Video from the Pacific

The Ravenswing skipper had his hands full on the BajaHaHa, so not many photos were taken. Our sharp crew took a bunch and we’ll do a proper trip report once everything is uploaded. Today we’re hanging out in a restaurant watching Tropical depression Raymond dump many inches of rain on the area. We had some drama with the engine dying 20 miles shy of Cabo in dead calm weather, but warning of the storm coming. Huge thanks to the crew of DeekN’Blues of Vancouver for towing us in to Cabo bay. They dropped our tow line and we lashed the TacoCat alongside the boat to tug Ravenswing into the anchorage. We checked in to the country and not much later were told the port was closing and the anchorage must be vacated by the next morning. We slept nervously, got up and repeated the tow lashing, and got the boat a few hundred yards offshore into sailing wind. A couple hours later after an excellent beat to weather Team Ravenswing finished the 800+ mile trip to Cabo San Jose. This is a beautiful marina and great place to recover from a fairly challenging two week trip. The harbor is closed as large waves are breaking across the entry bar. We’re in the cabin chasing small hatch and hardware leaks. What a grand adventure!

Here is some video to give you a taste at life on the Pacific coast.

Deport me!

Quick update to say S/V Ravenswing is lining up for Baja HaHa 26 parade start off San Diego’s Shelter Island.

Chris, Anton, Jim and Greg are excited to sail to Mexican waters this afternoon!

Here’s that missing photo of Jim with the WW2 Corsair, and another look at Midway as we exited.

A bit of video from our LA to San Diego day last Tuesday:

Next stop, Bahia de Tortugas :)

Tracking devices are turned on. Go to main menu and click thru to Tracking Ravenswing. Hasta la vista hombres

Greetings from San Diego

We returned to the boat in LA on the weekend and wrapped up outstanding projects. You saw the pile that had grown by the back door.

Started by slicing the Veeberth foam mattress and dressing with the new covers.

In the daylight Sunday we tackled the installation of the Irdium Go fixed antenna. This thing makes the new boat tracking possible. Running the cable through the crowded stern tower and through the cabins to the saloon settee back was a wire pulling challenge. But it’s a good looking install and is working well so far.

This Irdium satellite communicator is now reporting the boat’s position, so if you’d like to follow Ravenswing’s progress, please go to top page, find the Tracking link in the black bar under the boat photo, and read the easy instructions. You should see us get rolling on Monday morning.

Got the reacher-sail turning block straps made from UV resistant car seat belt material, color matched of course.

Here’s a nice little “keeper” to hold the anchor in place on deck. Traded some boat parts with Mike Leneman on our way through town. Very nice to visit him and Kristie and Calypso.

We’re also pleased to have added 20% more solar (500watts) with these new panels on the dodger. We now have three charging circuits: 200 watts on each float deck and this 100 on the dodger. The three groups now complement each other re: shade, and since they are independent we’re much safer vs the prior all-serial config where one panel failure brought the system down.

Jim flew in and we departed San Pedro at 4:30am to do the 100 mile sail to San Diego by dusk. Nice idea, but accidentally driving in to the kelp bed off Pt. Loma (just excruciating inches from the SD channel) hung us up two hours. We had to shut down the motor and de-weed 20+ times, plus lift both foils. What a major mess, solved only by Jim lying in the forward net pushing globs of kelp with the boat hook away from the prop area and me driving us forward at a half knot. All while Navy helicopters buzzed overhead doing some big night exercise. Crazy evening. At least the middle day was blissfully pleasant 8-10kt sailing in a mild breeze.

The Baja HaHa team organizes a lovely anchorage in Glorietta Bay at Coronado Bay. We’re steps from the Hotel Del!

TacoCat is doing a great job as our new car. It’s really good to have followed Drew’s lead on this little ship. Since we leapfrogged over catamaran Brizzo who spent a night in Dana Point, we had the chance to invite their crew for dinner with their San Diego arrival. Beth and Damien enjoyed a pretty darn good pork & veggies stir fry AND they let us celebrate Bella’s 8th birthday with them, on Halloween no less!They promptly left the country and are settled in at Ensenada tonight. It’ll be great to connect again in La Paz and stroll through neighborhood Christmas lights :)

We took yesterday afternoon off from voyage prep chores to tour USS Midway. I’ll have to come back here with Griffin. The docents do a great job bringing it to life.

