Blog Archives

Seal Feast ~ Observations in Los Frailes

While anchored in Los Frailes we noticed the pelicans gathering in one spot and figured there must be a school of fish and it was meal time. I grabbed my camera hoping to catch the action.

Was there a school of bait fish?

Soon we saw a seal surface below the birds and I wondered what the relationship was between them.  My camera revealed that the seal was very busy procuring his afternoon snack and the birds were looking for handouts. 

Several birds spying for pieces from above the water.

It wasn’t long before I saw the seal break the surface and thrash about with a fish in his mouth. I’m guessing he smashes the fish against the water to kill it?

From far away it looked like play, but this seal was serious about his fish.

You can see how the fish is breaking apart in the thrashing process and the birds are ready to pounce on any scraps that fly free.

The pelicans were jockeying positions to get close to the seal.

I think the birds are hoping the seal accidentally lets go as he slings this fish!

Sushi anyone?

Apparently seals consume four to six percent of their body weight each day, so these birds are pretty savvy to follow the seal feast!

I found watching the interaction between the seal and the birds pretty interesting and I hope you do too. That fish looks pretty gross though if you zoom in on the pictures. Next time you see birds gathering, maybe a seal will surface and now you know he isn’t just playing around and splashing water at the birds! There is food to be had!!

As always, thanks for reading our blog. You are welcome to hop over to our FB page if you want to hear from us more often.

NHYC Race To Cabo San Lucas

One of the mantras of a cruiser is to write your schedule in sand because the weather dictates departure dates.  Not so for racing sailors.

The class before us jockeying around the start line.

We were scheduled to depart Newport Beach on Sunday, March 17th and regardless of the weather, the race would begin.  However, at the last minute our race start was moved up to Saturday and the only other boat in our class bowed out of the race.  We believe the forecasted lack of wind was the reason for their withdrawal.

We had “six souls” on board TTR for the race and we divided into two groups of three for watches.  Although most race boats seem to keep a four hours watch schedule, we asked our crew to take one 6 hour watch each night and two three hour watches during the day. 

I don’t know if everyone liked that rotation, but it has worked for Frank and me when we are passaging without others on board because we get one longer period of sleep which helps us feel rested.   

Gino looks on as Rogan goes up the mast.

Early in the race, Rogan went up the mast of TTR to make certain all the lines and sails looked good and that the hardware was nicely tightened.

Gino, James and I took the first night watch from 7 pm to 1 am and Frank, Rogan and Kristen took the 1am to 7 am shift.

Moonrise was beautiful at the start of my evening watches.

I’m not sure who had the bad mojo on our watch, but on several nights the wind dropped from reasonable to almost nothing. Our instruments actually read “0.0” for several minutes at a time before jumping all the way to 1knot.  You know the wind is light when you are excited to see 3 knots of true wind speed.

Though I would have enjoyed better winds during our watch, I learned a lot from Gino and James as they discussed tactics to optimize the conditions. 

Gino used a flash light to check sail trim at night and I was able to watch the path of his light and try to learn by observing the areas he checked and the changes he made based on his observations.

Wide open sunset at sea.

From my perspective it seemed like each night about 15 minutes before our watch ended, the wind would improve, we would set the sail trim, then Frank’s shift would take over the helm.

Once Frank’s group took over the watch, very few adjustments were made to the sails for the next few hours! That makes for an easy watch, if a little uninteresting.

Looking at the speeds and miles covered you would think Frank, Rogan and Kristen were the heroes on board, but my watch was really helpful for four reasons: 1. I had a lot of sail raising and trimming practice, 2. The watch went quickly because we were constantly changing sails and trim 3. I learned a lot by listening and observing Gino and 4. It was easier to sleep during our off watch time because Frank’s group hardly had to adjust the sails while we were sleeping!

Gino toasting sunset with a touch of merlot.

We managed to be very comfortable on TTR during the race and we all sat down to dinner each night.  I am pretty certain this is the first time Gino had a glass of wine while ‘racing’  and I know that was true for Rogan.

