Sailing Season 2014!!! First sail!

Sunset on the Pacific Ocean just outside of Newport Beach harbor from the sailing vessel Cuajota a Schock Santana 30.

Sunset from Cuajota

OK…So technically its not the first sail of 2014, I have been on a few minor sails but nothing major mostly in harbor just to keep the boats various lines and systems in working order.  I am a FIRM believer in the old motto, “Use it or Lose it.”. That all changed today!  I had a half day at work and I decided that even though the wind wasn’t big, I would take the boat out.  I got to the boat about 5pm.  I LOVE this time of year after Daylight Savings Time ends, and it stays light until 730 or later.  Fired up the motor and took all the covers off and in a few minutes, I was backing out of the slip.  There was a nice breeze, maybe 8 knots.  I got to harbor unfurled the headsail and headed south with the current.  Light winds, small waves, no chop, and about 70 degrees.  PERFECT sailing weather.  The 155 headsail is still on the boat and is becoming my favorite sail, especial in these light winds.  This season I think I am going to add an 134 or 140 to replace the 135 that is pretty much fast.  The 125 is great but a tad bit small in the light stuff and at times the 155 is a bit much to handle when singlehanded sailing in bigger wind,  The boat was moving at about 5 knots and it was just a relaxing sail.  After about an hour, I tacked, turned around and headed back into the current.  Boat speed was 4.5 knots this way, and I was on more of a close reach.  Broad reach into the harbor at sunset.  Amazing!  Hoping this is a start to an amazing sailing season.

Sunset at The Newport Beach Harbor

Sunset at The Newport Beach Harbor

Newprt beach harbor at sunset from the deck of the sailing vessel Cuajota.

Newport Harbor from the cockpit of Cuajota.

 

 

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Going Wireless – replaced the wire jib halyard

My wire job halyard was getting pretty frayed so I decided to replace it with New England Ropes VPC line. It was a pretty simple thing. Had the line spliced at the local Westmarine which now has a rigging shop. The rigger came to the boat and helped remove the old line. Grabbed the shackle from that line and measured it. Old line was 85 feet. I made the new one 90 so I can have a little extra for when I run the line to the cockpit. Here are some pics.

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Water Pump and Belts

A few weeks ago after a sail the water temp alarm goes off. Lucky for me I was already back to the slip. Look at the engine and I notice the Sea Water pump isnt turning. The belt was very very loose. I was about to adjust the belt when I notice a BIG gash in the belt. Hmmm…maybe change the belt and see if that fixes the problem. I decide that I should probably replace both belts while I am at it. I finally get the belts on and adjusted, turn the motor on and water is leaking everywhere. Trace it back to the water pump. I decide instead of rebuilding it, just to buy a new one. The pump installation was a piece of cake. 2 bolts and 2 hose clamps and the old pump was free. New pump went on even easier. Tightened the bolts and adjusted the tension and the install was done! While I was in there I took the time to clean the area around the engine bay and the bilge pump. I was thinking of rebuilding the old pump, but its so old and crusty, I may not bother.

Leaking Water Pump

Cuajota Water Pump Leak from Cuajota on Vimeo.

Bad Belts
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New Pump
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New Pump Installed
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New Pump/Cleaned Engine Bay
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Old Pump
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Interior Pics

This gallery contains 9 photos.

I’ve been asked for some interior shots of Cuajota…here are a few I have…if there is something specific anyone wants to see please comment and I’ll be sure to take pics!

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Catalina Pics!

This gallery contains 20 photos.

Here are some pics from the recent Catalina Trip! I realized that while I take LOTS of pics I publish very little, so moving forward I will make it a point of focus to post more pics of my sailing … Read the rest of this entry

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Old Dog Learns New Tricks!

