeable effect on our speed over the ground (SOG) - LW now, so we should start picking up speed again as the flood tide picks up.

Checking the weather forecasts, light winds are expected off the coast for several days, so I changed my intended route to stay 50-100ml off the coast . I’ll be motoring mostly, so I’ll have to keep a careful eye on fuel use. To head more offshore by another 200-300 miles to sail where winds are stronger would be a waste of time since winds will be from N-NW so a lot of tacking would be needed to get N. Since I can use my engine to make better progress at present, I might as well do so! Hopefully, I’ll be able to sail once we get near to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Monday 31st July 2017. St Francis Y.C.


Busy day from 6am.... Wind gen (thanks, Chris!) & speed display both dealt with - both working fine now.

Wind info still not getting through from mast top to display.... Chasing after new display & transducer and checking wiring connections again....

Preparing to go offshore .... Hydrovane got ready for use - rudder and vane put in place - one of the easier jobs! Bimini cover removed for sailing in less sunny/hot climes...

Thanks to Robert for climbing mast twice in effort to sort out wind info.... corrosion on terminals not helping. Still not 100% but better now than it was, with a possible 'work around'.

Hoping to leave on tonight's ebb tide through Golden Gate - might be better than earlier today if strong headwind dies down overnight, as hoped.

Weather forecast looking quite good although might be motoring again initially. Hoping for some sailing wind also.

Thanks to so many people who have made this an enjoyable stay in the SF Bay area, despite so much work to do taking a lot longer than hoped for.



"Life is precious - make the most of it!"

Sunday 30th July 2017

......So I motored over to St Francis Y.C. early this evening, after restoring aft cabin, cockpit locker and forepeak to good order.  Wind display was still not working (a known problem - about to be looked at again)  but was surprised to find no power to speed display...  Possibly connected problems since master displays are adjacent in cockpit and I'd opened up the area & started looking at the wind display connections a few days ago.  So now it's back to the boat, after a pleasant relaxing evening with Bob and Kristi,  to investigate the problem... Hoping to get to sleep not too late tonight!

Saturday 29th July 2017 Sausalito, California

Well.... so much for hoping to get away early last week! The thoroughly dirty bilge took a time to clean (TG for strong degreasing fluid and a good mop! ), as did the hose end strainers, float switch and diaphragm pump, but all are looking pristine now. Hose ends needed to be replaced, also a water level sensor switch. It's a wonder I managed not to fall down the gaping hole for the last week but I was finally able to replace the main cabin flooring today.

The engine was serviced, oil was changed again and the seawater intake hose was replaced on Friday, meaning the forward access panels on the engine compartment could also be replaced, at last, as part of today's jobs.

Other jobs completed while at Spaulding Boatworks in Sausalito: wind generator now working fine, water-maker thoroughly serviced and in pickle (ready for Sept), computer 'serviced' and cleaned up & various software and other problems sorted out.

This weekend is being spent cleaning up and dealing with all the resulting chaos on board with a view to leaving on Monday to head north to the Strait of Juan de Fuca & Pt Townsend etc - a difficult passage probably.... and a good month later than had been planned some time ago.

Friday night I was made very welcome at Richmond Y.C. - it has been really nice to spend time with people while here in the Bay Area (and the Delta) and I've been made welcome at the St Francis Y.C. and San Francisco Y.C. also - very many thanks to all of you!

The maximum ebb on Monday just W of the Golden Gate is around 11 a.m. so I hope to leave from the St Francis Y.C. in good time to carry the ebb well out to sea.

Photos show San Francisco Bay just inside the Golden Gate,  newly-serviced watermaker, sailing on the Delta, view towards Tomales Bay entrance bar from Nick's\\Cove (lovely place for seafood meals! ), beautifully cleaned bilge and view of bilge cleaning in progress.

Friday 21st July 2017 - Pleasant sunny days getting useful work done at friendly Spaulding's in Sausalito

Lovely to get help from Clark Beek and the two Chris’s at Spaulding’s Boat Yard in Sausalito. "Nereida" was rafted up to pretty "Freda" (the oldest wooden boat still in use on the West coast, I was told) for a time,

Fixed: wiring problem below wind generator & faulty connections at on/off switch.

Fixed: water-maker checked over and filters changed - will be 'pickled' on Monday, since it won’t be needed until my late Sept departure from B.C.

Cleared: bilge - of dirty, oily water - ready for replacing pump(s) and float switch (probably also some hoses) - have not been working too well recently and badly in need of attention. (Will use spare bilge pump I’ve been carrying around for the last eight years!)

Changed: engine oil (again!) - nice to have use of a strong pump to make the job easier (and for clearing the bilge). Yanmar engine to be checked over on Monday by List Marine - valve clearances, timing, etc - important items I can’t deal with.

