All posts filed under “USA

Half Moon Bay, Thanks North America!

I spent a fruitful and productive week in Sausalito, at Schoonmaker Point Marina, thanks to Rob & Adam. I spoilt myself to Mussels Bleu at the nearby French restuarant, thinking it might be my last nice meal for a very, very long time… However, I’m still on the west coast, so maybe it was a premature indulgence. I sat at the bar and recalled stories to the French maitre d’ of my most glorious time in Brittany, France. Still one of my most favourite destinations so far – Nights spent calculating the best time to navigate 8kt races or 10m tides, and gazing at the infamous lighthouse posters in every French tavern, depicting post card images of 30ft waves crashing over their tops.

As if the slip wasn’t enough, Rob & Adam kept helping with the many projects aboard Constellation – Mounting deck winches donated by my friend Bain at the Berkeley Marina, figuring out whisker poles, visiting the Latitude 38 headquarters, running me to and from West Marine for parts, backwards and forwards to many stores to get final provisions and all manner of other things – Three weeks worth of aimlessly running around doing things on my own, were done in a week… Rob even broke out the sewing machine to make Constellation a nice set of protective weather cloths to guard the cockpit and myself from incoming waves – A modification I’ve wanted to make since day one. LaDonna of Latidue 38 vacuum packed beans and rice for provisions – In my first meeting with this salty pair, they exclaimed “we’ll send you off with 25lbs of beans and rice” … And so they did! Thank you Adam for the PFD, safety line and everything else you parted with… I hope the motivation is even stronger to chase me across the Pacific and retrieve it all!

Without the assistance Marcello and Massimo of Bluemapia.com, no provisions would be onboard, and Hawaii and beyond may not have become an attainable possibility this year… Many thanks to my favourite Italians for not only employing me over the last six months, but for stepping up again and assisting in financing some of the many things that are required to do what I’m doing. These guys are passionate sailors who’ve built a great resource for the community – Use it.

Constellation has never been in better shape – She doesn’t necessarily look as Bristol as I might like, however from the point of view of what I’m doing, and what she’s already done, the sunbleached and paint stripped deck seem to represent nothing other the wrinkles found on a wise face. She’s sporting a re-cut mylar reaching sail, new luff tape on all sails for the Selden Furlex, and a pretty burgundy sailcover thanks to Mark at Doyle sails of Long Island – I exploded my genoa in Long Island sound last year in a line squall, and Mark generously expedited a replacement across to the Alameda Doyle loft two weeks ago – Thank you so much Mark.

Bain, whom I’ve lost contact with, (if you’re out there, email me!) ferried me around various chandleries, fed me, and just generally looked after Constellation and I in Berkeley – Along with Captain Ted I’ve been in great hands on the east bay. Thanks to Anthony and Jeff @ OCSC for the opportunity to do a talk on my trip, and to Karen for the helping fund the no-more-Ramen-diet I’m attempting this season.

After my brief stay in Sausalito, meeting the infamous Maria, and the not so infamous, yet humble and kind Buddhist monk Dawa, I set sail in the company of three other vessels for Half Moon Bay. Towed under the Golden Gate Bridge due to Constellations working but impossibly slow little diesel thumper, I was eventually untethered and let to roam free for the first time in the Pacific ocean. The weather was kind, and I set Windy the Windpilot on a nice tack heading West.

My friends in company eventually radioed and reminded me that we were actually supposed to be going south, but I was enjoying the sail so much, I setup a 2nm tack before bearing down on Half Moon. In light southerly winds, the other three boats needed to sail backwards and around in circles, so as not to leave me behind, before we eventually ghosted past the placid looking big wave surfspot, Mavericks, and through the breakwater into the bay.


Photo Courtesy Latitude 38 / LaDonna

Rafted up, and into town for clam chowder (one of my reasons for visiting America – To sail past the Statue of Liberty, and eat bowels of chowder), the next morning Captain Ted and I bought a Dungeness crab for brunch. I’ve never claimed to be a tough man. I couldn’t kill the crab, and so Rob did the honours, and I steamed the catch. Eating out of a bucket off the transom with butter, it was quite the occasion. My first Dungeness. LaDonna wrote a piece in Lectronic Latitude on the send-off party.

