The Logbook Archives - 2007 thru 2010

April 20, 2007 thru April 2, 2010

Archived on The American Vega Association

Far too busy for a retired gentleman

by The Skipper.

I have been wanting to spend more time on the new web site and blog but Lealea is demanding attention.  

The engine is ready to re-install.  Captain Wendell will tow us back to the crane at the boatyard on Tuesday and Tom will help me with the installation.  Meanwhile, I have to re do the exhaust system to include a water lift muffler and Vetus loop.  Now I am waiting for good weather, dry and reliably above 40 degrees so paint and resin will cure, so I can finish up the other projects that need to be completed before we can go to sea again.  It snowed briefly yesterday.  At the moment, pea-sized hail is rattling on the deck.

The good Lord willing and the crick don't rise, we figure we can recoup the expense and be on our way before the Vega Rendezvous at the end of July.

I just got off the phone with an old friend

by The Skipper

Alfred Anderson, (Koloa, V1079) stopped by and said hello to Laura at work a couple of weeks ago.  He came by the boat but I was out running errands and missed him.  Al is one of the many dear friends I would not know had I not volunteered to publish the American Vega Association newsletter ten years ago.

I phoned him today.  Al offered to help us find mooring in Kaneohe when we return to Hawaii later this year (If all goes according to plan and the plan does not change by then).  It set me to musing about swinging on a private mooring in Kaneohe Bay.  I can almost taste the mango.

Pleasant thoughts on this forty degree, blustery Pacific Northwest morning. More significantly, it reminded me of the many generous offers of hospitality and help we have received from others we have met, and some whom we know only by email, through our shared interest in these little Swedish built sailboats.

The Rumble Monster 

by Bree

MEOW! The Rumble Monster is back!!!!!
the Rumble Monster is Back!!!!!
Dad and another man (Who smelled like a woofer) chased it away and made it fly out of the hatch but it came back.  Dad and the other man fought with it and beat on it with shiny things and said bad words at it but it flew back down the hatch and back into its den anyway.  Dad and and the other man  beat on it and closed it up in its den but its sleeping in there and I know its going to start rumbling again soon!!!
Adventures in Boating (Still at Shilshole Bay) 

by The Skipper

As Bree wrote in her recent blog post, “The Rumble Monster is back!” The engine is back in the boat but not completely hooked up.

We had to rebuild our diesel engine and correct the mistakes made sixteen years ago in the original installation.  On the advice of our mechanic, we decided to replace and relocate the fuel tank, add another water separator/fuel filter and reconfigure the exhaust system, adding a water lift muffler and Vetus loop in the sea water intake circuit.  All this has set us back about six to eight months of cruising budget so Chuck has gone to work for West Marine, temporarily, to help speed the process of financial recovery.  Unfortunately, this has slowed progress on the boat work.

On the plus side, we hope to be under way again by the end of July so we can attend the tenth annual Pacific Northwest Vega Rendezvous at Port Browning, BC before we head out the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  The only firm plan at this point is to stop in San Diego to visit with Laura’s Mom.  We may or may not make a few stops along the way; we have discussed stopping in San Francisco, Monterey, Morro Bay, and several SoCal destinations, including Avalon, before we reach San Diego.  It will all depend on the weather. We do not plan to stay in California more than a few days but have not decided for certain where we will spend the winter.  We are keeping an open mind about Mexico but Hawaii seems a more logical choice at this time as we still want to cruise Alaska and Hawaii is the better jumping off point.

A hui ho!

Did you catch that wind today?

By  the First Mate

Its been a long day and I just got home.  Chuck is making dinner and we are discussing our departure.  The fuel tank got ordered and it'll be nice knowing the old one is gone.

We are also discussing the weather.  That is all people who live in Seattle talk about isn't it.  The Weather.  A close friend of ours called it the endless bummer and he wasn't kidding.  

We are eager to begin our adventures again and get moving.  A bit backwards from our original plans but hey, that's cruising.  Some place warm, where we don't have to wear socks. All the time.  What kind of a sick joke is that.

Bree has been a bit unsettled with our new schedule.  She seems to be a bit louder lately with her demands.


By Boatswain Bree 

One day I was in a cage with a bunch of other cats and the next I was here on this boat. I've been here ever since.  It was a bit of a drag learning how to climb when I was little  because when you messed up you got wet.  Meow!  Crabbing was always fun because it meant I could serve Mom and Dad breakfast in bed.  Merrryow! Mom says I'll be 14 this year.  I don't believe her I'm not a day over 3. Purrrrrrrrrr.   I have an enemy living on the boat with me.  I've hated The Rumble Monster since that very first day.  It hasn't woke up for awhile and I hope it never does.  

My paws are getting sore and Dad says I have to GET OFF the computer now.


Time off

By the First Mate

 What a relaxing last few days.  I (mostly) had two days off back to back and coincidentally, so did Chuck.

Yesterday for Happy Hour We met some friends at Anthony's for a drink and had some good laughs.  We spent the afternoon watching boat traffic go by talking about the weather.  Anthony's is the place to spend time quietly relaxing by yourself or with friends, especially when you are into boats.  The constant stream of traffic entering and exiting the locks would keep your average person entertained, then add all the other traffic streaming by not headed to the locks.  During the summer it becomes every boaters version of "People Watching".  Large tugs, fishing boats and barges.  Small, medium and large boats of every type. Chaotic, colorful and endless hours of entertainment served with with a decent selection of Draft Beer which is Chuck's requirement of a favorite haunt and reasonable tasting coffee which is mine.  Not always easy to find both in the same place.  Certainly when followed up by the hope of good food at a reasonable price.  BBQ Oysters on the half shell for .50 cents, Ahi Nacho's for $5.00. Swimmers and Sliders in between at $3.00.  Its become our favorite spot with the additional benefit of being within easy walking distance of the marina.

Chuck was off to work early today so I have some rare time to type away.  Hot coffee in hand with Bree snuggled as close as she can without being obviously annoying and listening to some great Hawaiian music. (Hapa).  Almost starting to feel like another day off but not quite.

