Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Aurora has been sold

In late September, 2011, we sold Aurora to Bill Joos, who happened to be our broker when we purchased Aurora six years ago. Our current broker, Dick May, did a super job of taking care of some details to bring Aurora up to first class condition. Dick is someone who knows Valiants inside and out, and we would recommend him without question, if you are interested in a Valiant.

We had several interested buyers and some tire-kickers in the year and a half that we have had her for sale, but nothing serious until Bill saw her for sale. At the time we had another prospective buyer who had read this entire blog and seemed to know Aurora inside and out. We took him and his wife for a sail on the boat, along with a friend of his who went over the boat in detail looking for flaws. In the end the surveyor found some minor things, such as a masthead light that needed changing, but nothing that a sailor wouldn't want to take care of himself before setting out.

In this case the prospective buyer low-balled us on the price and we gave back his deposit immediately. Both Aurora and ourselves were insulted by the offer. Why anyone would play games with a first-class boat that was selling for over $100,000 less than its fully outfitted value in order to save a few bucks is beyond me. Bill had been waiting in the wings for this buyer to bail out and he snapped up the boat in a minute. We are thrilled that the boat will have an owner who truly appreciates the quality and beauty of a Valiant - and one in such excellent condition as Aurora, which is truly equipped to sail around the world.

One last comment: when informed of Aurora's sale, why does everyone congratulate us on having achieved the second happiest day in a boat owner's life? It is with mixed feelings that we sold Aurora. She was a superb cruising boat, envied by most other cruisers. She kept us safe and secure in the worst of the conditions we met. She gave us much pleasure and an adventure that most only dream of. She was dependable, beautiful, forgiving, and loyal - all characteristics of the perfect spouse. If I didn't already have the perfect spouse I would be reluctant to ever part with Aurora.

On the other hand we finished with that adventure, and it is time to let Aurora serve another owner who will truly appreciate her. We hope she will be well used and wish her happiness with her new owner.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Valiant 42 “AURORA” for Sale

This sailboat is fully rigged for round-the-world cruising in full safety and with every sort of convenience. If one were to buy a new Valiant 42 and equip it to the extent shown below, one would have to add at least $100,000 to a half million dollar boat. The price for this boat is a steal!

Location: San Francisco, CA
Serious Buyers contact Jim Goetsch at
Phone: 530-278-3205
Dick May
2415 Mariner Square Drive
Alameda, CA 94501
Phone: (510) 521-2727
(510) 523-0391

Type: Sail, Cruising-Aft Cockpit ....Builder: VALIANT
Year: Model-1997 Mfg-1997 ...........Model: VALIANT 42CE
LOA: 42' ......................................Hull: Mtl: Solid, hand-laid-up fiberglass
LOD: 40' ..............................................Cfg: Fin keel with canoe stern
LWL: 34' 6" ..........................................Clr: White with Green Stripe
Beam: 12' 9" .................................Deck: Fiberglass
Min Draft: 6' ................................Top: Cutter rig
Max Draft: ...................................Naval Arch: PERRY
Disp: 24,600 lbs ...........................Engines: Single x 42 hp Diesel IB
Fuel: 77 gals .......................................1997 Westerbeke 42 B
Water: 94 gals ..............................Overhaul:
Range: 400 nm .............................Max Speed: 7k @ 3600 rpm 1.8 gals/hr
Bridge Clr:57' 11" ..........................Cruise Spd: 6k @ 2300 rpm 1.0 gals/hr
Headroom: 6' 5" ...........................Accom-Gsts:
Flag: USA .....................................Galley:
Sail Area: 849 sq ft (main & genoa) + staysail
Equipped: For Cruising ..................Ballast Mtl/Wgt: Lead/9500 lbs

The Valiant 42 is one of the quintessential cruisers of all time with a proven history of circumnavigations and long voyages. Although not a circumnavigator, Aurora has been fully outfitted for blue-water or coastal cruising. She has been proven in action from San Francisco to Zihuatanejo in Mexico, the Sea of Cortez, and back to San Diego. This boat combines comfort, strength, exquisite finish work both inside and out, and performance as well.

