Friday, September 25, 2009


San Simeon Bay, CA
William Randolph Hearst State Park
September 22, 2009
We have had perfect weather for this anchorage which has always made this stop iffey on our itinerary. If there is wind from the south it is not a good spot to stop. Anyway, we came in yesterday and got anchored, then this morning we practiced our dinghy beaching skills (but that is a topic for another entry) so that we could make our reservation for a tour of the Hearst Castle. It is actually part of our newspaper curriculum. Brad has been reading a biography of Hearst to the boys.

Hearst Castle from the boat

Boat from the Castle

Indoor pool with 22kt gold inlaid tiles

The “Castle” which Hearst gave to the State of California is beyond amazing. The buildings are incredible and their very location makes them just that much harder to believe. Evidently, Hearst’s love of art and grand projects was a direct result of a “Grand Tour” of Europe that he took with his school teacher mother when he was about 10 years old. They traveled for about a year and half visiting artists, artisans and historical locations all over Western Europe.
If my boys take away from our adventure even a small portion of the appreciation for the world around them that Mr. Hearst took away from his travels, I will consider it the best gift Brad and I could give them as parents. It is very exciting to watch Bryce and Austin begin to see the possibilities that are there for them.

Beach day

Brad and Bryce boogie boarding

Adventures in Anchoring

Pebble Beach, CA
September 20, 2009

Brad and I are not what you would call “pros” at anchoring. Before leaving Seattle, we had really only anchored CAPAZ a grand total of three times: once in Gig Harbor, for Opening Day we used anchors in our raft up (does that count????) and one more time for dinner in Port Madison just for practice.

What we saw of Half Moon Bay

This week we have added considerably to our count. Tuesday night we anchored in Half Moon Bay which was pretty straight forward, textbook experience (not wind, no real swell). On Wednesday, we rafted to another boat in the marina (no power-so we were on battery power like being at anchor, but basically secured to the dock).

Approaching Santa Cruz Harbor
Austin puts the finishing touches on his Bryce/Sphinx sculpture

Then came Monterey Bay. The anchorage is just outside of the mooring balls that are slightly more protected by the breakwater and wharf. Brad decided to use a two anchor technique and since we have a grand total of six anchors aboard (go ahead and laugh, we didn’t BUY any of them – and anchors are expensive!!!!!!), why not???? The first night was pretty rolley and the second night was much better. However, our third night was very uncomfortable with almost constant side swell from the ocean. Brad decided to set a stern anchor to pull our bow out of the wind and into the oncoming swell. It took a little work on his part, but the results were a much quieter night of sleep. All three of the anchors came up off the bottom per their design and off we went.
Anchored in Monterey Bay
Doesn't LOOK rolley
Bat Ray touch pool - Monterey Bay Aquarium

Here at Pebble Beach, we are now anchored in amongst the kelp with a sea otter playing near the boat. We are hoping that our anchoring karma holds and we will get off without a hitch in the morning for our long run to San Simeon (William Randolph Hearst State Park).

Passage to San Simeon

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


The fog that greeted our
departure from San Francisco

Half Moon Bay, CA
September 15, 2009
Sitting here on the hook (that would refer to the anchor or free place to stay tonight) in Half Moon Bay. We had an interesting discussion about redundancy. It is an important concept on a boat. If something fails, what is your back-up. If you get a leak or hole in your cold plate, what do you have for back-up refrigeration? There is a rule that all cruising sailboats follow: every thing you bring on to the boat must have at least two uses. For example, an awl is not just a tool for punching holes in heavy fabric or leather, but it is also and almost more importantly an ice pick.
We came down the coast from San Francisco in fairly dense fog using our radar and our new fog horn that was installed when we had the rig out last winter. We got into the harbor here and Bryce said that we really didn’t need a fog horn because he could use his saxophone to make the foghorn. Then, listening to the fog horn here in the harbor, he declared that all he would have to do was play a low "D". Just to prove it, he pulled out his instrument and played that note. It turns out it was low "E" – pretty impressive!!! So, now we have a back-up system for the fog horn.

