August 23, 2006 - Reflections
Notes from the Janitor:
These last handful of days have been quite the busy ones. The couch has finally stopped it's swaying, but that might mean the rum has finally worked it's way through my system. As I try to gather thoughts I feel the need to thank the greeters that took the time to come meet us and welcome Astor and her crew home as we entered the harbor. It was a great day, but it also meant it was the end of one helluva ride. The Register was there and our arrival made the front page of the Local section. (online version can be found here). Local Scribe Cherie Sogsti even thought enough of these very logs to borrow many quotes for her weekly article in the Fri Currents (online version here). I am honored.
The crew for this journey has sorted out all of their gear and has now ventured back off to different parts of the globe. For all too brief of a moment we were brought together, bounced off one-another during our first few sail changes/chinese fire drills, then became a well trimmed and functional machine in the end. This crew was in a constant state of a laugh and was just loads of fun. I'm sure we will run into each other again.
Richard has kept the good lady Astor in spectacular condition throughout the six year tour, and now that the both of them are back in the range of his best tools, things are in line for a few major upgrades that couldn't be done anywhere else. Time for the master craftsman to show how he does things. Things must get ready for the Atlantic tour.
I finally managed to sort through my 462 photos and cut the stack down to 143 interesting ones. There may be a few keepers in there. I will probably rifle through them again and post the choice winners here shortly for viewers to enjoy.
I consider myself very fortunate to have been part of this return leg. There were so many things that just could not get captured on film. I saw the inky black night where there was no horizon and the sea rolled up into the sky yet we still charged head-on into the blackness. Another night, the moon was so bright and the seas were so still I thought we were stopped and the spreader lights were on (shining through the skylights-which means problem on deck). I sprung out of my bunk to help, only to find us still moving along at 7kts, no problems, but a very neat view of moonbeams off glass. Nights before the moon went full there were stars from horizon to horizon, and the nights of storm cells laced with lightinng we thought it best to avoid. Days were just as detailed and I couldn't get over the way the water was different every time I looked. It could change into something totally different in 30 minutes. I could easily see how one might get into trouble if one wasn't paying attention. The water and weather (tho not the best conditions) made the numerous days only another adventure to tackle.
Enough of my rambling, but I think one can tell I had an amazing time. Hope someone finds that frisbee.
Astor Website Janitor
August 16, 2006 - Day 19
The winds did not last much past sunset last night and we ended up taking all sails down to keep them from flogging too much and motoring only. Nearing the islands we have needed to keep a watchful eye on the radar as the commercial traffic has really picked up. No close calls, but it I don't want to have to explain the big mark down the side of the boat where the paint got rubbed off. Also, listening to VHF, it appears the Navy has a bit of hardware floating around tonight. I hear chatter from warships, destroyers, and there apparently is even an aircraft carrier out here somewhere. Not that those are all that easy to hit accidentally, but they keep calling for the "unknown vessel approaching from the (insert direction here)" and they want to know who that dot on the screen is and 6 miles of clear water or else they might start throwing stuff in that direction. I just wanted to make sure they weren't talking about me as I was sipping my tea. They have a bit more than just a bit of grey paint to worry about.
We approached the backside/top of Catalina just after sunrise and a quick calculation showed we needed a bit of fuel so we did a quick stop at the Isthmus. We didn't even go fully into the anchorage and Astor just curcled a few times as the dinghy went in with a few jugs. We had the inflatable back on deck, and pointed towards the mainland within 30 mins and dumping fuel into the main tank while we ran. Nascar boys probably couldn't have done it much better.
Midway into the crossing, we came upon a nice sized pod of dolpin that actually turned course to meet us! This was a fine way to welcome us home. They took turns playing at the bow in our pressure wave then moved on to the rest of their day. That was not the end tho as while we were munching on the freshly toasted quesadillas in the cockpit, a whale spouted not further than 50 ft off our beam! It scared the bejeezus out of most of us! Since he was going the opposite direction I was not able to get a good pic.
Then, as if the sea life was not enough, we were greeted by a handful of few chioce boats packed with friends, and greeted by others waving on docks, decks, and the assorted beaches as we rounded the entrance into Newport Harbor around 3:30 pm Wednesday afternoon. Astor entered with her battle flag flying on the jib halyard with style!
It was a great day.
Astor Website Janitor
August 15, 2006 - Day 18
Hi to all:
We have motored through the night and late into today. The wind finally came up 15;30 HST and we are currently sailing at 7.5 kts with the jib, main stlsail and the advance. The wind is too far aft to use the main. The sun is out and the water is flat, life is good. We have only had to sail 2700 miles to get this one nice sail, hope it lasts until Newport which is 100 miles away.
