Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay is part of our home waters as we often sail there for the weekend, however, this time was a little different. We were in need of groceries and to do the mountain of laundry that had piled up to the ceiling. We believed there were facilities right at the marina to accomplish our tasks. We checked in with the harbor master in the morning only to learn they had changed their policy about renting bathroom keys to visiting yachts. If we wanted a key we would have to rent a slip at $37.00 dollars a day. In the past we would rent the key for a flat $10.00. In addition the marina didn’t have any laundry facilities. Since there was no easy way to do our laundry we went on to plan B.
In Mexico we got quite familiar with the bus system so we broke out the smart phone and discovered that Half Moon Bay proper was an 18 minute bus ride away complete with a Safeway and a Laundromat. We chose to re-provision first and set out on an adventure in our own back yard. Safeway had all the things we needed and we caught the next bus back to the boat. A short dingy ride back to Sosiego and that was enough for one day.
The following day we loaded up the laundry in the dingy and repeated the bus ride into town. We found the laundry and started two loads and it was time for lunch. A short walk around this small town that seemed like a post card from the 50’s and we stumbled upon a small diner. I thought we were in scene from Happy Day’s. We both had a Reuben sandwich, mine with a side of fries and Debbie’s with potato salad. The food was excellent. After our wonderful lunch it was time to return to the laundry.
The Laundromat turned out to be a great place to meet people. We chatted up two couples on Harleys on a whirl wind cross country trip. We shared notes on our adventures and I couldn’t help but note the similarities. We became fast friends and promised to keep in touch. Angie and Paul with Eileen and Larry provided us with endless amusement as they posted pictures of their open road trip to Sturgis and beyond.
Back at the boat with chores done it was time for some fun. We launched the Bali paddleboard and hoisted the sail on Rock n Roll our dingy. Now it was time to take a bubble bath, NOT! Cockpit solar showers are only so much fun in northern climates and Sosiego doesn’t have an indoor shower. Using our collective minds we decided to introduce ourselves to the Half Moon Bay Yacht club in hopes of a shower. We landed the dingy on the beach and sure enough they were very friendly and invited us in for showers and cocktails. With all our needs met we settled in and enjoyed our time here hiking, sailing, and lounging. On our last day we went to dinner at Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. and ran into our old dock mate Mike. It was time to start weaving the sea yarns while the IPA flowed. A good time was had by all. We finally heard from Brickyard cove regarding our new slip assignment and it was time to push on to home.
The GRIB files teased us with fair winds and we hoisted anchor and went to the fuel dock to top off the tanks with a thick marine layer not letting the sun through. The fuel dock in Half Moon Bay is a commercial dock and is covered in a thick slime of guano. I have refueled many times on this trip but this one proved to be a disaster. When I tried to stop the pump when the tank was full the handle caught on the lowest setting and continued to pump as fuel ran across the deck. I tried to move the nozzle to the second tank but the hose wasn’t long enough. Debbie gave me more slack on the hose, but I had already soaked our nicest outdoor captain chair. I moved the nozzle into the second tank and grabbed rags as Debbie ran to get the attendant. Several rags where lost to the fuel spill but it was contained on deck. Between guano and fuel, things were a mess. I paid the bill and we got out of there. Did I mention I had to actually rinse my sandals of poop before stepping back on board? YUCK!
We left the breakwater and rounded the green buoy from the west and set sail. We couldn’t believe that we were actually shutting the motor down. The Sail home was truly amazing as the sun broke through the marine layer. The golden gate was in site and the wind clocked around to a broad reach. In other words the wind was coming from behind us. Debbie heard on the radio another yacht call the Coast Guard about customs information. She hailed the yacht and discovered they had sailed all the way from Victoria, Canada. It turned out that we both sailed under the gate about the same time crossing paths within a few feet. Sosiego with single reefed main and stay sail and them flying a blue and white spinnaker only, while toasting champagne on the bow. They yelled out to us “Welcome Home”. What a glorious finish to an awesome adventure. We finished sailing across the bay and made our way back to our slip in Brickyard Cove. It was then time for sundowners with our good fiends Eric and Emmy.
