I just found this forum today while searching for spare parts
to my Wagner SE Autopilot
, so I thought I'd join and go through a few weeks of reading threads to familiarize myself with the community and your experiences. For my introduction
, I guess I'll outline my ocean experiences first.
When I was maybe five years old, my dad and grandfather had a shared boat, a smallish Bayliner for fishing
rivers and occasionally heading out in calm weather
for halibut or cod. After a few years, my dad got his own 35' Californian sport fisher
, and we spent quite a few weekends on that boat (this is where I think I fell in love with boats. I always appreciated the different kind of 'quiet' you felt on a boat).
The Californian became a centerpiece of our extended family
of 100+, and a half dozen times per year we found ourselves hosting and participating in family fishing
expeditions where we'd put a serious hurt on the local fish
population, whatever they happened to be. Salmon, sturgeon, halibut, cod, bass, whatever. Hell, we even pulled up the occasional octopus and skate, which we promptly devoured. On pain of death, I might even confess to dropping the occasional crab pot overboard
in the middle of the night at the marina...
We used and abused that boat, but somewhere around five or six years into it's tenure with us, we decided that we'd slaughtered the local wildlife enough. That, coupled with the increasingly onerous regulations
on local fishing prompted us to take a step into the as-yet unknown: sailing.
At this point, our family had grown to six including parents, of which I am the second eldest. I have an older brother and two younger sisters, and none of us in the group had ever set foot on a sailboat. My dad did some research
, found a Morgan
41' OutIslander in San Diego
and we got a lesson from the previous owner a week prior to leaving for the Baja
. I was eleven years old, and this experience would likely serve as the most influential positive event of my entire life. I could elaborate on the trip, but I think most people here will understand how much fun a relatively uneventful trip to La Paz
can be. I was hooked after about a week, when during the midnight to three AM shift a humpback whale came alongside the boat and blew some spray at me. I still swear I could see its eye in the moonlight before it went back down.
A few more jaunts on that absolutely wonderful, simple and bulletproof boat (including a soft grounding on a sand shoal in front of the coast guard that I'll NEVER forget) and we ended up selling it. Probably the biggest mistake sale
we've ever made. Some major family turmoil, and about eight years later and we found ourselves in possession of a 65' custom steel ketch
. The acquisition of this boat is a story unto itself, but suffice it to say that six months and a significant overhaul
later, and we went to Hawaii
with a total crew of seven. It wasn't pretty (we got stuck in the High for a week or so), but we got there safe and sound.
And then the boat sat in the marina for about seven years. Seven years, with routine haul-outs and motor maintenance
being the only real interaction it had with humanity. Eventually, with the increasing cost of moorage and missed adventuring opportunities nagging at me, I decided to outfit it and take off once again. This time, I set my sights a little higher and aimed for the Philippines
. The length of the trip wasn't the only thing I was itaking up a notch, as it would also be my first single
handing experience of any kind. A thousand bucks in solar panels
, a thousand bucks in fuel
, a thousand bucks in food
and a thousand bucks in batteries saw me launch and never look back.
The trip was non-stop, and should have taken me about fifty days, sixty if I was taking my time. A probably normal amount of problems along the way (my main boom mounting pin broke, the autopilot
failed just short of Hawaii
, a small crack opened somewhere in my generator's heat exchanger
, medium/major roller furling
issues on my headsails, I'm *fairly* certain I got hit by lightning
, and I had to sew something like eighty or a hundred total sail patches) saw me reach my destination
at about 80 days total. The only real weather
I saw, aside from the occasional 12-24 hour scuffle at 30-40 knots in the trade
winds was Typhoon Ondoy(sp?) just prior to landing. Thankfully I avoided the heart of it (120knot winds), and only had to heave to for about a day and a half in the middle of sustained 60 knot
winds with 25-30 foot seas.
And now, I'm sitting here typing on my backup laptop
in the salon
of my boat, which has had a full year's worth of refurbishing and refinishing at the hands of a pretty experienced local yacht crewman. I've learned all kinds of things about anchoring
that I never knew since coming here, my boat looks better than it ever has and I'm about three thousand dollars worth of batteries and a haul-out/bottom paint
job away from setting out on another long nonstop jaunt somewhere.
Anyways, that's who I am. Sorry if the intro is way too much. I don't really know what to expect here, but I've enjoyed reading the threads I've seen and I look forward to participating in the community!