NEWS FLASH: James has just caught a nice size bonito (the first fish of the trip) and is filleting it. Fish for dinner!
2nd FLASH: Another bonito 30"
Aug. 15, Tues: Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, Lat; 33.31 Lon; 119.57 Wind; 16.7kts true Nw Speed; 8.2 kts course; 069 mag Seas; 2 feet Cloud; 10%" Bar: 1017
We have 100 miles to go.
All is well on board , Cheers, Richard
With much anticipation the crew is all awaiting the first sign of land. We can see it on the map and are straining eyes on the horizon tho we know there is not much chance it can be seen yet. Not that the trip has been even close to bad, but the gang seems ready to get off the boat after day 17. We are seeing more freighter traffic on the radar, and the radio has been squawking since way back around mile 600(believe it or not). At near sunup we observed a very odd object as we floated by, then it rolled over and up came a head of a sea lion no doubt wondering what the racket was and why we were interrupting his sunning flippers in air. **(this just in)** Through the haze, we are just able to make out the island of Santa Rosa! But we aren't going there- Booo!
We seem to have entered into the waters of SoCal during one of the rare wind free days. Even Pt. Conception (where it normally blows barnacle off rocks) is reporting barely a sneeze. The diesel is still holding out and we shall continue with the rattle underfoot, but still making progress.
The computer gives a current ETA around 2 pm on 8.16 (wed)(given our current speed). This is much more of a consistent reading from a couple of days ago when it was giving us a range between 8.11 and Christmas. This evening, if we run into a bit more usable wind, we can put up some sails and make better than that. If not, we are making plans to possibly do a splash and go for more fuel in Catalina as we go by.
**(this also just in)** We got the jib out and eased the staysails and now we might be in early enough for pancakes!
Cell phones will be active as soon as we get in range.
Astor Website Janitor
August 14, 2006 - Day 17
Hi to all: The wind is gone & we are motoring as there is no wind. We had 2 wonderful days what more could we want. Had a birthday party for James on his 24th. Nice break to the day.
Aug. 14, Mon: Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, Lat; 33.30 Lon; 122 39 Wind; 4kts true Nw Speed; 6 kts course; 77 mag Seas; 2 feet Cloud; 100%" Bar: 1018
We have 230 miles to go.
All is well on board , Lani
It was a dark one last night. The clouds were thick enough to mask the moonlight and made it VERY dark. WAY COOL! Later, things lightened up a bit and I was able to make out the horizon. It turned out to a busy night.
We started out the evening on sort of a broad reach and a large beam swell. We'd get to the top of one of these things and sorta skid/surf down the other side and were getting up to 9.7 kts, then up to the next one. It was a very cushy ride. This was the way to go!
As the evening progressed the wind clocked more aft and we had trouble keeping the sails full. At 9:30 (I wasn't QUITE asleep yet) all hands were called topside to take down the main and roll up the jib, leaving only the 2 staysails and advanced fisherman. This worked nicely... for a while. At 11pm (out of a DEAD sleep this time) we went back up and wrestled down the fisherman and lashed it to the deck. There was NO more wind and we had to fire up the detroit wind. We have been motoring ever since(currently 3pm boat time.)
I kept a close eye on a freighter overtaking us from aft. It wasn't very close as it passed us to port (only passing within 18 miles) but I just didn't want it to do a course change into us. It did not respond to hails in vhf 16. The whole episode lasted my 2 hour watch and was safely ahead of us at the end.
So much for getting in early. Looks like we have another day to go.
August 13, 2006 - Day 16
Hi to all:
Well we are finally getting close. 380 miles to go. Yesterday, we did 185 on a 60 -70 degree reach. ASTOR does love to reach. Today will be better 200+ on a 70 -80 degree reach. IF we can continue we will be in the Newport/Catalina area on Tues/Wed. Not sure of what we are doing but hope that we can be in Catalina for the weekend.
Aug. 13, Sun: Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, Lat; 33.32 Lon; 125 31 Wind; 15kts true NNw Speed; 9 kts course; 78 mag Seas; 5 feet Cloud; 100%" Bar: 1018
We have 380 miles to go.
All is well on board, Lani
Janitor's log: 13 Aug 2006 - Into the gray
As I was flying out to Hawaii I peeked out the window quite a bit and tried to judge the cloud state for my return. I did not like what I saw on the way out, but held to hopes that weather always changes. Now that I am back, the view from the underside is pretty much the same thing... gray stuff. It makes the nights a little less-dark because the full moon lights up the clouds a bit, but it wipes out my stars. I guess the days of sun on rich blue horizons we had in the first half of the trip were the good ones. Not that the view today isn't bad, but I'm sure there is some scientific research somewhere that shows light from the gray portion of the spectrum can affect a personality when large doses are applied.