We sat in Primary Flight Control…Engine room 3 (of 4) was thoroughly explained by Pete. He knew all the details of steam generation, propulsion and fresh water making. So I inquired what job he did aboard… well he retired in 1999 from a long career as captain of numerous Navy ships such as destroyers. Now he’s a great historian. We also got first hand explanations of the catapult jet launching from a pilot who had 300+ takeoffs from carriers. You actually lose your vision for about a second as the plane hurtles toward the deck edge. Oh boy.

We’ll wrap here tonight with a poignant photo. Jim’s with a rare Corsair, important because his father was a naval aviator in WW2, a Corsair pilot, and in peacetime later had buzzed his folks place in the Gilroy orchards to tip the wings and wave to his kids. When he was reassigned to the new Banshee jets, he tried one more flyby of the family place and the neighbor dairy cows stopped producing! That was the end of that.

What do you call the remote office?

Working from home? Virtual desk? We’ve realized it also means working on your boat at your house but your boat’s in LA. The final pre-Mexico punch list includes time on the sewing machine. Recall last month leaving the Golden Gate, the Pacific ripped away our Lifesling bag. Too stubborn to spend $100 for another bag that will just degrade in the sun, we watched the Sailrite how-to video. Came out pretty good. At least making it custom allowed for a better attachment technique. It will now be secured over a stern lifeline.

The forward V-berth has a nice foam mattress but it’s been a total pain to try making it up with normal bedsheets. Step one is a set of proper cushion covers. The co-owner had earmarked a roll of upholstery fabric for giveaway. It was the perfect amount!

The pile of stuff to take to Ravenswing grows. Doing our darndest to cancel anything truly unnecessary. But things like the water filter, dinghy lock, smoke detector, new solar panels and the Iridium satellite comms fixed antenna gotta come along.

The prior post left you wondering how the upgraded solar panel mounting would turn out. That went well, although it did take a couple more days. Here’s that “trough” of glass/carbon cloth put to use:

That’s 24 little feet, 6 per panel. It all seems quite secure now.

That work session also included marking the entire 340′ anchor rode in 20′ increments with bright yellow spray paint, and setting up the anchor bridle semi-permanently for easy, frequent deployment. Quite happy with all that now.

The cut, fair, paint job to remove the old steering bracket got finished. Looks like it was never there. The cockpit sole got a sanding and repaint. That was really bugging me. Happy now. Also finally painted the emergency escape hatch, and added more neoprene rubber to stop the little bit of super-annoying leak.

Also in that photo note the solar shower heating up. Thank you Drew for the tip on a better, bigger one. Hung from the boom and with an extended supply line, this provides an excellent hot water flow thru the ventilation hatch overhead of our shower stall. I actually had to wait until the evening to use it because it got warm. Around 105F, like almost too hot to bear hot tub. This will do just fine until the boat goes to cold weather places.

An earlier sewing job had been a cover for the Bimini. That fit fine and looks much better than the beach towel we used on the Cal coast sail. 

Here’s one for Dan, who valiantly tried to reboard the boat from the water in Catalina. That’s when we realized a proper ladder was urgent. That came out less than a pound, and it’s not going to rust / corrode.

And we finally got to hoisting the tiny (storm) jib. Although it was only with zip ties as hanks, I think this thing could work well above 30kts, so we’ll make up the needed 8 soft shackles and keep it aboard. Keith, I’m rigging up a 4′ long pennant, putting the tack of this thing a foot above the bagged primary jib. But looking again at these photos, maybe it needs to come lower for the right sheeting angle? Hmmm. Overall, it’s about half the size of the primary jib’s reefed deployment. So I’m thinking it’s for steering during basically bare-poles kind of days.