Thanks for this pic of Frank, Gino!

Most race boats don’t grill hamburgers during the race! But comfort and speed blend well on Ticket To Ride.

Happy birthday, Gino!

We had the added pleasure of celebrating Gino’s birthday during the race. Laura Morrelli snuck a tiramisu on board before we left and we all enjoyed the treat.

For those who are interested in the numbers here are a few and I am including our log so you can see just how light the wind was and our notes during the race.

Nautical Miles: About 900 (sorry forgot to note that)  Official Duration: 5 days 17 hours 47 minutes  Average speed: 6.5k  Max speed: 24.3k  Sea Conditions: very mild.

By far our most common sail configuration was the mainsail and reacher. 

Reacher, jib and mainsail at one time.

One night Gino, James and I added the staysail to try and maximize the tiny puffs of wind. That configuration lasted several hours.

We also had one day when the wind and waves piped up so we dropped the reacher and flew the jib; we had a great time at the helm as we practiced surfing TTR down the waves.

A bright moon reflecting off the water and boom.

We were really fortunate that the moon was waxing and the skies were clear so night time was well illuminated. 

As we sailed south, the water temperature increased slightly and we knew it was getting warmer when we began seeing flying fish.

One afternoon Kristen spotted something floating in the water and thought it might be a log.

In the pic, the seal’s flipper is down again.

It turned out to be a seal floating on its’ back with a flipper pointed up acting a bit like a sail.  The seal was totally chilled floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I really wished I could pass him an umbrella drink to rest on his tummy as he drifted along!

This pod of dolphins jumped a lot!

We also so dolphins several times jumping in the distance. Only once or twice did a dolphin play near our bow.  It seems like the Caribbean dolphins were more likely to swim with our boat, but we have seen a greater number of dolphins on the west coast.

We saw the blow of a whale once or twice and James saw one breach, but I didn’t see it.

Gratuitous sunset.

All in all the Race to Cabo was a great time. Everyone on board contributed so the work loads were shared.  Best of all, everyone meshed well, there was good input for decisions, the personalities complimented one another and no one on board dominated the discussions or decisions.

The whole race thing is a different mind set than Frank and I are accustomed to and I am not certain how I feel about it.  I like that races force you to be committed to sailing and making use of the environment and wind.  BUT I found it really frustrating to be at a complete standstill when we have two perfectly good engines ready to move us forward.

Though I have no experience, I think day races would be more interesting since the strategy of each boat is apparent much more quickly, thus the reward or penalty is more immediate.

We were on our way to Cabo with or without the race and I am glad we participated in it. Since we were racing what is actually our home, our team motto was “Party Not Podium.”

Ironically, we earned the podium but arrived too late for the party!

With only ourselves in the class we managed to take the award for first place!

Celebrating our finish of the NHYC Race to Cabo!

Frank and I are very impressed with how well TTR sails in light wind. The ability to sail in light air is one of the features that sold us on the HH55.

Yes, TTR can sail fast, but it is also exceedingly pleasant to sail well in lower wind speeds and calmer seas.

Several people had asked for details about our Race to Cabo experience. I hope this answers your questions. If not, ask and I’ll try to answer what I missed.

Thank you for reading our blog. Look to our Facebook page for more posts.

Up Goes The Mast ~ Finally

So, the pace has not slowed one bit since TTR was put in the water!

After waiting several days for the port of LA to have room to unload the ship carrying Ticket to Ride, we had to wait four more days to have the mast raised on our boat. The crane operators at the yard next to the marina do not work in the rain, so we waited and waited for the rain to stop.

We were not idle as Chris (of HH), Scott (of Rigging Projects) and Francois (of Pochon) worked on various items around the boat preparing for the mast stepping, setting up electronics, instructing us about the boat, etc.

The mast on the HH55 is different from many sailboats in that the shrouds and stays are prefabricated from carbon fiber strands and are a fixed length.  The mast is actually on a hydraulic lift and its’ height is adjusted to make the tension of the rigging correct.

