Worldwind - Jim and Julie Focha - SF to Mexico Update 1

  • January 26, 2014 8:31 AM
    Message # 1483403
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Posted with permission.... 

    Ahoy.  Unfortunately we have had zero wind since leaving Stockton and have only been able to sail four hours in winds less than 5 knots in the 580 miles we’ve traveled so far. The rest of time it’s been dead calm and we loath running the motor.  It’s like driving a tractor 24 hrs a day.   We left Stockton the day before Thanksgiving and anchored in Pittsburg, then on to Sausalito.  The next day we motored out under the gate to the pilot buoy and back to start the water maker.  We found some problem leaks from when Julie had it apart this summer (I love it when it’s her fault), but decided to wait until we got to Half Moon Bay. 


    We heard a storm was coming in so we moved on to HMB the next day.  Here we anchored out a couple of days getting the water maker problems sorted out.  Then got a slip for a couple of days to do laundry and see if Jerry was around.  Jerry has singled handed to the Arctic Circle several times even though he’s in his seventies and has been featured in Lat. 38 magazine. His stories are incredible and it’s a miracle he has survived. He’s currently writing a book and preparing for another trip to the Arctic.  I’ve read one of his scientific papers on line and he’s a good writer, although I didn’t really understand it.  We also visited with Pasi a new Westsail owner and then on to Santa Cruz.


    After anchoring out one night in front of the board walk we continued on to Monterey.  When I checked the engine I found some anti-freeze in the pan.  Not a good thing. I knew it was from the water pump.  Normally replacing a water pump is not a big deal, but on this motor it is.  You have to remove the injector pump timing assembly to get to it, something I wasn’t going to try to do in Monterey for the first time.  I checked around and got the number for Peninsula Marine whom everyone said was the best.  It turns out that Hai had helped us about ten years ago with an oil pressure problem.  He came over and verified that it was the pump.  I asked how busy he was and he said they were buried, but not to worry he would take care of us.  We ordered a pump next day air and when it came in got a rental car and drove to the Bay Area.  We reserved an economy car but when we got there they said we could have a Chrysler 300 for only $10 a day more-Duh!!! Good choice as the radio said it was the worst traffic this year.  Our three twenty minute stops took twelve hours.  At least we got to see Eric, wish we could have seen Emmy. They've recently returned from the South Pacific and were our inspiration to go again.


    It was too late to go back to Monterey so we went home.  Dave Brown came over the next morning for a visit and then it was back to Monterey.  Hai showed me the easy way to change the pump and then we were ready to go. Total cost @$1600 OUCH.  That was the down side. The up side was our new friends and new Westsail owners Randy and Jackie came over for a couple of visits.  Jackie makes killer soup and it was great, especially with the cold we were having. Randy works at the Monterey Aquarium and gave us a behind the scenes tour. We’re aquarium members and it was amazing.  The mechanical system is really impressive! Something we’ll be talking about for a long time.  One night a fishing boat sunk two boats down from us.  Apparently they had pumps and generators running all night doing salvage.  They also had a crew cleaning up the harbor.  We never heard a thing and slept right through it.


    Form here it was on to San Simeon(Hearst Castle), Port San Luis and then  Cojo anchorages.  Cojo was miserable as we rolled gunwale to gunwale all night.  I would actually slide across the V-berth, Julie slept in the salon. The next day we were headed to Santa Rosa Island to anchor when we heard the “L” word, LIGHTING, on the weather station so we headed to Santa Barbara.  This place reeks of money.  The owner of the boat in front of us had a J 130 and came over to see our boat and we saw his.  Yahn came over from Denmark in 1969 and just as he ran out of money the building boom hit.  He now lives in a 10,000 Sq. Ft. house.  His next door neighbor is Opra and says she is a wonderful person.  He’s eighty something but looks sixty.


    We anchored at Santa Cruz Island one night and then Channel Islands Harbor county docks for Xmas were Julie cooked a great dinner.  The facilities were mediocre at best at $43/night.  Posh Santa Barbra was only $28/night, go figure.  From here we went to San Pedro (LA Harbor) and entered at night, AIS really showed its stuff here.  The next stop was Newport.  Newport is a long harbor filled with moored boats and expensive two story houses right next to each other.  How expensive?  We heard a tour guide on a tour boat say the house without lights was just bought by Nicolas Cage for $23 million and then he drove a bull dozer into it to start the remodel.   Next Dana Point. The anchorage was small but calm and comfortable.  We did have to move in the middle of the night as we were getting to close to a large power boat.


    Oceanside followed as we needed some laundry done and provisions.  As we approached the harbor the water maker quit and the motor started making a noise. The motor thankfully turned out to be simple, the fire shield on the remote filter was rattling, an easy fix.  The water maker was another matter, the control board was gone.


    We left and continued to Mission Bay, another small but comfortable anchorage.  Just like before as we approached, the motor temp gauge started to climb.  We checked everything and only could find some blockage in the strainer.  I was still concerned because I didn't think it was enough to cause the problem, but it hasn’t acted up since then.


