Friday, September 27, 2013

America's Cup 2013

We decided to take the girls on a "field trip" to downtown San Francisco to watch the America's Cup action.  It was the finals between Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA.  Team USA was down 8-1.  They would need to win eight races in a row to take the Cup.  New Zealand had only one race to win to bring the cup home to the Kiwis.

I honestly didn't know much about America's Cup till this year.  I only paid attention because I was worried about being run over by one of the massive catamarans as we sailed into the bay.  These things make Ohana look like a sailing dinghy and can go over 4 times as fast as we can. 

What a day!  We arrived at the pier and watched as the teams boarded their respective vessels tied up to mooring buoys right in front of us.  For some reason everyone was cheering for Team New Zealand... The boats were amazing to look at.  Their beam is wider than the overall length of Ohana!  Their masts towered above us at 131 ft.  We could tell why it was necessary to have a crew of 11 on board. 

We found the City of San Francisco to be the perfect place to watch the races.  One could watch them on a boat, along the waterfront, or at the America's Cup Park.  At the park, we found an area that had a fake grass lawn with bean bag chairs and a GIANT TV.  We went with the latter option.  We figured it would be best to see the entire course and commentary on TV, lounging on a bean bag, basking in the sun.

That day, we watched Oracle snatch the win from the Kiwis.  It was such a rush to watch them speed through the course at 35-40 knots.  I was an instant fan.  The second race of the day was cancelled due to too much wind - Coast Guard regulations prevent them from sailing in over 20 knots of wind.  Bummer.  We were hooked and came back the next day to watch them win again.  Oh, the joy of being an unemployed, homeschooling family - we can actually be spontaneous!
We continued to watch Team USA's progress online through the weekend.  They seemed to be making a huge comeback.  They managed to catch up to New Zealand and before we knew it, they were tied at 8-8.  Of course, we had to watch them win in person.  We found ourselves once again, sprawled in front of the giant TV watching the final race at America's Cup Park.  This time, rather than being surrounded by Kiwis, there were American flags everywhere.  Oracle Team USA blew away Team New Zealand in the final race to keep the Cup in the states!  We stayed and watched the Cup presentation and hi-fived the team.  Katelyn was in awe the entire time. What a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch the most amazing comeback in sport's history unfold in front of our eyes.  Never give up! 


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Settling in

As you may have noticed, we have not moved since landing in Half Moon Bay.  We have decided to spend some time here.  This is phase II of our plan.  The fact of the matter is, we need money.  Outfitting a boat is quite expensive...  So, Jake is looking for a job in the area so that we can stock the cruising kitty before moving on.  We want to make sure we are financially comfortable to be able to cruise for about 2 years before finding work again.

We have chosen Half Moon Bay as our temporary home base for many reasons;
  • We can anchor for free
  • There are beautiful beaches within walking distance
  • We are only 30 minutes from the big city of San Francisco, but in a nice small community
  • Free showers at the marina
  • This area is a perfect surfing training ground
  • There is a nearby Taco Bell right on the beach
  • Did I mention beaches, beaches, everywhere?
Our new backyard.  SV Ohana is anchored in the distance.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Newport, OR to Half Moon Bay, CA

So here is the much anticipated summary of our trip down the coast from Port Angeles, WA to Half Moon Bay, CA.  Please forgive me for taking so long to post, I was building the suspense...

Our last post was leaving Newport, OR... A few things happened while in Newport.  First off, we had a crew member give us a piece of advice early on in the trip - if you head into port, you risk losing crew.  That same crew member up and left us one morning without warning.  Thanks a lot Andy.  At least we had more room and food. 

We met some great people at the marina.  CB and Tawn from s/v Palarran invited us and some other boaters over to their boat for some fresh caught tuna.  We had a great time visiting and talking about our hopes, dreams, and fears of sailing down the coast.  It was nice to know there were others sharing the same feelings and doing what we were doing.  We also found the "Joose" at the marina store.  The Joose would be a source of many future laughs.