As I sit safely at my computer in my mother in-law’s (Carol’s) house I’m watching the tracks of hurricane Iselle and tropical storm Julio bear down on Hawaii. Most know of our original plans to sail to the Sandwich Islands. We were originally willing to accept the risk of losing the boat in the advent of a hurricane since we couldn’t afford the insurance. However, after our third attempt to head for Hawaii was thwarted, we resigned ourselves to the Baja Bash and had a truly amazing sail home. Sometimes things happen for a reason!
The Half Moon Bay Trip
This is a great time of year for sea trials and the weather and tides were with us. 4-5 ft at 7 seconds seas and 10-15 knots of wind made for a fun run to half moon bay. We wanted to try out the new double kayak we purchased to replace the two single ones we had. I’d like to say the Twister double is light, easily stowed under the companion way stares, and is a blast to paddle.
During are last trip I had an issue with the engine running warmer than usual. When I overhauled the cooling system I replaced the impeller with a new one. The new one, a Jabsco unit, had fewer fins than the original but I had ordered it from the installer so I thought it was what was recommended now. Well after are trip to the Aeolian yacht club and the higher than normal temps motoring up the estuary I decided to replace the impeller with the one like the original. Problem solved. Motoring out to the gate to meet the slack before ebb on time showed no abnormal temps from the engine. In 06 we had re-powered Sosiego with a new Beta Marine unit from Hirschfeld Yacht Contracting.
2nd video link
I have included a video of us sailing out the gate into a south west wind on are way to Half Moon Bay. Enjoy!
I have dedicated the last two weeks of my life to learning all the necessary information to become a Ham operator. Here is the hook. You must be a General level Ham to use the free WinLink system or pay an annual $250.00 fee to Sailmail in order to be able to use the email function of the 802 ICOM radio with PACTOR modem. We decided on the SSB over the sat phone and have finished the instillation. What they don’t tell you is that for the DSC function to work on the little red panic button you have to install a second receiving antenna. Now it can’t just be any run of the mill antenna but one that receives HF band transmissions. More fun with holes being drilled in my deck and crawling around in tight places.
Now as for the test. This is truly an electronics geek club with private membership and a difficult hazing test to get you in. Yes, they removed the Morse code requirement but who knew about all that spurious transmissions going on. I mean did you know that for DX skywave transmissions that you need to set your frequency just below the MUF! This stuff should be required in the public schools. We’ve been going at this communication thing all wrong. They stress things like being courteous. Ok enough for now back to studying about propagation. Hmmm…….
6/13/2013 Update on SSB
We have passed the General Ham test and received an official call sign (KK6EYE) from the U.S. government agency of the FCC. We have downloaded the Airmail program checked propagation connected the computer to the SCS modem and the HF radio and made contact with a station in San Diego. Winlink is now up and running and all systems appear to be a go. Now I just need to create my, “White List”, and learn how to down load grib files from NOAA and saildocs.com. I would like to add that technology is out pacing the idiot guides to use it. Which means a lot of tech manual study to fill in the holes.
Sosiego now has her own email address and both Joe and Debbie can be reached. at
Safety at sea is a very personal opinion as to what is minimally necessary. Each skipper and sailor will have a different answerer as to what they believe the offshore boat requires to be safe. The simple sailor believes that they should not endanger the life of rescuers in their personal pursuits. Better to perish then to endanger another. Then there are those that take a brazen approach to going to sea and have no problem pushing the panic button. We see both sides of the argument and have had to come to grips with what we believe is our own personnel threshold for safety. There are companies that will sell you all the latest personnel safety gear but no one but your self can ensure your own safety. Always be prepared! The old adage one hand for your self and one hand for the boat still applies. If the person on watch fails at his or her duty to survey the horizon at least once carefully every 10 minutes then everyone on board is at risk. The best electronics out there are useless if not used by conscientious hands. Those people who go to sea for pleasure find life to be just as precious as those that go to sea for profit with that said if despite all our preparations, checking and re-checking, Murphy shows his ugly head I want the professional rescuers to KNOW where I am. I want them to fly direct and minimize the risk they assume in their chosen profession. I want to take the search out of search and rescue. I believe in properly registered 406 gps epirbs and radios with mmi numbers programmed and gps data hardwired.
