Archive for September, 2007

Leaving San Francisco

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

Well we’ve been sitting on the dock here in Oakland for a week now. We originally figured that we’d be here for 2 or 3 days, but it turns out they had to re-engineer how they stayed the crane, so it’s actually taken longer to shore the thing up than it took them to load it down in Long Beach. Hopefully they’ve got it right this time. We’re leaving today and will hopefully be up in Dutch Harbor in 15-20 days.

Just a little detour to San Francisco

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

It seems like I can’t let a September pass without going under the Golden Gate at least once. Although in years past I’ve had little more than 15 feet of clearance going under the center span. So what are we doing in San Francisco you ask? Well that’s a damn fine question. We left LA Saturday evening with no wind and gentle seas. When I awoke the next morning, we were across from Santa Barbara and the wind was building a bit. We were down to making 6.5 knots, but hey I’m a sailor 6.5 knots is great. By my time at the helm during lunch, we were down to 4.5 knots trying to get around Point Conception in 6-8 foot seas with a steady 25 knot head wind. About this time we started rethinking our chances of averaging 7.5 knots all the way to Dutch Harbor. As the day progressed, we ran into 10 foot seas and gusts in the 40 knot range. That crane has a lot of wind loading on it, and we just can’t pull against it when the wind pipes up.

Here’s the crane back there doing it’s thing in 6-10 foot seas:

The next morning found James and I up in the wheel house drinking coffee and doing about 3 knots. James asked if I could see anything whipping around back on the barge and sure enough. At least one of the enormous lengths of threaded rod they used to brace the crane from astern had broken loose and was flopping around like a piece of rope. I couldn’t believe it at first, this is 3” thick solid stainless and it’s swinging around with the barge like a wet noodle. So we put the call in back to the office to see what they wanted us to do. We could either go back to LA, head into San Francisco if we could get under the bridge or we could just not worry about it and keep heading into Dutch. Fortunately the people who are having the crane shipped decided on San Francisco. So here we are. Of course San Francisco should have only been a day away, but with the increasing headwind, we were down to less than a knot for most of Monday and the better part of Tuesday even going backwards sometime. Amazingly the motion wasn’t too bad it just sucks going to be being right across from Morrow Bay and waking up and…yup that’s still Morrow Bay over there.

Here’s the all the bracing hanging limp with the one broken piece:

So here we are a mere 5 days from leaving Long Beach and we’re back on the dock. We need to take care of the damage, figure out what went wrong and make sure that we’re good for the rest of the way up to Dutch. It’s all just more money in my cruising kitty, but this might get a little ridiculous. James is now talking about the possibility of this stretching out into a 70 day run. He’s hoping to be home in time to spend Halloween with his kids.

Here’s the crane with about 10 feet clearance going under the Golden Gate Bridge: