Sunday, December 29, 2013

Heavy jibe snaps my boom off the mast

The gooseneck connection linking the boom to the mast finally busted during an abrupt jibe on a 25 kph sailing day while heading back into the Mission Bay jetty. Noone was hurt.

Catalina Island trip

Sailing down the leeward coast of Catalina Island
 Hand speared rockfish and opaleye

This Angel Shark fed many people for many days.

1860 drawing of sailboat in front of Point Loma Lighthouse

Diving the Point Loma kelp beds.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New surf shop in Ocean Beach, California

Gregg's Art and Surf Co. is selling locally shaped boards and representing local visual artists. 
Stop by and chat with Gregg. 4827 Voltaire St., Suite A, San Diego, CA.

Captain Curran's hanging lamps are on display at Gregg's shop.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

DIY: How to build companionway doors for your sailboat

Here is my finished product. A new, collapsible (4 piece) companion way door for a 1976, 30 foot Newport sailboat. Alright, this is a piece of cake - nothing to it. I am not much of a carpenter - but I was able to piece this together for about 50$ and a few hours of mucking about with saws and varnish.

So, here are the pieces of the old door. They are withered, on their last legs. I went to Home Depot, and bought a 8 foot by 4 foot sheet of 1/4 inch weather resistant Birch plywood. This is about 40$. You can try other weather resistant woods (teak ext..)

You just pencil out the dimensions and get cracking with a circular line saw.

You just replicate the dimensions and angle of cut from the old set of doors. It is pretty intuitive. But you have to put in this staggered cut in each - so as to keep rain from entering through the cracks between each piece. So, I cut in half the depth of the Birch at about 1/2 inch in distance into each board. So each piece slide together like puzzle pieces. Check the arrows, the complimentary cuts.

Trim the height to get it just right. So the hatch slides over properly. You can power sand the bottom piece to get it right. Or re-cut if the correction is large.

Then give it a light sand and she's ready for varnish.

I know there are a lot of varnish afficionados out there- I am not one of them. But I know this works for me. I lay 4 heavy coats of this stuff down and I am good for a few years.

 And here she is - new doors, with a cool, two-tone effect of Birch with Teak trim on the door.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sailing distance (nautical miles) and time for a sailboat trip from San Diego to Catalina Island (Mission Bay, Oceanside, Dana Point, Avalon, Two Harbors)

This is a great sailing trip. You can bang it out in a week. And in doing so, will have covered a lot of the waters around Southern California. Plus, once you get to Catalina - there's lots of bays and bights between Avalon and Two Harbors to hide out in and drop the anchor.

I thought it might be helpful for other sailors to have all this travel info. in one place.

Distance in nautical miles:               (1 nm = 1.15 land miles)

Mission Bay to Oceanside:      27
Oceanside to Dana Point:        22
Dana Point to Avalon:             33
Dana Point to Two Harbors:    38
Mission Bay to Avalon:           63
Oceanside to Avalon:               45

I plotted out these distances based on my route (direct), and took an approximate start point for each distance at the outside of each harbor. Each mariner may experience a slightly different distance, depending on their mooring location and line of sail, but consider these good approximations.

It is worth noting that the marina locations I have included in the map, are the only marinas located within this area.

We made the round trip in a 30 foot sailboat (1976 Newport), staying a night or two at each harbor.

There were certainly glorious moments when we were holding 7-8 knots under sail. However, considering the range of conditions we experienced (current, swells, headwind), let's say - our average speed for this trip was 4.7 knots. Yeah, a bit humbling, this is about the speed of a brisk walk.

At that average speed, the approximate time it would take us to get from A to B was:

Time needed for each leg (if averaging 4.7 knots)

                                               Hours (in decimal)

Mission Bay to Oceanside:       5.7
Oceanside to Dana Point:         4.7
Dana Point to Avalon:              7
Dana Point to Two Harbors:     8
Mission Bay to Avalon:          13.4
Oceanside to Avalon:               9.6

If you're in a 30 foot sailboat, or something resembling that - these times should be a decent estimate, whether under sail or engine. Of course, sailors rarely use a completely direct path from one point to another - and so, it would be wise to plan for 1-2 hours on top of these estimates.

Alright  -

Sail on Sailor.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sail journey from San Diego to Catalina Island

In the blink of an eye, 2 years have passed since the last entry in the Captain's log.

After returning from the Alaskan adventure, the boat and myself have since relocated to Southern California. We've traded in the Puget Sound of Seattle for the Mission Bay of San Diego, California. The Puget Sound was very British, while the Mission Bay is very Spanish. 

There aren't too many decent anchorages down here, but we do have Catalina Island. 

The Alize' steering herself up the Eastern coastline of Catalina Island. Most of the island is run by the Catalina Island Conservancy, which has done an admirable job of keeping the place wild and largely undeveloped.

The auto tiller tacks past the iconic Catalina Casino.

Mariana and her dog, Lou, perched above Avalon Harbor on the Southern tip of Catalina Island. The Alize' is moored just to the right of Mariana's head.

What should have been a relatively easy 15 hour crossing from San Diego to Avalon (63 nautical miles), turned into a challenging 3 day approach. While waiting for a 6-8 foot groundswell to subside, we crept slowly North via overnight stays at Oceanside Harbor and then Dana Point. When the winds subsided and the Sea finally laid down flat, we punched over from Dana to Avalon (33 nautical miles) in the dark of night.

Lou proved himself very Sea-worthy. When the conditions get too rough for him, he quietly vomits in a corner. He doesn't make a big deal about it either. He just takes care of his business and moves on.
Very stoic.

The dog is real, but the cat is a fake.

I hand speared this California halibut at 15 feet of depth inside Toyon Bay. Toyon is about 4 or 5 bays North of Avalon on the leeward side of Catalina. There's not much protection from ocean swell, but in settled weather, you can drop the anchor here and get a decent night's sleep.

Photo credit: Matt Healy

Looking East back to the mainland. Los Angeles sits just out of sight on the horizon line, 40 miles away. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

120 days at Sea and 2,840 nautical miles.

Very late on a Monday evening, the Alize' is shuffled through the Ballard Locks and into the stagnant water of Seattle's shipping canal.

Back into the grubby hands of Babylon -

The Alaskan voyage is over.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ryan Miller checks in for the final leg

Springer is out and Miller is in -

Rolling into the homeland - customs clearance at Friday Harbor - the end is in sight.

Sailing into Vancouver Harbour

Vancouver - city of blue tinted glass and high density progressive internationals.

Making way into False Creek under the Burrard Bridge.

The 'China Steel Excellence' waits patiently in English Bay for its next assignment.

Springer returns triumphant to his city.

Desolation Sound

A strong westerly came down Johnstone Strait and into the Northern Desolation Sound Island group.

This made for a fast downwind sail - and then it picked up a bit more and blew out the main sheet tackle.

The blown out traveler and the jury rig main sheet tackle.

Tying up on abandoned pier pilings makes for a bad night sleep.