Our back-up fog horn

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Angel Island, the Bay Bridge and SF waterfront
from Tiburon, SFYC

P.P.P. stands for proper prior planning. This is the motto by which my father lives. The whole saying goes like this: proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance. My father will be happy to know that we have finally sat down and tried to do a little planning.
I realize that a huge part of this adventure is to NOT plan out every minute of our lives. Heck, we could have stayed in Seattle and kept doing THAT! However, we are supposed to be in San Diego by a certain time and we want to be able to take our time going down the California Coast with extra time to wait out any undesirable weather that may lie in our path.
When we looked a little closer at our options, a trip up the Delta seems not to be in our future. It would mean that we wouldn't have very many days of wiggle time. After sailing upwind the other day (in my house) for a couple of hours to get across the Bay. I am feeling like any upwind sailing should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
With that in mind, we are not leaving the Bay Area tomorrow to start working our way down the coast, but rather waiting for more favorable (not on our nose) winds on Tuesday. We do have a plan, but it is a loose one. Though we are capable of making overnight passages, we are going to try to do most of the next chunk shorter passages with a couple of long days here and there. There are some points of interest along the coast where we would really like to stop and do a little exploring as we work our way toward San Diego and the start of the Baja Ha Ha.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Flashes in the NIght

Josh, Carol, Bryce, and Austin check out
the albino alligator at CAS

Sausalito, CA
We have moved across the Bay to Sausalito. It is pretty early and I am up doing mooring ball watch. We are on a mooring ball in front of the Sausalito Yacht Club next to another ketch with which we are concerned we may overlap and there are lightening storms to the north of us in Marin county and to the south of us in the City.
Our time in Alameda ended on Friday afternoon with the arrival of Bryce's Math Book!!! It was great for us all to have a little adjustment time at a dock with friendly people and grocery store/shopping center close by.
We did get into San Francisco on Tuesday and spent a good block of time at the California Academy of Science. It is a little more than a Science Center in that it has a pretty cool planetarium and great rain forest exhibit, but also a fairly extensive aquarium. I think Brad liked the computer generated voyage we went undertook in the planetarium. I was really impressed with the rain forest which is housed under a dome in which you walk up a circular column of ramps where you can view the different levels of the exhibit. Not only did we get to go on this great field trip, but we were hosted by a family (the crew of Evergreen) that we met on the Gate 11 dock who is also headed south.
Wednesday, we attended a Baja Ha Ha Party. What is Baja Ha Ha? you might ask yourself.
The "Ha Ha" for shorthand is a cruiser's rally in which we will be participating in about a month and a half. As there are certain times of the year to move or migrate to different, cruisers get together on form a rally to make certain passages. Anyway, the Ha Ha happens to be one of the larger rallies and it bascially gets boats from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas in three legs over about a 10 day period. There are two stop-overs with loosely organized get-togethers. So, this party that we attended was intended to match up boats who were looking for crew with people who want a ride down the coast and/or back up it. It was pretty organized and reminded me of rush in the Greek System - quite a meat market atmosphere. Anyway, we met yet another family headed south with yet another 11 year old from Vancouver, BC.
The crew of Blackdragon was staying at the Encinal Yacht Club where the party was hosted and invited us down to swim in pool. It ended up being the perfect day to spend at the pool as the temperature was about 90*. The other 11 year old from Gate 11 joined us since his parents were in the crazy mode the week before leaving (a fading memory for us). I think all four of those boys needed that serious stretch of hard play in the water. An old rowing friend of mine from college and his two kids brought us pizza for dinner. What a treat!!!! It was a great evening topped off with drinks in the cockpit of the boat next door.
Friday, we got our new batteries and Bryce's math book. Then, we headed across the Bay to meet up with Mentor for dinner in Sausalito. The sail marked our first upwind run in fairly heavy air - I drove in sustained 30's and saw a fust of 42 knots. The boys finally understand all these months of my harping on them about having to stow and secure everything in their cabin. There was a little cleaning up back there as I got dinner going. The rest of the boat survived fairly well and was ready for Cindy and Dick to join us for dinner (more tuna - I think we are perfecting our methods) I would still like to impress upon my husband that if have to sail upwind in that much breeze, OK, but if we don't have to . . . . . . .
On the roof of the CAS, Brad wonders,
"Where are the Teletubbies?"

