Fresh Water Day

As I mentioned, one of the larger issues that arose on Day One was that the water tank became contaminated – cloudy and soapy. Rather a big deal no having potable water. I have a 7 gallon jug in reserve that I started to use yesterday and this morning.

After pumping out the tank, I got the water maker started and it’s been putting out the 1 gallon per hour for a few hours now. First the jug was replenished, now there are a few gallons in the tank, which I will swish around and pump out again. Repeat until the water is clean and refill. The watermaker then gets run about an hour per day to keep the membrane fresh.

After some analysis, I determined that the pex to hose joint must have leaked, allowing some lose dirty bilge water into the tank. A bit of a mystery, really as the tank didn’t leak out, but perhaps Sparrow was leaned over so far the pressure was only in? Deck fill leak was ruled out – no salty taste & it didn’t explain the soapyness. I put some Life-Calk on the joints and it should hold. Anyway, my stress level is way down with the watermaker happily cranking away.

Regarding progress, last night was an up and down night with both drifting with no wind and enjoying a light breeze with the Code 0. Ran into an autopilot failure, but I was able to troubleshoot and get the system going again. It’s been 12 hours without a hiccup. Currently faced with a southwesterly breeze, so opted to dive South. A bit annoying having both major weather models being so wrong and now I face 14 knots of headwinds. I admit however, I am enjoying putting Sparrow into better shape, settling in with better places to stow things, and generally being in cruising mode. At least for now.

The last major item from Day One is the leaking coachroof crack. I do not believe it is structural, which is to say Sparrow will make it around if left unaddressed. More that it appeared as the hull and deck flexed in the rough seas. It is, however a leak nuisance. I put some duct tape on it today as a temporary patch while I figure out a more permanent solution before 40S.

Finally, I’m emotionally settling in, getting used to the idea that I will be out here for a while. Trying to savor those moments with the rising waning crescent moon, and the beautiful skies.

Hoping for warmer weather soon!


Sparrow Heading Out at Dusk. Photo courtesy of Margie Woods.

Saturday there was a small gathering at the dock in Marina Bay. I have to say I’ve never felt so supported and loved. To all who were there, I can’t thank you enough. Sunday was quiet. I picked up some Loctite and more hydraulic fluid at Randy Reeves suggestion. Then awaited an odd short impulse with high winds and hard rain move through. Conditions heading out under the Gate could hardly have been better! Clear visibility, moderate breeze, no tacks required, and no traffic. I was blessed.

The loveliness was not to last. In a few hours I was in 25-30 knots with very chaotic, heavy, unpleasant seas. A sleepless night with newfound nuisance drips to go along with the green water regularly coming over the decks. My stomach was among the casualties, and I’m sure I find myself 5 pounds lighter her on Day 2. Felt very queasy and lethargic all day and into the night last night. Cold and damp below.

Aside from leaks, I broke a poorly designed piece of the galley cabinet which will require some epoxy and screws, the water in the tank has somehow become foamy, so I shall have to pump it out and refill by running the watermaker, and most severely, a crack has opened up in the coachroof. I believe it to be more a leak nuisance than structural, but a repair probably requires attending to both. Lighter air for a long time to come, so plenty of time to address this. All else is well.

Today greeted Sparrow with a fairer and warmer day. Stomach is better, I can stand to be at the computer, and make repairs. Weather forecast has changed dramatically from 48 hours ago. The quick trip to Hawaii I was looking at is now more complex, and of course the GFS and ECMWF do not agree. The emotional weirdness of Sunday and the first day – am I really doing this? – have now worn off and I’m settling in to my new reality. Sprits are good onboard with a better stomach, easier conditions, and a good breakfast with coffee.

Departure Weather: Staysail or Storm Jib?

ECMWF Model 5pm Sunday showing gale
GFS Model 5pm Sunday

Once again the two global weather models show very different conditions only 75 hours out. We will see if they converge on Saturday. On the trip up the two models didn’t converge until 12 hours before. Sparrow will likely depart even if the ECMWF model proves correct, into the gale. One note is the ECMWF calls for 15 ft seas at 9 secs. The short period is cause for concern. Not the best way to start, but I would bear downwind with triple reef and staysail or even storm jib until things moderate. Perhaps i will learn to love water ballast even more. Not looking forward to throwing up in the cockpit, but these conditions won’t last and the rest of the run to Hawaii looks pretty great. Also, with a delayed departure, winds go quite light getting off the Coast starting Monday.

Stay tuned…

San Francisco!

Golden Gate Bridge at Sunset

A thankfully uneventful trip up the Coast came to a close Thursday evening, after sailing in most of the last day. As you can see, I made it in to the Bay before dark. Took a slow trip over to Richmond as the tide was too low to make it into the Marina. Here is a nice shot of the City at dusk.

SF at Dusk

Finally, here is Sparrow in her slip Friday morning at dawn looking ready to go.

I topped up the diesel tank on Friday, tidied her up and flew back down to LA Saturday morning. A few things to tidy up land life down here before departure next weekend, including catering to the Trick or Treaters last night! I shall be watching the weather for the 8th with great interest. Early indications are looking good to get off the Coast.

A Good Omen?

A Visitor

OK, so this is a bit weird. Sailing in just north of Monterey Bay, a little sparrow joined me for 20 minutes or so. Clearly tired and in need of rest, he or she enjoyed time on the foredeck, cockpit, stern and even my head! Not sure what to make of it.

Thankfully she/he didn’t go below.


I’ve learned over the last 3 years that Sparrow will take every bit of energy I have in me, and will want still more to be sailed aggressively. Headsail changes, reefs, sheeting, steering on a high performance boat mean that the work is near constant. Time for sleep, navigating, weather analysis, eating, brushing, etc. is all taken away from sailing fast. Thus the trip quickly becomes a constant stream of deciding what to do next to keep sailing fast and taking care of the skipper and the boat. I wonder how I can get any reading done!

I am 58 and can feel I am past my prime. I have mitral valve prolapse, take daily medication for hypothyroidism, a hip going bad, oh, and toenail fungus. That said, I am lucky that I setup a home gym well before COVID hit.

Outside weight rack
Rowing machine in the living room

I am 6′-3″, 192 lbs. and feel pretty good these days. Paul Horn at Horn Strength and Conditioning says I need to gain at least 20 pounds at I will undoubtedly lose weight and strength on the trip. He’s right. I’ve been lifting twice a week and rowing for 20-30 minutes on non-lifting days. Just 4 years ago I could lift three times a week, but now my body just doesn’t recover as fast. A day a week off. Eating more protein and less carbohydrates is helping my strength training, but obviously I’m not eating enough! My working weights are: 205 squat, 225 deadlift, 165 bench. I’m noting them here both so folks can see where I’m at, and also as a record to see how much I deteriorate by the time I get back.

Getting to SF

GFS Forecast Tuesday Evening looks unpleasant for getting around Pt. Conception
ECMWF Forecast at the same time, looks quite acceptable!

Still waiting for the weather to sort itself out. The models are in disagreement due to the timing of a high pressure ridge. The ECMWF has it a bit further South, greatly helping conditions for motoring North. We will see what happens, I expect the models to converge over the next 24 hours. My schedule is such that I don’t have much wiggle room.