Built with serious cruising in mind, all hardware and systems are of the highest quality and accessible for maintenance. We have been meticulous about keeping everything in excellent working order and adding everything needed to make her a turn-key vessel equipped for cruising and/or living aboard. You are encouraged to explore the Valiant website to understand the quality construction and reputation that Valiants enjoy. Features include:

Communications and Navigation:
.....ICOM IC-M422 VHF (with cockpit control and speakers)
.....ICOM M802 SSB/HAM radio with Pactor Modem
.....Sirius Starmate 4 radio (integrated with stereo system)
.....Pioneer AM/FM/CD stereo (6 disc CD changer)
.....DSC Receiver
.....AIS Receiver
.....Wireless internet antenna
.....Hailer (available but not configured)
.....20” Samsung computer monitor at navigation station
.....KVH integrated instruments
.....(wind speed/direction, speed/distance logs, depth sounder)
.....Furuno GP 1850-D GPS/chart plotter
.....Furuno radar
.....Alpha 3000 autopilot
.....Quartz clock and barometer
.....20” Sony Bravia TV
.....Magnavox DVD player
.....Stereo speakers
.....TV antenna control
.....KVH instruments on pedestal
.....ICOM VHF control mike
.....Speakers for VHF, AM/FM/CD stereo, Sirius radio
.....Ritchie powerdamp compass
.....Garmin 178C GPS/fishfinder/sounder
............(with internal GPS antenna and a second depth transducer)
.....Alpha 3000 autopilot controller
.....Hard radar arch with GPS, DSC, and internet antennas

Galley and Head:
.....4-Burner Regal 2 stove/oven/broiler
.....Samsung microwave oven
.....Sea Frost 134A icebox/Freezer (AC & DC powered)
.....Engine-driven refrigeration compressor
.....Seward hot water heater and storage
.....Double stainless steel sink
.....Two 316L S/S 40-gallon water tanks
.....Spectra 150 Watermaker (150 gals/day)
.....Hot and cold water spigots in galley, head, and cockpit
.....Water pump and accumulator for water at sinks
.....Separate water pump for shower
.....Foot pumps for fresh and sea water in galley
.....Pressure sea water on deck
.....Manual Raritan head w Ronco 20 gallon, heavy-duty, plastic holding tank
.....Holding tank has both deck and overboard discharges
.....Level indicator for two water tanks and holding tank

Engine Area:
.....Westerbeke 42B diesel inboard engine
.....1736 total engine hours
.....761 engine hours since April 2008 rebuild
.....2.47:1 transmission ratio
.....Dual Racor fuel filters
.....Engine alarm
.....Acoustic insulation
.....Autoprop propeller with kelp cutter
.....Raw water sea strainer
.....Carbon monoxide detector
.....Stove and engine fuel shut-off valves
.....(1) Manual and (1) electric bilge pump
.....(2) 5052 aluminum fuel tanks – total 77 gallons
.....New access ports in fuel tanks for cleaning
.....Both fuel tanks cleaned in December 2009

Sails and Rigging:
.....Mainsail with Dutchman flaking system
.....110% genoa with UV panel
.....Staysail with UV panel
.....Asymmetric headsail (with dousing sock)
.....Profurl roller furling on both headsails
.....Navtec backstay adjuster
.....Dual block and tackle boom vang; doubles as preventer
.....Aluminum keel-stepped mast
.....(2) Lewmar #58 winches
.....(5) Lewmar #40 winches
.....All winches serviced in May 2008
.....Mainsheet traveler (new line 2008)
.....Main, Genoa, and two extra masthead halyards (new 2008)
.....Rod standing rigging
.....Dual flag lines to lower spreader
.....Whisker pole on mast

Electrical System:
.....12VDC and 110VAC systems
.....Seven 14-volt AGM batteries (new November 2008); 770 total amp hours
.....50 Amp shore power cord
.....Starter battery parallel switch
.....Xantrex house battery monitor
.....Truecharge 20+ amp multi-stage battery charger
.....Prosine inverter charger
.....Two Kyocera KC-130TM solar panels
.....Courtesy lights
.....Locker lights
.....(3) Fluorescent Alpenglow lights in cabin

Mast and Deck Equipment:
.....Tri-Lobe radar reflector
.....KVH wind vane and anemometer
.....Windex wind vane
.....Furuno radar antenna
.....Analog TV antenna
.....Hailing speaker
.....Deck, anchor, and steaming lights
.....Whisker pole
.....Avon 280 roll-up inflatable keel dinghy
.....6-HP Mercury 4-stroke outboard
.....Monitor wind vane with two (2) blades and repair kit
.....45-lb Manson anchor with 250’ of chain
.....45-lb CQR with 20’ of chain and 200’ of rope
.....23-lb Fortress with 20’ of chain and 150’ of rope
.....Lighthouse 1501 windlass with foot controls at the bow
.....Hard dodger with Strataglass and Strataglass covers
.....Stainless rail surrounding cockpit
.....Hard radar arch integrated with rail
.....Port and starboard stern seats integrated with rail
.....Bow pulpit, lifelines, and stanchions (uncovered stainless)
.....Boarding gates
.....Swim ladder on swivel (can be activated from the water)
.....Running, shore and aft lights
.....Navigation and compass lights
.....Dock lines
.....Inflatable fenders