Here are a few photos from the day we stepped the mast on TTR:

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Chris attaching the crane to the mast.

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Lift off from the cradle.

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Swinging the mast over to land so lines and electronics can be sorted out.

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Lauren and Scott guiding the mast onto the stands.

Once the mast was on the stands, Scott and Chris worked on the lines and attachments while Francois worked on the electronics on the mast (radar, antennae, etc). Lauren and I waxed the mast since this is the most accessible it will be for quite a while.  I know, kinda strange to wax a brand new mast, but one last coat might help protect it and keep it shining.

After all of the electrical conduit, halyards, etc were run, reviewed and settled, it was time to lift the mast and actually put it up on TTR.

The first crane was adequate for moving the mast to shore, but it was not tall enough to easily lift this 80 foot mast into proper position so a bigger crane was brought to the yard.

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Raising the mast again to move it back onto TTR.

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Frank, Gio and Lauren have guidelines attached to spreaders to help orient the mast.

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The taller crane allowed the mast to be completely upright while moving.

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Francois is in the hatch to guide electronics wires downward.

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Scott and Chris preparing the jack and shims for the mast.

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Scott attaching the second shroud.

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Chris attaching the forestay and third point of balance for the mast.

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Checking the pressure and shims before the mast is finally lowered into place.

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Still in the yard, Scott goes up the mast to check out the rigging.

In this picture you can see that the boom has not yet been attached. That was done the following morning while I was away so I don’t have pictures. But I can tell you that a bridle was made using the topping lift.  The bridle was attached to the center of the boom and used to lift the boom so it could be attached to the gooseneck.

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The boom is on, mainsail attached and Scott is checking things out again.

After running a few errands, it was very exciting to come back to the dock and see Ticket to Ride dressed with a mast, boom and mainsail!

We were very fortunate because although there was some rain, the next couple of days the winds cooperated well and allowed us to progressively test TTR and the rigging.  Our first day out was fairly mild and was used to make sure all the lines were running properly, the rigging was well tuned, the reefs and all the sails were working well.

Of course we let the professionals take the lead and Chris, Scott, Gino, Erik, Mark, Gio, Lauren et al took the reins.  Every sail configuration was tried a few times.  This crew was accustomed to working together and the sails were raised and dropped, adjusted and reefed, tweaked and tested more quickly than seemed possible.

By the third day of sea trials, the wind had filled in and we had TTR stretching out like a race horse in the home stretch.  We saw a top speed of 24.7 knots speed over ground!

Kind of long, but skipping the hull on TTR.

The boat feels surprisingly stable even at high speeds!  When we were skipping the hull and on the verge of flying it, Ticket to Ride felt secure and solid.  But I was very glad the pros had the reins and knew how to immediately de-power if necessary.

With sea trials over, it’s time for Frank and me to learn how to sail TTR without extra hands on board.  HH understands that this type of performance sailboat takes some learning and they allow Chris and Lauren to stick around to take care of issues that arise and to teach us about our sailboat.

Having Lauren and Chris with us for a little while has been invaluable! In addition to being good company, they are patient and excellent teachers.  We are truly fortunate that HH provides this service and that Chris and Lauren are so talented!

Thanks for reading our blog. It has really been busy on TTR and I have not had time to write, so if you are interested, please look at our FB page for more regular postings.

 

 

Stiiiil Waiiiiting!

I would love this post to be about the arrival of HH55 Ticket to Ride, but it is about delay instead.

ttr   I wish that was the California coast in the background, but…

Unfortunately this photo is not TTR with Los Angeles in the background. This is from our time sailing in Xiamen, China.

We have been tracking the container ship carrying TTR as it crossed the China Sea and the Pacific Ocean.  We were excited to see it getting close to LA and knew the ship was arriving around January 7th.

But close is all we are at the moment.

ship 2So close and yet so far….

This is a screen shot showing the location of the container ship carrying TTR.  The ship arrived on January 7th, but the port is backed up and the vessel is anchored just outside of the unloading docks.

