Weather improving?

Take it from someone who does not understand weather nor forecasting: we are just about 7 days from the cruising division start and the weather for the Pacific Cup is improving!

Over the last few days I have looked at the charts for the Pacific Cup crossing and things look better than they did a few days ago. The site has a nice set of charts for the following 8 days. The only problem is that it is difficult to see a daily trend because the first few days have 8 charts per day and the last day of the model only 2.

So it took the whole set of charts, only kept the 0 UTC chart for each day (this also remove the day/night variations) and created the following animation:

Next 8 days

Next 8 days: click to animate

Clearly the wind pattern seems to be moving north, closer to the great circle route. Is that true or am I only seeing what I am hoping for?


At the Richmond Yacht Club

There was still a little bit of day light when we crossed under the Golden Gate bridge and we were able to snap a few of those very special sailing pictures:

Note to self: frame this picture

Note to self: frame this picture

Under the bridge

Under the bridge

We were excited to look at our speed with peaks at 11 knots just under the bridge (taking advantage of the flood current).

Finally around 10PM, 3 days and 7 hours after leaving Wilmington, we arrived at the Richmond Yacht Club. The club is located about 10 nautical miles past the Golden Gate bridge. John, the harbormaster happened to be outside and directed us to our temporary dock. He also gave us access to the showers which was a good thing after 3 days at sea!

In the morning, we got a very friendly welcoming from Steve Chamberlin, the Commodore of the Pacific Cup Yacht Club whom I met in the parking lot of the club.

The club is very nice and very well managed. All of us recognized names of boats we read about in Latitude 38.

A lot of sail boats!

A lot of sail boats!

RYC Clubhouse

RYC Clubhouse

For the time being, Med Viking is under the care of Guillaume and Jerome. The whole crew will be back early July…

Almost there!

The computer tells us that our ETA at the Richmond Yacht Club is around 11PM tonight. We had a nice sail from 2:30 AM to the early afternoon. This was nice because that saved us another refueling stop along the coast and additional delay. It looks like we are also perfectly synchronized with the current under the Golden Gate bridge. A few hours later we would have a 5.77 kts ebb current that we would not want to fight…

I was able to reach John, the very helpful harbormaster at the Yacht Club in anticipation of our late night arrival. He gave us a temporary docking spot for the night so we know where to go upon arrival – very nice.

Yesterday we had a wonderful show of humpback whales jumping out of the water. This is a very rare sight (especially since Sea World is not allowed to play with whales any longer!).

So far we had an amazing delivery. No wind at Point Conception (this is a good thing!) and SW wind all day today. Both are very rare occurrences and having both on a single LA to SF delivery is almost a miracle! For the time being, the sailing gods are with us!

A stop in San Luis Obisbo

All is well on Med Viking. We had to stop to refuel in San Luis Obisbo. Our timing was not ideal because we arrived at 1AM so we stayed until the fuel dock would open at 8AM.

Next stop?

We left for San Francisco

The boat was still very messy on Sunday morning when my 2 girls dropped me at the marina. After a few hours of hard work, we managed to clean the boat well enough to decide that it was time to leave so at 3:06PM on Sunday the 8th of May we are finally attempting the delivery to San Francisco.

It looks like we are going to have a nice weather window to pass Point Conception (aka the Cap Horn of the west!).

The crew includes the Pacific Cup crew + Jerome, a friend of Guillaume from Quebec. So we have 4 french speaking sailors against Bob and Dianna!

Our schedule and a possible weather window

There is light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully it is not a train coming our way…

Our current schedule is to leave from beautiful Wilmington, CA this coming Sunday the 8th of June and start the delivery to the Richmond Yacht Club inside the San Francisco bay.

A frequent sight in LA

A frequent sight in LA

Bob and I did some more targeted work in preparation for the delivery north:

  1. Changed the engine oil and oil filter
  2. Flushed the old engine coolant and replaced it (some coolant had been lost when the water heater was replaced)
  3. Finished wiring the new alternator/ regulator and verified its operation
  4. Started to clean the lockers: The only way it works is to fully empty the locker, clean it and only put back what is needed. After just 1.5 lockers, the trunk of my car was already full of junk to take home!

On the weather front, it looks that the weather in the Central coast was a little rough over the last few day but it looks like the weather is going to be improving giving us a weather window for the trip north. Nobody is willing to speculate as to when we will arrive in San Francisco…

Not the wind we want!

Not the wind we want!

Boat leak: the verdict

It has been a little bit more than 2 months since Med Viking was almost lost due to a leak at the speed sensor. Here is the (hopefully) final verdict of what got damaged and required to be replaced or repaired as a result of the leak:

  1. The electric bilge pump
  2. The bilge pump float (really an electronic sensor)
  3. The freshwater pump (the replacement failed 1 week after replacement and was exchanged under warranty). The new variable speed pump allowed me to remove the expansion tank which was ugly and full of rust.
  4. The engine battery: the battery wire and connector on the negative side were also completely dissolved due to the electrolysis.
  5. The water heater (the water heater works with AC at the dock or with the coolant when the engine is running)
  6. The motor from the electric toilet
  7. The paint under the engine (oil pan). This is not repaired yet…
  8. A lot of spare parts, the most valuable ones being some spare pumps.

Are we done yet?

As Bob and I are working on getting Med Viking ready for the big race, we have good days and bad days…

Bad days: changing one of the two heads looked like an easy project a few months ago.In reality this project took a very long time. First the holding tank was leaking so I ordered a new tank from Beneteau. When the new tank arrived, I had moved on to another project so the tanks sat uninstalled for a while. Just as I was ready to install the new tank, I discovered that the other head also needed a new tank so I “borrowed” the new tank. At that point we had at least one head fully functional. I ordered a new tank from Ronco Plastics in Tustin (highly recommended). The new tank is more practical than the Beneteau original because it has all the pick up at the top:

Tank from Ronco Plastics

Tank from Ronco Plastics

After the tanks was installed I discovered that the motor that runs the electric toilet had been damaged when it got soaked into water. So I ordered a new motor… A few days later I was able to test the whole setup only to realize that the macerator pump was not working well enough to empty the tank. So yet another trip to West Marine to get a new macerator pump…

Good days: after I removed the diesel generator, I needed to find a good way to charge the house bank. One of the members of the Beneteau 411 group on Facebook offered a never-used 100 Amp alternator at a pretty nice discount. I bought it from him. The good news is that we were able to install the alternator pretty quickly. The 100 amps alternator is coupled to a smart charger (MC-614 from Balmar) so we should have plenty of juice to run all the electronic gadgets we are bringing with us!

The 100 amps alternator

The 100 amps alternator