There are other jobs I'm hoping to do over the weekend but it’s reassuring to be getting these major ones off the list!

Looking at the weather forecasts, there are strong northerlies now and for the next few days off the N. California coast, so it’s good to be able to spend my time here usefully - and it has also meant I can meet up with some Bay area friends. Earliest I can see for a possible 'escape' is later on Tuesday - and even then the winds will be quite strong.

A vast area of navigable channels with reed beds and lots of shallow muddy patches to avoid, two big rivers and islands of all sizes... This is the Delta area to the NE of San Francisco Bay. 150 years ago, lowly-paid Chinese workers built high 'levees' on either side of water channels to enable land to be drained and cultivated.

Friends Dennis & June took me to see some of the Delta region and we went for a lovely sail.... but ended up stuck in a shoal patch! Got off the mud around sunset, luckily, having had a meal while we waited for the tide to turn...

A very pleasant, peaceful interlude before returning to Richmond to take "Nereida" over to San Francisco Y.C. in Tiburon. Delighted to meet with Judy Sanford this evening... (John would have been pleased....)

Great to be greeted by Bob & Torill on arrival at the club. Many familiar, friendly faces and a pleasant evening spent there.

Spent a good morning organising solutions to various problems on board...  Made a helpful phonecall to New York this morning about wind generator problem - sounds like a possibly easy fix,  so long as I get help to remove it from its pole mount.  Will take boat over on Thursday to Spaulding's Wooden Boat Yard in Sausalito, where Clark has offered to help (Thanks for your help, Bob H.).  Low water over midday today and tomorrow stopped me from taking Nereida over to get jobs started today as would have happened otherwise.  Hoping to deal with water maker and check over bilge pumps while there.
Several people have commented on wanting to avoid SF traffic problems - seems the bridges frequently have major traffic jams.
Decided to make use of time before Thursday to see friends in Richmond, the Delta and at SFYC - taking 'Nereida' to them saves them having to get through the traffic to come to see me!
My hoped-for nice downwind sail to get to Richmond past Alcatraz and Angel Island didn’t happen.  Had a strong NW wind ahead over fast-flowing opposing flood - made for fast but choppy & 'boisterous' conditions in the Bay with plenty of sailing boats and fast ferries to avoid.

A foggy trip to SF - needed radar to keep an eye on small boats not showing on AIS.
Big swell all the way, especially where the water was shallow.
Saw a whale spout in the distance outside the Golden Gate -and then, just as I was organising the genoa, in the sudden good wind inside the GG, it surfaced right beside 'Nereida'....! Of course, it disappeared before I could grab my camera!!
I finally enjoyed a short-lived sail before turning in towards the St Frances Y.C who are making me feel welcome and where I'll be staying while I get a few jobs done and see several friends.
Had a beautiful, long, hot shower immediately after tying up - how great it is to enjoy the simple things in life!!

Leaving  a misty Pillar Pt Harbour at Half Moon Bay.  A good restful,  overnight stop .Sun seems to be getting out so hopefully the overnight fog won't be a problem.
Very big swell - a good 3m at times.
Now to catch the start of the flood tide through the Golden Gate into San Francisco Bay.... 4-5 hours away.
Tide has turned here already and we should make good speed with the flood helping all the way. Almost no wind.
Lots of murrelets in the water - always dive just as I'm about to photograph them!

Friday 14th July 2017   -   Happy Quatorze Juillet!!

Stopped at anchor here in pleasant Half Moon Bay rather than continuing on to San Francisco because it looked possible that I'd be trying to enter in the evening on an ebb tide - NOT recommended through or near the Golden Gate due to strong currents resulting from the enormus volume of water involved.

So I'm about to catch up on missing sleep now and I'll leave here around 8.30 a.m. tomorrow, in order the enter the Golden Gate soon after midday when the flood tide will be starting - and well before the expected bad weather sets in later on.

The weather window I originally saw last weekend, that made me hurriedly leave San Diego to head north, didn't quite turn out as forecast - but was good enough for me to get here safely by keeping well inshore, despite strong 'washing machine' conditions between Pts Conception and Arguello and again last night trying to pass Pt Sur.

It feels so much colder than further south - I've been wearing my warm leather seaboots and a warm fleece top for most of the passage.  The sea here is 10C/50F.. brrr!!

9pm Thursday 13th July 2017 Rounding Pt Sur

Keeping quite close in (2-3mls off coast) seems to be working - seas don't seem to be quite so rough now and wind has dropped to around 16kt so SOG (speed over ground) is 3-4kt - much better!

Still 7 ml to go until we're abeam of the Point, though...

9.40pm Wind NW 17-20 kt - but SOG still 4kt, so doing fine.... Not slamming into waves much, which is good for speed.

