Monday, June 29, 2009

Back in Victoria

Well Ladybug and I were just inspected by customs who took my Washington apples and Mexican potatoes. Still its good to be back in this lovely city.

The crossing from Hilo Hawaii took 23 days. The average crossing from Honolulu to BC or Seattle (66 % of reported crossings) is between 21 and 28 days. So 23 days is good for a small boat, especially when I had to hand steer the last 4 days.

Ladybug was hit by a heavy gale a week ago (sustained winds over 40 knots and impressive seas) that did some damage to the dodger during a knock down (sorry Jamie!) and put the autopilot out of commission (breaking waves flooded the cockpit). I came through ok but tired due to anxiety and lack of sleep. Then 2 days later another gale - this one smaller (35 knots sustained and I managed to sail out of it fairly quickly). One of the shrouds parted in the 2nd gale so I jury rigged with spare wire and bulldog clamps. I had to hand steer the last 300 miles and just finished steering 17 hours straight (since 3 am) after a noisy night with less than 2 hours shuteye - so I am a bit light headed.

Will try to find a marina berth for a week or so to repair the boat and ready for sale. Good to be back - I learned a lot on this crossing... Will post more when I have got some food in me and some sleep!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More videos

Here are some more videos from the cruise of the Ladybug:

Brisa sailing from Isla San Marcos to Punta Chivato:

Rays jumping out of the water at Los Frailes:

Christmas 2008 in Bahia Magdalena; Chris playing his recorder with Lori and Ken:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Videos from the Ladybug's travels

Here are some links to videos I uploaded on youtube from our sailing trip:

Launching of Brisa ( Ladybug II ):

San Quintin Nightmare:

Hiking on Catalina Island, California:

Chris's debut promoting our dream job:

Friday, June 5, 2009

Thoughts on bluewater sailing

A few notes on the crossing from Mexico to Hawaii – My first long distance blue water crossing.

Like marriage and sex, long distance sailing is something you have to experience for yourself to truly understand. Nothing I had read fully prepared me for this. The distances and time periods are enormous – measured in 1000's of miles and weeks - and you need to decide on a philosphical approach to the voyage. You can treat it as a giant race and try to get the most out of the boat each day, focusing on goals like miles run or you can do the minimum to keep things moving and lay back and enjoy the relaxing solitude. I chose something on the spectrum defined by these ends and while I measured our progress daily and tried to get good speed out of Ladybug, I did not push her continuously, Instead I reefed early and flew the spinnaker only until it was prudent to strike it. Because I was on my own, I had to husband my strength and there were days that I did no more than a couple of sail changes out of weariness or because there were better things to do. Other days, I relished the speed made under a press of white sail or the billowing spinnaker. On these days I would watch the GPS and knotmeter enjoying a consistent 6 to 7 knots for hours at a time.

It is probably the perpetual motion that is most difficult to adapt to. Even typing this paragraph on the keypad of my tiny laptop is made infinitely more difficult by the heaving and lurching of the cabin. Cooking underway would be impossible without my coat hanger fiddles and the galley strap that holds me snugly against the lurching. Even then spilled food and drinks were an almost daily occurrence.

Another thing that you cannot understand by reading about it is how big and empty the oceans of this world really are. After leaving Cabo, I saw no other vessels in nearly 4 weeks of sailing. There really is almost no traffic out here in the Pacific. If you assume you can see for 10 miles in any direction, I can look at 300 square miles of ocean at any given time. Any time I look out, I see no other vessels and that fact still amazes me. There is simply nothing out here! And all this expanse of water is truly blue – a brilliant indigo colour that still looks unreal to me.

Here are a few pictures from the trip. I plan to post a couple of videos when I get back to Canada. It is possible that I will sail direct for BC from Hilo to improve the odds of selling Ladybug this year. I hope to return to Hawaii, though and have a leisurely cruise through her beautiful islands.

Rainbow over Hilo - June 4 arrival

Ladybug in Radio Bay Hilo

Pan fried oatcake and Fritata for brunch - the 4 week old bread got a bit boring...

2 small flying fish on deck - these are beautiful to watch skimming for hundreds of feet over the waves.

Ominous clouds - more rain on the crossing than we saw in the rest of the trip together.

Creative solution to keeping the cover on the pan.

The water is an amazing indigo blue out here

Last ship I saw when I left Cabo.

Booby passenger.

Dorados followed the boat when it was calm. This one is about 2.5 feet long.

Inspecting the rigging in Mazatlan

Craig Musseau in the galley before we left.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Made it to Hilo

Well I finally made it to Hilo - 28 days almost exactly from Mazatlan, 25 days from Cabo San Lucas.

I had a few calms - about 4 days when there was almost no wind. Only got the trades about half way through and they came and went. One gale right after I dropped off my crew in Cabo (Craig decided that the crossing was not for him and went home after 3 days).

No problems with the boat - everything held up pretty well. Had to repair the spinnaker pole and tighten the autopilot's belt a couple of times plus do a bit of stitching with the older jib. I flew the jib poled out in the trades and the spinnaker when things got light. Used the main a lot the first 2 weeks but not after.

I cooked some pasta, chili, chowder, and veggie stews but did not come close to finishing off the huge amount of groceries bought for the trip. The cheese in oil is still mostly ok(still have lbs of it) as is the Bimbo bread which is scarily identical to what it was 4 weeks ago.

Did a lot of reading and watched TV series and movies. This kept me sane and well socialized :)

Just walked downtown Hilo, Hawaii, in the rain (it rains here a lot) and bought fresh veggies and papayas at a farmer's market. The prices here are very high especially in restaurants but the veggies were not bad.

Will probably stay here for a couple of days and then head somewhere more hospitable. The marina is attached to a container port and is noisy plus you require an escort to get in and out - a real pain!

More soon on what it was like to sail 2900 miles in one shot.