Monday, April 11, 2011

Arrived Hilo

We arrived at Hilo March 23rd at nine-thirty pm.

The Seas had been running extremely high and blowing strong for the last ten days with no letting up.

We got twenty miles from Hilo and it died to light airs then no airs as we neared the bay.

We go from a triple reefed main (equivalent rolled up) only to full main and genny in less than an hour.

We had been on only the shortened main for the last three days.

I had been in Hilo before so entered in the dark, ghosting eerily thru the inky blackness at four knots with no wake in no waves on the inside of the mile long breakwater.

We sailed right into the gap at Radio bay then dropped sails, and payed out the stern anchor and used a little burst of electric power right at the end to set the anchor and put the bow on the sea-wall. ......we arrived!

Our neighbors were surprised to see us in the morning.....its fun being electric, we sneak in silently in the darkness.

The trip was fantastic!

We sailed off Mexico, between the Coronado islands, beating south with the wind on the nose.

Ran into a gale day three and four off the Guadeloupe Island and got hammered good in forty plus knots and 18 foot seas (according to the radio).

Every-time we went on deck we got soaked and hammered in the rain and spray and waves washing the foredeck.

We had the main down to nothin and the jib up managing kinda a beam / close reach doing a neat climb up the wave and pivot at the top and down the other side with the wind vane steering well thru it even though the waves tried hard to pound her off course often.

She was quite comfortable and I knew she would do well.

At some point well into the night the jib blew out.

I turned west in the morning and headed for the high and more settled weather.

The winds abated slowly all that day and the next day we found the high and were coasting along at three and four knots in calm seas under sunny skies.

At night the stars came out and we darkened the boat and sat in the cockpit for some stargazing.

The stars are amazing at night under the high..,...billions and billions of em! right down to the horizon.

I took the boat hook and made figure eights in the calm water and it trailed green sparks in the bio-luminescence. It was stunningly beautiful.

After a few days we turned south to seek the trades.

We found strong winds from then on and reduced the main to our "triple" reef and left it there for the remainder of the voyage until we reached Hilo.

After a day we dropped the main and sailed under a poled out Genny for almost the rest of the trip and that was all she needed.

The odd day that was lighter airs and she dropped to three knots I put up the second Genny I had brought from the salvaged O-day. I sewed the hanks from the destroyed jib onto it and put it on the same fore-stay with the A-30 genny and sailed wing and wing.

The pole was to light and dipped the water and bent, we splinted it and sailed on.

Six days out from Hilo it failed in a new place, we retired the pole and used the boom as a reaching pole.

Five days out from Hilo the wind vane failed, the whole rudder assembly let go. The bottom pin had sheared.

It had done better than any vane I had ever owned, sigh.

I hauled the mess aboard and we steered for the last five days.

Four days out the tiller snapped off with a loud crack as the boat was pushed off course by a very large wave. I hove too for the night so we could sleep.

In the morning I installed the spare original tiller I had brought along and we sailed on.

Five days later here we are in Hilo! YAY!!!!!

We caught five mahi Mahi on the trip and had a great run.

26 days 15 hours to sail 2,776 nautical mile.

I spent a week in Hilo resting and repairing.

My stepson flew down and sailed the boat to Oahu with me in light to moderate airs.

We had a great show leaving Hilo when several Humpback wales entered the bay and started spy-hopping and slapping the surface with their fins.
The boat is safely moored in Honolulu now in one of the few slips in our marina that was not washed away and destroyed by the tsunami.


Anonymous said...

Great report, thank you for writing it! I really enjoyed both the wonderful descriptions of being at sea/nature, and the more specific gear reports :)


Anonymous said...

PS: I'm trying to remember what type of vane you have (if it was in the blog I guess I have forgotten it). If you don't mind saying, I'm interested.

Bruce Barker said...


Rob said...

I just had my offer to purchase accepted on a 1975 Alberg 30 after a lot of hunting. This will be my first sailboat and it's going to need a bit of cleaning up.
Honestly, I'm so green I had to ensure the closing date for the deal was AFTER my sailing lessons are done so I can safely move the boat to it's new home! Your story, which I just tripped over yesterday, is truly an inspiration for both the big jobs and the baby steps ahead. Looking forward to reading all about your project as I embark on my own.