Fuel tank comes in today so we can get started on that in the next few days or so.  
Getting plenty of exercise...

by The Skipper

...riding my bicycle from Shilshole Bay to the Westlake West Marine store five days a week.  It takes about half an hour each way; about the same distance as my commute in Honolulu from the Ala Wai to Lagoon Drive.  The job is fun but it really cuts in to the time I have available for boat work.  On the other hand, I am learning a lot and meeting a lot of great people.  All good.

Woo Hoo!!

by The Skipper

Shorts and Tee shirt today.  First time since last July Quoth Eric Burden: "We gotta get out of this place if it's the last thing we ever do."


by The Skipper

A few days of sunshine and reasonably warm temperatures combined with our days off work have allowed us to finally take the mast down and install the replacement combination light.  Aside from having to run to West Marine to pick up the correct size shrink tubing, the operation went off without a hitch.

We lowered the mast using the tabernacle.  I drilled and tapped two holes in the masthead to accept the #10/24 mounting screws, then connected the wiring, mounted the light and hoisted the mast back into position.  Now all of our navigation lights, save the sole remaining original lamp on the boat, the stern light, have been converted to LED.  I will be replacing the stern light soon.

Now we hope for continued good weather until our next free day so we can install the new fuel tank.  That will have to be a two day operation because it will involve some fiberglass work requiring 24 hours cure time.  Once that is accomplished we will be ready to go excepting the usual pre-departure preparation.  Projected departure date is 20 July.

June Already!

by The Skipper

Yes, it is June already.  Progress on getting the boat ready has been slow with both of us working full time. Nevertheless, we expect all major projects will be completed in the next ten days.  All that remains to make Lealea seaworthy is finishing the installation of the fuel tank and hooking everything up to the engine.  There are a few minor things remaining on the list; replacing the stern light and re-wiring the solar panels etc. but nothing that would prevent us from going to sea.  

We had planned to be cruising Southeast Alaska by now but that will have to wait.  The latest revision to the plan calls for departure from Seattle July 24 for Port Townsend then  San Juan island before heading for the Tenth Annual Pacific Northwest Vega Rendezvous at Port Browning, BC.  We plan to be in San Diego at the end of September.

It has also been difficult to find time for video editing, blogging and web site development but we did manage to post a new video the other day and last night I did some work on the American Vega Association site.  We will turn our full attention to video production and once the boat is ready for sea. We have recorded the engine project and lowering the mast.  Laura has suggested a video on provisioning.  That should be fun.  Of course we have lots of video of our cruising the Pacific Northwest and various boat projects we have done while here.  Can't wait to get them edited and posted.

What's wrong with this picture???

OK.  I know I complain too much about the weather.  

But really!  

June 20th.   The heater is running and we are wearing fleeces and wool socks.  It is a wet 58 degrees outside.  I am on my second glass of Cheap Red Wine and Laura is cooking supper while Bree has the deck watch.  

In a perhaps vain hope, Jimmy Buffet's Barometer Soup is playing in the background?

Preparing for Sea

by The Skipper

We have made our Costco run and filled almost every available space with non-perishable food items.  We will need to make a couple of more runs to the grocery for fresh fruit, vegetable etc but we are basically stocked for an extended voyage now.  The last bit of provisioning will be completed when we return to US waters after the Rendezvous, probably at Anacortes where the store is convenient to the marina at Cap Sante.  The Mate will publish our provisioning list for those who are curious.

I still have some minor items on my list and one major one that I hope to complete today and tomorrow.  Of course, the list of boat projects is open ended and will never actually be completed but, in fact, we are far better prepared than we were when we left Hawaii three years ago.  The dodger/spray hood, improved interior, ventilation system, AIS receiver, new stereo, polycarbonate windows, LED navigation lights and of course the rebuilt engine, new fuel tank and exhaust system will all contribute substantially to our comfort and safety at sea.

The less talked about aspect of preparation is getting rid of the excess baggage we have accumulated while living aboard here in Seattle and the stuff we have finally realized we don't need after dragging it across the Pacific from Hawaii.  The boat will be several hundred pounds lighter when we cast off.

As of today, the constantly evolving plan is to depart Seattle, wind and sea permitting, on July 24th for Port Townsend, San Juan Island and Port Browning for the Vega Rendezvous.  After the Rendezvous we plan to cruise the Canadian Gulf Islands and the San Juans during August and exit the strait in early September.  We plan to stand off the coast about two hundred miles as we head for San Diego for a visit with Laura's Mother.  By then we will have come to a firm decision on where to spend the winter; probably Hawaii.

As time goes by......

By the First Mate

Whew, we got a lot done yesterday.  Everyone keeps asking if our engine is running yet and I see their look of amazement when I tell them no.  Our leave date is just a few short weeks away and its funny but, really, just how far ahead do you have to be ready to go?  We will be ready enough by the 24th.  We've done a lot to the boat since we've been here in the Pacific Northwest and this is just another item to scratch off the list.  We aren't heading out the Strait for months yet so there is plenty of time, especially with both of us not working. Reading Chuck's blog makes me look back at how much we've learned about our boat and ourselves since we've been here.  We've learned a lot!

Yesterday was the first really nice day here in Seattle for quite a while.  It has simply been too cold to work 6-8 hours on several projects in one day with the boat wide open.  Cold and wet has been the general weather condition on our days off.  Our time has been taken relocating everything connected to the engine.  Fuel tank, Coolant tank, Water separator, exhaust hoses,  fuel hoses, everything. We made a total of five trips yesterday to West Marine,  good thing those guys are open late.....thankfully we're nearly done.  

Getting the engine to run we left to the professionals. 

Has anybody seen Murphy?  Please buy him a beer and keep him busy for a while. %^) 

The Rumble Monster Lives! 

By the  Skipper:

Mark,our diesel mechanic just left. 