With these thoughts running through Debbie’s and my head we went to the Pacific Sail Expo trying to decide on SSB or Satellite phone. Budget prevented ownership of both. Debbie and I have limited funds and,” do it yourself”, is the only way anything gets done. The seminar we attended was very informative and the underling theme was radio first sat phone second. The thought process is that with new digital selective calling (DSC) you notify every ship in the vicinity before SARSAT even has a chance to respond to your epirb. Sometimes you need help in the form of advice or if a medical emergency arises you want the appropriate medical response. What about the one part you didn’t add to your spares list. SSB with email and no minutes used. In the end we decided on the SSB. Now it’s time to look into the licensing dance. Ships license check, restricted radio operators license check, and general HAM operator on the way. Any one want to talk propagation?
Everyone has a list of boat jobs that need doing. I once read that it was like putting money in the bank. Like luck. If you did enough jobs on the list then you would have good luck and nothing bad could befall you. The military calls this preventive maintenance. I call it,” The List”!
Fiberglass propane tanks
New running back stays
New main halyard
Netting for books
New flares for abandon ship bag
Evaluate best way to receive weather fax info
Install new blocks for asymmetrical
Amsteel life lines
That was last week list. Now lets see about that V birth……………
Ok sailors, friends, and peanut gallery. The time has come to climb the mast. I have a cross tree support that is flopping in the breeze. Debbie just had a spinal fusion and is currently out of commission so I needed to figure out a way up the mast solo. At my disposal was one ascender, 4:1 block and pulley, climbers harness bosum’s chair, and and auto belay device. I attempted the block, tackle, and chair to no avail. Sadly Christmas weight has taken it’s toll. Rigging the ascender failed because I rigged the belay device to my harness when I should have rigged the top ascender so I went no where. I’m including a link to a,” Good Old Boat”, article of the right way to do it and I will report back my findings as I plan to try the different techniques. Oh I think I’ll check on my life insurance first! Next Amsteel blue and the brummel splice.
Good Old Boat link
Video link of me going up the mast
I settled on a climbers approach to going up the mast although I still want to try Brian Toss’s technique of a three to one with an ascender attached to a harness. My system is to connect the main halyard to 50’ of static climbing line with a grapevine knot and haul that aloft. I then connect one ascender to a daisy chain to my harness and then a second ascender I rig a foot loop out of webbing for both my feet. This ascender is placed below the first on the static line and is also attached to the harness with a cow’s tail. All carabineers are of the locking type. This allows me to inch worm my way up the mast alternating from standing on the loop and sitting on the harness while sliding up the opposite ascender. What I like about this system is that when I’m done I can switch to my belay device and rapidly descend the mast. Next I will be replacing the running back stays so I still want to try Brian’s system.
The newest item of safety gear is the Jordan series drogue. I’m a fan of ,”The Simple Sailor”, and have read several very persuading first hand accounts of the use of this device. For these reasons I have decided to add the Jordan drogue to my safety equipment inventory. Not to mention I needed a good winter project I could do from home. I ordered the kit from Sailrite to avoid the having to cut the 116 required cones and I couldn’t seem to find the required rope for less.
I sold my old faithful LS-1 Sailrite sewing machine on Ebay and purchased a new LSZ-1 machine for the job. The LSZ-1 is capable of doing a zig zag stitch witch is required when working on sails. I must say I enjoyed my Ebay experience and have been able to sell enough stuff to pay for the new machine.
The first step is to cut 348 30” lengths of ¾” nylon webbing that I will then sew to 116 sail cloth cones and then attach to 277 ft of rope. This will ride off the stern of Sosiego and prevent capsize from breaking waves during a bad storm. Let the work begin.
link to video
2/11/13 the cones are all attached and now its time to make the bridle that will attach it to the boat. The instructions call for ¾ inch line 2 ½ times the width of the stern. I’ve ordered the line from West Marine and will get spicing as soon as it arrives. I just have to figure where to store it. Maybe some deep dark locker? I hoe to never need it but I’m glad to have the insurance it provides.