Jan 14, 2009

Santa Barbara to San Diego

Brandy Kepner from Tradewinds shuttled our new crew to Santa Barbara mid-afternoon on Friday, the 2nd. Faced with the possibility of NE winds at Catalina Island the next day, we decided to forego a stopover at Avalon harbor - which is open to the NE - and sail directly to San Diego the next morning.

Our new crew fell right into the Sea Story routine, and after a good nights sleep, our planned departure at 8:00 AM was proceeding like clockwork - right up to the point where the gear shift linkage failed just as we were backing out of our berth! A quick mobilization to fend off from other boats, and the assistance of the Harbor Patrol got us safely back into the berth to trouble-shoot the problem. Turns out, the linkage had broken at a point that was going to require some time and effort to repair. It was also going to require a replacement part that just wasn't available in Santa Barbara. In addition, while checking the navigation light wiring, we found a short that had to be repaired before we could head out for an overnight sail.

Clearly, the situation called for come creative thinking, and that's where we lucked out. Turns out we just happened to have a crew with extraordinary mechanical skills. Bryan Saulsbury had once been a professional auto mechanic, and Derek Stroening had considerable experience repairing and modifying his own boat, a 24' Newport.

By noon, we had the navigation light rewired, and we had worked out a system of shifting gears by relaying the commands down to Bryan who could effect the shift with the control lever right at the transmission. It was a crude, but effective system, and we carefully maneuvered out of the berth and were on our way to San Diego just a couple of hours behind schedule.

The rest of the trip was much less stressful. We got in some pleasant sailing. We saw some dolphins, and we were briefly followed by a whale off Oceanside. Because of our late departure, we got into San Diego after dark, which is always a bit of an adventure. Good teamwork, GPS, radar, and the range lights on Shelter Island helped get us to the weekend anchorage at LaPlaya Cove where we dropped the hook at 8:00 PM. Somehow the celebration of our arrival managed to take another four hours, and the boat finally went quiet enough for the skipper to drift off at midnight.

The next day we used our command relay shifting system to get tied up at the Harbor Police Public Dock, and got started on one of the most difficult repair jobs I've even had to do on Sea Story. Luckily, the critical part was available (but just!), when Connie and Jennifer walked up to Downwind Marine. By noon the next day, we had the linkage fixed and operating better than it had before. Without this great crew's help, the job would have had to gone to a boatyard, so there was another celebration - this time on the skipper's bill...

After all the fixing and celebrating, the crew all the headed back to northern California with my thanks and appreciation as well as promotions from "scuppers" to "mates." * (see the movie Captain Ron
for clarification!)

Hard work, this "Skipper" job......

Derek Stroening and Jennifer Goodrich at the mast. Is it surprising that their own boat's name is Pyrateer?!

Connie LaBounty taking advantage of the sunshine and getting caught up on her reading.

Bryan "shifterman" Saulsbury taking a turn at the wheel after spotting our whale.

Our welcoming committee at the San Diego Police Dock. We think these guys were from the Navy's mamal warefare training center across the channel. We didn't catch it in the photo, but the seal threw us a salute as they passed by...

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