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I own the last Wauquiez Centurion 42  (hull#55).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's 800 miles to San Fran, we got a full tank of gas.....

Appa ain't no Mount Prospect police car but she can move.
For 24 hours we listened to the power plant pushing us south after leaving Neah bay.  The winds were forecasted to fill in from the west to the northwest with bigger wind offshore at some point but we hadn't got there yet.  All we had was very light wind from the south.
Not a lick of wind
We slid on south and added some westerly to it so as to take advantage of the bigger winds forecasted offshore.  Appa was far enough offshore that the crab pots weren't a problem but if it isn't the crab pots then it is the fishing fleet.  Go further out and the shipping traffic becomes the issue.  The boats were easy enough to see but we had fog wrap it's silky shroud around us for hours at a time.  The radar worked but it was not trusted by some of the crew.  Old school radar with a low "above the water" height makes for nervous people sometimes.  It picked up everything within a mile or so but not optimal.  I was fine with it.  I am far more worried about running into a big log or submerged container than a fishing boat.
We kept on rolling south on Saturday making about 6.5 knots or so till 1300 and decided to take a break from the constant noise and see what we could do in light air.  The wind was slowly clocking around and was by now almost out of the west with from southerlies in it.  Blowing about 10 knots or so.
We raised the main without a hitch and then went to unfurl the jib.  It came out OK and Chris noticed that the tension on the luff was a bit loose.  Now looser.  Dunk.  Into the water it went.  I tied the knot that secured the jib to the halyard and it slipped.  That meant a trip up the mast for me.  All the way up.  It all went well.  Alas, no photos but if you've seen one moron up a mast, you seen them all.
Got the halyard down and sorted out.  Raised sail and off we went.  Sailed close to the wind for a couple of hours and reveled in the quiet.
The wind was slowly getting some more north in it and we decided to put up the spinnaker.  It was amazing to have the spinnaker up and all of us in shorts enjoying the warm weather.  So different from my two other deliveries down the coast.
Here is the spin going up.

Alas no video of it coming down.

For hours the main sail and the spinnaker pulled Appa along at 7-8 knots.  It is not everyday that you get to drive a sailboat in the North Pacific in shorts with the sun setting while powering along at 8 knots.  Dinner was epic thanks to Maxey.
 After dinner the wind built slightly to about 13 knots or so, then the sleigh ride commenced.  Prudence would dictate that we take the chute down at night but I decided otherwise.  Chris quoted someone who said once, "that spinnaker will come down when God takes it down!"  And so it came to be.
Some various photos from Saturday.

I'm just sitting here watching the wheel go round and round....

Papa Fox doing some work

Obligatory sunset shot

I turned the helm over to Holm (That dude can drive a boat.) and went to my bunk.  At about 0130 or so the downhaul attachment point (which is spectra) on the spin pole parted and we decided to drop the chute rather than rerig an attachment point in the growing breeze and darkness.  The takedown went well and we were soon back up to 8 knots with a northerly blowing about 16 knots or so.
Alway and I mean always wear your Scop patch!  Even if you feel fine right now.   
Morning was another beautiful day and more wind.  The forecast was calling for 25-35 knots starting in the afternoon with bigger gusts.  Waves were predicted to be 16-19 feet.  This weather would continue from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday we were told.  We decided to reef the main down to the second reef and we still had the jib fully rolled out.  Running with the wind we were doing about 7-8 knots with occasion forays into the 9 knot territory.  We would catch a wave also and push our speed into the 10-11 range.
By late afternoon we decided to fully reef the main and had about 1/2 the jib out and we threw in a gybe.  The wind was now in the 20s and the waves were building.  When the weather gets worse, the amount of photos getting taken drops dramatically.
Bowls aren't just for cooking
By nightfall the wind was getting into the 30s (apparent wind was 17 knots or so) and the waves were getting big.  We furled in the headsail but had to refurl it.  I went to refurl and was unable to due to the wind.  We decided to drop it instead.  The drop went well and we put up the storm sail on the solent stay.
It was really too rough to do any cooking so we made burritos in the oven (Thanks to Michael for the great frozen burrito idea!!!!).  Warm and tasty.  They hit the spot.  After dinner we prepared the boat for high speed nighttime sailing.  Meaning securing all moveable objects.  I was on the helm till 2200 or so and was relieved by Holm.  Appa kept us remarkably dry throughout all this and she had a VERY solid feel to her.  That boat turned as if on rails and we never felt out of control.  Gotta love deep draft and a big fin keel.  30,000 pounds of sportscar!
Rich driving just as it starts to build

I came up a couple of times to check on things as conditions were getting worse.  Wind hitting 40 knots occasionally and nice big old waves.  You had to be there to appreciate their size.
Chris took over around 0200 or so and this was the height of conditions.  45 knots recorded on the anemometer and boat speed at 9-10 knots with surges to 12.  I decided to have two people on deck at all times to help call waves.
I came up on deck a couple times to see if the boat was handling the conditions well.  Chris reported that the boat was very happy and we charged on through the night.
Around 0400 or so whilst resting below I heard a roar of water and then a tremendous THUMP followed with what seemed like heavy rain.  I was met at the ladder by the rest of the crew as we scrambled out of the cabin to help.  I was first out and saw Chris slowly getting back to his feet while laughing hysterically.  Per Rich and Chris, Rich was calling waves and shouted to Chris "Do you see that wave?"  Getting no response Rich yelled with more urgency "Wave!  Do you see it?!"  Chris said that he looked up in time to see nothing but a black wall coming at him.  The crest was towering over the boat.  All crew was tethered in and really there wasn't much danger.  Appa shrugged off the wave and kept surfing toward San Francisco at full tilt.
We kept at it till morning and by noon the wind and waves had decreased dramatically.  By 1400 or so we actually had to motor and decided to make water while charging the batteries.  We attempted to sail a couple more times but in the end we motored the final 8 hours to San Fran.  So much for the forecast.
Our last dinner while on the ocean.   Papa Fox homemade curry.  It was outstanding.
It is common practice to time your arrival so one can go through the Golden Gate and not have to wait for the current to switch.  We decided to hustle into the entrance of San Fran and wait if needed for the current to flop from an ebb to a flood.  The plan was to anchor in Drake's Bay if needed and wait but we really only had to do a slow motor to the bridge and shoot through at 0800.
We made it through the "Potato Patch" just outside the Golden Gate and then at Devil's Point hit the swirling current that was left over from the last ebb.  This one wave managed to stuff the bow and roll up the deck right into Rich's open hatch.  There laid Rich, soaking wet and cold.  Secure your hatches!
We motored under the bridge and into the sunshine of San Francisco Bay.

Thanks to Max, Chris, Rich, Papa Fox, and Holm for helping Jen and I get Appa down the coast.  Thanks to Michael Pack for providing weather and great advice.  Chris Tutmark did a great job on the rigging also.  To both sets of parents.  Thanks for your help also.
Finally I have to thank my wonderful and patient wife.  I love you!    
We made it to San Fran in 5 days.  3 days sooner than I thought.  We have lots of food left over!
We went out and celebrated Rich's 60th birthday on Tuesday night and then Wednesday morning we went out and saw the challengers for the America's Cup racing.  Team USA Oracle was out tuning up and that was a better show than the race itself actually.

Appa at her temporary home in Alameda.  Encinal Yacht Club is the best.

For now Max and I are doing boat projects and Max has started homeschooling
Jen should arrive this weekend and we'll see how this living on a boat thing goes.

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