With most of the on-deck playtime suspended(shuffleboard, badminton, and we lost the frisbee days ago) I've taken to watching the waves and seem to be mesmerized by the way our bow wave mixes with the random traveling wave and peaks out with a neat candelabra of water spraying out the top. Cap'n Richard says they are 'neptune spits'. I've been trying to figure out how to capture these things with the camera. Again, my shipmates might be a bit worried about me. David says he always has the big caulking hammer within reach at night.
Speaking of the rest of the crew, training for the couch potato and lounge lizard olympics are going along fantastically. Great numbers of sit-downs as well as lay-downs, are performed many sets in a day, closely followed by the eye rolls and maybe a 60 second stretch gets in the mix. Only every now and then the packed routine of inactivity is interrupted by a sail plan change on deck with minor hesititations.
We got a schedule to keep... and only 395 miles to go!
August 12, 2006 - Day 16
Hi to all:
2300 miles hard to weather could test a sailor's resolve but "they" tell me that all sailing is fun, soo... we are having fun! The good news is that for the first time this passage we are reaching at 60 degrees to the wind and going fast, 10.3 kts now. We are 570 miles out and sailing the rhumb line. We hope to land on the 15-16, tues-wed if the weather holds.
Aug. 12, Sat: Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, Lat; 33.43 Lon; 129.17 Wind; 17kts true NNW Speed; 9.5 kts course; 77 mag Seas; 6-8 feet Cloud; 100%" Bar: 1021
We have 570 miles to go.
All is well on board , Cheers, Richard
Janitor's Log: 12 Aug 2006 -
Today finds Astor in rolling seas that has us occasionally dipping in between waves that has me looking up to see any sky, then we sorta coast up the side and we are peaked out higher than anything else around with quite the penthouse view. Since we are taking the waves mostly on our beam, much of this is done silently except for a bit of wave shushing as things go by. It's very relaxing except for the occasional bump of a wave out of step. It's been like this most of the night and there were a few watches that hardly had to assist the autopilot more than a click or two.
We could be making better time if the waves were not so nasty.
Looking at our personal tracker has us now on the underside of 600 mi mark. The red line of electronic breadcrumbs behind us goes in a bent up curvy line for 2200 miles.
Astor Website Janitor-(on vacation)
August 11, 2006 - Day 15
Hi to all: Are we there yet? I guess we are all ready. We definitely feel like we are finally getting closer. Richard fixed the pre pump on the water maker so we have plenty of water again. The weather is over cast and the water temp is 67. Guess it is the Humbolt Current. Lot of squalls around so we are doing 3.5k -7.5k trying to keep on course.
Aug. 11, Fri: Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, Lat; 33.58 N Lon; 132.17 W Wind; 14 ks true N Speed; 5 kts course; 85 mag Seas; 4 feet Cloud; 90%" Bar: 1024
We have 700 miles to go.
All is well on board ~~~Lani
Janitor's log: Aug 11 2006 -
One of the unwritten topics of paggagemaking (perhaps gets infused with owning of a boat?) that I have yet to read about yet is the 1000 sounds a boat makes. These various clunks, pops, rattles and creaks make up the personality of Astor and after 15 days I have learned alot on what the ol'girl is trying to tell me, but I know there is much more. The tricky part is identifying what is important and what can be 'noted'.
That steady rapping on the deck right above my head is actually the jack line that runs the length of the boat. It is either the one on my side or the port side that seems to catch the wind in an effort to keep someone awake all night. The stove in the galley rocking to the limits of it's gimbals makes a horrid crash in the night. No worries, all is ok.
What is NOT ok is when the boom goes slack from lack of wind and travels to the center and back out from the action of a lazy swell, and it usually happens on my middle of the night watch. It thunders the whole boat and has no concern for the sleeping occupants below. Astor is letting others know that the rookie has broke the wind again. At least I don't have to go get someone because after a few of them someone usually appears in the pilothouse wondering what all the racket is about. (rule #3 is never go out at night without someone else up and watching). Now I can go fix it.
The other big rattler happens when there is a big shift and the autopilot can't catch it fast enough. The jib usually is the first to go, then maybe a staysail will follow. This is actually hard to hear from the pilothouse(more feel than anything) but you can sure hear it below. If let go too long the boat stalls and it sure is tough to get 20 tons swung back into the wind.
