Shakedown Complete

A shakedown cruise is a nautical term in which the performance of a ship is tested. In our case the ship wasn’t being tested, it was the crew, and it’s my pleasure to report that the crew passed.

Shakedown Cruise complete! From Richardson Bay to San Diego; 7 days, 471 nautical miles, 1 school of giant jumping tuna, 2 whales, 30+ dolphins, +10 seals, one happy crew (and marriage!)

The day before we set sail, we anchored at Richardson Bay not before running aground at Ayala cove in Angel Island. We’ve been there plenty of times before but on this evening, we were surprised by a sudden onset of shallow depths – from 10 ft down to 3 ft. We inadvertently sucked up some silt which left our saltwater intake clogged and our engine overheating. We quickly found a safe anchorage and got to work. Not the way to start on a yearlong journey, that’s for sure. It’s a deflating feeling when you’ve worked tirelessly on every system of the boat for the better part of a year, only to find a fault in the one part you didn’t.

Here comes the cavalry! Our intake seacock was frozen open. A faulty seacock can sink your boat, so Capt A came to our aid.
Never a dull moment when you’re cruising. We pulled off the hose and pumped water back through the sail drive using the dinghy foot pump to remove the blockage. Then we sucked water through a bucket into the impeller to clear the other side of the system, reconnected everything, and had a clear line flowing water. Worked! We will still haul out in the future to fix the seacock.

We departed from San Francisco with a day delay as we let the 40 knot winds offshore die down into something more manageable. Our crossing over the feared potato patch was seamless and we migrated our way south with a slew of dolphins wishing us farewell. A sign of good luck we were told. Midway through our rolly night passage, our engine started overheating again. Since we knew repairs involved the faulty seacock we decided to make our way closer to shore. We re-directed our heading towards Monterrey – a 4-hour detour to fuel and safety. Once in Monterrey, we took the 3 hours we had before the fuel dock opened to address the clogged line.

We continued our journey south crossing Point Conception 24 hours later, in calm winds and stable seas. Point Conception, referred by some as the Cape Horn of California, is a headland along the pacific coast, where the Santa Barbara Channel meets the Pacific Ocean. Given its topography it can be a treacherous area for sailors, and we were happy to have calm weather when we passed through.

For a second we were able to doff our foul-weather-gear and don our sombreros. I was promised warmer weather and this day delivered. Point Conception lighthouse shown between the two happy sailors.

We spent two nights in Santa Barbara, catching up on sleep and letting a second windstorm die down. Andy took the time to install a strainer and a secondary valve, which has worked wonders.

Sailflow predictions for the Channel Islands. No thank you. Seeking safe harbor in Santa Barbara.
Sunset sail into Santa Barbara

On the 4th day of our shakedown cruise, we crossed over to the Channel Islands; spent one night at Yellowbanks anchorage in Santa Cruz island, and then 2 nights at Little Harbor in Catalina. The first anchorage was ROLLY! Second anchorage was gorgeous, calm and isolated. We spent a lovely day paddle boarding around Little Harbor before setting sail at sunset towards our final destination – San Diego.

Sunset sail departing from Catalina Island

We set sail for San Diego in the evening so we could enjoy the day in Catalina. Our night sailing involved 4 hour shifts + warm chicken lemon quinoa soup + auto + checking for boats crossing through shipping channels (which lit up look like small island nations!) + a beautiful pristine night sky + a warm-blooded Costa Rican blurting “I was promised warmer weather!” every two hours as her face turns numb from the freezing wind-chill.

Once in San Diego, we proceeded to continue ‘adulting’ in preparation of our final departure abroad – honestly the most stressful part of this entire endeavor. Life insurance, boat insurance, health insurance, credit cards, mailing addresses, payments, legal documents, laundry, blah (we are almost done – in retrospect, ‘adult’ earlier in life, not right before ‘nomading’).

As we sit here in our anchorage, T-1 days from crossing into international waters, we reflect on what we’ve been able to accomplish and are excited for the newness ahead. We are happy to report we are still happily married and are still both willing participants in this craziness. Tomorrow, the rest of our crew arrives, we’ll do one last round of provisioning and a tad past sunset will head out towards Ensenada – the end of our journey in Southern California and the beginning of our journey south.