Safety Equipment:
.....(4) Life jackets
.....(4) Fire extinguishers
.....Man Overboard pole
.....Stern hoist for outboard and victims
.....5:1 Block and tackle for lifting outboard and victims
.....Life Sling
.....Throw-able horseshoe buoy
.....Horn and bell
.....(2) 40’ Jack lines
.....EPIRB with integral GPS
.....6-Person Winslow life raft with ditch bag
.....Quick release swim ladder activated from the water
.....Emergency tiller

Other Features and Equipment:
.....Storm anchor parachute with heavy duty line
.....Sea Breathe air compressor w two diving hoses, regulators, and harnesses
.....All through-hulls labeled with backup wooden bungs attached
.....Froli Sleep System mattress supports
.....Hidden safe
.....Cherry finished interior
.....Hardwood flooring (1/2" solid teak)
.....Custom bookcases in cabin with fids
.....Port and starboard lee cloths in cabin
.....Screens for all ports and hatches
.....Lightweight mirrors
.....Cabin lantern
.....Factory limited warranty transfers with biennial surveys
.....Full maintenance records
.....Full inventory list with serial numbers

Monday, July 13, 2009

June 18th (2009) – San Diego – Jim’s Blog #94

[This is the fifth of five blogs describing our bringing the boat up from Mexico to San Diego - otherwise known as the Baja Bash, named for the bashing of the boat by contrary winds and waves all the way.]

Current Location – Harbor Island – Sunroad Marina – slip A-17 – Lat: 32°44’ N / Long: 117°12’ W

06/14/09 - Jim G: I think we all got a good sleep last night and were up at the crack of dawn to continue our voyage. On the radio this morning we found that another sailboat, "World Wind," got held up at Cedros Island (near Turtle Bay) because of strong winds up to 30 knots. It appears we were lucky to leave Turtle Bay when we did. When they reported this morning we were about 140 nautical miles ahead of them and experiencing fairly calm conditions with only 10 knots of wind.

We had good weather during the morning, but have been fighting 15-20 knot winds and 5-7' seas since early afternoon. It's getting a bit tiring to constantly be bracing for the pitching and rolling of the boat. At one point I was working with the stove and let go just as the boat did a violent pitch. In a second I was slammed across the boat and into the navigation station. Luckily I didn't hit my head, but I will have black and blue marks on my butt for weeks to come. Good thing I have some beef back there to take the hit.

We saw a catamaran coming up on us from behind; so I contacted it by VHF radio. It turns out that John and Debra are employees of the owner, who are bringing the boat north for him. It is a 70' catamaran with twin 200 HP engines, but it still had as much difficulty maneuvering in the seas as we did, and we only have 42 HP on one engine in a 40' boat. We agreed to meet at Marina Coral in Ensenada for cocktails when we get in. We might also get a tour of the boat.

Craig H: Since 2 PM the winds have been brisk and seas fairly high. Hope things calm down some as we get further into the evening and night. We are still making fairly good progress - better than we did two nights ago. We’re looking forward to our planned arrival in Ensenada tomorrow afternoon.

Current Location – Ensenada – Marina Coral – Lat: 31°51’ N / Long: 116°39’ W

06/15/09 - Jim G: We're now ensconced in Marina Coral in Ensenada with just 60+ miles to go before arriving in San Diego. Because we can only count on about 4-5 knots of speed, that means we need to leave some 12-15 hours before we want to arrive in San Diego. Since we want to make sure the customs folks are on duty when we get there, we decided to arrive around noon. You can do the math and realize that we need to leave Ensenada somewhere between 9 PM and midnight to get there at that time.

Marina Coral in Ensenada – note the abundant room there for boats (photo courtesy of Craig H.)

We have decided to use tomorrow to check out of Mexico, clean the boat a bit, and get some laundry done. Then on Wednesday evening we are planning to leave Ensenada for San Diego to arrive around noontime on Thursday. If we have bad weather it could be later in the afternoon, whereas better weather could mean our arrival as early as 7 AM. Since Sheilagh was to be the single member of our welcoming committee, we have agreed to call her on a cell phone when we reach the outer buoy that marks the entrance to the channel. It will take us about an hour or so to get to the Shelter Island quarantine station where she will meet us, which should give her enough time to get her coffee, take her morning shower, put on a face (as she puts it), and drive the 15 minutes to Shelter Island.

