After five weeks at home visiting friends and working on boat projects we put Anacortes in our rearview mirror on Sep 12th and headed to Neah Bay, WA, the stepping off point for our trip down the west coast. Our plan was to take advantage of a short but good weather window that would allow us to go 30-40 miles offshore and sail directly to San Francisco, taking about 5 days. Best laid plans…
After two days we were making good time, albeit with the motor assisting the sails due to a lack of wind. We had settled into our 3 hours on / 3 hours off nighttime watch schedule. On the third day the wind finally picked up, as did the seas, and we shut off the motor. Unfortunately, shortly after, our autopilot seized up and we were forced to hand steer, which is akin to driving a semi truck without power steering. In calm conditions this wouldn’t have been a big deal, but with strong winds and heavy seas it was a very uncomfortable and physically taxing situation. We certainly didn’t want to deal with it for another three days to San Francisco so we headed to the nearest harbor, Brookings Harbor, OR – which wasn’t all that near – about 30 miles (or 6 hours) away.
A week later, with a freshly repaired autopilot, we motored (still no wind) down the coast to Eureka, CA, where Wags polished off a few more boat projects while Paula jumped ship for a short trip to Ohio to attend her high school class reunion and visit with family.
When we finally passed under the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay, a quick calculation showed that our 5-day passage from Neah Bay had taken 17 days. Yes, it took longer than planned, but we faced new challenges, saw new places and met new people along the way, all the elements of a good adventure!