Do NOT hit the cement wall!

Yikes, squeezing Ravenswing into the Travelift launch & retrieve bay in Puerto Penasco is really tricky. Our boat is 26’9″ wide, and their slot is about 28′ at the top, but it gets narrower as the tide goes down. I was piloting solo that day, and of course a breeze from the side came up just as it was my turn to come to the lift. Only get one shot to stick the landing, or gouge the crap out of your boat on the rough cement walls. But thanks to friends ashore, willing to stick their feet and fenders down, we did not create a bunch more work :) This video is mostly technical composites building work – no adventures this go-round. We’ll get back out there in the new year. thanks for following along in 2022 everybody!

A Lonely Sail

Ravenswing has been moored in Puerto Escondido, near Loreto, Baja Calfornia Sur, Mexico for about 14 months. It’s been a great home base for the boat, giving nice couple-weeks trips around the Loreto Islands area. Hurricane Kay came through in mid September; I was pretty uptight home in California because I saw the coming storm too late to go back to the boat for further preparations, but also didn’t feel there was really anything more to do. In retrospect, for any storage during the hurricane season I should have taken down more ‘windage’ gear such as the bimini top and stored it inside. The marina manager said the winds were in the mid-50’s knots range at the height of the storm. That’s consistent from what I heard later from friends who were aboard their boats in nearby anchorages.

Damien from Brizo had helped me with better mooring bridle lines at the start of the summer, and our gear held perfectly through the storm. One boat did break its mooring pennant and rolled through the anchorage – people staying on their boats plus the harbor patrol boat got the runaway safely moored again. Once the weather settled, cruisers went along the lee shore and gathered all the kayaks, gas jugs and other stuff that had blown off boats. They say it looked like a yard sale back on the main dock, and generally people were honest about only retrieving their own gear.

In mid November it was finally time to move the boat back up to Puerto Penasco at the top of the Sea of Cortez. I want to make one more change to the engine and autopilot mounting systems, and need a haul out facility to do that. Penasco is the easy one to get to from America, situated an hour south of the Arizona border. So to me it’s worth the 400 mile northbound sail. But flying into Loreto, looking down at the Sea from the airplane window showed the “Norther” blow coming down the Sea had not yet abated.

Seeing whitecaps spread across the whole sea, from that far up, put an ache in my gut. Trying to get enough sleep on this solo passage was going to be an issue…

Bottom line, the video should show it was a pretty tough trip. We can handle strong wind. It’s the sea state that causes trouble. When the waves are close together like this, the faces are steep so the bow rises up, detaching from the water. If we’re going fast enough, the reconnect with the water isn’t smooth, it’s a smashing pound that rattles the gear, and your spirits. Too much of the pounding and you’ll break stuff. So we lower some of the sails and purposefully slow down. And we point the boat further left or right from the oncoming wind. For this trip, the wind was coming pretty much straight from where we were trying to go, so that means we had to sail wider tacks, or zig-zags, to get to the destination. That added up to 200 more miles actually sailed to achieve the target landing.

Ok, see if you can tell where the low point was. Hint – it was dark out :)

June was well spent on the Sea of Cortez

Ruby the Labrador and I did the long drive from San Francisco to Loreto, Baja because I had to return the repaired engine to the boat. Got everything re-installed in a few hours, and set off for a really nice two week exploration around the Loreto Islands National Park. Ruby was ‘in-heat’ for the first time during this trip, so I had to be especially on guard to protect our girl’s virtue, fending off any suitors. Enjoy the show here…

Upwind delivery along the California coast

Hey there good people. Thank you for keeping up your subscription to this website. As you probably figured out quite a while ago, I’ve burned up all my reporting time making the YouTube videos that get linked in here, without energy left for typing frequent updates. I have some work to do in researching how to merge the photos, writing and videos to be managed in one place. Handling multiple “posting places” is too much for someone just trying to tell some stories, and not make a living as a videographer. If any of you have thoughts on this, please send them over!

I spent late Feb and most of March handling a large trimaran on the final leg of her long distance relocation from Chicago to San Francisco, via the Panama Canal. I met the boat, a Chris White Designs Explorer 44, Caliente, in Barra deNavidad, Mexico. We motorsailed her across the Gulf of California to Baja, and up the Baja Pacific coast to San Diego. Sadly I damaged the video camera’s memory card for the Baja trip, so we’ll skip ahead here to the San Diego to San Francisco trip.