What I find more amazing is that I manage to sleep like a rock during most of this non-important chatter. (off watch of course!)
August 10, 2006 - Day 14
Hi to all: We have had a wonderful day of sailing. Still to weather but in mostly flat water doing 7's & 8's. We took the advance fisherman down for the night so it was alittle slower but not bad. Now it is getting windier & rougher but doing well. We made good time yesterday we are 850 miles out. Should have good wind for a while just hope it holds this direction. thanks for all your prayers to the wind Gods.
Aug. 10, Thurs: Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, Lat; 34.30 N Lon; 134.56 W Wind; 16 ks true N Speed; 8 kts course; 75 mag Seas; 4 feet Cloud; 60%" Bar: 1025
We have 850 miles to go.
All is well on board ~~~Lani
Janitor's log: 10 Aug 2006 - Straightline 862 mi to go
It seems we stepped things up a notch out here.
This afternoon we crossed a line from leisure sailing to 'making up a bit of time'. We got into the winds we were looking for and had a good half day scooting along in the 9's. Again, it was like a dream cloud of a ride. Then the winds really started to climb(currently 15 kts). The seas are getting big again and we need to slow back down. We had to take down the advanced fish and we are thinking about putting a reef or two in the main around sunset. That is no real big deal as we are almost getting good at it now(even in the dark). The plan is to get in as much E as we can get, then start the swing down for a more comfortable ride.
I did get in some sun on the deck before things started to get cranky and had some time for a few creative photos. We'll see how they turn out. A container ship caught up to us and passed us about 5 mi on the stbd side. Just for grins, I hailed for him on 16 and was pleased when he answered back! We chatted a bit, exchanged fair seas and continued on. It was more just a "hello, I am here" thing, even tho it was clear we were not going to hit each other unless a major course change occurred.
August 9, 2006 - Day 13
Hi to all: It is sunny & warm again today. Last night was nearly a full moon & it was the first time we had clear skies at night. It was beautiful. The seas were a little rolly last night but really smooth today.
We are fishing but nothing so far.
1000 miles to go. We are ready for some 200 mile days.
Aug. 9, Wed: Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, Lat; 34.42 N Lon; 138.09 W Wind; 11 ks true N Speed; 8 kts course; 77 mag Seas; 2 feet Cloud; 60%" Bar: 1025
We still have 1000 miles to go.
All is well on board ~~~Lani
Janitors Log: 9 Aug 2006 - Day 13 - 1021 mi to go
It's tough out here.
Yep, David just said "All of this sleeping sure is tiring!"
I guess he didn't get much sleep last night either. The seas were incredibly smooth and in the bunk it was hard to tell we were moving at all. Then along would come a huge roller that would almost tip the boat on it's ear and rock it back and forth about 6 times then stop. This would happen every five minutes or so. It would almost tip me out of my bunk. Most annoying.
We continued to motor all night and around 9am there was just enough air to get the sails up. After watching it a bit, we took the weather fisherman back down and put up the advanced fisherman(it's bigger). It's been spotty but we are making progress. The seas are flat except for the wind chop. Hopefully we can get into better winds by evening.
I dug out my needles and started playing with whipping. Now to the un-nautical that may seem like a strange sentence, but on a boat it involves a detailed technique for finishing the ends of a line(rope) to keep it from getting all bushy and frizzed. It's also a great way to spend some time. After a few tries I think the results aren't half bad. It was also excellent timing as many lines on Astor are just replaced and there are several just wrapped with tape temporarily. Richard gave the nod of approval and said he approves of any whipping aboard his vessel if it is deserved or not. This statement worries me. Maybe I didn't quite hear it right...
I close with the smell of fresh bread wafting it's way up the companionway and wonder what Lani has planned for dinner tonight.
Yep, really tough.
August 8, 2006 - Day 12
Hi to all: Well we are still motor/sailing (just the staysails) as the wind has gone lighter. We had a quiet night only up once when we took down the main & rolled in the jib. Then back to bed we all slept well. If the grid files are right we will be doing this for a couple of days & then maybe pick up some northerlies???
I am fixing pizza tonight as it is comfortable in the galley. Something different. We had burritos for lunch. David is in charge of breakfast (as it is my time to sleep & I do not like breakfast). He fixes the guys omelets & today he fixed pancakes & bacon. So we are not wasting away.
Aug. 8, Tues: Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, Lat; 34.41 N Lon; 140.35 W Wind;? kts true NE Speed; 4.7 kts course; 4.6 mag Seas; 2-3 feet Cloud; 80%" Bar: 1025 falling
We still have 1100 miles to go.
