Ok. So here we sit in Bahia Tortuga (turtle bay) aboard Cat2Fold. I can hardly believe that this is my reality…
Here is a quick recap of all that has happened in the past 2 weeks or so…
After arriving in Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles, CA, at 9:30 pm , Saturday 10/15/11, I decided I was TOO tired to begin setting up Cat2Fold. So with a 3 am alarm set, I got a bit of sleep, then commenced the second monumental task of this trip (the first being the solo 18 hour drive from Idaho to L.A.), getting Cat2Fold from the trailer to the water with all the bits and pieces that come along with doing a 2.5 month sailing trip. My boat takes a LOT more time to set up than a typical power boater using the launch ramp. Marina Del Rey is one of the largest pleasure boat Marinas in the U.S. I didn’t want to get in anyones way, hence the 3 am start time. Once the masts were stepped, I drove as close as possible to the launch ramp and unloaded everything I needed from my truck to the far end of the poop laden dock. The sea bird/sea lion poop was so thick and slippery, I almost fell into the water several times while schlepping heavy loads out there. I wanted to be out at the end so I would have lots of time and not be in anyones way. Then I launched and opened up Cat2Fold. This was the first time I did everything 100% by myself. Very gratifying! By 7 am, after being tied up at the “15 minute tie up” docks for over 3 hours, I was ready to motor over to the guest docks and find a spot for Cat2Fold to live for a few days.
I spent the next day cleaning all the poop that I had tracked onto Cat2Fold and fiddling about dealing with unfinished projects. Instantly I started meeting other “Haha-er’s”. Dave and Kathy Kane aboard “Lightspeed”, a Chris White Atlantic 42, are quite an inspiration to anyone who dreams of sailing around the world aboard an amazing multihull. They also proved to be very helpful after I found myself in quite a bit of pain after drilling a hole nearly entirely through my hand.
Clearly, I was suffering from lack of sleep. The bench I had made at home for Cat2Fold was needing a bit of fine tuning to fit. I needed (or so I thought) to drill some holes through the stainless steel legs for the bench and I thoughtlessly tried to do that while holding the piece of pipe. I had barely started when the drill slipped and virtually went right through my hand. I instantly was pissed off at myself, but then the pain and shock of what just happened set in. I went down below to where the first aid kit was and had to sit down on the head while a rush of faintness came over my body. I sat there sweating profusely. I forced myself back up on deck, and after a bit of time passed, I was OK to walk over to Lightspeed and get some advice. They were very helpful, bringing some booze, ice, and hydrogen peroxide over to my boat. And then they stayed with me for a bit to make sure that I was keeping my entire hand submerged in the pot full of ice water they made for me. Boy, I’ll tell you, nothing brings the “wuss” out of a man more than soaking an entire, injured body part in ice water.
After getting thoroughly intoxicated, I had a pretty hard time waking up at 3am for the second time in 2 days. I had to drive my truck and trailer to Tucson, AZ where it was to be stored until Christmas when Trent (one of my crew mates) will drive it to San Carlos, Mexico. This is where my Baja sailing trip will end, the boat stored on its trailer there for the winter, and I will drive back home to the snowy north country. My hand hurt like hell that morning. Very swollen also. Through the 9 hour drive, it started to feel better. Trent and I flew back to L.A. that evening. The next day, my friend Michelle came by with some prescription anti-biotics, but after looking at my hand (which was feeling amazingly better), she recommended I save the drugs for some other emergency.
Anyhow, with a crew mate on board, it was time to stock up on supplies and head on out. We decided to sail to Catalina. The winds were very light so we ended up motoring all the way out to and around the Island to anchor in Catalina Harbor. We got there right at sunset. Realizing the need to be in San Diego the next day, and concerned with our small amount of fuel on board, we schlepped our empty tanks to shore and walked the mile or so to the only night time gas “station” on the island. $6.60 per gallon…ouch! All was well once back aboard with refilled fuel tanks until we realized one of the tanks we had just filled, had a crack in it and it was leaking gasoline!!! We were able to tip the tank up on its end to put the crack up in the air and use this entire tank before switching to a different tank. A third 3am wake up in less than a week had us up and on our way to San Diego. Unfortunately, with no wind, we had to motor the entire way there. We arrived at dusk only to find the municipal docks filled with other Hah-ha boats. Well, that’s what the sign on the door said anyhow. Finding a tight spot that we thought we could fit in, we decided to take it and pay in the morning. Our third crew mate found us there and we hung out together for the evening. Apparently, the spot was already taken and the guy was just out fishing late. He tried to get us to move around midnight. Luckily he talked to Trent while I was sleeping and Trent was not having any part of it. We were thoroughly scolded in the morning, paid for the night and moved out to the free anchorage about 5 miles away inside San Diego harbor.
The three of us spent the next couple of days stocking the boat, looking for watermaker parts, and meeting the rest of the Haha-er’s. With the rally starting on Monday, 10/24 at 11am, I still had to run around looking for the watermaker part first thing in the morning. Nobody had it. Of all the hundreds of marine stores in the area, nobody could help me. I was a bit shocked and bummed, now we need to carry a lot more water with us, and be VERY conservative with it.
We started off in the Haha parade a bit late and as we slowly motored out to the start line, I realized I could order the part direct from Katadyn and while on a cell phone trying to place the order, we lost reception mid order. We hated to do it, but I made the boys turn the boat around, and head back towards San Diego harbor. The order was placed, to be shipped to my girlfriend in Jackson Hole, who will be flying to Cabo in a few weeks to meet up with me, and we turned around to tag onto the slowest boats at the back of the Ha-ha parade. There were over 170 boats partaking in the event.
Because of light winds, everyone was allowed to motor throughout the day Monday and through Monday night. We wanted to sail, so we stopped motoring about an hour after the official start. The winds were very light, so most of the fleet left us in the dust. However, by Tuesday sfternoon, the winds freshened, and we started seeing some speeds in the low teens. While I was at the helm, we hit a top speed surfing down a wave of 14.8 knots! The winds kept building and the seas were also building to the point of when we approached the 10 mile wide finish line, we had reefed both mainsails after nearly digging the bows into the back of a wave. The waves were also large enough that when we were sailing beam on to them, occasionally one would crawl up the side of the leeward hull and crash up on the deck. Cat2Fold has very ample bridgedeck clearance. Never have I gotten more than a few drops of water up on deck before. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that water can indeed get up on to our bridgedeck. I left my GoPro camera up on deck without its waterproof back on. Now I have a dead GoPro, and it is less than 2 months old!
After crossing the Leg 1 finish line at 9:37 pm, we still had around 25 miles to go to get to Turtle Bay. Our ETA was around 2 am. Winds were peaking at 28 knots. The seas were like a giant washing machine. We decided to be prudent and not attempt a night time landing into an unknown harbor. So we needed to slow the boat down! We dropped all sails and dragged a milk crate off the sterns. We lashed the tiller to try and point the boat up into the approaching seas. Cat2Fold was mostly taking them beam on. She handled it with ease however it was a very uncomfortable night at sea. The whole crew acknowledged the need to figure out a way to get Cat2Fold to hove-to. We will be working on this technique in the days to come.
So now we are sitting in Turtle Bay, catching up on sleep, meeting more and more Haha-er’s, and prepping the boat for leg two.
Oh Yeah… we caught one small tuna while dragging a simple hand line with a “mexican flag” lure… hopefully more to come!