Last night I had a very uncomfortable midnight-to-3-AM shift with the weather turning boisterous to entertain me. We had 20-25 knot winds and seas greater than 6' that kept us at 3 knots of speed. Whenever I stood up to look ahead of the boat to make sure we weren't running into someone, I got blasted by spray in the face and had to repeatedly clean my glasses. As soon as Craig came on at 3 AM, the weather moderated and we finally made some real speed in getting to Ensenada. I think we know whose side the gods are on.

Craig H: We were all very relieved when the weather and sea conditions moderated early this morning. It was a long night. Our last eight hours into Ensenada were in some of the best conditions we have seen since Cabo. In our last hour we had our closest sighting of a Finback whale, only a couple of hundred feet away from us. Fantastic! Hotel privileges at the marina are great. There is nothing like your first real standup, all the water you want shower, after two weeks of cruising - life is good.

Craig H. was glad to get to Ensenada, with all the aggressive weather behind us according to the weather forecasters (photo courtesy of Craig H.)

Jim D: I had the 2100-2400 watch and I truly got to watch a lot of water. The speed got down to 1.8-2.2 knots with the added fun of pitch, roll, and yaw. Just like flying! Got up this morning to a speed of 6.5 and gentle swell, so life is good. The marina has showers with unlimited hot water, so that was good. We're on a roll.

Jim D. during the last stretch of easy weather to Ensenada – I think he wears the dark glasses to make us think he is still awake (photo courtesy of Craig H.)

06/16/09 - Jim G: This was our second night in Marina Coral, where we have stopped a day to recuperate a bit before the last 65 miles to San Diego. As part of the recuperation I scrubbed down the boat today, rolled up and stowed the dinghy, and changed the engine oil - not exactly my definition for resting, but it had to be done so Sheilagh won’t see a trashed-out boat when we get in. Jim D. and Craig did the laundry to stay out of the way. This was handy because it's frustrating when someone wants to get into or out of the cabin during a wash-down or an oil change.

The indoor swimming pool must be 85 degrees at least, meaning there is no jolt to the body when you dive in. On the other hand it is too warm to really swim vigorously. There is almost no one staying at the hotel or using any of the facilities, leaving it very private for us. We noticed a cruise liner coming into Ensenada this morning and leaving this evening; so the swine flu scare must be over for the tourist industry.

We have only one restaurant at this hotel, which is getting a bit tiresome. However, we don't really have the energy or desire to grab a cab into town and find another place to eat. We've decided that we don't need any more groceries before making it to San Diego. We'll be leaving at twilight tomorrow and arriving in San Diego about midday - at least that's what we think. The weather is predicted to be gentle, with winds no more than 15 knots and sea states of 3-4. If that's the case, then the "bash" part of this trip may be over, but we're knocking on wood when we say that. More tomorrow!

06/17/09 – Jim G: We finally left Ensenada at about 7PM tonight and are encountering calm seas and a good forecast for more of the same. I did a little polishing of the stainless steel today, while my crew sat around being lazy. I guess I haven't been strict enough on this trip. Next time I'll bring my whip along. Actually it reminds me of my teenage years when I had to clean house but had no vested interest in the place. I can certainly understand my interest in the bright work and their lack of same.

We have been dining in the hotel for nearly every meal because we are out of fresh food and there is no easy way to go grocery shopping here. Also, there is no need to buy anything, as we will be home in San Diego by noon tomorrow (knock on wood again).

We were positioned in a slip that made it difficult to back out. So we used Craig's idea to pull the boat across the double slip to give ourselves more room before starting the engine. As we backed up, Jim D. kept the bow near the dock until it needed to swing out, when he jumped on. Craig was on shore holding the stern with a line so the boat would back around correctly. Then Craig let the line go at the right time and ran down the series of docks to get on when we passed by. It worked very well.

We had a gentle night and actually slowed down to 3 knots for the last couple of hours so as not to arrive before dawn. It was overcast most of the night with little to see except dark water and dark skies, which slowly transformed to gray on my early morning watch. As we entered the San Diego channel we were followed and passed by an aircraft carrier, which certainly fills up the sky as it passes.

The lonely outer buoy for entering the San Diego channel (photo courtesy of Craig H.)

Current Location – San Diego – Shelter Island Quarantine Station – Lat: 32°43’ N / Long: 117°14’ W

06/18/09 – Jim G:
We’re finally home at last with Sheilagh there to meet us. We made it into the Shelter Island Customs dock at 8:15 AM and had to wait about one hour to see a customs agent. Customs was taking care of a cruise liner that had come in a couple of hours ahead of us. Here’s where we were checked for remnants of explosives or drugs, while we dumped out all the dairy products: milk, cheese, eggs. We also got rid of the questionable lunch meat, a dried out onion and green pepper, and some apples we hadn’t finished.