Yesterday we were told “our” container ship would dock on Friday and the contents would be unloaded on Monday, January 14th. About a week later than expected, but we had an expected date.

This morning we received notice that although the contents of the ship had been released, Customs has pulled back on that decision and wants to inspect the ship. I have no idea why this decision has been made. I only know that it means TTR will not be unloaded Monday.

Our agent has assured us that all the paperwork is in order and has been turned into the authorities.  We have done all we can to make the delivery go smoothly.

We no longer have an off load date.

So now we just wait. And we wait. And wait.

Thanks for reading our blog. We hope to have better news soon. Please look to our Facebook page for more up to date information.

 

 

Ticket To Ride Is Arriving! Yippee!

Version 2Sailing TTR in China

Needless to say we have been impatiently awaiting the delivery of our new HH55 Catamaran.  We signed a contract in early September 2017 and waiting for Ticket to Ride to arrive has been a challenge.

ttr -2Let It Be floating in the Bahamian water.

That isn’t to say we have not enjoyed ourselves while TTR was under construction! We absolutely loved our last sailboat, Let It Be, and the exploring we did on her.

watson falls, or-1Watson Falls, Oregon

Having a chance to drive around the U.S. and see so much of this country has been really eye opening and we have seen amazingly beautiful places.

ttr -1Crater Lake, Oregon. And yes, that blue is the actual color of the water in certain light!

However, we do miss living on the water and we are super excited to move on board TTR.

Based on what we heard today, the container ship carrying Ticket to Ride will arrive in Los Angeles on January 8th!

davTTR wrapped and ready to be loaded on the container ship.

Once the ship arrives in Los Angeles, TTR will be unloaded onto a dock where we will dispense with the shrink wrap currently protecting her.  After the shrink wrap is removed, TTR will be lowered into the water and we will motor away to our temporary marina in Long Beach.

The mast will remain on the coach roof while we motor to the marina.  Stepping the mast requires a crane which we were able to schedule for Friday.

HYM employs the services of a young captain, Chris, who will help us commission TTR and make her ready for sailing and life aboard.  Chris has been involved with the commissioning of all of the HH55 cats and has experience commissioning and racing the HH66.  So in addition to making sure everything is functioning properly on TTR, we are counting on Chris to teach us a few tricks and secrets about handling the HH55.

nalaRacing the HH66 Nala. (Photo from HH Catamarans)

Although the HH55 is built to fly a hull like in the picture above, that is not of interest to me, and I will not be asking Chris for advice on this maneuver! (Yet.)

In addition to Chris’s proficiency, experts from Rigging Projects and Pochon Electronics will be on hand to set the rigging properly and get all the systems up and running.

Fortunately for us, Morrelli and Melvin office in Newport Beach which is only a stones throw away from Long Beach. That means we will have additional support and knowledge from M&M, who designed the HH catamarans.

We will certainly offer greater detail about what is happening on TTR as things progress and I have time to write about the experience of taking delivery of our HH55.  But for now, getting TTR ready will keep us busy for the next little while!

What a fun way to begin 2019!

Check out our FB page if you would like to see more frequent posts about TTR.

Thanks for reading our blog. And thank you for hanging out on land with us while we were between boats. We look forward to getting our sea legs back and sharing our cruising lifestyle once again!

 

 

Buy Our RV! Temporary Digs Is For Sale.

After months of traveling on land and enjoying the RV life as we anxiously anticipate the arrival of our HH55 catamaran, the time is upon us to prepare to leave our RV, Temporary Digs.

Traveling by RV has been a great way for us to enjoy our own space while biking miles and miles of the U.S.  We are extremely thankful for this opportunity, but we are antsy to see s/v Ticket to Ride delivered and to make her our home…. TTR is on the delivery ship which is making its way across the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean toward California.

Today I have initiated the sale process of our RV ~  I have posted the RV for sale on both RV Trader and Craigs List. We hope to find a buyer quickly!

The whole time we have been in the RV, we have kept an eye on the fact that we will be selling her, so we have done all we can to make certain she remains in excellent condition.