Bryce loses his mainsheet
and Josh gives him a tow in for a rerig
Alameda, Oakland Estuary

Bryce's favorite part of the Bay Model, Sausalito

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Missing September 3, 2009 1700 Post

Sorry Uncle John's Error

42*26' N
124*54' W
Off Rogue River, OR

The wind piped up last night pretty much on the nose. We kept motor sailing util this afternoon when the wind clocked around and we were even able to put up the spinnaker. Best of all, we turned off the engine for awhile.
The boys caught another tuna this morning but they released it becase we still had some meat left from yesterday. We also had a visit from a Dahl's porpoise who played around the boat for a few minutes.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Anchored at Pt. Reyes; SF or Bust!

We wrapped up the Seattle to San Francisco leg of our adventure in the fog. On September 5th, it seemed like it might clear some, but the closer we got to the coast and farther south that we sailed the more the fog closed in. We had decided to duck into Point Reyes and anchor so that we could make the tide going through the Golden Gate during daylight hours, rather than at midnight. I was excited to see one of the coolest lighthouses ever: the Point Reyes Lighthouse, but as you can see, the fog obscured our view of it.
What we could see of Point Reyes
We had to content ourselves with checking out what we could with the binos. Luckily, we have several pairs on board. As we rounded the southern point and turned into Drakes Bay, we noticed several boats materializing out of the fog from the south . . . . and they just kept coming until the one boat that was already anchored was joined by us and 14 other boats.

Checking out the caves, cliffs and beaches at Point Reyes

The big boys stayed on the boat, while the other boys and I went for a little explore around the bay. We went ashore at an old lifeboat station and talked to some women who were participating in an artists' retreat. They let us know that Rangers were really telling everyone to stay away from the seals right now, so we decided we probably shouldn't be on that particular beach and headed off to check out more of the bay's shoreline. We got about half way around our end of the bay and the fog started to roll over the headland from the ocean. Since we didn't really have any navigational aids, we decided it might be a good idea to beat feet back to the boat while we could still actually see it.

Racing the fog rolling in back to CAPAZ
CAPAZ anchored in Drakes Bay

Though the wind did pick up during the night, we had relatively sound sleep on the anchor. The plan was to weigh anchor around 7:00am and head for the Golden Gate. It was all good even though the fog was fairly thick. It did take some of the anticipation away from the experience of coming up on the Golden Gate. When you can see it from several miles out, it is exciting to inch your way toward the bridge. As it was, we really couldn't see it until we were almost there, but we did have time to mix up the traditional dark and stormies for a toast while going under the bridge. We had been sailing for about the preceding hour or two, so we actually sailed under which was a first for Brad and me and maybe even for Curtis.

Ryan is a Golden Gate Virgin . . . .
. . . . . no more!

Curtis, on the other hand . . . . . how many times does this make?

Brad and PJ toast the Golden Gate and San Francisco

We had enough wind to keep sailing along the waterfront. At some point, Brad got a phone call from the Cordill family (CAPAZ's last owners) that they were checking out of their hotel on the waterfront - they had been in town for a relative's wedding. Anyway, how cool is it that they were able to take these pictures of us sailing on the Bay.

We have had the great fortune to be "caught" down here in Alameda by Jim and Diana Jessie. We just emailed them that we would probably be coming sometime over the holiday weekend to see if they might know of someone who was gone and we could use their slip. Not only did they find us a slip, but the whole community here at Gate 11 welcomed us with open arms. We have met another family with an 11-year old boy who is also participating in the Baja - Ha - Ha. We hadn't even been here for 24 hours and the boys have already played x-Box, legoed, gone sailing and kayaking together. We may try to go on a San Francisco adventure tomorrow.