I had finally gotten the engine  plumbed in; all hoses connected, new  exhaust system with water-lift muffler,  a  new raw water strainer and an an added anti-siphon loop in the raw  water circuit.  There was also the new fuel tank and all the hoses, filter etc.. I relocated the coolant tank while I was at it.  Then I poured five gallons of fresh diesel fuel into the brand new Moeller 13 gallon tank  and called Mark.

Mark came to the boat at 10:00 and began connecting and adjusting the controls.  After he finished hooking up the wiring he spun the engine with the compression releases engaged, checked the oil pressure and fired  her  up.  

It was like music to the old Skipper's  ears.

After a few run-ups and  checks Mark pronounced all good and departed, leaving instructions  for break-in and a reminder to have  the valves adjusted after twenty five hours or so.

Bree appears to be holding up remarkably well.

Packing it up

By the Skipper:

Over the last few days I have glassed a reinforcing stringer to the underside of the cockpit sole to stiffen it, drilled and tapped the stripped out cockpit sole screw holes to the next larger size and re-wired the solar panels to include a new charge controller.

Today's task is to remove everything from the cockpit lockers and re-pack.  

A new stowage plan is required because the new 13 gallon fuel tank now resides in the port side locker. I have already culled about a hundred pounds of tools, rope, chain and a few other extraneous bits but there are a few more opportunities for economy of weight left to exploit.  We have been carrying a milk crate full of paint, varnish, resin and hardener since our haul out in Port Townsend, for example. That is a prime candidate.  There is a bucket of partial containers of cleaning products and polishes that we won't be needing any time soon too and who knows what else I will find.

Aside from getting rid of as much extra weight as possible, I have to re-balance the boat, having removed the fuel tank from the bilge where it was low and centered and moved it higher, aft and off center.  To compensate, I will move my heavy anchor rode and spare anchor (About 150 lbs) to the bilge and shuffle things around until Lealea rests on an even keel, if slightly below her lines.

Friday I will take down the awning, wash down the boat and bend on the sails.

First Day at the 10th Annual VEGAtarian Rendezvous

By the Skipper:

Port Browning - 
There is nothing like a couple of weeks without internet access to reset the old clock.  We left Seattle on the 25th for Port Townsend where we tarried for two days before crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Friday Harbor.  The strait was pretty rough and Bree was not pleased.  After two days in Friday Harbor, we headed for Poet's Cove on South Pender Island where we ran into Brian and Diana Hofler in Simply Super. After checking in to Canada at the port of entry, we motored around to Port Browning on North Pender.  Bob and Edie Wood, SV Sojourne, were already here.

Laura is tidying up the boat while I tend to communications chores using the Wi-Fi at the Cafe in the marina.  We expect several more boats to arrive today.


By the First Mate (Written at Sidney, BC, 8-2-10)

Sidney, British Columbia


The 10th Annual Vega Rendezvous was a success.  We had 9 Vegas, one Albin Singoalla, one Waukiez and one Mercator for a total of eleven boats.  Bear and Mouse also attended minus their old boat City Zoo.  The new renovations at Port Browning Marina made for a much nicer stay than last time.  Many thanks to the harbor staff for making our stay even more enjoyable.  If you are passing through be sure to say “Hi” to Will on the docks.


We are sitting snug in Port of Sidney Marina and expecting to make the trek to Victoria tomorrow morning where we plan to stay a few days.  Our good friends aboard one of our sister ships, Wren, is moored beside us.  The last few days have been wonderful.  We are starting to relax, set our clocks to the tides and currents, rather than work.  Bree has settled quickly into cruise mode and enjoys walking the decks to investigate the new sights and smells almost as soon as we arrive.  The engine is running smoothly and we have no idea where we are headed next. 


Back in the USA

By the Skipper


After cruising in the Canadian Gulf Islands off the east coast of Vancouver Island for a week we are back in Friday Harbor.  Our wanderings took us to Bedwell Harbor on SouthPender Island to check in with Canadian customs, then to Port Browning on North Pender for the 10th Annual Pacific Northwest VEGAtarian Rendezvous; as usual, a great group and four days of very good times with old friends and new.  From Port Browning we motored in company with dear friends Jim and Gloria Elder, SV Wren, V1868, to the sparkling, modern marina at Port Sidney, BC for two nights and a fuel stop, then on to the beautiful and bustling port at Victoria where we secured mooring directly in front of the classic Empress Hotel in the center of the waterfront action.


In Victoria, we found excellent Rueben sandwiches and beer (The only decent beer I had in Canada) at The Sticky Wicket and enjoyed one of the best Italian meals we have ever had at Pagliacci’s.  We spent a day wandering around the natural history museum and an evening walking among the tourists, watching the street performers and vendors along the waterfront, all within easy walking distance of our moorings among the water taxis and excursion boats.


After consulting the tide and current tables we left Wren and crew and departed Victoriafor Friday Harbor at eleven AM.  With a little boost from the current we made the trip in seven and a half hours, arriving at Cattle Pass just before slack water, allowing us to transit this tricky passage easily.


With a weather front moving in, we plan to stay in port for a few days during which we intend to accept the invitation to a dinner of lamb curry extended to us at the Rendezvous by Bear and Mitzi Johnson (Ex- SV City Zoo).  Friends Dave and Megan, whom we first met while their boat, SV Mystery, was tied up next to us on the transient dock in Honolulu, also live on San Juan Island and I intend to take Dave up on his offer to let me use his workshop to do a little work on the boat before heading back to Seattle to have the valves adjusted on our freshly rebuilt engine.  With a little luck, we will have a north wind and be able to sail.


Log entries, 7-25-10 through 8-5-2010:

            7-25-10: Shilshole Bay fuel dock – fill up.  Depart Shilshole 08:15

            Intended departure delayed due to fuel dock not opening until 08:00, causing us not to make the turn around Marrowstone Island into Port Townsend before the tide turned.  Three hours caught waiting for the current to turn off Marrowstone.

