Camanoe is Home!!!!

Air temp: 59 degrees
Humidity: 83%   Barometer: 1017 mb
Noon Latitude: 37 deg 50.29′ N (Hanging out in a slip in Emery Cove Yacht Harbor)
Noon Longitude: 122 deg 18.59′ W

I apologize!!!! I have not posted since making landfall last week.  There is no excuse. According to the comments I’ve been receiving there are more people following the ramblings of a half-crazy, wannabe sailor with cabin fever than I realized. So here is what’s going on.

Camanoe and I made landfall at the Berkeley Yacht club on September 9, 2012 after 31 days of floating around the Pacific. We covered exactly 2,980 nautical miles or 3,427 statute miles. We had an average moving speed of four knots per hour. Our trusty Yanmar engine ran for a total of 21 hours. Half of that was just ran underway for an hour at a time so I could take a hot shower. Between the main engine and the aux diesel generator we used exactly 15 usg of diesel fuel for the entire trip. Camanoe is by no means fast, but damn she’s comfortable. In fact, most boats make this passage in 20 days. However, keep the following in mind: we hardly motored. Most boats motor at least 100 hours on average through light winds for this trip. Also, Camanoe only has white sails since we lost the spinnaker.  I was single-handing, which meant I would often neglect the sail trim, or down right ignore it if I was sleeping. It was not uncommon for me to wake up and hear the sails slatting or even realize the jib was back-winded in light wind. When this happened I would often roll over and catch it in the morning when I woke up again. In addition to all of this, I was torn between where to make landfall, Either Vancouver Island in Canada or San Francisco. I didn’t decide until 42 degrees north that I would make landfall in San Francisco. So I went an additional 500 miles out of my way. All of this being said, I had a fantastic trip. Camanoe is well built with comfortable amenities like a deep fridge and freezer, and unlimited water and power. I wasn’t really concerned with the speed or overall time of the voyage. Basically I just relaxed, read, watched TV, stared at the stars and the ocean, and enjoyed life at a much slower and relaxed pace.

Would I make the trip again? Yes!! Would I do it single-handed? Yes, but preferably with my better half. I don’t consider myself a true blue water sailor, just a guy who has done a couple single-handed, offshore passages. The one thing I do consider to be true, is that cruising is the perfect environment for a couple or a family. I made the trip single-handed because my better half said, “No, I think I’ll fly and meet you there.“ If she only knew what she was missing!!

What are my plans now? I guess it’s time to become a member of society again. At some point I will return back to work. I just have to figure out exactly what I want to do when I grow up. Camanoe has found a new home at Emery Cove Yacht Harbor in Emeryville, CA. The facilities are fantastic and clean, so Stephanie will be moving aboard next week so we can save up some money and eventually buy a place of our own. Unfortunately, I don’t see too much sailing for Camanoe in the near future. The V-berth will probably be full of Steph’s work clothes and most of Camanoe’s gear will be stored off of the boat to make living aboard more comfortable. The good news is I will have lots of time for all of those projects I’ve always wanted to complete.

In parting, I’d like to impart a few thoughts to those of you who are considering buying a boat and setting sail for Mexico and beyond. Do it! Even if only for a few months a year or full time. Stephanie and I both had a fantastic overall experience. Yes, there is bad weather and cold nights. Moments or even hours of anticipation and worries. Even times of down right fright. But the reward outweighs the negatives far beyond measurement. Do it sooner rather than later. Don’t wait until your bank accounts are full and you have the perfect retirement.  Do it while you are young and you can enjoy those midnight skinny dipping experiences, those 2 for 1 margarita specials all night, the forced marches to see the fabled Huanacaxtle tree and waterfall. Besides, being on a real budget and making ends meet while you are in paradise is half of the fun. Hunting down the 10 peso taco street vendors in Mexico, or trying to save money by riding the local bus system instead of wasting it on an expensive cab is sure to make for some good stories. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic to have a retirement and have the safety of being financially secure if you wait until you’re older to go cruising, but don’t use that as an excuse to not go cruising. Most of our fellow cruisers we met, who we absolutely had a blast with and were lucky to consider as friends, told us the same thing, “We wish we would have gone cruising when we were younger, like you.“