All is well on board ~~~Lani
Janitor's logs- 8 Aug, 2006 - Somewhere in the pacific, 1200 mi from Newport Bch.
It's a noisy, growly thing from Detriot located right under my feet that now propels Astor through oily calm waters at a sedate speed of 4kts. We had to bring down the main at the tail end of my watch (2am) last night because it was lumbering around so much and beating us to death. If we had at least a bit of wind it would keep things filled out and even help push us forward a little bit. We expect to be in this mode for the rest of the day and into tomorrow before hitting the really fun stuff and make the run for home.
On the bright side it is super nice out on deck and allows a bit of a chance to get some air. The scattered clouds keep things from getting too hot and the waters are still a deep rich blue. Occasionally a bird will circle us a bit and we passed an outgoing car carrier, a container ship, and an unknown ship that was beyond visual but on Radar(it was a very big blip).
August 7, 2006 - Day 11
Hi to all: Well we are still motoring through the light & variables. Today we have been doing alot of motorsailing. Just a little motoring at 800 rpms keeps us in the 7k +. We all had showers and feel very human. Once again today it is warm & sunny. I was ready to search for my sweater but an putting off another day.
We have been trying everything possible to go faster. Yesterday we put up the fisherman & carried it all day until 8:00 pm. Again, today we have the fisherman up at 9:00 am & are still carrying it through the light motorsailing.
Aug. 7, Mon. Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, Lat; 34.45 N Lon; 142.30 W Wind; 8 kts true NE Speed; 7 kts course; 96 mag Seas; 2-3 feet Cloud; 50%" Bar: 1025 falling
All is well on board ~~~Lani
August 6, 2006 - Day 10
Hi to all: Well, we are still headed east!!! The wind is variable & it is warmer today. We turn the motor (Roger) on when the wind goes light & we turn it off when we are going over 8k. We did get a strike yesterday on the lures that we are dragging - lost the lure & not fish but we are hopeful. We are devouring books luckily I have plenty.
Aug. 6, Sun. Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, Lat; 34.54 N Lon; 145.30 W Wind; 10 kts true NE Speed; 5 kts course; 65 mag Seas; 2-3 feet Cloud; 50%" Bar: 1027
All is well on board ~~~Lani
Today we have lighter and more consistent winds so we were able to put up a bit more rag. We happened to have one handy that added about 7000 sq ft (just the little one)called the weather fisherman. It goes way up and fills the gap between the two masts. Richard Says we actually look like a real schooner now. We are currently doing 7.8kts in 12.2 breeze. Every now and then the bow crashes into a big one that sends water raging down the low side. Think I might slow up *just* a bit. (WHO THE HELL PARKED THAT BUS THERE?!!)
It's nice enough today go out in the cockpit and grab some sun and maybe even dry out the foulies a bit. Just got to stay out of the spray. Things got a bit damp again during a 4am sail takedown when we ran out of wind this morning. That was fun. The nights are starting to get cooler and I broke into my gearbag for the fleece.
Yesterday, James put out the lures. When he came back, one was gone! I heard it was something like the swivel had failed. He is convinced it must have been big. Today he will probably check more often.
Been taking quite a few pics, but I don't think it will do any justice to Neptune's big screen I have going on right here. The programming is a bit redundant for some, but it's commercial free! If you watch close, it's always changing.
Still wearing the bsg...
August 5, 2006 - Day 9
Hi to all: We all thought this would be a cold trip but until last night we really did not need a cover. There is just a little coolness now. We really do not need a sweater, jumper or jacket.
Last night at 2 am (my watch) the wind died & it was time to tack. We did & then motor sailed until just a while ago. Now we are sailing & it is great. We are on the rumb line for Catalina. I am not even looking at the ETA.
Aug. 5, Sat. Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, Lat; 35.26 N Lon; 147.27 W Wind; 12.9 kts true NE Speed; 6.9 kts course; 94 mag Seas; 2-3 feet Cloud; 90%" Bar: 1029
All is well on board ~~~Lani
Last night we got there. We found that lull we were looking for. Normally, it's not a good thing for a sailboat to get into a nonwindy area but this was planned.
We now tacked and are motorsailing through this area and hopefully reach winds going in the other direction on the other side. That's the plan anyways.
I find it very interesting on how the weather can change so fast. Each cloud out here seems to have it's own wind system associated with it(and maybe a little rain). This drives the autopilot nuts, but it does an incredibly good job. We just plow through and around, then suddenly on the other side is blue sky for miles the winds return to normal and off to the next bunch of clouds.
