May 8, 2006

Dear Friends,

As most of you know, I am spending this summer cruising in my 40 foot sail boat 'Intrepid,' with the goal of sailing to Glacier Bay, Alaska, then back to Long Beach, CA.  This note is to let you all know that I have begun my journey.

I pulled away from my dock at 1:00 p.m. today and sailed over to Emerald Cove in Catalina; the first stop of many on my way up the coast. I'm anchored in 85 feet of water and while the wind is blowing 22 knots, there is no swell and so far a smooth anchorage.

My next anchorage will be off of Santa Cruz Island, near Santa Barbara, CA.

Best wishes,

Jack

 

Subject: Day IV

May 10, 2006

Hello Friends,

 

I'm currently flying along in the fog north off Pt. Arquello, which is just

north of Pt. Conception.  Wind light, seas 4-5 foot, weather 47 degrees and

wet from fog.

 

The radar is wonderful under these conditions and the GPS is awesome.  I

just set a path on the screen and that's where the boat goes.

 

I'm motoring with the main sail up to help stabilize the roll from the seas.

Average speed is between 6.5 and 7.0 knots.

 

I left Coho Beach, located on the lee of Pt. Conception at 0630 and I expect

to pull into Port San Luis Obispo (Avila Beach) early this afternoon.

 

The weather has been mild which is helping to aclimate me to the conditions

of living at sea.  However, I wish the wind would pick up.  These light

conditions allow the boat to roll around and makes for a quesy stomach.

 

So far, I've anchored at Catallina, Smuggler's Bay on Santa Cruz Island off

Santa Barbara and Coho Beach.  The boat and equipment are all working

wonderfully.

 

The only excitement thus far was being boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard when

in Smuggler's Cove.  They ran a safety inspection on the boat and found no

problems.  They did inspect my firearms, but had no negative comments.  In

fact they were very cool guys, liked the boat and envied the trip I have

embarked upon.

 

The photos are of 'Intrepid' passing Santa Cruz Island and a passenger ship

which passed astern but did cause me some concern, as he was heading right

at me for awhile.

 

 

 

Take care all and bless you all.

 

Jack

(Editor's note: I haven't been able to view Jack's pictures since these, unfortunately.)


May 11, 2006

Hi Vicki,

I've arrived at Port San Luis (Avila Beach) near San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach at 1500 hours today. I'm resending the pictures mentioned in my previous note, plus one taken here in the harbor of San Luis.
Tomorrow I sail to San Simeon.

By the way 'Ms. Vegas', I love the desert as well as the sea.  Reason?  Both offer infinite wide open spaces which appeals to my nature.

Regards,
Jack Denson

 

Subject: San Simeon - Day VI

Date: Fri, 12 May 2006 20:29:06 -0500

 

Dear Friends,

 

'Intrepid arrived in the beautiful harbor of San Simeon yesterday at 1145 hours.  She made good time from Port San Luis Obispo where we left at 0530.

 

I traveled to San Simeon with absolutely no wind, but plenty of fog.  I can't imagine trying to do this trip without radar.  Having read Dana's 'Two Years Before The Mast' I am humbled by what those intrepid sailors experienced in those old wooden inefficiant square rigged sailing ships.  Me?  No wind, no problem.  My little diesil cruises me easily along at 7 knots.  Can't see 100 yards?  No problem, just switch on the radar and it

sees all obsticals in my path.  Don't know the route?  The GPS shows me exactly where I am on earth and guides me from port to port.  The boat sinks?  No problem, I launch my four man survival raft, equipted with a

water maker and flip on my EPIRB.  A registered signal bounces off a satillite and the Coast Gaurd knows exactly where I'm located and hopefully doesn't have a problem with my personality and comes to my rescue.

 

Sure, risks are real, but by minimizing them, one has the confidence to make a journey like this.  All I have to do is stay on board!   Here too, I take percaution by wearing a life vest and a tether which is hooked to a safety

line that runs from bow to stern.  I clip on to this safety line when I venture out on deck while at sea.

 

San Simeon is a very restful port and I have taken advantage of it.  I decided not to leave today for Monterey but to organize and relax.  Tomorrow I will leave at O-Dark-Thirty, in order to get to Monterey before dark.

 

The pictures show 'Intrepid at anchor in San Simeon and if you look, you can

see the Hearst Castle on the hill.

 

Warm regards to you all,

 

Jack

 

Subject: Monterey - Day VIII

Date: Sun, 14 May 2006 21:39:15 -0500

Hi Friends,

 

I left San Simeon yesterday at 0300 and arrived in Monterey at 1830 hours. The trip started off most serenely, as there was a full moon, the temperature was warm and the seas calm.  That went on till around 1030, when

I noticed the wind picking up and white caps on the water.  I immediately reefed my main sail, which shortens it to spill power.  But the wind built to 40 knots and then gusted up to 50.  I was a bit out of sorts as I have

never experienced winds of that magnitude.  But the boat handled well even though I still thought she was overpowered.

 

I had to go out on deck to take care of matters and although I was tethered onto a life line, to say I was ill at ease would have been a gross understatement.  Admittidly I was a little scared.  But I noticed the boat handling the weather like it was no big deal and although a ton of water came aboard and I got soaked, it just spilled quickly off and kept going.

 

Where I was sailing to was exactly where the wind was coming from, so I had to begin tacking in order to zig zag a path to my goal.  I took a picture of the GPS after I got to Monterey and if you look closely at the picture, you will be able to see some to the tacking I did as I approached, then rounded the Monterey peninsula.

 

I took a couple of other pictures.  One is of the Point Sur Light House.  In that picture you can get a little idea of the seas I experienced.  There is also a picture of the Bixby Bridge.

 

My boat got soaked inside and out.  Today I dried out and am putting in some caulking around the hatch covers to avoid them leaking in the future.  My bed also got pretty wet, but dried out today. As it was, today was an absolute beautiful day in Monterey, where I am docked and was able to clean up my boat and do my laundry.  This is the first day in a week that I haven't been anchored out in a bay.

 

All in all, yesterday was a good experience, in that I now know that the boat can take big blows.  I just have to be more aware of them coming so that I have the boat rigged and ready to take them on.

 

I have a little more work to do tomorrow morning and then I will sail across the Monterey Bay into Santa Cruz.  Hopefully it will be another beautiful

day like today.

 

Warm regards,

Jack