And so, as the now trio of boats motored out of the breakwater, I ran in circles and said my goodbyes over VHF. I thought in two days I would be gone… But here I am, waiting on the weather. I have a long and lonely six months ahead of me, as Constellation and I attempt to do virtually the entire Pacific (and then some), within six months. Actually, lonely isn’t the right word, but I will certainly be alone… And so the weather patterns are clearing, and the NW winds are set to resume their pattern, and I genuinly feel this weekend is going to be my departure window. I write to you from the anchorage at Half Moon Bay – These bits were posted by solar power.

I suspect my next post will be from the high seas – Remote updates will be zapped over satellite, thanks to Serversaurus.com.

Thanks for everything North America, now I have to get back to following the setting sun!

Nick.

Talk at OCSC this Wednesday

For anyone in the Bay area, I’m doing a talk at OCSC this Wednesday evening, at 8:30pm. The talk is free for members and non-members, so all are welcome. I’ll be showing photos, videos and, obviously talking… Details here.

I’ve sailed over to Sausalito now, and am staying in a slip donated by Adam & Rob for the week. The tentative plan is to head down to Half Moon bay this weekend, and then depart for Hawaii from there. Constellation’s rail was under the water for most of the sail over, and some new problems have arisen. The usual: Water ingress from a few new spots, and one that just won’t give up… If 3M or Sikaflex would sponsor me, I’d be happy to just poor it over the entire deck and be done!

Nick.

Both on the west coast

At long last. After what many people said was stupid, too expensive, impractical, or ‘cheating’, Constellation and I went ahead anyway, and I’m pleased to announce, we’re happily floating on the west coast of the US.

After a month-long delay by Nauti Buoy Marine out of Ohio in getting my boat to California, coupled with their terrible lack of communication, I can say one thing I’m happy about: Constellation arrived safe and sound. She may be late, and I may be stressed out, but, we’ll make it, I’m sure.

So much has happened, I’m lost for where to start… Jack and I crossed the country, he filmed, I filmed, and we had a blast. The interior of the United States is beyond comprehension. What a big and beautiful country, full of friendly and interesting people. I can’t write about everything, so this short video I shot will have to suffice:

After the epic cross-country trip, I landed in Berkeley, expecting my boat to be just a day or two behind me. So I waited, and waited… And waited. If it wasn’t for the extraordinary generosity of Captain Ted, I would have been up a creek without a paddle. He lent me a lovely boat just down the road from Berkeley marina, where I was able to stay until the truckers actually got their act together. From coast-to-coast the generosity of America continues to shine through. I had someone email me the other day, and tell me I’m the luckiest person they’d ever met… And, I have a feeling they might be right. Thank you Ted, you’re both a gentlemen and a lifesaver.

Fast forward a few weeks, and at long last, this happened:

Yes, I got to stand next to my boat. In California. It was a momentous occasion, having first proposed the idea back in Feb of 2008… I never knew whether it would be actually possible, and while it wasn’t exactly how I had intended it to happen… It happened nonetheless, and here we are.

As soon as the truck arrived, Constellation was thrown up on the crane by Berkeley Marine Center, and I ran about preparing for a quick launch. I dabbed up the antifoul, re-attached the rudder with the help of friendly onlookers (it seemed everyone was curious about the pretty red boat with lots of stickers), I launched, and Constellation floated.

With Captain Ted at the helm and help from Berkeley Marina, we were towed over to our slip, to begin the arduous re-assembly:

With thanks to my generous uncle, whom I saw recently in Eugene, I have power tools to help me along… I also have my brother, who flew in from Melbourne. Remember the crazy bike that Lee Winters loaned me when I had grand plans of crossing the country? I couldn’t register it… But, my brother can, so he’s riding it to Alaska. If you get bored with me, try him out at www.ryanjaffe.com.au. My poor parents.

So, that’s the abridged version of events… I’ll try to update more often, but, I’ll be off for Hawaii pretty soon. I’m already a bit late… For anyone that has written and I’ve not replied lately, especially those from the SF/Bay Area who wanted to visit and see the boat – Please email me again… I’m drowning in email. And for anyone that has my cell number, it is no longer functioning (waterlogged), after a small accident with a kayak … ;)

Nick.