RickH, thank you again for the generous repurposing of your folding bicycle. It is VERY happy in its new place. It’s very light, yet rides close to a real bike. Fantastic for getting around San Pedro during the week spent working down there. I think it’ll be great to have in Mexico. We’ll do our best to fight off rust!

Right now we’re many hours in to setting up the Iridium Go satellite communicator. This stuff is expensive and confusing, but once it’s working we’ll have telephone, texting and basic email service anywhere. We’ve purchased through PredictWind so that weather forecasts will come to the boat wherever we are. This is a really exciting development. We’ll try hard to have the tracker system running for those who want to follow Ravenswing progress southbound. Stay tuned.

In between work days we hitched up the land yacht and got up the Mendocino coast. What a peaceful place. This girl was diggin’ the picking at Ft Bragg’s Glass Beach. That’s a little silver lining to everybody throwing their trash in the ocean 50 years ago. Yep, they just dumped it over the cliff for a very long time.

Still boat building, REALLY???

Yep, it seems we’re living the mantra of the Latitude 38 magazine’s BajaHaHa rally. For 20+ years we’ve all read that their event is most known for giving people a clear deadline for getting boats ready to cruise. Well, we left San Francisco but now in LA we’re squeezing out one more use of tools & supplies from home. Soon all this building stuff will end, and future boat work will be repairs, maintenance and upgrades along the way.

So, the solar rewiring finished up. Now the two starboard float deck panels are in serial, running one 36volt branch back to the MMPT controller. The two port float deck panels are also set that way. And the wiring is in place to add a third branch via new smaller panels on hard dodger top. Anton, if you’ve got any ideas for making a monocrystaline 36volt group, I’m all ears. Not interested in the flexible panels.

Mounting the new solar panel flat boards over the curved float decks is tricky, mostly because we’re trying to reuse the holes from the flexible panels’ old direct mounting. Needed longer thru-deck bolts but type 316 stainless steel is hard to get. As I fretted over how many days it would take to get a McMaster Carr order delivered, turns out the west coast hub is 20 miles away and open Sundays. Pilgrimage to Mecca, man!

One doesn’t get to wander the aisles, but from the bit I could see it’s every bit as tidy and efficient as their amazing website. Same day Sunday will call was great. And the counter guy was really nice, and intrigued by a first-visit from a long time customer.

Today Damien came over and on bolt #1 of 24 we could see the odd angles were going to be a problem. These mounting panels need feet! We’re in a fancy, tidy marina, not a working yard. Hmmm, go get some aluminum angle stock? That’s a lot of electrolysis trouble. Sure would be nice in plastic (fiberglass). So a quick Home Depot run for $6 of wood, some screws and packing tape to make a bracket form. Ugh, it’s 9pm and we have to build this inside the pretty boat!That’s a scramble of glass and carbon fabric scraps that I happened to throw in the box for this trip. It was thankfully just enough to form a long strip of angle bracket material. Pretty sure tonight no epoxy spilled where it doesn’t belong. The morning will tell.

I did take a dinner break in the wonderful company of Beth and Damien at their awesome Catana 431 catamaran BritoYou guys will probably see a lot more about them in a couple months as we make plans to buddy up in the Sea of Cortez. Along with a tasty dinner they walked me through their Iridium Go satellite comms system with built-in PredictWind forecasting. I think we’ll copy what these guys did! Gotta hurry to get the antenna and base installed later this month.

Forgot to snap a photo, but Brizo boat dog Bella is a kick. She’ll be video worthy in Mexico. Stay tuned for that one.

Off to sleep with epoxy fumes now. G’night people.


We told you Ravenswing had a good first ocean trip. And of course it generated a to-do list. We’re getting after it, pre-Mexico.

Jim and Dan, my first task at 6am today… The bathroom dry rot king can imagine what happened when I finally got the pump’s clog to clear in that Alamitos Bay parking lot bathroom. Nothing a little Clorox couldn’t fix. Note in the photo the small water lines and black ‘vented loop’. That used to be much higher up, behind a false bulkhead. Turns out I had too much elevation gain in the toilet flush-water supply line, meaning we were constantly starving the toilet for sufficient flushing water. Rerouted it all this morning via the “sea chest” concept down at hull bottom level, and it works like a champ now. The Lavac toilets are great with simplicity and strength, but do require sensible setup.