We had thought that the following posts had made it through to be posted. Here they are:

September 4, 2009
39* 55’ N
124* 32’ W
South of Cape Mendocino, CA

It would appear that I wrote my log entry far too early yesterday. After dinner we were treated to quite a show. First, a few porpoises showed up to play at the bow. They were very entertaining as they were leaping out of the water and criss-crossing back and forth under the bow. Then, we noticed in the distance that there were dolphins leaping in several different spots. We figuring maybe they were hunting. Soon, they joined their cetacean friends and put their moves into the mix. Bryce and Austin each lay down on either side of the bow on their stomachs with one arm over the side. Though the dolphins and porpoise didn’t come in for a “pet” they were most certainly matching the speed of the boat to check us out. Then, the wind started to die and we had to take down the spinnaker. The dolphins weren’t nearly as interested once we slowed down and we figured that the noise of the engine would repel them, but instead they gave us a grand finale. Six dolphins, jumping out of the water all together in a line, came “bounding” back to say good-bye to us. I am pretty sure that it was better than any aquarium show (and we would have had to pay for that!)
Bryce has become quite the hunter whether his prey is tuna or flies. He caught another tuna before brunch this morning which is good news for anyone who can help us find a slip in San Francisco (yes, that is a call out and will be rewarded with fresh tuna).
We have now been without the engine for about two hours because the wind has come around from behind us and picked up. We are now in watching our energy consumption mode, but the absence of the drone of the engine is a welcome change.
We have been able to play games in the cockpit. Cribbage, chess, checkers and Pirateer went well. Pente however was a little too challenging in the little roll that comes with this point of sail.
We are all very excited about seeing San Francisco soon!


01:16 Saturday Morning September 5th
38 56N
123 57W
Winds Calm
Seas Calm

Well so much for the nuking winds at Cape Mendocino. It’s been very mild with winds peaking in the teens earlier today, or I guess I should say yesterday since its morning now on the 5th. All n all it’s been a great trip thus far. With the exception of a couple of bouncy nights the Pacific has been very kind in delivering for the most part sunshine and light air. I guess we lucked out. We do still have another day to go (really less) so I guess I shouldn’t get to cocky. We still could get kicked in the rear end before this is through.

As PJ mentioned we were visited by dolphins and porpoise yesterday. They also paid us a little visit today as well. Bryce and Austin were beside themselves. The spent the better part of an hour laying down on the foredeck reaching down trying to touch the marine mammals as they played off our bow wake.

In my continuing effort to work on the boat and not relax and enjoy the ride I took out the switches for the electric winch on deck near the mast. As I mentioned before this winch would just run on its own without the switch being pressed. The rubber covers to the switches had worn through allowing water to get to the innards. Once I pulled the switches Curtis and I did a little troubleshooting with an Ohm meter and yes, they are broken. I soaked them in fresh water hoping to get the salt out, and just now cooked them on low in the oven to try and evaporate any water from their innards. I’ll check them tomorrow (or really I should say today) later this morning that is.

Actually today I worked hard at not working on the boat and was fairly successful. I did manage to do a few odd things around the boat but nothing of any substance. We had been trying to connect with Cindy and Dick on Mentor, Friends who are also making the trip down the coast, over the Single Side Band HF radio. We had attempted the day before. I could hear them but they could not hear us. On the first attempt it yesterday however, it looked like it wasn’t going to work again. I started playing with connections on the radio and viola! It worked! We talked for bit. Turns out they have been staying closer to the coast and making stops along the way. Where as we have been a bit further out (as far as 50 miles offshore) and not making any stops. After talking with Cindy it seems like two totally different trips. They have been in fog and no wind the whole time. We have had primarily sun and periods of sailing in good breeze at times. Go figure.

On the theme of sailing. We have had two really good sails. On the Thursday the 3rd, we got the spinnaker up for a good 7 hours of sailing making good time in good breeze. At sunset the breeze shut down and went back to motoring. Yesterday was a repeat, but the wind was further aft so we opted to pole out the jib and go wing on wing. It was another glorious sail with sunshine and good breeze, definitely nice to get the drone of the engine off for a while!