Then it was off to the Sunroads Marina on the northeast side of Harbor Island, slip A17, which turned out to be very narrow. It was the first slip we’ve been in with a dock on both sides of the boat; so the tie down is very secure. We had the celebratory beer after tying up and then had lunch at the marina restaurant to end the adventure. At lunch I presented Certificates of Completion for the Baja Bash to Jim D. and Craig H., and Sheilagh thanked them profusely for saving her from having to help bring the boat up. All in all it was a memorable and enjoyable trip for all of us.

Naturally we forgot to take an arrival picture; so just imagine us sitting around a table at the Sunroad Marina restaurant with the sun shining brightly on a deep blue bay, gazing out at a few sailboats and fishing boats criss-crossing the bay on a weekday morning, observing the gorgeous San Diego city skyline reflecting the bright flashes of sun off its many high-rise windows, and glorying in the knowledge that we would soon be at our condo where all of us could take showers, wash our clothing, and completely relax. We made about 1000 nautical miles in 18 days from Mazatlan to San Diego, and managed to end up the friends we were when we started. This marks the end of our cruising lifestyle – at least for the present time. Thanks for following our adventures over the past 20 months.

June 13th (2009) – Isla San Geronimo – Jim’s Blog #93

[This is the fourth of five blogs describing our bringing the boat up from Mexico to San Diego - otherwise known as the Baja Bash, named for the bashing of the boat by contrary winds and waves all the way.]

Current Location – Isla San Geronimo – Lat: 29°47’ N / Long: 115°47’ W

06/10/09 – Jim G: We ended the previous blog having just arrived in Turtle Bay, but didn’t include any details. As we entered the bay we were met by an enterprising panga, Anabel, which offered to provide fuel immediately. All we had to do to get it was to follow them over to a mooring ball, tie up to it, and then get fuel from their fuel barge. We had heard earlier that Anabel was the boat to deal with, because they made sure to zero out the meter before fueling and used an accurate meter to fill our tanks.

As we were following Anabel over to the mooring, we were approached by a panga representing the main refueler in Turtle Bay, Enrique. Other cruisers had warned us away from this guy, who was not above cheating at the pump. That individual, representing the Enrique cartel, stayed alongside begging us to use his fueling service and letting us know that if we later needed a taxi from the boat into town, it would cost us 200 pesos ($16) if we didn’t use his fuel. We ignored him until he finally took off. We fueled up both tanks and all our jerry jugs in short order for a reasonable price that was quoted ahead of time. We were impressed with the service and convenience of the refueling we had in Turtle Bay.

Turtle Bay as seen from our anchored boat

After we anchored, we called up Anabel for a taxi ride into town – we didn’t want to inflate and launch our dinghy for such a short stay. Each of us had a bag of clean clothes and a towel for the shower we planned to take on land. We found that the hotel that offered showers was closed, along with the restaurant where we had dined on the way down. We finally found one restaurant and had a decent meal and some very cold beer. We had agreed to meet Anabel for another taxi ride out to our boat about an hour after we were ready to go back, and had no portable VHF radio to call him back earlier. That’s when we approached the Enrique taxi and were turned away because we hadn’t gotten fuel from them. The driver later relented when he saw a few pesos in our hands and took us out to the boat – indicating he was “not a happy camper” for refusing his fuel earlier – and not charging us the 200 pesos he had threatened us with.

We plan to take a rest day tomorrow, Thursday, and continue north on Friday. We are planning to festoon the deck with laundry tomorrow as we air out the boat and our clothing at the same time. The winds have shredded our Mexican courtesy flag and our Vallarta Yacht Club pennant, along with the cover on our dinghy. I'm not sure we can do much about those problems, but we can seal the forward hatch with something to prevent any more water coming aboard there. Apparently, when we forgot to latch it tightly on the first day out, it decided that it would continue to allow water into the boat, and it has.

On the way to Turtle Bay, we had a real challenge in pouring diesel fuel from our jerry jugs into the boat's fuel tanks while underway. Craig's steady hands kept the fuel flowing into the tanks and not onto the boat. Jim D has a fixation on keeping the place clean, and using up lots of paper towels to do so. We've all been sharing the cooking and dish washing, and are sorry that Sheilagh had not come along to handle those items for us. Sheilagh mentioned in a note that she was looking forward to cooking a big meal for us when we get back, and the universal response from this crew was "Well, why didn't she come along, if that's something she wanted to do? We could have kept her busy cooking - and she would have had no watches to stand either!"