            Arrived Port Townsend Boat Haven 18:45.  Moorage US$22.50

            7-26-10: Port Townsend Boat Haven. Engine on 07:20.  Depart Port Townsend 07:30.  Fog and rough conditions crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Little wind. Motored into 4 to 5 foot seas until near Cattle Pass.  Cattle Pass at slack water.  ArriveFriday Harbor 13:30.  engine off 13:55.  Moorage US$22.50

            7-29-10: Friday Harbor  Engine on 10:00.  Depart Friday Harbor 10:10, slightly foggy conditions.  No wind (As usual)

            11:30 sighted the brig Lady Washington proceeding south under power.

Arrived Poet’s Cove, Bedwell Harbor Customs Dock 13:30.  Customs clearance subject to inspection.  Clearance issued 15:10.  Depart Bedwell for Port Browning 15:10.

            Arrive Port Browning 16:57 (Moorage CAN$45 per diem))

                        Vega Rendezvous attended by: (In order of arrival)

                                    SV Sojourner, Bob and Edie Wood

                                    SV Lealea, Chuck and Laura Rose

                                    SV Simply Super (Waukiez) Brian and Diana Hofler

                                    SV Sin Tacha, Peter and Ulla Jacobs

                                    SV Akvavit, Judy Schwan and Ken McMillan

                                    SV Katia Sofia, Austin and Chelsea McHugh

                                    SV Eileen B. (Mercator), Howard and Sheila Barbour

                                    SV NGA.I.A.KOA, Sean Welby, Anita Roberts, Isolde Welby

                                    SV Quiet Passage (Albin Singoalla), Rick and Karen Ranney

                                    SV Wren, Jim and Gloria Elder

                                    Bear and Mitzi Johnson, having sold SV City Zoo, stayed at the B&B just up the hill from Port Browning Marina.

                                    Leah Seal and her son Darcy arrived by ferry and camped at the Port Browning Resort.

            8-2-10: Port Browning. Engine on 11:53.  Depart Port Browning 11:58 in company with Wren.  Conditions clear, little wind.  Tried sailing for a few minutes but gave up and proceeded under iron mizzen.

            Arrive Sidney BC (Port of Sidney Marina) 15:55.  Engine off 16:00.  Wren went to the wrong marina and arrived half hour later.  Went directly to the pub for a burger and a beer.

            8-3-10: Port Sidney.  Engine on 11:55.  Depart for fuel dock at Van Isle Marina to top off at 12:00.  Fuel 23 liters (6gal) CAN$23.  Under way 12:37.

Rendezvous with Wren offshore at 13:15 and proceed to Victoria.  Arrive Victoria inner harbour 17:15.

            8-5-10 Victoria Causeway.  Engine on 11:00, depart 11:05.  Arrive Cattle Pass on the last of the flood at 14:30.  Current running north about 1.5kts.  Slack water in San Juan Channel at 15:11.  Arrive Friday Harbor 16:00 and circle waiting for space at the Customs dock to check back in to the US.  Engine off at Customs dock 16:30.  Clearance issued at17:00.  Moored in Port of Friday Harbor and engine off at 17:10.

Summer evening in Cap Sante

by the First Mate

Anacortes, Cap Sante Marina

We had originally planned to head from Friday Harbor directly to Port Townsend but upon reaching Cattle Pass we once again found it enshrouded in fog and decided to turn around and make for Anacortes instead. 

We spent our afternoon wandering the shops and pubs and visited my favorite store,  Marine Supply and Hardware Company is said to be the oldest marine chandlery on the West Coast (202 Commercial Drive).  Hours can be spent sifting through the salvage section as well as the chandlery itself.  

Currently sitting in the cockpit listening to the live music  played every Friday night during the summer.  There must be a few hundred people sitting on the grass listening.  

Heading for Port Townsend tomorrow morning.  No fog reported today and hoping for the same tomorrow.  

A beer and free wi-fi 

by the First Mate

Port Townsend, WA.

Sitting in the Port Townsend Brewery using their free wi-fi while Chuck is sipping on his favorite brew and discussing politics with a couple sitting next to us.  

Our plan is to stay here until Monday or Tuesday, depending on when the bow roller is fully installed then back to the San Juans so we can finally anchor out and enjoy the peace and quiet.  

We are making plans to pick up a third crew member for our leg to San Diego and should know by the end of the week if Darcy will be able to come.  Fingers crossed, he is in for an adventure!

Yes we can...anchor 

by the First Mate

Back in PT, again.  (We love this place.)
We've spent the last 4 days in a peaceful anchorage just outside Port Hadlock.  The newly installed bow roller worked perfectly.  

My Mom's first question when I called her to say we were back was "What do you guys do all day?"   Well..... 

We got more done on the boat.  Our Garmin Oregon is now hooked up to our Standard Horizon GX2100 which now gives us receive only AIS capability that will come in handy going down the OR/CA coast.   We got little bits and pieces cleaned, stowed and re-organized.  Chuck dragged out his ditty bag and made a few more handy lanyards and I made a jib bag out of an old piece of canvas I picked up at the Marine Exchange the day before we left.  We also got in a ton of reading (my personal favorite).

We expect to be here a few days then maybe head toward the San Juans.      

Always, the Weather

by The Skipper

If there is one thing certain about cruising, it is that one becomes very connected to the weather and less concerned with any arbitrary schedule.

As Laura wrote, we love Port Townsend; especially, the Boat Haven.  Having said that, we are once again spending more time than we had planned because of adverse weather conditions:  Gale warnings to the north, small craft advisories to the south, rain and contrary winds here in the port.

We had intended to stop in at the Boat Haven for one day to pick up our mail, fill the water tank and shop for groceries.  Today is day four. The weather is clearing and should be optimal tomorrow for a quick run down to Port Hadlock to anchor in a quiet spot for a few days or head directly to Friday Harbor before we head out the strait of Juan de Fuca for San Diego.  Our intention is to depart the Pacific Northwest not later than September 14th...

