Japan to Seattle, first week

Japan to Seattle, first week.

This first week has been an adventure. At the end of our first week we’ve done 836 miles with 3750 to go. Not bad considering we’ve weathered two gales.

No fishing so far, it’s been way too rough. The crew is doing well, all things considered. Maya seems bored and sleeps a lot. Except she wants to play at night, just when we want to sleep. We keep telling her how nice her life will be at the end of this passage with no more overnight passages for a long time. Certainly for longer than her memory is…

Our friends who have been in worse weather will chuckle at this, but there is nothing in this world like working on deck in 45 knots of wind, trying to get the staysail down, or hoisting storm sails. We are always double tied to the boat but with the bow moving up and down 25 feet, occasionally disappearing into waves, it’s definitely an E-ticket ride at disneyland (do they still have the same ticket system there or did I just lose everyone younger than I?) Teresa and I work well together in these conditions so it makes things easier. I also have to say that the second gale was easier than the first.

The boat is doing well. We thought everything was well sealed on this boat and the decks and house very water tight but it’s a different story when waves wash across the decks. The dorade ventilation boxes that are designed to let in air but not water get overrun, with water dripping in. Our time in the tropics has dried some of our sealant so we have a few port light frames which have started to leak. When we get pooped water comes through the aft hatch, although we’ve reduced it as much as possible. When we come in from outside we drip water everywhere, and more collects taking the wet gear to the shower. All this makes for a very wet boat interior. Mopping with fresh water dries things faster (OK, did you know fresh water evaporates faster than salt water?) but its a lot of work and the boat still feels really wet. Today things are starting to dry out.

Aside from the dinghy coming loose and bending a stanchion in a wave that sent water OVER the cabin top midships, we’ve had little breakage. A reefing line parted in the first gale and unfortunately sucked up into the boom. Our boom is around 18 feet and we needed to re-run the line before we could set our second reef again. I felt like McGiver when I fgured out how to use the remaining reefing line to pull the second back through the boom. If you’ve ever looked at the sheave box on a Kenyon boom you know the difficulty. But those problems aside, the boat has weathered the Lows very well. This is why we bought a 30,000+ pound cruising boat.

If you want more up-to-date information about our location and conditions than we supply on our website or via email, look on the YOTREPS website. We check in to the Pacific Seafarers Net every day at 0330Z (3:30 am GMT, UTC, or Zulu). After taking our report, along with the other 20 or so boats underway in the Pacific and checking in, they send in a report to YOTREPS. I don’t have the exact web address, but if you Google ‘Yotreps’ it’ll come up, should be pangolin.nz domain. Once on the site search for Teresa’s HAM call sign KE7WWA and you should find our latest report. If you look around 9pm on the west coast you’ll see our conditions as of 8pm. Times very depending on PacSea’s submission of the report but they are usually pretty fast.

We always report in to the Pacific Seafarer’s net when underway. They have stations on the US West Coast, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Pitcairn, and a few other places I’ve forgotten. Someone can always hear us. They track all boats and send out inquiries for boats not checking in. They also provide phone links when propagation allows and we’ve heard them get a doctor on the radio to give advice to a boat in the middle of nowhere. They also help coordinate search and rescue efforts. It’s a good organization of vounteers, we appreciate their efforts. Another good reason to have your HAM license before going cruising.

So with the weather improving in our part of the Pacific we will continue to look in dismay at the number of gales east of us. Hopefully they stop coming off China soon and the North Pacific High re-establishes itself before we need that half of the Pacific. BTW, if you live on the west coast the weather charts are showing some prety stinky weather heading your way, just hard to tell right now whether it’ll hit Alaska, Canada, or Washington.

That’s it for now, we’re waiting for the weather to calm down a bit more so we can work on deck and stay dry. Might as well get ready for the next set of lows the Chinese seem to manufacture these days.