Monday, May 17, 2010

Day number 1721 ramblings.

May 16, 2010 8PM PST
Day 1721
Position: 28°49'N 115°12'W
Underway from Turtle Bay toward San Diego
Miles YTD: 4483
Miles since day 1: 30,710

Kathy shot out of bed this morning waking me up with a bit of a start. I said "what the heck are you doing up so early?" as she started to pull on some warm clothes. Since out boat has twin heaters and the thermostat is literally located above our pillows I was surprised she hadn't even turned on the heaters to take the edge of the 50 something temps inside the boat. Really, that's frickin cold compared to the overnight lows of 80+ we'd been used to for some many months. Kathys' answer was a simple "Internet". Banda Ancha Baby (our Telcel 3G internet device). I guess even though or maybe because we are pretty much off the grid and out of touch we sure do love internet access... when we can get it. On the Baja, internet is pretty darn scarce as such are the towns. But, if there is a town with a cell tower then the magical Banda Ancha will work sometimes out to 15+ miles to sea . Sweet!
Having no pre-set departure time I tried to go back to sleep, as I knew I could use it, after a late night of you guessed it... Banda Ancha, and I didn't even spend anytime on facebook which can make whole hours simply disappear. Instead I slowly woke up while thinking about my morning to do list. Taking advantage of the calm waters inside Turtle bay I wanted to: Run engines to warm them up for oil changes, make water, download weather, drink some Coffee and try to extract Kathy from the crack like grip of the Banda Ancha so we could get the anchor up and underway. Heading out of the harbor around 8:30 and I hadn't even changed the oil... which I did in turn do later in the day one engine at a time as we motored along in flat seas.

With only 264 nautical miles to go to San Diego I feel like we've made some serious progress toward our goal of Roche Harbor by the 1st of July with only about 1500 nautical miles to go. Considering the fact that we've already sailed 4483 nautical miles this year a mere 1500nm more isn't so bad.

Lots of whale sighting today and we caught a Bonita Tuna which Kathy cooked up for dinner with a great ginger soy sauce. Not as good as a yellow fin tuna, but in this colder water the flesh is pink not red like in the hot climes and seas to the south. Another highlight is we actually spent several hours doing some great sailing in the 8-10 knot range. Subsequently, the wind has clocked around from a nice 12 knots at 270T to a less tenable 7 knots at 305T. The rule of thumb I've established for my lazy sailing style is that we need a minimum of 32 degrees apparent wind to keep the sails set while using autopilot. Pretty sweet angles for any cruising boat. The boat really starts to move when you crack off to about 45-50 apparent or more.

For the first time in what seems like months we have 100% cloud cover, but I doubt any near future prospects for rain. I think the last time it rained was back in Panama in March! The windows and cockpit of LightSpeed sure get salty with occasional spray while sailing and or motoring to weather so I've taken to washing the boat each morning with fresh water via a diversion valve plumbed into my saltwater wash down hose. Works great and so nice to keep from tracking salt from the decks back into the pilot house.

At the moment we are within 10 miles of two other North bound boats with several other some 20-30 miles in our wake. The closest boats are m/v Tranquillo a 40 sportfisher and a 36' Mahe catamaran that is being delivered from France. Both boats are on the rhumb line and powering while we've 'fallen off' the rhumb line as the wind has clocked more to the North. Going into this evening I'm glad to have distance between me and the others as I can be pretty sure we'll be seeing some fog in the very near future. Neither of the other boats have AIS receivers so our AIS transponder will only help us avoid the big ships, if the fog set is thick. We do not have radar, but will put a unit on before departing San Diego as there is plenty of fog along the temperate West Coast. In parts of British Columbia some boaters even joke about the month of August being called 'Fogust'... and it's no joke. Radar will be a great addition.

As far as Radar goes I really like the Simrad BR24 broadband radar that uses new technology, subsequently it is extremely energy efficient for a radar. Less required energy = the more you can run it on a strict energy budget. The only problem is that the system I like is over $3000 and I could buy a stand alone radar that would probably work fine for a mere $1300. Of course I like the more expensive Simrad NSE MFD (Multi-function display) as the MFD can integrate the radar, charts, AIS, depth sounder and other NMEA data. Plus since it's Simrad it will network with my existing and brand new Simrad Auto pilot. The only problem beside the up front $3000 is that with the Simrad MFD I would then want to add digital charts. No big deal for a particular region like Puget Sound, but once you look at the entire West Coast of the USA, Mexico, South Pacifc Islands, Australia, SE Asia, India, Africa and South America you are looking at big bucks measured in the many many of thousands of dollars so that $3000 turns in to $8000 (rough estimate based on no research, but I know it would be very expensive). Right now we have a workable portfolio of electronic charts for the world so I have to remind myself that I do not have a good paying job and that I need to step back to the reality of my modest lifestyle and away from the cutting edge of technology. Whew! I guess we'll end up purchasing a basic monochrome display radar like the Furuno 1715 that is a totally stand alone but solid unit. I also need to remind myself that the vast majority of the time we are in areas that do not have fog and since we don't have a rigid schedule if there is fog we have the option to wait it out.

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