Weather permitting

Preparing for Sea 

By the Skipper

We are now in Friday Harbor where we will be taking on an additional crew member, Darcy, age 15, the son of our friend from Victoria, Leah.  We expect to return to Port Townsend for final provisioning before setting out for Port Angeles and out the strait on or about September 15th.  The 1200 mile trip should take two or three weeks.  Laura and I spent this morning drafting "Ship's Articles" for young Darcy to sign d;^)

Rule 1:  Don't fall off the boat. (PFD and harness required outside the cabin, always tethered at night, always tethered on the foredeck, never go forward unless a second crew member is on deck)  SAFTY FIRST

Rule 2:  The Captain has the final say in all matters.

Rule 3:  Thou shalt not stink.  Personal hygene will be attended to daily.

Rule 4:  When in doubt, ASK QUESTIONS

Rule 5:  Waste not, want not - paper towels are for the exclusive use of the mate.  Water is precious.

Rule 6:  One hour will be devoted to homework daily

Rule 7:  Be familiar with and observe the ship's trash plan - nothing goes overboard unless approved by the Captain.

Rule 8:  Have fun!

Rule 9:  Rule 1 supercedes all other rules.

(This should be an interesting trip)

We have spent several days at anchor and at the dock both in Port Townsend and in Friday Harbor getting ready for deep water, re-stowing and inspecting essential gear and getting rid of non-essential junk. We have learned a lot in the last three years and the boat is in better shape than ever before but there are always a few things that need to be attended to before setting out on a major ocean voyage.

Upgrades since our Pacific crossing from Hawaii:

A new hand-held GPS unit is now hard wired into the electrical system; no AA batteries to go dead at the critical moment.  That unit is connected to our new VHF/AIS receiver which will give us information on approaching ships (Distance, approach speed and vector, azimuth and identification), improving our safety factor.  This is especially important for the coming trip through the high traffic area down the California coast. We now have four GPS units aboard; one primary, one dedicated to the AIS and two backups.

All navigation lights are now LED, substantially reducing current draw.

Additional hand-holds have been added inside and out.

The new dodger/spray hood contributes to comfort and safety.

Two additional active vents, one solar and one wired into the 12V system improve ventilation.

The original rubber gasketted glass windows have been replaced with through-bolted 3/8 inch polycarbonate port lights, eliminating a major weakness in the Vega, and a source of troublesome leaks on our previous Pacific Crossing.

During the replacement of the defective standing rigging, we up-sized the head stay to 1/4 inch for improved chafe resistance.

The new fuel tank, with 60% greater capacity, relocated out of the bilge eliminates the problem of water getting into the fuel, along with the complete new fuel delivery, exhaust and raw water intake systems for our re-built engine, greatly improves engine reliability and safety.

We have a new bright orange storm jib.

We will rig additional temporary lifelines at chest level before exiting the strait of Juan de Fuca.

As we continue to learn as we go, we are much better prepared for life at sea than when we left Hawaii.  Considering how much we enjoyed that trip, we are very much looking forward to the next phase of our odyssey. 


We left Port Townsend at 12:20 on Wednesday as the fog lifted but as we motored westward in the Strait of Juan de Fuca the fog closed in again and we found ourselves proceeding in one mile visibility for most of the thirty six miles to Port Angeles.  This morning we topped off the fuel tank and made ready to depart for Neah Bay and the cape sixty miles to the west but decided against departure as the fog closed in again with visibility at Ediz Hook own to an eighth of a mile.

The forecast for the next couple of days is not promising so we may be stuck here until Monday.  I will not rush departure under these conditions.  When the weather is favorable, then, and only then, we will proceed.

Meanwhile, we have rigged extra lifelines, filled our water tank, checked the watermaker, rigged a 100 foot man-overboard line with a float, lashed down the anchors, and stowed our gear for sea.

We are as ready as we can be but there is just too much traffic in the strait and too many hazards off the cape to proceed in these extreme low visibility conditions.

Spanked by Mother Nature

Neah Bay

We departed Port Angeles at 07:20 on Tuesday, September 22 under overcast skies with good visibility.  The forecast was for wind 15 to 25 knots from the SW off Cape Flattery.  We neglected to consult the long range forecast.  Our mistake, and, later, we paid for it.

We reached the red J buoy at the entrance to the strait at sundown, shut down the engine, hoisted the genoa and mainsail, and sailed on a course of 240 degrees true, making as much southing as we could in the light southerly breeze, sailing through the night in mostly clear weather.  Late the next day we were about fifty miles offshore and forty miles south where we encountered some long-liners.  To avoid the fishermen, we tacked back in toward the coast, still in light wind.

As is our custom, we reefed the main as darkness fell.  Later that night, the seas and wind began to build as we took down the genoa and put up the working jib, then handed the main, then took down the working jib and put up our new orange storm jib. We continued to beat into the increasing southerly winds, now accompanied by driving rain; need I mention that I became violently seasick and would remain so for the next three days?

The gale was driving us North, back toward the strait of Juan de Fuca but we had plenty of sea room, I judged, and were in no immediate danger.  As we were on the edge of the controlled traffic lanes, we contacted Tofino radio and notified them of our condition and position.

At about this time, our radar reflector carried away in the 30 knot winds, making us practically invisible to the commercial traffic.  Tofino kept up a dead reckoning plot based on hourly position, course and speed reports from us.  They advised us of nearby shipping and contacted vessels approaching our position, warning them to keep a sharp watch.  Our new AIS receiver warned us of vessels that might approach close enough to be a danger and we were constantly on the radio trying to avoid collision in the low visibility conditions.  We heard the captain of a Greek bulk carrier advising Tofino that they had us in sight "approximately four hundred feet off our starboard beam"!!! Laura looked out the portlight to see nothing but a black steel wall, seemingly, close enough to touch.

For three days we were driven north, from just south of La Push, WA, to just north of Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  Almost a hundred miles.  At its worst, we were in forty knot winds and twenty foot seas with six foot wind waves, heavy rain and low visibility: VERY uncomfortable.

