Sunday, April 13, 2008

Southern California


1830 Anchored behind Pt. Conception at the Coho Anchorage. What a rolly polly place. Wind came up to 40 knots and you could hear the seas breaking at the headland. A 200' oil rig tender joined us for the night.
15' seas rounding Pt Conception, oil rig in sunset, "welcome to Southern California"
11/23/99 Tuesday, 0930 pulled anchor full of ribbon kelp as we had to anchor in the rocks. Wind down to 8 to 10 knots, sky clear. Happy to be under the lee of Pt. Conception and next stop Ventura. 1030 while we were engaged in what sailors do when they are happy to be alive and sailing in 65 deg. sunny days on a close reach at 8 knots ;-o we were joined in our moment of ecstasy by bottle nosed dolphins on both side of the cockpit "spying" at us! Not kidding! "bunch of voyeurs" Annie just loved that, it was hopefully a sign of good things to come.
1800 Entered Ventura harbour entrance, difficult to find and understand from nav. lights backlighted from shore. GPS was better than chart to position us for the entrance. We had never been there and the full moon had not come up high enough to see clearly. We could have made it on instruments alone but I had to use spot light to be "certain". Long and somewhat difficult trip but we are here and happy.
Joe,Spanky & Annie

Point Conception Bound



11/18/99 Thursday, 0300 Departed Monterey bound Morro Bay. Missed good weather window waiting for gallows to be finished so departed on heels of last low passing though. Wind variable 8 to 10 knots swell large, 8 to 10' from N/W. Forecast is 20 knots N/W. Maybe we can get a good reach to Morrow Bay and get in before dark. Annie doesn't want to be of the lee shore at night for Pt. Conception. "I don't blame her", do you?
0700, north of Pt. Sur, just getting daylight, light southerly wind seas 4 to 5', swell still 10' W/NW. Very cold, we are taking turns at wheel as it is to cold to last more than a couple of hours.
1100, off Pt. Lopez when I spotted a large pod of dolphins following a tide streak south. I told Annie to put on safety harness and go forward and prepare for one of the most wonderful and magic moments a mariner can enjoy. The dolphins came to play with us. Annie was on the bow pulpit and they had a special moment.
1700, entering harbour at Morro Bay. Sunset one of the most beautiful I've see in years, surfing into entrance, glad to be in sheltered waters and shut down engine. Found out next morning harbour was closed due to hazardous sea conditions as it was "closing out" with 10' breakers all across the entrance by early next morning. Seas at Pt Conception 30' and we could hear MAYDAY calls answered by the Coast Guard during the 4 days we were guest of the wonderful Morro Bay Yacht Club. This time of year you have to "harbour hop" between lows coming up the coast and pick your hiding places within reach of your boat!
11/22/99 Monday, 0700 Departed Morro Bay bound Coho Anchorage, behind Pt. Conception. Left with half a main tank of fuel and fuel dock won't open for a couple of hours so with the hope of good wind and a relative short passage we set out and over the swells at harbour entrance. After we left they dropped the gale warnings and opened the harbor entrance again. We had the Coast Guard watching us leave and I guess they decided it was all right.
1100 Past Pt. Bouchon finally got an easterly wind we could sail on and enjoyed a wonderful reach to Avilla Bay where we got our fuel topped of in the good tank. 24 gal. from Monterey! Proceeded to Pt. Conception, wind 25 to 30 knots N/NW seas 6 to 8' and swells 10 to 15' W/NW. Confused and hard to steer but at least we are sailing and what a ride, over 11 knots on the face of the swells and she is loving it.
Positioned ourselves to make the "run through the slot" past Pt. Arguello and Pt. Conception as it was getting dark and seas were getting bigger. Had the pole out to windward and main with preventer and braced for the run. The jam cleats didn't hold the pole and the car came of the track! I released the pole after Annie eased the sheets and said, "the hell with that" and we shot the slot under main alone! Surfing on an occasional swell it was beautiful if cold. Watched huge full moon rise over the mountains.

Blown into Monterey!