Craig H: Great to get off of the boat for a bit. We went into town to check things out. We were hoping to get a shower at the local Hotel but no one was around. Had dinner at the Moroccan Cantina - couldn't figure out why that name, the food was sort of ok, and best of all we didn't have to wash our dishes. Tomorrow is laundry day and getting what food we can find. Fuel was taken care of very efficiently by a "we bring it to your boat operation" (Anabel) as soon as we entered the bay. If we get the weather window for Friday through Sunday as advertised we will get ahead of our schedule - stay tuned.

06/11/09 - Jim G: It was rest-and-recuperation-day today and we made use of it to do our laundry and get some groceries in town. Aurora looked like a derelict with two drying lines strung on both sides of the boat flying underwear, socks, and T-shirts. We all have greater respect for a washer and dryer – something that would be very nice on the next boat.

Jim D. on the left and Craig H. after hanging the laundry out to dry

The grocery store was minimal at best with the only fresh vegetables being tomatoes and avocados. The lettuce, zucchini, and onions were bedraggled, and there were no carrots or cucumbers at all. I asked about ground beef and I was taken to the back of the store where there was a cooler with various carcasses which could have been beef, and a butcher who couldn't speak English. We elected not to trust the "ground beef" we might have been given.

Two other sailors are anchored near us: one single-hander (Bob on "Kalona"), who had turned back from going north three times already, and a couple Sheilagh and I had met last summer in Agua Verde (Jim and Julie of "World Wind"). Bob decided he was not up to sailing single-handed, as he had done in his youth, and was waiting for another cruiser who offered to join him to make the trip to San Diego. Jim and Julie had battled north all day yesterday and couldn't even make it into Mag Bay because of the strong winds. I guess we've been lucky.

We are leaving in the morning to continue north, while the other two cruisers will be licking their wounds for another day or two. The weather forecast appears to us to favor going north right away; so we have decided not to hang around any longer.

We made some beef stew and mashed potatoes this evening based on a recipe Sheilagh sent us by email when she heard we were down to canned goods. Sure enough we had the requisite ingredients in the cans we had onboard, and we all loved the stew. Thanks, Sheilagh. That's it for now. We just watched the movie, "300," about the Spartans at Thermopylae, and Jim D and Craig are now in bed, probably exhausted by the battle scenes.

06/12/09 - Jim G:
We were up early this morning and left Turtle Bay at 6:50 AM. We have had very light winds, although they have been on our nose; so they haven't helped us much. The seas have also been running very light, making the ride very easy. We've been running the engine solid for 13 hours now and have about 40 more hours to go. We anticipate arriving in Ensenada on Sunday, where we may stay one or two days. We have to make the rounds of the customs office and the bank to pay our exit fees and make sure we aren't transporting swine flu into the U.S.

We also anticipate arriving in San Diego at about noon on Tuesday or Wednesday, if we continue to be blessed with excellent weather. So far we have been very lucky with the weather despite predictions of difficult winds and seas. I've mentioned to Jim D and Craig that they haven't really experienced a true Baja Bash this trip; so we'll have to repeat it next year. Craig has said he would love to go south along the Baja coast, but he'd have to be senile to do another Bash. I can't imagine why he would say such a thing, since I have been very easy on the crew, even cooking most of the major dinners. Where have I gone wrong? I'll let them comment.

Craig H: Sheilagh's emailed recipe for beef stew, nicely executed by Jim was a hit two nights in a row. Amazing what can be done with limited resources! We have been really lucky today with the weather in an area that has turned back a lot of boats. Hopefully it will continue and we can get into Ensenada on Sunday. For me there has been a sufficient amount of bashing - I don't feel like I have been short changed in the least. We have a great crew - surprising how well three old Navy buddies can fall into a groove and make this all work so well. Most of the time things just get done without too much direction. Someone always seems to be ready to be on watch during the day, food gets prepared, dishes washed etc. Jim G. works the hardest with all of the additional "technical" chores like keeping the water maker working, holding tanks flushed , radio check-ins with the nets, and weather monitored. We are looking forward to ending our night watches, hopefully only two more nights of cruising left.