The wind began to die down on Saturday afternoon, September 25th, and at 18:30 we fired up the engine and, in fifteen to eighteen foot seas, motor sailed with the storm jib still up back toward Neah Bay at the entrance to the straight of Juan de Fuca, now seventy miles to the south.  By the time we got there, the wind was down to ten knots but the seas were still huge.  Fog rolled in and the last several hours were in visibility of less than a quarter of a mile. Tofino Traffic warned us of the out bound crab boat "Wizard" and the in bound cargo vessel "VPL Vietnam".  We spoke with and saw "Wizard" a mile distant.  The much larger "VPL Vietnam" came up behind us and passed much closer but we never saw them, though we heard them tell Tofino they saw us on radar.

As we approached Waasah Island, we could hear the surf and by the time we could see it, it was startlingly close.  We groped our way into the lee of the island and behind the breakwater into the harbor at Neah Bay where we tied up among the fishing boats at noon on Sunday. Chuck's seasickness gone, we walked off the docks and had pizza for lunch, resolving to check the long-range offshore weather forecast more closely.

The aforementioned forecast calls for favorable (and light) northerly winds for the next several days beginning tomorrow so we expect to depart, along with several other sailboats that have taken refuge here, in the morning. Meanwhile, as we wait for the wind to shift and the seas, still thirteen feet, to moderate, we are doing laundry and airing out the boat.  Later today we will walk over to the grocery for more fresh provisions.  In the morning we will top off the fuel tank and check the weather again before we depart.

"The sun'l come out tomorrow..."

Chuck , Laura and Bree

Laura sick

Crescent City, CA (October 8th) 

Fair winds and following seas - but rather too much of both - after leaving Neah Bay on September 29.  We made for deep water 100 miles offshore and caught the strong northerlies down the coast.  The wind and seas continued building and after three days it began to get a bit too exciting. On the evening of the sixth day Laura had a severe asthma attack so Chuck had to stand watch and watch.  By the seventh day Laura's breathing had not improved and we decided to make for the closest port of refuge at Crescent City, CA.

The wind clocked around and headed us from due south so we started the engine and pounded into it for thirty hours, reaching Crescent City Harbor at 22:00 on October 7th.  On the morning of the 8th we took Laura to the clinic and checked in to a motel on Hwy 101 across from the harbor.  Laura is currently under "house arrest" under orders to get bed rest and we expect to be here for at least 7-10 days.  We've decided to keep closer in shore for the rest of the trip to San Diego and hope to be there in the next two weeks. (Weather permitting, of course) For the time being, the weather forecast is for southerly winds to 25 knots so it would be pointless for us to put to sea anyway.

Update October 10th:   Gale warnings now.  The good news is that Laura is feeling better, though not yet 100%

1. Deana Fraser | October 11, 2010 at 09:43 AM EDT 

Laura/Chuck It is good to hear that ya'll are safe and you (Laura) are feeling better. I will be keeping in touch via log. All take care you are in James and my thoughts.

2. Ron | October 12, 2010 at 07:42 PM EDT

I have been reading your logs and I want to thank you for sharing your experiences with all of us.

You are doing what I hope to do when I retire. I am just now learning to sail at a few years shy of 60.

Someday I'll float up beside you and say, \"Hey!\"

3. Donna Hansen | October 14, 2010 at 09:16 PM EDT 

We just came into Cresent City in case you want to get together!

4. Jim | October 18, 2010 at 08:30 PM EDT

Thanks for sharing your vayages.

I hope that Laura is feeling better and that you are able to continue on.

I found your videos while surfing for sailing info.

I'm going to assist as crew aboard a friends 33' boat and sail the Caribbean in a few weeks. The 3 weeks will be nothing compared to your voyages. I'll try to remember your site and share pictures and notes from our trip.

Best of luck to the 3 of you and may you be safe at sea.

5. Douglas | October 20, 2010 at 07:59 PM EDT

I hope Laura is doing better and the two of you have been able to continue your trip. I don't know if Laura has had attacks before, but if not you night want to check for what the trigger was this time. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of your trip goes. May you have fair winds and gentle seas.


by the First Mate

Thank you to everyone who sent well wishes about my asthma attack.  The culprit was an old wool blanket we pulled out when other bedding got wet.  Surprise, who knew?  I am fully recovered and we sail on minus one wool blanket.                

Small Craft advisories today followed by Gale Warnings later tonight and tomorrow followed by Hazardous Sea conditions beginning Saturday.  It doesn't get any better than that until possibly Tuesday or Wednesday which is as far out as the forecast goes.  

Looks like we may be here for a little while.  

Eureka is a Pleasant enough place to get "stuck" for a while.  We are at the Public Marina where the showers are free and hot, We have decent Wi-FI service, moorage is fairly inexpensive and the harbor staff are friendly, what more can you ask for? The grocery store is close by and there are some really cool used bookstores to explore.  Even with the Kindle, books are still hard to pass by.  

The trip to Eureka was in some ways completely uneventful.  We left Crescent City at 4:00PM on the 19th and motored the 60 miles in 12 hours.  Chuck had called the Humbolt Bay Coast Guard the day before we left and again just before we tossed the lines to verify bar conditions and time of high slack water.  In cruising Puget Sound we learned the value of getting the tides just right.  Along the California/Oregon Coast it is that much more important you get there on time even if you have to arrive a bit early.  We wanted to leave Crescent City during the day. The harbor has a visually intimidating entrance we had already come into at night and we didn't want to push our luck leaving. We hit "patchy fog" just before sunset and were in it until we tied up in Eureka.  Motoring in the fog sucks especially at night.  We shut the engine off 5 miles from the entrance and waited for the right time to make our way in.  Fog was still thick as we approached our way-point which Chuck had made as the entrance to the breakwater.  I'm pretty sure it is the type of entrance that makes a good scenic snapshot with the right light.  My first sight of it was accompanied with the words "breakers ahead".  Good thing we timed our entrance at the right time because I sure wouldn't want to do that at the wrong time!  Chuck and I got to use our coastal navigation skills motoring the 4.5 miles up the channel to the Public Marina. 