The other big one I mentioned before was blowing out a solar panel. Anton advises the flexible panels have proven to be quite prone to breaking circuitry due to the flexing. I thought we had done well to mount them to solid boat parts (I pity those who think it’ll work strapping them to Bimini tops). But we agreed that these panels really need to be permanently attached to actual backer boards to ensure the best chance of longevity. We’re out of foam core and wanted this project done quickly before I drove back to LA. So it was pressure treated wood and a sheet of doorskin. We’ll show you the install soon.

Got the sewing machine out for covering the Bimini when it’s folded up during sailing or storms.

The mainsail reefing-led-to-cockpit is working well, but missing a couple of line guides in front of the cabintop halyard winches. We had some extra plastic hanging around yesterday, and will install tomorrow.

I loaded the pickup with all the last stuff for the boat’s coming adventure, plus every tool I could foresee using in LA this week. Some of you knew our 2017 Ram Ecodiesel 1500 4×4, all tricked out with off-road gear. Yea, that motor couldn’t handle the travel trailer load. After a five month fight, we prevailed in arbitration and Chrysler bought it back last week. Their dough enabled a 50k miles 2017 Cummins diesel 2500. And this garage queen just barely fits :)Pretty darn happy yesterday driving down I-5 (basically empty) at 70mph getting 23-24 mpg in a huge ass truck.

Last weekend it pulled the travel trailer very well up to the Sierras. Mountain bike racing and early snow!I discovered how great the truck’s factory supplied exhaust brake works.

Anyhow, today was moving Ravenswing from the two week max stay at Long Beach to a three week berth in San Pedro. Never gets old passing the Los Angeles harbor entrance called Angels Gate.

Tomorrow includes solar rewording / reinstall, line handling upgrades and interior adjustments. Probably painting jobs on Sunday.

Oh yea, Navy radioman Dave: Turns out the VHF transmission problem was the $3 patch cable from the antenna splitter to the radio. After you left Catalina I took another crack at diagnostics and found the cable cutting in and out. Not cool that the $900+ professional AIS rig showed up with a crap cable! They quickly sent this for me to put in tmrw. No time for sailing this week but at least this is a nice marina to hang and work in for a few days. Next up will be the designated BajaHaHa anchorage in San Diego later this month!

Around the West End

… of Catalina, that is. Monday after the MultiMarine Summer Splash wrapped up, we pulled the anchors and set sail around the western tip of the island.After rounding the corner we did a little wing&wing with main and jib. Gotta love doing 8-9kts with zero effort on a cruising boat. We started checking out coves for a two night anchorage. The shore-boat boss at Two Harbors had suggested Big Geiger cove. Found it, but saw it was a private beach of the Blue Water Cruising Club. We set the bow anchor anyway, figuring we could dinghy ashore elsewhere. Then rowed over to the nice Grand Banks trawler to ask where they’d recommend a stern anchor. Turns out those folks are basically the summer ambassadors for BWCC, and they invited us ashore. After we hoisted the guest burgee. They say the place looks the same as when the founders put it together in the 50’s.

The next day we walked the road west to the next coves. These shots of the Boy Scout Camp are for Dad; I think this is the place he camped as a kid in the late 1940’s!

Even in mid September the Catalina camps appear to be in full swing, with school groups doing outdoor week stuff. We were invaded by snorkeling and kayaking kids.

After the two nights we returned the guest burgee, donated WingIt’s rainbow unicorn to the BWCC kids, and sailed to Long Beach. The EagleRail team will appreciate our approach along the LA/LongBeach massive container facilities. With Ravenswing safely docked, we grabbed a rental car and scooted back to real life in the Bay Area and Oregon.

The boat and skipper say a huge Thank You to Dan, Jim and Anton for everything each man did to safely transit the central California coast on the boat’s first real voyage. It feels very different now; we have an accomplished sea boat, not a what-if? vessel. Really fired up about continuing the adventure.

Dan gathered up his images here. Enjoy.