End Of Blog

I sailed from Half Moon Bay back to Richmond with an empty drinking water tank.  When I got back to Richmond there was about 1/2 cup of saltwater in the tank.  My bow never went underwater this time, so that definitely shouldn’t have happened.  Even with the water tank empty, I was still overweight enough that the boat sat a few inches below the water line, and I think this is why I averaged 3 mph.  The wind and waves were also in my favor, so 3 mph is really bad.

Right after I got through the Golden Gate Bridge, a gust of wind hit me that put me almost horizontal.  I released all my lines and I was still heeled over as much as I’ve ever been, even with my headsail and mainsail loose and pulled down most of the way.  The high wind was causing my loose mainsail to whip around, slapping the water, breaking the battens, and then flinging loose pieces of batten into the water.  Here’s a piece of broken dowel that got caught up in some rope instead of getting flung into the water:


That’s the end of this adventure.  Maybe I’ll try again someday with a better sailboat.


Half Moon Bay

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.


Here’s a picture of my v-berth before I piled more food/clothing on top:


That’s my extra outboard motor in the bottom left of the picture, and the curved piece of metal is the 5-foot-diameter solar dish shown earlier in my blog.  There’s more stuff crammed in there than you would think is possible.

Fish Juice

Professor Alain Bombard crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a small inflatable boat.  He left with NO food and NO water.  He did this to prove his hypothesis that a person could survive on fish/plankton and the juice squeezed from fish (and mixing in a bit of salt water).  He made it.

Golden Gate

It took all morning to beat/motor into the wind to get out past the Golden Gate Bridge, and then the wind completely died in the afternoon.  Had to motor all the way back again.  I do not recommend this website for wind forecasts:  http://www.windfinder.com/forecast/farallon_islands

Bad Day To Try Leaving

Once the waves calmed down I was able to jump inside and grab my camera to take this video:

The biggest waves in this video were about 2/3 the size of the waves I fought for over an hour.  The video doesn’t do a very good job of showing how rough it was.  Even after the waves calmed down a bit there wasn’t enough wind to make any progress, so I headed back.  Then the wind completely stopped, and I had to motor all the way back to Richmond.  Then I got a better look at the mess inside from rolling around in the waves:


2 of my potted plants fell and spilled/threw dirt everywhere.  My automatic bilge pump failed.  My outboard motor was only running on 1 out of 2 cylinders.  Not a good day.

Torqeedo Flaw

Here’s the crack in the housing that let saltwater in and destroyed the motor.  It’s been corroding inside for a month.  This was a brand new Torqeedo, and it got that crack from Fedex shipping.  It’s a sensitive spot on the bottom of the motor which shouldn’t be a weak spot.  It’s been too long to file a claim with Fedex, and no warranty with ebay.  There goes $3000. IMAG0055

The majority of the crack is covered by the bottom fin.