In building your own cruising sailboat, it is easy to start dreaming of all the places you could go well before you even start building. And not just go, but spend the night places so you can go further. After a year’s experience with the boat I took my first over night trip.
With the typical light winds in fall, the motor was used much of the time. As I tired of sitting sideways manning the tiller, I rigged up some lines tied to the tiller to steer while sitting in the companion way door. Will have to get a nice comfy chair set up next time. Certainly not a steering wheel, but made the distance more comfortable.
Though the Santa Barbara coastline is largely protected from much of the Pacific Ocean swells, there is also a notable lack of natural harbors or protected anchorages. There are a few anchorages that work fine for your typical fair weather nights, including the one I used tucked in behind campus point. Using a bow and stern anchor made for a comfortable night, though I did need to re-set one of the anchors during the night as the off shore swell direction changes making it bumpier than ideal. Though not in the forecast, we also had some very thick fog roll in, instantly turning everything dripping wet. The cabin worked really well keeping everything dry, with the vents keeping the air moving enough to keep the condensation from dripping (through all interior surfaces were wet to the touch). Here I was very glad for the anchor lights, especially when I heard a lobster boat cruising around me early in the morning. The dense fog made for a lazy morning, and once the sun had a chance to dry things out a bit, made my way a bit farther for up the coast to try a bit of fishing around the kelp beds.
My initial thoughts on boat camping in a small boat is like backpacking in term of comfort, but where you can bring much more stuff. An ipad to watch a movie at night, no problem. At least for short trips, there is plenty of room to carry as much water and food as you want.
On the return trip home, a pod of dolphins swam alongside for a good 5-10 minutes giving a great show. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera, my phone died (taking to many pictures), and ended up taking videos of them with the ipad, which took surprisingly good video.