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Old 28-09-2010, 05:51   #1
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Salutations !

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!
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Old 28-09-2010, 07:29   #2
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Great story and welcome to CF.

You can expect the friendliest forum on the internet. Great members, great sailors and great people. Scads of experience not unlike yourself and a lot of newer sailors and boaters welcoming your sharing.

Have fun, take a seat on the rail and hike!
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Old 28-09-2010, 08:45   #3
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Yes, NotQuiteLost, welcome to the forum. A very interesting and well-written introduction - I look forward to your future contributions. By the way, it strikes me that you are nowhere near being lost - rather by what you have written (and how you have written it), it seems that you have found an emotionally and spiritually satisfying direction for your life.


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Old 28-09-2010, 09:15   #4
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What a great story! Welcome.
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Old 28-09-2010, 16:11   #5
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Thanks for the warm welcome I'm never really quite sure just how valuable any of my experiences can be, but I've done some real boneheaded things that I'll be writing about in the hopes that I can help some other people avoid the same problems.

And lemme tell you, there have been some real groaners.
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Old 19-10-2010, 13:19   #6
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Aloha and welcome aboard!
Good to have you here and posting on the forum. The last time I was in PI was in the '81. I'm certain many things have changed except the reefs and beautiful islands and scenery.
regards,
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Old 19-10-2010, 17:46   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
Aloha and welcome aboard!
Good to have you here and posting on the forum. The last time I was in PI was in the '81. I'm certain many things have changed except the reefs and beautiful islands and scenery.
regards,
The parts that us cruisers are interested in don't really change much, I think.

Now, the parts inland..I'm sure those look a bit different Still the same happy, helpful people, though.

Thanks for the welcome!
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