11/05/99, Friday. 0445, Motored out of the Aquatic Park bound for Santa Cruz. Wind S/SE 25 to 30 knots, seas 3 to 5' westerly swell 6 to 8'. Fog increasing. (I hate leaving on Friday)! After fuel problem have developed air leak in suction side of system. Had to stop and bleed air out of system several times. Motor sailing with both sails flying making 8+ knots to windward. Would enjoy tacking down coast except dense fog and wanting to make Santa Cruz with "willing and happy first mate" :o)
1200 hrs arrived Santa Cruz and did an overhaul of fuel system. Found air leak at secondary filter on engine and bought several extra Racor elements.
11/06/99, Saturday. 1200, Departed Santa Cruz bound Monterey. Wind N/W 8 to 10 knots and sunny. 5 miles out of harbour encountered Humpback whales jumping and "spy hopping" on both sides of boat. Shut down engine and enjoyed show. Prepared to set .05 oz spinnaker when I witnessed the dreaded "black line squall" coming for us from the S/W. I told Annie as calmly as I could to "forget the spinnaker and hold on" We had a full main and flying our new 120% Genoa when we were hit with 40 knots of wind and 6 to 8' very steep seas. This was just as we approached the Monterey Canyon area! I have seen this happen once before when I was chartering my old woody, "PATRONILLA" out of Monterey and knew it was going to be tough going! We blew 3 slides on the roller furling. Rolled it to about 90% and endeavoured to reef the main. What a fiasco that was!! The rigid vang held the boom but not from flying about and "bouncing" off the new dodger. We rarely reefed ALLURE in the bay so were use to calmer seas. I know I was derelict in not building a more safe jiffy system but with slab reefing we didn't count on the dodger being in the way so much. "Trade offs" We beat the rest of the way to Monterey in 35 to 40 knots winds with a fisherman reef in main. As you can see from this first photo we are way over canvassed but she is holding her own and the rail doesn't dip after we cleared the headland and were protected by Pt Penos.
1700 Entered Monterey Harbour for repairs and "new boom gallows" and "jiffy reefing system"
Note: We stayed to have a boom gallows fabricated the the Monterey Bay Boat Works. It took 2 weeks and cost more to polish the stainless steel than the welding. They do mostly fishing boats but the new gallows is very strong. With the new boom gallows installed and jiffy reefing will make it reasonable to reef "ALLURE" when we want to, fast and safely. "OK! I know I should have done it sooner" Don't make the same mistake in your hurry to finally depart!

Southern Passage, leaving San Francisco





11/4/99, Thursday. 1530, Departed Alameda Marina bound San Francisco Aquatic Park. (I never start a voyage on Friday) After motoring down estuary switched to aux. fuel tank and engine immediately sputtered as my Racor filter plugged up! We made it to the new dock at Scotts Restaurant to change the element. After telling the workman the situation we proceeded to investigate problem and correct. We have a 2 micron element on the first filter. We found the second element on engine is 10 micron, which I feel is totally inadequate so we are using the primary filter as the fine screen/water separator. Love my Racor's. Switch to main tank and proceeded to Aquatic Park for night.
1730 dropped anchor on East side of Park next to old ferry. Wind 15 N/W, outside temp. 40 deg. Cold. Propane heater working well, love the new Dodger. Brilliant sunset.
11/05/99, Friday. 0445, Motored out of the Aquatic Park bound for Santa Cruz. Wind S/SE 25 to 30 knots, seas 3 to 5' westerly swell 6 to 8'. Fog increasing. (I hate leaving on Friday)! After fuel problem have developed air leak in suction side of system. Had to stop and bleed air out of system several times. Motor sailing with both sails flying making 8+ knots to windward. Would enjoy tacking down coast except dense fog and wanting to make Santa Cruz with "willing and happy first mate" :o)
1200 hrs arrived Santa Cruz and did an overhaul of fuel system. Found air leak at secondary filter on engine and bought several extra Racor elements.
11/06/99, Saturday. 1200, Departed Santa Cruz bound Monterey. Wind N/W 8 to 10 knots and sunny. 5 miles out of harbour encountered Humpback whales jumping and "spy hopping" on both sides of boat. Shut down engine and enjoyed show. Prepared to set .05 oz spinnaker when I witnessed the dreaded "black line squall" coming for us from the S/W. I told Annie as calmly as I could to "forget the spinnaker and hold on" We had a full main and flying our new 120% Genoa when we were hit with 40 knots of wind and 6 to 8' very steep seas. This was just as we approached the Monterey Canyon area! I have seen this happen once before when I was chartering my old woody, "PATRONILLA" out of Monterey and knew it was going to be tough going! We blew 3 slides on the roller furling. Rolled it to about 90% and endeavoured to reef the main. What a fiasco that was!! The rigid vang held the boom but not from flying about and "bouncing" off the new dodger. We rarely reefed ALLURE in the bay so were use to calmer seas. I know I was derelict in not building a more safe jiffy system but with slab reefing we didn't count on the dodger being in the way so much. "Trade offs" We beat the rest of the way to Monterey in 35 to 40 knots winds with a fisherman reef in main. As you can see from this first photo we are way over canvassed but she is holding her own and the rail doesn't dip after we cleared the headland and were protected by Pt Penos.
1700 Entered Monterey Harbour for repairs and "new boom gallows" and "jiffy reefing system"