August 4, 2006 - Day 8
Hi to all: We are having light & variable winds. Last night on my 2 am watch we 2x reefed the main rolled in the #3 only to have the wind go light where by we rolled out the #3 & 10 min later we rolled it up again as we had 17 true. I was happy to go off watch.
We are still heading mostly north we'll see what tomorrow brings.
It is sunny & warm -feels good. Have not seen any sea life other than 1 boobie bird - not one flying fish. We have not fished yet because of that.
Aug. 4, Fri. Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, Lat; 34.43 N Lon; 149.27 W Wind; 9.7 kts true ENE Speed; 6.9 kts course; 0 mag Seas; 2-3 feet Cloud; 50%" Bar: 1030
All is well on board ~~~Lani
It was one of those nights, and go figure- things didn't go poof till I got on watch.
It looked like it would be a night for making up some time. Expecting light winds, we left the main up all the way, the staysails are almost always up as standard, and the newly rebuilt and looking good No2 jib. This works very well in winds around 10kts. The winds were steady until just after 1am then slowly started to build and soon hit 14.7kts. We were charging off like a rocket. Normally this indicates a squall or a cell in the area and goes away shortly but it was dark outside, and nothing showed up on radar. I held onto things for more than 5 minutes and was still flying along at almost 10kts. I didn't REALLY want to wake the boss with the words "I just blew out the jib again" I chose to wake him for his opinion.
Time to go out and roll things up a bit. Weather gear goes on in short order these days since I figured out which things are good to lean onin the bouncy dark. It was really a non event for the two of us since we are getting the hang of things around deck. With Jib rolled up, things did not improve and we were still overpowered. We got James out of his bunk to help reef the main. That worked much better and we slowed down to a more comfortable speed. Since it was close to Lani's watch, she was up and I left them with a comfortable pace. Shortly after that I could tell from my bunk that the wind totally died. Oops! Lani had a heck of a time keeping things going. It wasn't long before we were on deck pulling out the jib again.
This happened several times throughout the night and each time we thought it would be good till morning. We just crawled back in the pilothouse when the wind picked up once again. Neptune was playing games with us! After a 10 minute wild ride we went back out and rolled up the jib once again! This was just too much fun!
The several times a night sail changes has everybody kinda zonked today. (I lost track of the times we did the drill). But it's a nice day for a nap. I put my foulies out on the cockpit in the sun to dry out a bit. I might just wander out and look for some more glass floats today. (I saw 2 yesterday but didn't figure what they were till later. We were going WAY too fast to pick them up anyway). We should be nearing our spot to turn Right shortly. There has been some chatter about stopping in Monterey for some chowder.
Oddities: The other day we found a flying fish on the deck, today we found a little squid. Every now and then we are circled by a curious bird. I lost track of the times I bumped my head on various hatches and cabinets. Again, I amazed by the total lack of seasickness. We've been through some fairly bumpy stuff.
August 3, 2006 - Day 7
Hi to all: The seas have flattened out & we are really making time. Not necessarily in the right direction but it always feels good to 8n the 8's & 9's to weather. Obviously we got the #3 jib repair. Richard & mighty team stitched on it all morning. Had the sailrite sewing machine on top of the pilot house with Richard sitting on the aft cabin skylight. It was a sight.
We are into the high & will probably be motor sailing across it tomorrow. We already have the hot water fired up for showers.
Aug. 3, Thurs. Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, Lat; 32.24 N Lon; 150.25 W Wind; 11 kts true NE Speed; 8.5 kts course; 350 mag Seas; 3 feet Cloud; 50%" Bar: 1028
All is well on board ~~~Lani
Night watch look back on the day:
I just about missed the PacSea net tonight because we were in the middle of "all hands on deck" sail repair school. It was finally calm (read-> dry) enough to be able to sprawl the No3 out over the wheelhouse and inspect the damage. There was something about not having a No4, No5 or 6 in the locker, and this one actually wasn't that bad. We used up an amazing amount of sail tape and despite all of the jokes flying around, got it looking really good. We didn't put it up yet tho. If conditions are calm as predicted tomorrow we may drag the sewing machine out for additional reinforcing just to make sure it will last the trip. We haven't decided who's underwear will be the strongest if additional patches are needed.
So we have been trodging along at reduced speeds today, but a couple of times winds came up and waves were down and I got a sample of what Astor can do. It doesn't take much and we are doing 8~9kts and into another ride bracket(even under our reduced sails)
Apparently I broke the wind today as soon as I got on watch and we went down to1kt for a while. I told the hecklers I saw a nice patch and pulled over for lunch. Shortly after the tasty hot dogs were consumed we got back on the wind but then I broke the generator(still on my watch= MY FAULT) Tough crowd this lot. Hours later the problem was traced to a bunch of poorly crimped wires and the boat was reassembled and happy again.
