First Overnighter

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Heading out of Santa Barbara Harbor

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.

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Steering Lines

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.

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Sunset at Anchor

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Anchor Light

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.

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Morning fog

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.

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Summer Sailing

Despite our mild year-round weather here in Santa Barbara, Summer is certainly the best season for being on the water.   Despite the busy summer, I’ve been able to get out a handful of times, each enjoyable.

Out with some friends on a perfect sailing day – low swell (1-2′) and steady wind (~8-10 knots).  During the many hours of sanding, I often wondered: if this fits four, where does everyone sit?  Shoot, where would I, the captain, sit?  Is the footwell wide enough for my feet? Etc, etc.  Check out the video (courtesy of a friend and his GoPro) for some of the many seating positions, as well as general imaging as sailing in this boat.

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Another day out  where we found a small pod of dolphins feeding.  Much harder to film when feeding – as you have no idea of where they are going to pop up next.  Though you can’t really tell, here is a baby and adult dolphin swimming in front of the bow.

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And another…  This time checking out a new spot, cruising from Oxnard harbor to Ventura harbor and back.  This area is known for its consistent strong winds, which were just as advertised.

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Dog Sailing and Cruise Ships

A day of double firsts – sailing with our rather large German Shepherd and alongside a visiting cruise ship.  Ever since lifting puppy Tio into the boat while under construction, we had often wondered – could he go sailing with us?  And if so, would he freak out?  And always present in the back of my mind, would the paint get scratched…?

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So our friends couldn’t join us…, should this be the time we try taking Tio?  Figuring a very slim chance this large, stubern puppy would take well to the seas, we knew that if it just didn’t work out he could hang out in the back of the car on that cool afternoon.  The first step that morning, prior to launch step, was to try on his PFD again.  He took to it reasonable well (better than his backpack), which involves general whimpering and wandering around the apartment.  So far, so good.  Once the boat was in the water, during which he had much excitement making all his various sounds, the moment of truth.  He jumped right in, and soon enough calmed down enough to sit on the foam sleeping pad placed across the front of the cockpit.  At first he seemed too scared, or nervous, to much much at all.  After we motored out of the harbor and out a bit, he noticeably calmed down.   So seemed time to raise the sails, and he took to it well.  A bit more re-adjusting his position as the boat would heel back and forth, but I was impressed.  Next, we lifted him down to try out the cabin.  Despite all my work painting and varnishing to make the cabin inviting, he really didn’t care for it much.  So back up he went to the cockpit and fresh air.

Making sure the outboard is lifted up properly, and the thirsty sailer.

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A visiting cruise ship – so much larger up close!

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One tired sailer.

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