Aug 12 — VALIS Home Tomorrow

We have less than 200 miles to go before we tie up in Sausalito, so every indication is that VALIS will be back in her slip on Sunday afternoon or early evening. We have had strong winds and fairly high seas and we continue to charge along towards San Francisco. Our run yesterday (midnight to midnight) was 167 nautical miles, which is our best run yet on the way home. We have been averaging around 8 knots since then, so our last day should give us another fast run. We are bouncing around in the 10-12 foot swells, and are getting thoroughly drenched topsides. We have the hatch closed for the first time in the voyage to Hawaii and back, since splashes have occasionally managed to find their way down the companionway.
Nothing much to report, otherwise. We did fix the Monitor windvane self-steerer: not only had one of the control lines broken, the other had chafed the where the line was worn halfway through (this is worse wear than should be expected, and the Monitor will be given a thorough overhaul before we head out again). By yesterday afternoon the Monitor was again steering for us.
So, we then ate a nice spaghetti dinner, and began our evening watches. The winds were strong, reaching into the low 30-knot range, and we decided to put a second reef in the genoa. We carried on through the night in this configuration as the seas gradually built from 8 feet to 10 feet and perhaps higher (it is extremely difficult to estimate swell height from the deck of a small boat). Phil had first watch, then Davey, John, and Paul. Davey saw winds gusting up to 40 knots during his watch, but the average was closer to 30.
There was an “incident” during Davey’s watch: He was sitting under the dodger when a wave hit VALIS. Typically when this happens the water sprays through the air, across the deck, and into the dodger windows — exciting but harmless. This wave must have had Davey’s name on it, because it took direct aim at the small gaps under the dodger (where a multitude of lines pass through) and, like a firehose, blasted straight into his face. To make matters worse, this caused Davey to dump his mug of hot chocolate all over his “foulies”.
During Paul’s 6:00-9:00AM watch, the boat suddenly started pointing close to the wind, off-course with the sails luffing. The Monitor control lines appeared to be OK, but then Paul noticed that the Monitor’s “oar”, instead of projecting straight down into the water, was trailing behind the boat, being towed by it’s safety line. The sacrificial “breakaway tube” had snapped! This also happened on our previous return from Hawaii, and as far as we can tell for no apparent reason either time. This tube is designed to break if the oar hits something in the water, protecting the rest of the system from damage. We carry a spare tube, but will probably not bother to repair it before we get back. The B&G autopilot is now steering just fine.
As we approach San Francisco, we may take a very slight detour to the south from our current course and sail between the North Farallon and South Farallon Islands. Valis has never had the chance to see the western shore of the North Farallons, and this may be a good opportunity to view the far side of these rugged crags. On the other hand, it may be foggy, or the detour may make us miss a favorable current under the Golden Gate Bridge, so we will decide on our precise course when we are closer.
Tomorrow promises to be a busy day, so our final report may be late in coming. Until then, thank you for sharing our voyage with us — knowing that even a few people have been reading these journal entries has been a great motivator when it comes to writing them.
(trackfile attached)


Responses are currently closed.