Newport is apparently known for being a "friendly" town.  We found that to be very true.  Everyone at the marina and restaurants were very nice and accommodating.  The marina facilities were very well kept and it was within walking distance to the Rogue Brewery which was a bonus.  Also, the bathrooms off the main office have free showers.  I think they are meant for the RVers, but we had no problem looking over their shoulder as they punched in the door code.  Free showers are like gold to boaters. 

After exploring the town for three days, we were definitely ready to move on to the next leg of our adventure.  We were also getting very anxious to get back to the kids.  At this point, Jake's parents had decided to take them to Arizona as staying in a hotel until we made it to the bay area would be very costly.  That was plan B which meant that we would also get to take a trip to Arizona after the boat was safe and sound in Half Moon Bay, CA.  Not our favorite vacation destination in August, but we were overdue for a family visit.

We left Newport on a Wednesday morning.  Our crew was now Erlin and Zia.  The winds were still predicted to be 15-20 knots from the northwest.  This was fine with us as we were excited to sail and not use the engine.  We wanted to conserve our fuel so that we wouldn't have to stop again.  We had a great day of sailing, then the wind died at midnight and we fired up the iron genny.  As we were sailing through the fog that day, Zia spotted another sailboat behind us.  The boat hailed us on the VHF and introduced themselves - s/v Calypso.  They had left Newport about an hour behind us and were headed to San Fran.  They had run into s/v Palarran as well and shared some laughs about the Joose.  We also had some boating friends in common.  It's crazy how we were developing instant bonds with complete strangers in the middle of the ocean.  They passed us up and we ended up running into them again the next day, this time we were in the lead (not that we were racing).

We ended up motoring all day on Thursday.  At this point, we were again concerned about our fuel.  We have a 35 gallon fuel tank and had another 30 gallons on deck.  This should have been enough, but we also knew that there was light to no wind up ahead.  Zia was also getting concerned about not making it in time to get back to work on Monday.  I told her to call in seasick... We decided at this point to make a run for Crescent City in the morning.  This was the most logical stopping point with no bar crossing to deal with.  We pulled into Crescent City Friday morning and guess who was at the dock?  S/v Calypso!  We got to put some faces to the voices on the radio. 

We grabbed breakfast in Crescent City, showered, fueled up, and sent Zia off to the airport.  We had no desire to stay.  The marina is under construction from the Tsunami damage in 2011.  Somehow the sound of heavy construction equipment just wasn't relaxing.  We took a quick nap and pulled out at 5pm. 

We had an amazing sail out of Crescent City.  There was just enough wind for a nice sail at 4 knots.  The seas were like glass and the sun was setting.  We saw 3 humpback whales right in front of us!  They were about 100 feet from the boat.  Jake thought they were too close for comfort, I was in awe...

Zia and I had been sharing the night watch from 8pm-midnight.  This was my first watch alone.  As soon as the sun set, the fog rolled in and visibility was terrible.  I was not having a good time.  Then I heard a splashing sound in the water.  I looked over the edge of the boat and saw the phosphorescent glow.  There were streaks and lines everywhere from dolphins!  They were zooming from the stern to the bow, jumping, then coming back for more.  They kept me company for the next hour and before I knew it, my watch was over. 

The next couple of days were calm and amazing.  The seas were like glass, there was no wind.  I could tell that we were entering warmer climates.  We approached Point Reyes at about 1am.  Luckily, there was very little traffic coming in and out of the bay.  We continued on without incident and landed in Half Moon Bay at 7am and tied up to a mooring ball.   We celebrated with a toast of Joose and crashed. 

Reflecting back on the trip, I feel that we were very blessed.  The weather was great for the most part and when it wasn't, we were in a good spot to wait it out.  The boat performed flawlessly.  The seas were nothing that we couldn't handle.  Just when I thought I had enough, the whales and dolphins made it exciting again.  We thank everyone that sent prayers our way and thank God for bringing us safely to our girls.

I have many, many more pictures and videos to post from the trip.  Stay tuned...