    In San Diego we needed to change some of the water maker modules around to get to the one with the control board. Since they only allow 15 days at the police docks $32/day and 90 days at the cruisers anchorage for free we went to the anchorage for a couple of days, then back to the police docks where we reserved an economy car at Enterprise.  When we got there we spotted a 2114 black Mustang.  They quoted a ridiculous price so we passed. Then he said he’d make me a deal for only $10/day more than the economy car.  Well…..they know how to get me, but I loved driving it for two weeks.  And a busy two weeks it was, loaded with all kinds boat projects and other things like getting a new Visa card. Yeah, our Visa card got hi-jacked for the second time this year.  But it worked well as they gave us a Travelers Visa card that doesn’t get charged exchange fees. We only took one afternoon off to see a movie, all the stuff like the maritime museum etc. would have to wait.   I didn't know they made theaters this big. It had eighteen cinemas and was two stories.  Dave and Rosie came by on evening for a visit and it was great seeing them.  They too are from the Stockton Sailing Club and have been living aboard for several years down here.  We went by their boat the other day and it looks terrific with the new white paint job.


    The water maker took awhile.  In my mind the water maker is only a couple of years old, but it’s actually eight, so I expected problems as membranes are only good for 5-10 years.  This one hasn’t even been run for three years. Though I attended the Spectra factory school I decide not to do the work myself.  The updated control board alone was $500 bucks and if it didn’t work, it might be on me.  It turned out to be the right choice.  Wade knew what he was doing and sorted everything out in a couple of days.  They even sold me a new membrane for $300.00 which would have normally cost us $600.00.  Still the total bill was $1800.00, another big OUCH.  On the plus side our solar is doing better than we remembered.  Even on hazy days it’s keeping up and we’re fully charged every day. We’ve even ran the water maker and the stereo is on most of the day.  Speaking of the stereo it’s turned out to be a real worthwhile in investment with the addition of SIRIUS radio.  We get tons of music, comedy and all the cable news which helps keep us up to date.  But the biggest plus is connecting our I-Pod to the stereo which has over twenty audio books to which we listen to every night for a couple of hours.  We‘re listening to Stephen King’s Dr. Sleep


    Right now we’re back in the cruisers anchorage and kind of in limbo. 




    It seems the Mexican branch of the IRS is on a tear and has impounded over 300 boats for paper work violations.  The problem is that almost all of them had the correct paper work.  If you weren't there when they checked or the marina had lost the paper work the boat was impounded.  It appears it will take weeks to get it sorted out if it happens.  We anchor out almost all of the time but have to come home in April to do taxes.  At that point she will be in a marina for a couple of weeks. We really don’t like our options.  Pounding up the coast in the winter doesn't appeal to us and slips here are @ $800/month.  In addition this was supposed to be a short cruise and the time left for Mexico almost doesn’t seem worth it.  But things are nice here in the cruisers anchorage.  It’s next to the airport and the coast guard station. We love watching the planes and helicopters take off, as well as the cruise and navy ships coming and going. An aircraft carrier just left.  Downtown San Diego is beautiful at night, which we have a spectacular view of from the boat.  We’re also meeting a lot of interesting people, although not as many as last time as it’s so late in the season. But all in all, not a bad place to sit for awhile.

    “We have no plans and we’re sticking to them”


    Last modified: January 26, 2014 8:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • January 29, 2014 5:32 PM
    Reply # 1486311 on 1483403
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I wasn't going to send another update out so soon but I wanted to let fellow Westsailors how well she did.


    We left San Diego at 0700 in light winds 6-8 knots true wind.  We weren't even sure if we could sail downwind in these light conditions.  Up went the sails and soon we were sailing a 4.5-5 knots.  This lasted until the Coronado islands were the wind dropped completely off and the seas became lumpy.  We motored for a couple of hours and ran the water maker. After the Coronado's we started sailing in slightly less winds not getting much over 6 knots although there was an occasional gust to 8.  An hour before arriving at Ensanada bay the winds died a little more so we ran the Spinnaker.  This only lasted and hour as the angle was taking us offshore. But by then we could turn into the bay for the last 20 miles. We went back to working sails and headed in.  We did get an hour of 10-15 knot winds which pushed us along at a little over 6 knots.  It was dark now and we don't like entering a harbor at night, this would be only the third time we have.  We know it's a easy entrance and we though we remembered it. we still were nervous so we dropped the sails a couple of miles before making an easy entrance at 2000 hrs.   


    We logged 62 miles in 13 hours for an average of 4.7 knots. Not to bad for light wind sailing. Julie kept saying over and over that we could never sail like this before the DK mods.


    J&J "Worldiwnd"

  • January 30, 2014 6:52 PM
    Reply # 1487194 on 1483403
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Randy Leasure comment - he has the Dave King modifications.

    the modifications really shine in light air. i did the 3 bridge fiasco race this past weekend and it was super super light air and i had passed all the boats in my class and some with a lower rating before the wind shut down. 357 boats and only 1 boat actually finished the race! 

    i retired after people started dropping their anchors and i was sailing backwards. :) 

    the race lived up to it's name!



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