I got a lot of sleep last night and even took a nap today. With all this sleep I wasn’t very tired when I tried to catch a few z’s before my 11:30pm to 2am watch. Thus, my mind wondered to the I suppose the inevitable worries. Is the money going to hold out? Did we get everything done we were supposed to? Are we freaking crazy to sell the farm and go? I didn’t realize how leaving would affect me. It’s hard to leave all that you know, your family, your friends, your life. I do know that this will be an experience that will stick with us for the rest of our lives. I really don’t know where I’m going with this. I suppose it’s just part of the process of leaving to have, I don’t know if I would call them doubts, more like anxiety. Anyway you get the idea, lying in the bunk worrying that sort of thing. For those of you wondering if I’m having second thought, absolutely not.

So, what happens on this trip part of the trip from here? I’m considering stopping at Point Reyes and dropping the hook. That way we can spend the night and get an early start tomorrow morning. That would put us in SF Bay mid day on Sunday. If we were to keep going without stopping we would likely come into the bay in the late afternoon, not arriving at the dock or mooring until dark. I guess I’d rather arrive with a little more time to get our bearings. Plus, I guess I’d like to spend the night on the hook .

Well, it’s watch change time. I just woke up Curtis for his 2am to 4:30am watch. I wish I was a bit more tired! Seems I may spend some more time in the bunk thinking. Hopefully this time about warmer climates and beaches!

Brad signing off.

PS. It’s now 10:34am and we are under sail again in a South Westerly wind. We made another attempt at communications with Mentor, but no luck. Looks as though I still have some bugs to work out. The plan is to sail to Drakes Bay, spend the night and head into SF Bay on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

17:18 PDT September 2, 2009

44 55 N
125 02W
(central Oregon coast about 45 miles out) Wind South at 7 knots Sea 3 knot swell at 11 seconds from the west Sky is blue baby with nary a cloud and temps in the low 60’s

Brad reporting
Well we are two days some change into the trip now. I’m sure PJ covered most of the events in her post (I haven’t read her blog entry yet) so I’ll talk a bit about what has been going on in my brain. As can be expected the last month has been busy. Pete McGonagle, my business partner returned the first of August and I quickly made myself scarce at Swiftsure Yachts with what seemed like an insurmountable to do list for the Capaz before pushing off. The work on the boat intensified as we got closer to the departure date. I’m sure the neighbors on F-dock were starting to wonder about the sudden outburst of swear words emenating from below on Capaz from time to time. Seldom did a project go smoothly or on budget. The old adage that it will take twice as long and cost 3 times as much is not far off the mark. The day of our departure still had a few “would really like to do” things on the list. But, we were bound and determined to leave on time, so the things that got done, got done and those that didn’t, didn’t. We ended up leaving with the contents we wanted to keep out of our dock box piled on the stern waiting to be stowed. But we left on time…..ok we left 10 minutes late.

What did I feel? I thought I might feel relieved to be on our way. That wasn’t it. I did feel good. I felt happy and priveledged to have so many friends and supporters show up for our going away party and our departure day. But, like so many things in life, it wasn’t necessarily a eureka, my life has changed moment. Once under way Capaz was calling and she needed to be attended to. We had the tasks of the moment to look after, all the normal stuff that happens when leaving on a trip/delivery, plus the added stuff that didn’t get done before we left. Life goes on. Maybe I will have that Eureka moment, I don’t know. Perhaps it will come when on watch alone in the middle of the night, or watching the perfect sunset for the hundredth time, or maybe not, I don’t know. I have had cruising friends tell me that it takes a year to unwind and settle into a different frame of mind. It will be interesting to see what my frame of mind is a year from now. A year from now we will be somewhere in the South Pacific.