"ALLURE" refit


The exhaust is my biggest pleasure as an "Alaskan engineer". You should have seen Annie and me pouring water down hose to figure the volume to size a water lift muffler. The original system was a very hot 1 1/2" pipe that went up the shaft alley 28' to the lazerette where it went into a rusted out muffler where water was injected. The original system was supposed to be double walled and wrapped. I got a new exhaust elbow that had a 5/8" pipe welded at an angle away from the exhaust manifold. I was advised to use 2" U.S. Coast Guard approved "blue" stripe hose @ $4.00 per ft.. I bought 30' and just had enough to finish the job. We got a 1 gallon, ( yes, that's right) water lift muffler and placed it next to the shaft coupling on the starboard side. Ran rubber hose to it from the exhaust extension. Ran 8' of the same 2" hose to a 2" bronze vented loop at the top of the port hanging locker. From there we ran the hose along the port side at an ever decreasing angle to the lazerette where I installed a 2" ball valve to stop any water entering system if overloading or following seas pushing water into boat when sailing. When we started the engine the first time I ran it only a short time and Annie shut it down, I quickly pulled the hose from the muffler to see the volume of water left in it and weather the level had risen to the exhaust manifold. I was pleasantly surprised to see about 1/2 gal. of water left. The vented loop let the water run out the stern instead of filling a much larger muffler. It worked and has been working well for 7 years! We learned the exhaust hose was only about 1/4 full when running. I feel the Achilles heel of a Columbia 50 is its own designed engine so low in the boat. Many have been "watered" by bad exhaust systems or being "poop ed" by a possible boarding sea in my view. I hope never to fill my cockpit with water but it does happen.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

PAI WAKA Refit


You can see we had to pull the engine to grind the bilge! Oil pan was sitting on bilge not allowing the motor mounts to "touch" the stringers. Alignment was impossible. We cut 1" lead and epoxy to make a "valley" for the oil pan of our Isuzu diesel. When we hauled out we had to completely rebuild the stern bearing. The whole bearing was broken out of the deadwood due to badly aligned shaft. Replaced shaft and prop, new coupling. Water tank tops were formica table tops upside down and leaking so bad the PO said he only filled them for 7 minutes at a time. I replaced with plexiglas so I could see and Annie re-epoxied them as they were full of blisters. I cut a piece of 100 % rubber as a complete gasket and put bolts on 4" centers to hold. I want to be able to open them up and clean as needed.
Notice the large "stabilizing fin" mounted aft the keep forward of the rudder. This was another Bernie Kashen design to stabilize the boat in a large following sea. Seems these boats have a rather faaaaaaaast helm and tend to broach while racing downwind as most narrow/deep draft boats have as opposed to the "fat & Flat" boats that have to motor up wind and "slide" down wind. To each his/her own. :-)
We installed the biggest submersible bilge pump Rule made, about 3500 gal per hr. with a 1" hose to a check valve almost to the loop under the deck. I wanted water over the check valve to try and eliminate the "sucking" of air and releasing water back into bilge. Better than none as it use to drain over 8' of hose back to the bilge every time it went off which was all the time due to the large amount of water coming back. We have a hand operated diaphragm pump for a back up as well as a portable double diaphragm gusher with 20' of hose on each end for passing off to another boat or any compartment.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Meeting up

Hello, my name is Joe Bennett and my 1st mate and partner is Annie Higson. We were friends growing up in Carmel, Ca. in the summer of '64, I had a crush on her but she was going out with my room mate. We didn't see each other for the next 30 years until one evening I heard her laugh in a restaurant, well, the rest is history.
I was drafted into the Marines and joined the Navy in 1964 Served as Hospital Corpsman on the Aircraftcarrier, "TICONDEROGA" off the coast of Viet Nam. Annie went to college and worked in the restaurant, bar business.
I was a 20 year veteran Alaskan commercial fisherman until the Exxon Valdez oil spill wiped me out. I hold a current masters 100 ton sail/power license and am a Padi Dive master. Helped raise 2 sons fishing in Alaska during the summer and cruising, chartering an old Rhodes design, woody, "PATRONILLA" during the winter months from Homer, Alaska to Monterey, Ca. to San Diego's America's Cup in 1992.
Annie has commercial fished in Alaska, spent years in the restaurant business and currently is busy with property management. She is involved in every aspect of this venture, she works in the bilge, stands her own watch, goes to the top of the 65' mast and "cleans up after me" as I go from one project,(mess, her words) to another :-)
Annie is willing to discuss this with any women interested. Annie is my 1st mate, partner and best friend for the last 15 years.

C50/CC Will not die!


Hello,
I am creating this Blog to keep the legend of one of the finest designed sailboats, made in America. William Tripp's Columbia 50.
I had a web site called the "Columbia 50 Cruising Club" for over 6 years. During this time about 50 boats joined the club. There are only about 80 left in the world so that was a good representation.
The club as been dormant for the last 2 years due to my involvement in personal matters. I closed it with hundreds of photos and stories. It was a great experience, Annie and I met and sailed with some of the finest sailors and Gentleman I have ever met. The friends we made still close today.
Now with this Blog I plan to chronicle our personal journey with S/V "ALLURE" our 1972 Columbia 50 over the last 15 years.