Jim D: I almost have the "Baja Bash" checked off from my bucket list. I told Jim G since he's the experienced one he can hire out now and pursue "Bashes" in retirement. We are taking advantage of excellent WX and making the most of it. West of Cedros Island today about 1200, what appeared to be a blue whale stayed with us for 2 dives, then left. Of course no one had a camera ready. Saw a few sea lions and dolphins, but a quiet trip so far with regard to the sea life.
06/13/09 - Jim G: I believe the gods were listening last night when we mentioned how easy we had it so far. At 8 PM last night the wind came up to 20-25 knots with a sea state of 6'+ and suddenly our forward progress was reduced from 6 knots to 3 knots. Not surprisingly, we didn't make the kind of miles we had anticipated and figured out in the morning that we couldn't make Ensenada on Sunday as we had planned. We can now say that we've been "Bashed."

Thanks to Rich and Debbie (of "Oasis") who made the trip last year. In an email we received on the trip they recommended a small island as a stopping place if we got tired. The island is Isla San Geronimo and we are anchored there tonight as we rest up and hope for more moderate winds tomorrow. We transferred the 30 gallons of diesel fuel in our jerry jugs into the boat while we have been at anchor - a much better idea than transferring the fuel on the go. Hopefully we will get a fairly smooth night's sleep tonight with an early start tomorrow in the hopes of making Ensenada before closing time on Monday afternoon.

Anchored off Isla San Geronimo, which is little more than a fish camp with a light house on top of the island (photo courtesy of Craig H.)

Thanks to Steve and Denise (of "Brendon") who recommended we stay in Marina Coral in Ensenada and let someone there do all our paperwork (another email we received on the way). We have communicated with Marina Coral through Sheilagh on the internet and they are waiting for us on Monday we think.

In naming our boat "Aurora," who is the Roman goddess of the dawn, we thought we would be getting an advantage in sailing our boat. Aurora is the mother of the four winds and the sister of the sun and moon, all of which are supposed to make sailing easier for us. So much for Roman gods!

Craig H: Nice to have a good place to anchor in a protected area. This island is not on the top list of hideaways but is working really nicely for us. It is like being in a National Geographic article. Pelicans flying by about 3 inches above the water in groups of 20, elephant seals lounging on the shore (they are not quiet), smaller seals cruising around the kelp, a small fishing camp on the island, a lighthouse on the highest point, big breakers on the rocks at the point - wow. Last night the weather was a bit crazy, but Jim and Sheilagh's boat handled it beautifully and you just know Aurora can take a whole lot more than anything that we have seen - it is a good feeling in the middle of the night.

A couple of dolphins swam with us for awhile (photo courtesy of Craig H.)

Jim D: It finally caught up with us with the bragging about the good WX. Last night was similar to an "E"ticket at Great America. No moon to speak of and the ocean, as the Hawaiians say, was "angry". Pulled in behind a small island at 29°47’N/115°47’W to have a nice meal and rest about 3:00 PM . Solved some of the world problems and will launch at 7:00 AM tomorrow to continue the "Bash".

June 10th (2009) – Turtle Bay – Jim’s Blog #92

[This is the third of five blogs describing our bringing the boat up from Mexico to San Diego - otherwise known as the Baja Bash, named for the bashing of the boat by contrary winds and waves all the way.]

Current Location – Turtle Bay – Lat: 27°41’ N / Long: 114°53’ W

06/08/09 - Jim G: We pulled up the anchor and headed north up Magdalena Bay looking for fuel. We understood there was fuel at San Carlos, which was about 2 hours north, and would require that we backtrack those two hours to get back out of the bay. We spent most of the day wending our way through a very circuitous route to Puerto San Carlos to replace the fuel we used getting to Mag Bay. It took us about 5 hours and 5 gallons of fuel to get the fuel and return to the mouth of the bay. We had a challenge finding the various buoys that marked the "Z" pattern for getting to the dock.

Note the zigzag pattern to go north to San Carlos (Photo courtesy of Craig H. - enhanced by Jim G.)

There we found a fixed dock that was about 5 feet higher than our deck at that time of the tide; so we were forced to scramble up the side of the dock using the stays to assist us.

A look from the stern at the shrimp boat behind us on the same dock (Photo courtesy of Craig H.)

Then I had to go through the bureaucratic processes as follows: 1) contact the port captain to report my arrival; 2) pay a $15 fee for the one hour we would be there (although there was no fee at any other port in Mexico); 3) get a ride with the port captain to a spot outside the port to pay for the diesel I would need in advance; 4) get a ride back to the dock to pick up our jerry jugs; 5) take the jerry jugs in the back of a pickup to the diesel tank farm; 5) get the jugs filled up with diesel (I paid for more than I needed, but I decided I didn’t want to go through the bureaucratic process to get a couple of bucks back); 5) deliver the jugs back to the boat; and 6) assist Jim D. in handing them down to Craig to strap back on the starboard side of the boat.