As you have probably read, it got bouncy and windy going out the straits and has been pretty much a motor boat ride the whole way. What has been great is watching the reaction of the kids to the whole process. This is a good thing for them. They will be changed after this trip, and I’m pretty darn sure it will be for the better. Yesterday was pretty gray and uneventful weather wise. Today has been sunny and about as warm as you could expect for this part of the world. We hooked 3 fish, lost one kept one and released one. They were all albacore tuna. It’s tuna on the BBQ tonight baby! I spent most of the day tinkering on the boat. I’ve made a list of things I want to get done while under way. The problem is as I would do one thing, I’d run across another thing that needs to be done and start doing that. Then I’d forget what it was I was doing originally. It’s all been pretty scattered. All is good though and it has been a pretty productive day. I did take some time to play on the X-box with Bryce and do some fishing, so it hasn’t been all work and no play. Actually doing the blog was one of the things on my list so I get to mark that off after signing off hear.

We are not planning to make any stops before San Francisco. Weather wise it is best to get South to avoid getting caught in some weather that should be arriving off the Washington/Oregon Coast later in the week. We are and do have head winds. In fact the wind has built to around 10 knots on the nose since I started typing this. But, in about 24 hours it should start turning to a more favorable direction and hopefully we will get a day or two of good sailing before passing under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

OK, I think I’m going to wrap it up here. A huge thank you to all of you who have supported us on this venture. It warmed my heart to see most at the dock party last Sunday and well wishers as we left on Monday. I know that I haven’t been contributing to the blog while Capaz was in Seattle. I do plan on contributing more especially when we are under way.

This is Brad Signing off!

September 2, 2009; 1500

Tuna ON!!!!

The mighty Tuna Hunters

45*10’ N
125* 02’ W
Off Cascade Head, OR


No real wind to speak of, but the side product of that is the Pacific is showing us that calm can be beautiful. This morning dawned clear and sunny. We all are feeling much more like we have our sea legs.
Brad has a theory about fishing: when you weave your way through a fishing fleet, it is probably a good time to drop your line over the side. During Austin’s first watch last night (again, parents are very proud), we only saw 2 other boats but pretty much the rest of the night, there was quite a bit of fishing boat traffic. So this morning, out came the hand lines and after about 5 minutes, no fish story, we had a nice tuna on which we will be taking advantage of the calmer seas to bbq this evening for dinner. After the boys got the first fish all cleaned up, they did pull in another one, but it c&r.
We also had a visit from a little land bird who appeared to be a bit off course. He rested on the boat and we fed him. At one point, he lit on the wheel which was being controlled by “Helmy”. He just hung there for a couple minutes, rolling with the wheel’s motion to Ryan’s side of the cockpit and then over to Brad’s side. Then, he was gone, back on his way.
Austin has be very busy making forts on the lounge all day out of all the pillows and blankets. Bryce has been teaching everyone how to play various games on the X-Box. Everyone has been catching naps and enjoying the recharge provided by the relative calm of the day.
Sunrise from the Pacific
Just resting.

Septmber 1, 2009, 1700 PST

47*45' N; 125*002' W
Destruction Island WA

Admiralty Inlet was relatively calm yesterday afternoon which allowed the stowage to continue. We had pretty much everything put away before dinner. We waved and were seen by Nana and Poppy from East Beach which is near their house on Marrowstone Island. We got in a few ore phone calls before we lost cell serivce including a weather and routing consult fro Brian on "Delos" in San Francisco (they found their prop!!!!) and from the Giffords who called from Bryce Canyon.
True to form the Strait of Juan de Fuca lived up to their reputation. We had westerlies right around 20 knots all night with pretty good swell. Bryce stood watch from 1900 to 2300 (with a break to watch The Simpsons Movie). He is quite adept at checking the radar and the AIS. He made his parents proud.
We pulled into Neah Bay a few minutes before 0700 (pretty much right when we had expected) and topped off our diesel tanks. In the protection of the bay we all ate breakfast and then hoisted the sails to head around the corner towards San Francisco. We have been motor sailing most of the day and the swell has decreased quite a bit. We seized the opportunity to turn off the engine for a coupe of hours as we made our way off the coast to our course south to Cape Blanco. Everyone felt a liitte squishy but we have all (including Austin) been eating fine. There has not been great wildlife sightings thus far just a couple of albatrosses which are pretty cool. We have also not encountered very much ship traffic even in the shipping lanes of the Strait. Although as I look out the window, I see something on the horizon that I am going to go check out. PJ