Someone is going to get an RV that is in excellent shape and priced well!

If you or someone you know is thinking about buying a 5th wheel RV,  please be sure to have them contact us.

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This floor plan was perfect for us! (Our kitchen seating is L-shape and can be a bed too.)

FYI, our RV is a 2018 Jayco Eagle HT 30.5 MBOK.  We had no real idea what that meant when we started looking at RVs, but now we can tell you:  our RV is 36′ long and has a bunk room in the middle. The great thing about this set up is that you have an enclosed room in the middle for sleeping or storage but you still have great views from the sitting room of the RV.  The master bed is a queen size and there is also a pull out sofa in the main room.  You could easily sleep 8 in this RV!

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Recliners for those who love to watch TV when away from home.

We chose to give our bikes and kiteboard gear the primo location of the bunk room – easy access and they were safe from the elements and theft.

Here are a couple of pics…. feel free to share them if you know someone who would like a gently used, well maintained and appreciated RV!

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Having our own space for cooking was great!!

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A comfy queen sized bed.

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We removed the bottom bunk for bike storage, but will replace it unused for the buyer.

For additional information, you can find our RV via RV Trader or Craig’s List.

Thanks so much for reading our blog…. we appreciate your time and would love it you could help us spread the word that our RV is for sale near Newport Beach, CA!

Merry Christmas!

“It isn’t the size of the tree that matters, it’s the love in your heart that counts!”

Quotes made up by me. 🙂

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Our Christmas tree this year is 20″ tall!

We hope you have a Merry Christmas this year and we especially hope it is a blessed one. 

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Surprise! We will be mountain biking in Santa Cruz!

Our Christmas be spent in the RV in Santa Cruz, CA and will include our kids this year. Since we consider them, and our families, our greatest blessing, we know Christmas will be wonderful.

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Just one of the amazing things we saw traveling the U.S. (Arizona)

Needless to say, 2018 has been a year of change for us, but thankfully they have been good changes and changes of choice.  We have thoroughly enjoyed our time exploring the U.S. since selling Let It Be back in May.

Christmas

Photo taken on a bike ride in the Dolomites, Italy

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Another pretty view from our VBT bike tour.

 In addition to traveling the U.S., we had the opportunity to go to Italy for an excellent bike trip through Vermont Bike Tours. A special thank you to Terrie and Brad for inviting us to join them and their friends. The people were really fun and the places we visited were great.

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Frank at the helm of TTR.

We also traveled to China to oversee the progress of TTR and to sail our boat.   We expended a LOT of energy in the building process of Ticket to Ride throughout 2018 and we can hardly wait for her delivery to the West Coast which is expected just days into the new year!

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TTR being hoisted to the shipping dock.

TTR is the culmination of the vision of Morrelli and Melvin being brought to life by HH Catamarans, with slight changes to accommodate our specific preferences. There are far too many individuals who contributed to this project to name them all, but we are very grateful to every single person who has helped us along the way.

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Ticket to Ride wrapped and ready to load on a container ship.

As we conclude 2018, we are thankful for our many blessings and for the opportunities we have to see so much and meet people from all over the world. We are thankful for prayers answered, especially those for friends who have battled illnesses or who have lost homes to natural disasters. We are conscious of our losses this year, especially of our sweet dog, Captain.

As we transition into 2019, we do so with thanks and great excitement. We can hardly wait to move onto Ticket to Ride! For us, there is something magical about living on the water and we look forward to doing so again.

Thank you to those who have traveled with us through our blog this year, especially since our focus was temporarily directed away from cruising which is the basis for our journaling. We look forward to learning about our new boat and resuming the cruising lifestyle and we hope you enjoy our musings as we move forward.

Once again, Merry Christmas to all who celebrate the birth of Christ and blessings to those who celebrate differently. We hope 2019 is filled with joy and contentment for you.

As always, thank you for visiting our blog. If you would like to hear from us more often, please check our FB page: HH55 Ticket to Ride. We look forward to returning to the water in 2019!

 

 

 

 

 

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