Leaving the Dock

We finally departed Newport Beach last Friday.  It was six weeks passed our planned departure date, but schedules kind of went out the window.  After waiting out a few storms that rolled through and deciding to do a few last minute projects, we sailed out of Newport Harbor.

Our first stop was Avalon on Catalina Island.  We’ve been to Catalina dozens of times, but it seriously does not get old!  A couple of reasons we wanted to head out this way first were to test out the outboard on the dinghy and do the sea trials for our autopilot.  These were things that we just weren’t able to do in the slip, and we wanted to be able to buzz back over the mainland if there were any problems.  When we first picked up our new dinghy and outboard, the outboard just didn’t seem to be running all that smoothly.  However, in the harbor you really can’t run it very fast.  We had to get it out where we could actually get it up on plane to see what was going on.  We weren’t sure if it was just a matter of it being new and needing to be broken in or if there was actually an issue.  Luckily, everything seems to be running smoothly!

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We left Newport in the afternoon and had to bash upwind and into to some swell.  We put a reef in the main and pulled out the staysail and were able to make some tracks.  It was a bit slow going, but we literally sailed off into the sunset!  We made it to Avalon about 9:30 on Friday night, and crashed as soon as our heads hit the pillows.

On Saturday we took the boat out to dial in the autopilot.  After a few tests, it looks like it’s going to work great!  We have two forms of self steering – an autopilot and a hydrovane.  The autopilot runs off a drive unit and computer which steer the rudder when set to a compass course.  The hydrovane is non-electric.  It has it’s own rudder and actually steers to the wind.  Both systems are a must.  You can imagine how tiring hand steering would be for hours or days on end!

We started plotting our course to Ensenada and working with our satellite phone/wifi to get our weather (GRIB) files.  Unfortunately, what we saw was pretty ugly.  Although it will only take us about 20 hours or so so sail to Ensenada, doing so in gale force winds is just not that smart.  Right now the gale flag is blowing here in Avalon, so we’re staying put.

While we have a couple of days here at this beautiful island, we’re having a little fun.  We blew up our inflatable canoe, which is pretty cool.  We also met some great new friends in the harbor who also have a Cheoy Lee and invited them for dinner tonight.

I’ll leaving you with pictures of me jumping in with Ukelele Eddie, who we met the other day, and a picture of Adagio in front of the Casino in Avalon.  Hopefully the next time I will be writing you will be from Ensenada!

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