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Sometimes things just work out!!! The local WestMarine store is moving and they have been putting putting certain items up for clearance. I have been watching the clearance table intently. There are a few things I need for the boat and alot of things I want! I asked about instruments for the boat. They said they had no idea what was going to be put on clearance I just had to keep checking. 3 weeks ago I saw a Tacktick T104 Super Sailing System. If you are not familiar its the top of the line cruising system from Tacktick. Wind, Speed and Depth system. Wireless communication between the mast unit and displays. No wires have to be run in the mast and no wires to the displays. Mast unit and displays are solar powered. This also has the NMEA Network interface so any other network compatible equipment can be interfaced with the instruments. Things like chartplotters, autopilots, etc…List price is $2749. They were marked down to $2000. Then for the clearance sale, marked down to 50% off the reduced price. Not bad a $2700 system for $1000 right? Well thats not all….I get an email from WestMarine that said that all clearance items were reduced to 75% off! So that puts those $2700 instruments all the way down to $500! Well I couldnt pass on that! So now the plan is to modernize this old IOR derived racer/cruiser into a modern sailing yacht!

Once I add the instruments, I’ll add a wireless NMEA transmitter which will broadcast all the boats data to any device capable of receiving and displaying the data…iPhones, iPads, computers with charts, maps, navaigation software, the sky is the limit!

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Catalina!!!

Catalina Trip – 7/23/13 from Cuajota on Vimeo.

Ok. So I did the Catalina turnaround in one day.

Got to the boat at 5am. Prepped it and reached the harbor entrance at 6am.

Motored over to Catalina. The boat cruised at 6.5 knots. Did the trip to Long point in 5 hours. Not bad. I think it’s 28 miles from Newport Harbor to long point. On the way i saw more dolphins than i have ever seen at one time. They swam all around and under the boat. Jumping out of the water and swimming in the boat wake. Picked up a mooring there and swam, napped, and ate lunch there. Long point was an amazing place. Quiet, isolated, peaceful and gorgeous. It looked like a secluded Greek island. Amazing.

At 3pm we left Long point. We had about 12-14 knots I wind. Sea state was choppy 4 foot waves with whitecaps. Raised the main and unfurled the jib and we were off! I had my buddy checking speed and on the GPS we instantly were at 8.5 knots. He had a garmin handheld, I had my iPhone and we had compasses and charts on board. Checking them all. His gps gave him instant speed data. My iPhone app shows average speed over a 2 minute period. We spent time trying to see how fast we could get the boat up to. On his gps that was 11.3 knots. On mine which is averaged over 2 minutes it was 10.5 knots. Not bad for a old IOR designed 30 footer!!! We sailed the entire way back pretty much on one reach. Total sail time for the return trip was 4 hours and 15 minutes. We would have been under 4 hours I the wind didn’t die down the last 10 miles. Still for 28 miles that’s an average of 8 knots. The last hour we were down in the 4s.

Yes it was a long day BUT it was a great day. No one was hurt. Boat wasn’t damaged and lots of smiles.

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Wind Therapy

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It’s been a few weeks since I have been sailing. I think that may be the longest since I’ve had Cuajota. Things have gotten pretty stressful at work and to top that off I just got over a pretty bad cold. After work I decided a sail was overdue. I was going to raise sails no matter what the conditions were. I got to the boat about 6pm. Sunset is about 815 so I had a few hours of daylight remaining. Wind was about 6-8 knits when I got there. Not bad! I fired up the diesel and it turned over on the first turn. Nice. Backed out of the slip and turned into the wind, raised the main and opened the jib. I was sailing! I was going downwind nice and smooth. Headed down the harbor. Gybed a number of times and the boat felt great. Got to the end of the harbor. Turned around and the wind was now up to about 12 knots. Awesome. Tacked upwind about a dozen times. All the way back up the harbor. What’s amazing about this kinda wind in harbor is that you have to be so much more focused. There are kayakers, outrigger canoes, powerboats, electric Duffy boats, 2 Ferries and other sailboats from Sabots to 50 footers. Not to mention the mooring fields. So alot of things to avoid. This is the therapeutic aspect. I can’t think about anything else other than what I’m doing at that moment. The worlds problems and issues disappear. The weight is lifted from your shoulders and all you care about is the wind vane, tell tales and sail shape. The amazing sound of a boat gliding through the water propelled only by the wind is like the music that soothes the savage beast. Tonight’s sail was amazing. Liberating. Exhilarating. One of the things that will leave a huge smile on your face no matter what else is happening in the world. There is nothing else in the world like wind therapy.