700 miles to San Diego.  I have a feeling some of our plans may be changing. Again.


1. Douglas | October 23, 2010 at 04:15 PM EDT 

Something you might want to consider for items not used on a regular basis is one of the vacuum bags. Condenses storage and is moisture and water proof. Another thing I have suggested to others for watertight storage is the ammo containers that have a hinged top that clamps down making an airtight seal as well as an almost industructable container.

2. Gordo | November 01, 2010 at 09:43 PM EDT

Thanks for publishing such an excellent description of your passages and life aboard.

We lived on Oahu from 1996-98. We've also chartered in the San Juans (from Bellingham, 2006-07) and spent both weeks sailing from a slip at Friday Harbor. I believe we saw LeaLea. Coincidently, we vacationed at Bodega Bay last year in December. Two days would have been good, if sporty, sailing. On the third the seagulls just stood on the flats, pointing into the wind. We belong to a sailing club in San Diego, which keeps us going until we can cruise on a more permanent basis. Regards -- Gordo

Patiently waiting...

by the First Mate

Nearly Halloween and I'm starting to wonder if we will be here for Thanksgiving as well.  Weather forecasts still unfavorable for us leaving until at least next Friday.  Winds from the South and waves from the North.  Even the Harbor Staff are starting to hint at us becoming permanent..not a good sign.  Our next planned stop would be Bodega Bay some 225 nautical miles farther South.  We will need a good 4 day window to get there and so far we've only seen windows of one or two days at the most.  So, fingers crossed, we wait.  

Trick or Treat!

1 comment 
1. Scott Hansen | October 31, 2010 at 10:08 PM EDT

Don't be reckless but the sooner you leave, the better you'll feel about being south and around the capes. What are your plans today?


By The Skipper

We have decided that we have had enough of the West Coast.  As soon as we get a break in the weather we intend to head for Hilo.  Enough of the coast-hopping nonsense.  Laura had an eye exam yesterday and ordered a new pair of glasses so we will have to wait a few days for those to arrive.  After that, it is just a matter of wind, seas, fog and conditions on the Humbolt Bar lining up for us to depart.

We are looking forward to Christmas in Hawaii... permitting, of course.

1 comment 
1. Meg \'n Dave | November 13, 2010 at 02:20 AM EST

We will be in Kona in January :)

Maybe we will see you!

Hoping to depart soon

By the Skipper

Still in Eureka, waiting for the weather to break.  Judging from what I can see on, it looks like we may get off in the next couple of days.  Of course, there is really no telling.  We will be optimistically getting ready for sea today and tomorrow while keeping an eye on the weather forecasts.  If we can get away from the coast and far enough south and west we expect fair weather to Hawaii.  

Two other cruisers in the harbor here, one headed north, the other south, have elected to leave their boats and come back in the spring to resume their voyages.  While we may not be able to depart any time soon, leaving the boat is not a  practical option for us.  We sail away or we stay and while Eureka is not unpleasant, it is starting wear on us.

Thanksgiving Day 

From the Crew:

We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving day.  First and foremost good friends and family.  We only wish we could all get together more often.  Here in Eureka, we are thankful for the bright sunshine today, although there are small craft advisories offshore as another front moves in.  We are grateful for our good health and our cozy and comfortable boat moored in a snug and safe harbor.  Yes we have a lot to be thankful for.

Yesterday, we finally took the sails and sheets off and put them away, stowed away our sea boots, safety harnesses and foul weather gear and set the boat up for marina life.  We can still be ready for sea in an hour but with each passing day it looks like it will be spring before we can seriously consider leaving.

That gives us one more thing to be thankful for: time to work on our videos and websites, to explore the Lost Coast of California and make new friends.  We would have preferred to work on our tan in Hawaii, but we are cruising, after all, so we take things as they come and are grateful for every opportunity that comes our way.

We will be thinking of you today as we dig into our little feast and hope you have as much to be thankful for as we do.

"Fair Winds"

Chuck, Laura and Bree

Christmas Shopping

By the Skipper:

Once a retailer, always a retailer, I suppose. Honolulu friend Wally Parcels ofBIKEFACTORY HAWAII told us about a hot new product, the GoPro HD camera so I decided to post a link in the sidebar at right if you would like to check it out.  We also created a page with links to some of our favoritebooks at Amazon.  We do not want to overly commercialize this site, but we do have to pay the hosting fees so an occasional click on one of the links will be greatly appreciated.

...and that is all I am going to say about that.

1 comment 
1. Drew | November 30, 2010 at 10:10 PM EST

I have seen the results GoPro HD in action with a Motorcycle. Very cool device. - Drew


By The Crew

We read a lot.  both of us are avid, if not voracious, readers.  Books we have enjoyed in the past year include:

"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo", "The Girl who Played With Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest", all by Steig Larsson.  We couldn't put them down.

"The Hunt for Red October", "The Cardinal of the Kremlin", "Red Storm Rising", "Patriot Games", "Clear and Present Danger", "Without Remorse","Debt of Honor" "The Sum of All Fears" , "Executive Orders" and "Rainbow Six", all by Tom Clancy.  We think that about covers Clancy's good fiction.  There are a lot of titles with his name on them that he did not write.  We cannot recommend them.  His more recent fiction works just are not as good, in our opinion.  We have not tried any of Clancy's non-fiction works yet but Chuck, at least is looking forward to reading "Armored Cav", "SSN" etc.