Caliente has been through numerous upgrades since arriving at her new home, and is now sailing out of Oakland in a very active racing schedule. If you want to serve as race crew, drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch with her owner :)

Four Ravenswing videos for you

Hey friends, I just realized the four YouTube videos from the boat’s October ’21 trip never got posted to you here! Ravenswing spent a full year out of the water, getting numerous upgrades, but mostly because the pandemic made it challenging to use the boat in another country. So although the four 1,800+ mile drives back and forth from San Francisco to Puerto Penasco in Sonora, MX were a total pain in the ass, I really enjoyed getting to know the people and area. And the long break from sailing made the “splash” and the trip back to Baja very rewarding. Big thanks to Anton for getting on the plane to Phoenix and taking the shuttle van to Penasco. You’ll see in the videos he seemed to have a pretty good time on this cruise :)

Save this post’s email so you can go back and forth to catch all four of these YouTubes. Don’t try it all in one evening, my narration is way to tiring for that! Please when you watch any of these, click the Subscribe button on YouTube to get notices of future Ravenswing videos.

Enjoy the show(s)

part 2, reaching Baja
part 3, it gets windy!
We make it to warm water and safe harbor

Tribute to a good sailor

My stepmom Valda went to grade school with Rick Holway. Our families did summer activities together for decades. Rick was always an avid sailor, including a hot little catamaran in SoCal a long time ago. He moved through getting-bigger boats, eventually commissioning a new Newport 33 which he campaigned for many years as a single-hander on the ocean out of San Francisco. In my 40’s, having taken ownership of F27 Origami, I asked Rick for the mentorship needed to become a proficient singlehander in the challenging Gulf of the Farallones, the 30 mile stretch from the Golden Gate Bridge out on to the deep water of the Pacific. Rick’s coaching included evening chats, time studying boat safety gear at the dock, and plenty of sailing together. I “graduated” with a successful Singlehanded Farallones race, circa 2009 or so.

Recently Rick called to say he and Gail are leaving the Bay Area, moving near one of their sons down south. With Ravenswing far away, I asked skipper Rick Waltonsmith if he’d take us out for one more sail in RickH’s beloved stomping grounds. On September 11, we had a successful outing:

And OK, we really like sailing on that big tri Round Midnight. But, in early October, it was FINALLY TIME to launch Ravenswing again. Anton and I flew to Phoenix and took a shuttle van across the border and on down to Puerto Penasco. After two more days of minor work logistics, the big Travelift at Cabrales set her afloat again. WHAT A RELIEF!

We set sail on a Friday, and made a 435 mile trip with a good tailwind down to Puerto Escondido, the harbor near Loreto, Baja. I’m busy making some video for you now, to show the good time had by all. Stay tuned.

Catamaran voyaging to the Hot Dog Dash on Martha’s Vineyard

It was lots of fun to get a ride on Keith’s really nice St. Francis 44 catamaran Summer Magic, for the trip from Barnegat Bay, NJ up to Martha’s Vineyard, MA. We met up with the New England Multihull Association race fleet for a Saturday pursuit race. This format starts each boat in accordance with its handicap rating, so the theoretically-slowest boat starts first, and the fastest boat starts last. Given that we were sailing a four bedroom, four bathroom very comfortable home, all the sporty trimarans had to give us a nice head start, and spend the afternoon trying to overtake us. Well, did they??? You’ll find out about half way through this video…

Getting the boat ready to launch again

I just paid the yard bill installment at Cabrales in north Mexico. Argh, it’s just about a YEAR the boat has been sitting on the stands. But Ruby and I are down here now, getting things ready for our early October launch. It’s really hot during the afternoon, so we hide out in the air conditioned customer lounge. In a bit we’ll go back and work on getting both the main and dinghy motors started (and running smoothly). The main motor wouldn’t fire this morning so I’m doing some troubleshooting.

The nice beach is about five blocks away, and we’ve been hitting it for an hour or so each day. Ruby the water dog, at 8 months now, is a great swimmer. Fun to watch her body surf a bit. I should get some video for you guys!

Here’s the latest from the boat shed, just before coming back down to Mexico. The re-done floors you’ll see in this movie now look good back in place. Enjoy.

one post, two videos

This time you guys get one video from Ravenswing in Mexico, and one from the boat shop back here in California.

Here’s the final big work push on Ravenswing at Cabrales Boatyard in Puerto Penasco. Want to ride along in a huge Travelift crane? Well just have a watch here…

(PS, the handsome white-locks dude is my Y2k co-worker Tom, who convinced his dear wife to drive south from Scottsdale into the desert to visit a boat sitting in the dirt. SOOOO good to catch up with Laura & Tom!

In this one, the restored Lido 14 sailboat goes to a new owner in Newport, CA. There are very active Lido fleets in Southern California, so I figured the boat should probably head back to the land where she was built. I didn’t get much response advertising here in the SF Bay Area, but once I let folks know delivery was available on my way through to Mexico, it was easy to find a buyer down south. And the orange ski boat finally got finished up, just in time for our kids’ visit from Denver. Griffin, Taylor and their Goldador (Lab x Golden Retriever) Goose will be playing on the CO lakes with their new-old boat now. It looks pretty good for 52 years old!

So while we sit here making boat videos, we’re on pins & needles with the wildfire situation in the Sierra. Wishing strength and fair wind to everyone in harms way. The climate has changed, people :(