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First Injury

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I was sailing today. Singlehanded which is pretty normal for me. Went out to the ocean where the wind forecast was 12-17 knots. In harbor the wind was blowing pretty hard. At least 15. Out in the ocean. No wind at all. So I came back in and decided to sail in the harbor that was blowing about 15. I tacked a few times and my jib sheet got caught on the spinnaker eye in the mast. I ran up the deck to free it up and for whatever reason I grabbed it from below and the force of the wind in the sail pulled the sheet and my hand got caught between the sheet and the spinnaker eye. I pulled my hand out and looked down. My glove was ripped. My fingertip bloody. Didn’t know how bad it was. So I pulled in the jib the best I could with one hand. Wrapped my finger up the best I could and headed back to the slip with one hand. The injury wasn’t bad once I got the boat back to the slip. Pulled about an inch of the skin off of the finger. Not deep at all. The glove took the brunt of the pressure. Without it it would have been far worse. Good lesson. Gloves are essential! I was in harbor with no waves just wind. If I was in the ocean in big waves and wind it would have been very challenging to bring the boat in with basically one hand as i couldnt really hold anything with that hand. To turn it into a learning experience I realized that the key to handling this all was to relax and think clearly. I see how easily that just a little panic can be the difference between life and death in an injury situation especially in challenging conditions. It’s the following day…it’s less sore and I’m already hoping I will be ok for sailing this weekend. I definitely have the sailing bug.

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Best. Sail. EVER!!!!

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The weather was great. Warm day in March. The wind was predicted to be between 10-15 knots. The sea state had 5 foot waves in 15 second intervals. Nothing about this screamed amazing sail day to me. A few friends wanted to tag along so we fired up Cuajota and headed to the harbor entrance. We got out of the harbor and sure enough the 5 ft waves turned into some pretty nice chop. Large power boats didnt help that as they came and went. With sails up just outside the harbor we flopped around. We were sailing but at a whopping 2 knots. I was looking at the 155 genoa in the boat wondering if I should have thrown that up today instead of the 125 that I use regularly. I decided to motor out a bit farther and to the North and see if we got any wind. I was wondering how all the forecasts predicted wind in the afternoon yet there was absolutely none. We sat and bobbed about for a bit longer and I was just about to call it and head back into the Harbor when I felt a slight breeze. Turned the boat a bit and yes, started moving. Within a minute of 2, it was up to a 15 knot steady wind! This is where it gets good.

With the wind blowing I trimmed for a close haul and the boat took off! Its an amazing feeling to feel a sailboat dig in and power up with a nice wind. The 5 foot waves were no longer pushing us around, we were slicing through them! A few times with cheers from us as the spray went into the air. No it wasn’t smooth seas, but I liked it! I did a few tacks, and a few gybes and the boat was great on all points of sail. The wind seemed to be a constant 15, no puffs or gusts. I found that the boat was nearing the harbor entrance but this was way too much fun so tack and back into it! Stayed out a few more hours until the sun was beginning to set. It blowed a constant 15 the entire time. I had a giant grin on my face the entire time. I said it 3 or times during the sail that this was the best sail I had ever had. I had great sails before, some relaxing, some nail biting. This one was somewhere in the middle. The wind provided the perfect energy for the boat. Seems like it was made for 15 knot winds. Perfectly behaved and balanced. The sea state provided some entertaining conditions. Tacking and gybing between sets, spray and splash, and the boat moving over the waves. To me it was the equivalent of driving a perfectly balanced sports car through some nice twisty backroads. It just doesnt get better than that! I also think my comfort level is there now. In a year and a half, I am confident that I can completely control a boat in 15-20 knot winds and a choppy sea state. So I was able to just enjoy the boat, the sail, the view, and appreciate how magical that is. The other thing was the speed. My normal ocean sailing speeds were 4-5 knots. An occasional 6. Hull speed on my boat is about 6 knots, so I am told. I had a buddy from North Sails on my boat and he gave me some rigging advice. Since then, my boat has been doing 7-9 knots! I recorded a fasted speed ever at 9.6 on GPS a few weeks ago, and this sail I got to 7.9. Not bad at all for a 38 year old boat! So for me it was more than just a nice day, but it was the feeling that I am learning the boat, understanding these better and better and the results speak for themselves. A day later, even 2 days later, I still think it was my best sail ever. Looking forward to many, many more!

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