Laura likes novels and this year's list included:

"The Overton Window" by Glenn Beck, "Wizard's First Rule" by Terry Goodkind, "Nick of Time" and "The Time Pirates" by Ted Bell, the "In Death" series by J.D. Robb, "The Pillars of the Earth" and "World Without End" by Ken Follett.  She also read, for the first time, Mark Twain's classics "Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Tarzan" series and several of Louis Lamour's westerns. (She is not a big fan of Zane Grey however)

Chuck generally prefers non-fiction and read or re-read, "Sailing Alone Around the World" and "Voyage of the Liberdade" by Joshua Slocum, "Endurance" by Alfred Lansing, "Two years Before the Mast" by Richard Henry Dana, "The Rough Riders" by Theodore Roosevelt, "Civil Disobedience" and "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau, "North to the Night" by Alvah Simon and "Ice" by Tristan Jones (Although calling anything by Jones non-fiction may be a stretch)

Novels Chuck has enjoyed over the past twelve months, in addition to the Larsson and Clancy books listed above include "South Sea Tales" by Jack London, "The King's Own" and "Mr. Midshipman Easy" by Frederick Marryat.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of our favorites; just what we have read since last Christmas.  Many of our favorite authors are not represented at all.

All of the above books are available right here, of course but the cost conscious cruiser will frequent marina laundry rooms and used book stores.  Another valuable tip we would like to pass on is the Kindle.  We had our misgivings at first but we now enthusiastically endorse the gadget.  Ours has several hundred books stored in it, many of which are free or $.99 downloads.  The only problem is when we run out of unread ink-on-paper books and fight over it.

Go Navy!

By the Skipper

First, let me make clear that I am an Army Veteran.  The following was sent to me by one of my Navy friends:

The U. S. S.. Constitution (Old Ironsides), as a combat vessel, carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators (i.e. fresh water distillers). 

However, let it be noted that according to her ship's log, "On July 27, 1798, the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum ." 

Her mission: "To destroy and harass English shipping." 

Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum. 

Then she headed for the Azores , arriving there 12 November.. 
She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine . 

On 18 November, she set sail for England . 

In the ensuing days she defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchant ships, salvaging only the rum aboard each. 

By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. 

Nevertheless, although unarmed she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland . Her landing party captured a whisky distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn. Then she headed home. 

The U. S. S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum , no wine , no whisky , and 38,600 gallons of water . 


1 comment 
1. Ron | December 16, 2010 at 04:54 PM EST 

I'm retired Air Force and the closest I can come to this is the Budwiser in the coke machine in the pilot's day room.

Bravo Navy!

So, what Else is New?

By the Skipper:

From NOAA: 12-6-2010


1 comment
1. jim elder | December 06, 2010 at 04:46 PM EST

Chuck and Laura,--Just found your website--sounds like a typical trip down the Oregon coast!--When I moved out west from Colorado, we were planning on perhaps moving to Eureka--we went to the Drive-in(remember those?) and it was fogged out--I decided this was not the place for me--I will send more info via email later--very glad you are safe in port--Jim

This may be the Perfect Dinghy

By the Skipper

I miss flying since we started cruising, and we need a dinghy anyway.

This may be the perfect solution

Thanks to Peter Jacobs for telling us about it.

1. John g | December 21, 2010 at 05:47 PM EST

Miss flying?

2. Eli | February 02, 2011 at 12:57 PM EST

I definitely need one of those.

San Francisco here we come

By the First Mate

It is amazing how often our plans have changed since we began our cruise. "Go with the flow" has taken on a whole new meaning.  Eureka is a nice place with nice facilities but not the place Chuck and I want to spend Winter. Last week I made a few phone calls and was fortunate enough to find a temporary Store Manager position open at West Marine in San Carlos. The current Store Manager is away for four months working on a project for the company and they needed someone to fill in. Perfect.  We are now planning on trailering the boat the rest of the way down the coast, which feels a bit like cheating to me, but its either that or rent an apartment in the bay area and continue to pay slip rent for the boat in Eureka. Friday will be my first day back to work and the boat will have to follow a few weeks later. 

"...Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in your Hair" 

By the Skipper

Presently ensconced in an extended stay hotel.  Laura is working at the San Carlos West Marine store while I have spent the past few days arranging for a mooring and figuring out the logistics of getting the boat down here from Eureka.  Bree has been spending most of her time burrowed under the covers of the bed.

The area - San Carlos/Redwood City/San Mateo, is quite a contrast to what we have seen of California so far; namely Crescent City and Eureka. I am looking forward to experiencing the storied sailing on the San Francisco Bay and, of course, making new friends in this very active and eclectic boating community.

A stop in the bay area was never in the plan, but here we are: Cruising

BTW: the title comes from the 1967 song by Scott McKenzie "San Francisco" that kept playing in my head ever since we knew we were coming here:

If you're going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you're going to San Francisco
You're gonna meet some gentle people there

For those who come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there
In the streets of San Francisco
Gentle people with flowers in their hair

All across the nation such a strange vibration
People in motion
There's a whole generation with a new explanation
People in motion people in motion

For those who come to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there

If you come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there

I was already in the US Army and on my way to Vietnam at the time so I missed the Hippie thing altogether. How I spent the "Summer of Love"

1 comment
1. John Getson Jr | December 18, 2010 at 11:12 PM EST 

Dear Chuck and Laura.....I love watching your adventures as they unfold. My wife and I are planning on purchasing a Hans Christian 38' in 2 years. We plan to cruise the Great Lakes to begin with and after all the kids leave the nest....venture to Hawaii to be liveaboards. Please keep the VIDS and all your adventures coming....we love it!

Besafe and well talk again soon...happy trails my friends.


'Tis the Season...

But we are having a hard time finding things to be "Jolly" about.

By the Skipper:

I try hard to avoid writing anything negative.  Unfortunately, it has been difficult to find the positive aspects of our current situation.  Rather than dwell on it I am going to leap forward to the new year when we will have the boat down here and be back to our normal life.

We have found a very nice new marina and will be bringing Lealea the 250 miles from Eureka at the end of the month.  Meanwhile, Laura is working hard at West Marine and Bree and I have been sorting through hours of video and working on the web sites.  Fortunately, the hotel has free internet.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Last Entry for 2010