It was a very busy day.
Now sun is up and sailmaking class started early. We were out on deck for several hours feeding Richard big wads of taped up sail into the sewing machine. By lunch it was hoisted back up and looking great. We shook out all of the main and under a steady breeze of 10.8 we are pulling 8.5kts and floating on a cloud. The decks are dry, the skies have a few scattered clouds and the seas are a deep blue. (you picture the rest)
We will try to hold this course (due N) for the rest of the day and we will be level with Los Angeles. There is a dead spot we are trying to get to before it moves. That is when we will turn towards the coast and motor thru it. On the other side are winds that should take us straight home.
That's the plan anyways...
August 1, 2006 - Day 5
Hi to all: Well it continues to be a good run today. We are still getting a lot of east in as we have east breezes & are hard to weather. Today it is really warm. The seas are still a little to rough to fish. We have the #2 jib rolled out 100% on the new roller furler. The ride is improving & we are all reading like mad & having a good trip so far.
The galley is more comfortable too. I did get the cornbread done for the chili - it was great.
Byron tells me that there is a link from our web site (astor.org) to the seafarer's net so you can see where we are.
Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, 8/1/06 Lat; 28.44 N Lon; 153.05 W Wind; 12 kts true E Speed; 7.5 kts course; 24 mag Seas; 3-4 feet Cloud; 40%" Bar: 1021
All is well on board ~~~Lani
This ain't all that bad! Only problem is that one could get used to this 80 footer stuff fairly easy. I haven't found the shuffleboard deck yet.
Day five and things are going along amazingly well. The swells right off Hawaii are always fairly big and the winds have not dipped below 12kts and gusting to 18, so the last few days we have been trudging along with 2 reefs in the main sail and staysail just trying to keep from going too fast and not get beat up. It was really bumpy the first couple of days but now we are far enough out it is finally flattening out a bit, but not enough just yet to shake out the main and let Astor run. Gradually, we have been putting up more sails and scooting right along. We are trying to get into a weather system that predictions make it good to get a great line on home.
There have been the unexpected adjustments in 'exciting' conditions that made me aware why foulies and lifelines were required on this gig. These usually (but not always) happen in the middle of the night, involves one or more of us getting soaked even through our weather gear(but we try our best to make sure that would be our captain, Richard), but in any case it always leaves us(the added crew)closing the event with the statement "Well- THAT wasn't in the brochure!". It seems to be the running laugh of the trip so far.
Today, we still have two reefs in the main, main staysail, second staysail, and the no2 jib up front(we ripped a seam in the no3 during the first night but that's another story). 14kts of breeze scoots us right along at around 7 kts. We could go faster but every now and then a big one comes over the bow and whitewater comes back here to the pilothouse(this is a very wet boat). Richard says any water that makes it's way in just leaks out the cracks in the bottom of the boat, so it's okay. I have been working on tuning my course up or down a click or two and sometimes the ride is better. The sun is out at the moment and shining in the prettiest blue water you could imagine. I'm not sure a pic will do it justice.
Last night my watch(midnight to 2am) had me passing by several lightning storms, but had to actively dodge one that came a bit too close for my taste.
I am off my little electric zapper watch with no effects and now the rocking just puts me to sleep. Our Chief of Galley Operations has been keeping us all very well fed.
I think it's going to be a while before the bug silly grin gets wiped off my face.
July 31, 2006 - Day 4
Hi to all: We had an interesting evening & night last night as the winds went light 10-13t. That gave us time to change our #3 jib which had torn in an old seam to the #2. We just installed roller furling at my request (over the last few years). Richard wanted no part of it at first but after 6,000 miles to weather this year he relented. Well this morning I was happy as the wind went really light at 4 am so Richard & David rolled out the #2 then at 5 am a big squall arrived out of no where - poof they rolled it in...goody for me!!!
All is well on board as the seas are better and we are headed in the right direction.
Position: Time; 1600 Hawaii/ 0200Z, 7/31/06 Lat; 27.10 N Lon; 154.57 W Wind; 13 kts true E Speed; 5 kts course; 22 mag Seas; 4 feet Cloud; 75%" Bar: 1017 steady
We have been told that we are posted on the Sea Farers Net Website if you want to check it out.
Hope I can add corn bread to the menu to go along with the chili - the galley is better ???
July 30, 2006 - Day 3
Hi to all: Well they say the first three days are the worst. This is our 3rd & I guess it is better at least we are not going to Japan. We have tacked back and have got some east in finally.
