We had a chance to get Libertad out numerous times in July. It started with a land trip to Ensenada to pick up s/v Libertad from the Baja Naval boatyard. We had delivered her down there at the end of May for some TLC – primarily involving varnish and paint. Past experience led us to believe that the work would only take a few weeks. We were shocked that the project manager was hesitant to commit to a delivery at the end of June. COVID has had its impact everywhere as the project manager told us that he only had one varnisher and one painter, and they were the same person! Thus the painting couldn’t start until the varnishing was done.
In the June Signal Hoist we documented our great crew, enjoyable trip south, but extremely poor timing – choosing Memorial Day weekend for that delivery. With some hesitation, we headed south on Amtrak on Sunday, July 3rd – another holiday weekend. Things went smoothly this time. We arrived at the Baja Naval boatyard midday. We admired the yard’s work and started prepping the boat for the return trip (replacing all the equipment we had removed for painting the cockpit).
We ate dinner at the same restaurant as our prior visit and in addition to our delicious dinners ordered two roasted chicken dinners to go for anticipated meals during the passages north. A quick stop at the market for a few items to supplement the chicken made for easy provisioning. We were awakened at 6am on Monday the 4th by movement in the cockpit. The varnisher/painter was in the cockpit sanding and polishing out painting drips! That’s how tight our timing was.
While we were at Customs and Immigration being checked out of Mexico (the boatyard assigns a person to help us through that process but it is still painfully slow), the boatyard staff splashed us back into the water and we were headed for San Diego by 10am. As expected we motored against the wind but the seas weren’t too wild. Virginia had installed the CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) app on her phone, upon the recommendation of Ed Kaufman, and was able to clear us back into the US while out at sea. We had a slip reserved at the Shelter Island Police Dock in case the app didn’t perform as intended, so we decided to enter the bay and get a few hours of sleep. The sun had set as we entered US waters with the skyscrapers of San Diego in sight. It was dark as we entered San Diego Harbor but we knew the way having been to the Police Dock several times. The San Diego fireworks started as we approached our slip and we had a fantastic view of the show.
Knowing we had a 12+ hour trip to Two Harbors, we were up and headed to Catalina by 4am on the 5th. The holiday traffic had cleared out and we hooked up to a mooring ball just as the sun slipped below the mountain peak. It was a quiet night on the boat. Another early start the following morning got us back to Santa Barbara before dark. The two roasted chicken dinners from Ensenada were readily consumed enroute along with some illegal produce brought into US waters from Mexico. Generally, an eventless trip but lots of motoring. Dennis was concerned that with all those hours on the new engine it would soon be time to change the oil. He was shocked when we read from the manual that the next oil change wasn’t until 400 hours. But we plan to double check that.
The next week we had a few day sails with friends and family. The first day sail was on Monday and represented a prize won in an online auction conducted by Dennis’ Rotary club last November. For funds donated to his foundation, the winners were treated to a 3 hour sail and an onboard dinner back at the dock. The wind and sea state was perfect for these novice sailors. While they ate dinner in the salon, we provided a PowerPoint presentation of our trip around the world. They exclaimed that the meal and the entertainment were worth every penny of their donation.
Relatives had made vacation plans to be in Carpinteria in July (they had owned a house in Carpinteria for many years and Dennis had been invited to spend many summer weeks with them during his teen years). The Wednesday following that Monday day sail, we had scheduled a day sail for all these relatives and their spouses. We borrowed PFDs from the Slocums in order to have sufficient safety gear for our group of 10. We were worried that seating would be a concern if the weather turned inclement, but we had sunshine, dolphins, calm seas, and great wind that day also – such fun. Ten random people and no one got seasick!
We ended the month with our cruise to PCYC. Lisa and Scott Burns joined us on Libertad. We left Santa Barbara Friday morning for Little Scorpion under overcast skies and 5 knots of wind on the nose. We arrived at Santa Cruz Island to clear skies and warm sunshine. We were prepared to use two anchors, but as we cruised the anchorage, we observed that only two of the six boats in the
anchorage had used two and they were both in the NW corner, the rest were swinging on one anchor. We joined the other four with one anchor. For dinner, we enjoyed BBQ’d pork chops with sides contributed by Lisa – baked potatoes and mixed veggies. Dinner was followed by at least two hours of Mexican Train dominos before we all cried “Uncle” and headed for our bunks. In the morning we
were greeted with heavy overcast skies but the Burns were not to be denied their cruising tradition of ocean activity and kayaked around the anchorage visiting the sea caves while we all enjoyed the standard anchoring entertainment provided by the arriving boats. We did indeed swing a full 360 that night, but no mishaps. Later that morning, we motor-sailed to the Channel Islands Harbor, enjoying motor-sailed to the Channel Islands Harbor, enjoying visiting dolphins and an apparent yacht race just outside the breakwater. We entered the harbor with the appropriate pennants flying: SBSPS burgee, Commander’s burgee, and finally Bridge Officer (SEO) burgee. The dockside appetizer party was well attended including the District Commander, Ventura Squadron members, and others from the Las Vegas Squadron. Ron & Vicki’s Painkillers were a big hit for all again. After two years of absence it was a shock to see that huge slab of prime rib covering ¾’s of the PCYC dinner plate. One of Virginia’s college roommates joined us for the PCYC dinner, spent the night aboard Libertad and made it a crew of 5 that headed back to Santa Barbara Sunday morning on a route that took us out around Platform Grace to allow us to set up for an afternoon sail. Unfortunately the wind did not fill in until we were only about mile outside the harbor, so more hours on the engine. We arrived at the slip shortly after 3pm and Lisa and Scott were off to another event –they are a busy couple. These trips always end with a list of maintenance issues, leaving us with plenty of things to do on the boat before the next trip which will be the traditional Two Harbors cruise. Hope many of you will join us.