I’m asking too much from a 50 year old antique sailboat. The leak I plugged after my last outing turned out to be only half the problem. Before, my bilge filled up after an hour in heavy waves, and now it takes 2 hours. That’s still way too much if you’re planning on sailing 15+ hours/day. One of the main reasons I headed back toward the coast was because a wave splashed into the cabin and shorted out some electronics, and I lost my primary bilge pump. Luckily I was smart enough to wire my secondary automatic bilge pump to a different battery bank.
I spent 12 hours sailing southwest until I had my equipment issues and the electrical problem. It took me about 5 hours to sail back east to the coast, and then it took about 10 hours of searching around in the dark to find a marina. Actually, I only found the marina after I asked a fisherman going out in the morning. It was cloudy, so it was really dark without any moonlight.
The crappy quick fix setup I put on my front solar panel to keep the jib line from catching on it came off in heavy waves. It stayed on without any problem the last time I went out in heavy waves. I’ve taken the boat out for a good pounding in the waves a few times before, but this time the boat really showed her age and let water in all over the place. Lots of little leaks got a lot of stuff wet that shouldn’t have. My laptop was saved by my water resistant case. Water got all over my phone, my cameras, and my mp3 players.
The Pearson Ariel is considered barely capable of crossing oceans, and I’m starting to see why it’s unpopular for long distances. Large and medium waves can change the direction of the boat up to 90 degrees, and would make most self steering setups perform poorly at best. My problem with this might be exacerbated by how overloaded my boat is. I still think the Pearson Ariel is a great boat, but not for my purposes. Since this boat isn’t up to the task of heading to Hawaii or the Marquesas, I’m considering going down to Mexico. That would still be a lot to ask of this old sailboat.
I’m glad that when I headed back east to shore I wound up in Half Moon Bay. It was my favorite stop when I rode my motorcycle up highway 1.