Not sure if we have introduced our crew: We have David Lovell from Sydney who has accompanied us on many of our passages. He is wonderful as always. We also have Byron Grams our webmaster. It is a joy to have him on board and until last Mon. he had never seen ASTOR. We also have James Taylor from the So. Is of NZL. He is great & was wonderful help on our recent haulout.
We were able to get into Sea Farer Net last night so we are on the roll call. We have decided that if it is rough & wet we will skip checking in as we do not want to hand steer. Remember the autopilot & the SSB are not friends.
Position: Time; 1500 Hawaii/ 0100Z, 7/29/06 Lat; 26.18 N Lon; 157.13 W Wind; 16 kts true NE Speed; 5 kts course; 95 mag Seas; 6 feet Cloud; 80%"
All is well on board. I am glad that I did all the pre cooking that I did as the galley cannot really be described as 'fun'.
July 29, 2006 - Day 2
Yesterday was a blustery day, winds in the 20-26 kt true range and we are going to weather. We sailed through the night with just the fore stlsail and double reefed main doing about 7kts just east of north. This morning the sun is out and the wind is down to 15 kts out of the ENE and we have set the main stlsail and trimmed to go closer to the breeze. Life is much better. All is well on board and all are cheerful. Neptune may dampen us but not our spirits.
Position: 24.48 N, 156.39 W, speed 6 kts, Wind 15 ENE, Seas 4-5 ft from the NE, Cloud 40%, Course 358 mag, Distance traveled 240 miles
note: we have not been able to go on Sea Farer's Net as the propagation has not been good or we are trying at the wrong time. 0230 Z on 14.313. We'll try again tonight as the weather is better.
July 28, 2006 - Day 1
The good ship ASTOR has finally droped her dock lines and headed to sea. We cleared the breakwater at 5PM Hawaii time and have been sailing close hauled since. We were able to make it around Koko head on one tack and are now out in blue water heading north with some east. It is 9AM Hawaii time and we are over 100 miles from Waikiki. The weather is good and the seas have settled down since we cleared the islands. We will probably hold this course for some days as we are following the edge of the North Pacific high.
Position: Time; 0900 Hawaii/ 1900Z, 7/28/06 Lat; 22.33 N Lon; 157.07 W Wind; 16 kts true ENE Speed; 7 kts course; 005 mag Seas; 6 feet Cloud;
Preparing for the move
After a very busy and extensive haulout, Astor has been moved from it's precarious stance floating above asphalt to once again floating in the water and happy. She now sports an all new bottom and is looking sharp!
We are busily stocking and storing provisions, and making a few last improvements above deck as our departure window is coming up at the end of the month. It is time to head for open seas. The extra crew will be arriving shortly and it will be once again a busy deck as we all get settled.
The first stop in Newport Beach will also mark the end of a loop that has been open for 6 years since we departed in June 2000. This does not mean it is the end of the trip. After that, plans will be to head south for a while, down through the canal and on to the Caribbean.
Watch for position updates and follow along.
Cheers- Richard & Lani - Astor
Spring Update - June 2006
Ahoy Cyber Sailors!
It has been far too long between updates, but I will make a great attempt to catch everyone up.
Since making landfall back in December here in the great islands of Hawaii, life aboard Astor has been quite the mix of activities. We always welcome the return of Daniel and Mariah (altho it was just a short visit) back in the earlier part of the year, as well as the many other faces of new and old friends that found their way down our gangplank.
Spring in HI is not exactly like the postcards. Feb/March brought rain almost every day for more than 6 weeks, The weather man was very insistent about how it would clear up "within the next week" but the joke was running around that he must have been only talking about "for a few minutes". At that time we felt secure about living on a boat, and we considered taking on pairs of animals!
The latest update on the good ship Astor is that she is scheduled for haul out on June 12 to strip off 9 years of old anti foul and apply new and fresh bottom paint. She should be back in the water in about 10 days. Any potential visitors that decide to show around that time need not dress fancy and bring a paint brush or two.
We plan to sail back to Cal somewhere between the 10th to 17th of July. We are actively looking for crew for the passage. It will be 2 weeks of fun and sun, HA-HA.(truth is cool and breezy,12 to 18 days). More on this as we get closer.
Right now we are stripping the main salon skylight of old varnish. When this is revarnished she should be looking good as we have just finished varnishing the spars and most everything else.
Long range and future plans are to head for Mexico towards the end of the year. From there the Panama Canal, Caribbean, and possibly even Europe.
Again, thanks for all the personal visits and especially the e-mail. It keeps us in touch. Keep it coming!
Cheers, to all - Lani & Richard