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post #6 of Old 03-31-2011 Thread Starter
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Around the Pt. Loma kelp beds

I wanted to stay as close to the edge of the kelp beds as possible without taking too much of a chance of getting caught up in the weeds. As I turned to the west, the bigger racing boat continued south. I was able to monitor his position by watching his mast on the horizon and eventually he turned to the west and began to reel me in again.

The ocean was calm and flat and there was almost no swell. I opened up the Tohatsu a little and experimented with throttle settings and checked my speed against my GPS. The Excalibur would move at 4.5 to 5 knots at 65% throttle and could go about six knots at full throttle. The amount of noise and vibrations at full throttle was enough to become uncomfortable for long periods of time, so I varied the throttle settings every fifteen minutes or so.

There are those who would say that single-handing this trip, even something this easy, was foolhardy. I had led many sailing trips with people with little or no experience, but every time, someone was able to follow directions and take the tiller or wheel while I worked the sails. This trip was my first truly solo sailing trip and I had concerns with what could happen if I were to fall overboard. I did my research, found what my biggest threats were, and attempted to reduce the chance that they could hurt me.

The rules: Always wear a life jacket. Carry a flashlight, knife and handheld radio in my pockets at all times. Drag a seventy-five foot line with a fender tied at the end and a number of hand tied loops. Have a rope ladder tied to a stern cleat at all times. Do not piss overboard. Do not move forward on the cabin top unless the engine was at, or near, idle. Always leave a hand or foot firmly wedged to a solid part of the boat--handrail, shroud, mast, boom, stanchion, toe rail. I do not have a safety harness but will add it to the list of necessary equipment.

In a short period of time, the racing boat passed me on the port side. Two of the three men were on deck and waved to me again.

The winds shifted to the southwest and gave me very favorable winds towards Oceanside. I raised the jib and reduced throttle a little. After trimming the sails I was able to maintain a steady 7.5 knots under canvas and motor. It was a very relaxing cruise up the coast and eventually I spotted the Carlsbad Power Station.

Originally I had planned on making the trip in one leg if I could make Oceanside by 1400. That wasn't going to happen.
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