A look up to Jim D. on the dock and down to Craig on the deck of Aurora (Photos courtesy of Craig H.)

There were no fast food places nearby; so we decided to get out of there. The last hurdle was getting away from the dock against a wind off the port forward side. After two attempts to get the bow out against the wind, I reversed the engine and used the port-walk tendency of the engine and the wind to back out and away from the larger boat immediately behind us. We were very happy to get away from there and take the zigzag trip back.

As we approached our anchorage at the mouth of Magdalena Bay at the end of our 5-hour trip, we took a look outside the bay and decided it was nice enough to continue north to Turtle Bay without spending another night at anchor. Now we are heading directly for Turtle Bay, which is about 230 nautical miles from us and about 40 hours away. This is being written on Monday afternoon at 6PM; so there is a chance that we can be in Turtle Bay by 2PM on Wednesday if the sea stays this smooth and the wind at the current 10 knots on our nose. However, it is unlikely that we will be that lucky over a period of 40 hours; so we have some spots along the way we can stop if the weather gets worse.

The freezer is now defrosted without any effort on our part, and the drinks will soon get warm. We have some cottage cheese to get rid of, as well as some lunch meat and hot dogs. Then we can start on the canned chicken, beans, and vegetables to keep from starving. Actually, without a chance to exercise, but we're not sure how much of that weight is dirt. We haven't showered for about six days now, but luckily we are all accustomed to the aroma.

06/09/09 - Jim G: We're powering up to Turtle Bay as fast as we can go while the weather is good. Although the prognosticators are promising us 20-25 knot winds every day with a sea state of 4-6', we have been enjoying 5-15 knot winds with waves no more than about 3-5 feet. Therefore we are motivated to hustle while we can. Of course the lack of a refrigerator and the scarcity of fresh foods at the moment are also strong motivators. We finished up the cottage cheese, used the last of the sour cream on some Santa Fe style soup, and are down to carrots and onions in the vegetable bag. We still have lots of canned goods and plenty of bread; so we’re not suffering yet.

Last night from midnight to 3AM I had one of the best watches I have ever stood. The moon was one day past full, but it certainly looked full last night as it cast a golden path on the water to the boat. We usually stand watches sheltered under the dodger in the cockpit, facing aft, and getting up every ten minutes or so to look forward for any other vessels or possibly UFO's. I had on my warm weather gear and was perfectly comfortable in the cockpit, gazing up at the moon, and playing Sarah Brightman soprano solos on my iPod. It doesn't get better than that.

Sunrise on the morning watch (photo courtesy of Craig H. who must have had that watch)

Today I felt so skuzzy that I took a washcloth bath, changed all my clothing, and put on deodorant over the smell to save my own nose. Then I washed out the clothing I had been wearing for a couple of days and hung it on a makeshift clothesline across the cockpit. Jim D and Craig were not pleased to have their view impaired, but I think they appreciated the fact that I had washed the trousers I have been wearing since we left Mazatlan nine days ago. Hanging the clothing anywhere else on the boat invited a salt-water rinse.

Craig at the helm – the autopilot doesn’t get all the fun

Craig H: What a treat to get such a beautiful day. It looks as though we will make Turtle Bay tomorrow for a rest and what passes for modern conveniences in this part of the world. Like Jim, I had a great watch last night with a full moon, good music in the iPod, and reasonable conditions. However between 3AM and 6PM it gets pretty cold and damp. I am glad that Jim gave us a good list of the proper clothes for the trip - I stayed dry and warm.

Jim D: It has been an exceptional day on the cruise front. We’re making good progress without a lot of chop. I had the 2100-2400 watch last night and saw just a beautiful moonrise. The color of the moon was a bright orangish-brown, similar to an early sunrise.

Our good fortune with the WX should give us an arrival at Turtle Bay tomorrow in the daylight. That of course is always a good thing. The books say there are showers available there. We plan on using those! Turtle Bay coordinates: 27°51’N/115°17’W. We plan on resupplying there with fuel and food for the last long leg of the bash.

06/10/09 - Jim G: We have made it to Turtle Bay after 54 hours of steady motor-sailing from Mag Bay. This puts us half way to San Diego from Cabo San Lucas - the official Baja Bash trip. However, we are two-thirds of the way to San Diego from Mazatlan, where we started out. We are feeling a sense of accomplishment, particularly because we headed out in weather that was predicted to be much stronger than we encountered - a weather prediction that has kept some other boats from setting out. More later . . .