11.15pm - changed course around Point Sur, keeping at least 2 ml off. Pitch dark - no lights in sight. Sky overcast.

Now making for Carmel and S end of Monterey Bay - 15 ml away. Wind NW 13-14kt. SOG 4.6kt Seas still lumpy but not too bad.

If wind continues to stay down or die down further, we'll be able to cut across Monterey Bay and make directly for Pt Ano Nuevo - an elephant seal sanctuary, if my memory serves me right... I seem to remember the smell and noise carry quite a distance!

None of my hanging bananas survived yesterday's rough seas - they all eventually fell down, one by one!

7.30pm Thursday 13th July 2017

Approaching Pt Sur, 13 miles off, Santa Cruz 40 miles further north in Monterey Bay. High, barren mountains, dropping steeply to the coast, can be seen through the mist, catching the slanting rays of the setting sun, now that the low cloud layer has lifted and broken a little.

The 'Cape Effect' is at work again, giving winds up to 20 kt and choppy seas to match - it's slamming into the chop over the big swell that slows us down so much - and makes it very uncomfortable onboard, also.

We're struggling to make as much as 3 knots over the ground... so it will be slow going until after the Pt has been rounded - very much like the approach to Pt Arguello from Pt Conception yesterday evening.

At this rate, with a slight ebb tide aginst us not helping for the next three hours, it could take 5 hours or more of pounding into the waves to get around - speed keeps dropping to 2kt or less and then taking time to recover.... and the wind could get stronger....

The weather forecast shows an easing of conditions overnight close to the coast - but I'm sure that will only be true once this 'Cape' has been rounded. Winds are expected to get up again over the day and then ease again in the evening. Difficult to say how much distance we'll have made by then.

"It is what it is!"

Conditions started to calm down soon after rounding Pt Arguello, with wind down to 15kt just after passing the point and then slowly abating overnight to the present 3-4 knots. 
The swell is still large at around 2m/6ft but the rough wind waves died right down as the wind died, so conditions are quite pleasant now - especially since the sea fog lifted a short while ago to show the shore -just in time to see San Simeon Bay and then the dramatic rocks that give the name to Pt Piedras Blancas.
Weather is looking hopeful for continuing straight on to San Francisco, with light winds so long as we stay close to shore, to give an arrival before the weather deteriorates on Saturday.

Wednesday 12th July


Dolphins and sealions seen heading towards the channel between Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands.... There must be fish around here!

23 miles to Pt Conception - around 4-5 hrs if present calm sea and light wind continues. But a strengthening W wind is likely soon, although I'm hoping the grey, cool, overcast conditions might give less of a boost to the normal thermal effect - I'll find out soon enough. Forecast is for 10-15kt.

About to transfer fuel from jerry cans into the main tank - having left Oxnard soon after 5 a.m., I couldn't fill up but have plenty of fuel onboard to reach San Francisco motoring all the way, if needs be.

Delighted to receive a friendly response from Icom America - they'll 'expedite' my tuner repair as soon as I can get it to them - which I'm thinking to delay doing until I get to the Pacific NW - soon, hopefully.

Can't seem to contact Superwind US in New York so I wonder what's the situation there. I need to make sure my wind generator is working OK a.s.a.p.

Tuesday 11th July 2017
8.30am - leaving L. A. for Oxnard

Channel marker buoys have their usual complement of sealions lazing on a convenient ledge. Cormorants and small pleasure boats head out to their fishing grounds. Flat calm water with no wind and a layer of light fog just lifting as the sun rises higher over the sprawl of Los Angeles and its enormous harbour. It could be a hot day today!

It was nice to see cruiser friends Helen & young Isaiah who came to meet me on landfall last night at Cabrillo Beach, with Walt KM6MQ and Bob WD6AWI close behind. We all went for a meal together after I'd shown them the boat and Walt had taken photos - for the Baja Net website, he said.

Knowing of my present tuner problem, Walt had very kindly brought a spare tuner with him to give me to use with my radio system - "It's a good one. Tunes anything from a few feet to several hundred yards," he told me!

Yesterday, a strong WSW wind got up in the afternoon and the water got quite rough so we were slowed down a lot before landfall. Earlier, we'd made excellent speed for a few hours, beam reaching with full genoa before the wind suddenly veered and headed us.

Time for a relaxed breakfast with delicious fresh raspberries - from a quick trip to Trader Joe's last Sunday from San Diego Y.C. (Many thanks for that, Ron!)

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Monday 6th July 2017
Oil rigs on the southern approach to Los Angeles harbour. The Santa Barbara Channel further north is well known for natural leakage of oil - thin patches are seen often on the sea surface.
Weather window for rounding Pt Conception on Thursday is still looking good. Things could change but I'm getting in position to be ready just in case.
Seeing friends in San Pedro tonight and on to Oxnard tomorrow

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