The Lighthouse at Night

JoepicSailingwithAlbie1

Welcome to Sailing With Albie!

I love sailing, hiking, personal motivation, business and sharing what I love with others! Feel free to check out all my exciting adventures at my websites below!

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.Tonight, I sail past the lighthouse on my way out to sea. The light in its huge window suddenly glows green and I hear the deep fog horn blast across the water.

Later, out on the ocean, the lights of San Pedro (many miles away) sparkle like glitter. The dark sea passes as I sail along. Up in the sky, a few stars manage to find their way out of the clouds and shine down upon me. It reminds me of many nights sailing along this same shore. Here is one story I vividly remember.

One night I was sailing up from San Diego. I was sailing from Newport Beach to Point Viscente. Here is some of that story:

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.The date was Monday, March 30, 2015. A while before I had lost my engine in a bad storm and was sailing (quite literally) up from San Diego to Los Angeles:

“As the sun was going down twelve dolphins jumped out of the water and at the same time surfed a big wave. Water flew everywhere!

Later the stars were beautiful out at sea and the lights on the mountains were intriguing. The rushing of water past the boat was restful.

San Pedro was trying to win the award for most lights blazing the night sky!”

Earlier that day…

After the wind came out late that morning, I sailed on from Newport Beach area up towards Long Beach and San Pedro. I was already about five miles out at sea and had been out here all night waiting for the wind to begin.

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After sailing for a while I knew my next obstacle would be passing through the Long Beach shipping lanes that pass near the oil rigs out at sea. The first shipping lane was at least a few miles wide so I knew I was going to need a steady amount of wind to pass across it.

Since my average speed was about 3 – 4 knots, it would take me about an hour to cross it and if the wind got flaky on me – I would get stuck there. One thing you don’t want is to get stuck in the Shipping Lane with a huge ship bearing down on you!

I didn’t want to risk that and so I needed to be pretty sure the wind would hold. After about an hour of sailing at a constant speed, I figured that would be as much assurance from the wind that I would get – so I went for it!
At this point I texted my wife and let her know what I was doing:

Albie: “Ok. Passing through shipping lane in 15 min. I love u very much. Whatcha doin today?”

Wife: “Helping Atiana, recycling, getting flyers out 4 Prince (our dog).”

A: Oh good! Tell Atiana hi. And our kids too!

W: K

That was it for the text messages – now for the Shipping Lane. All went well for most of the way across when all of a sudden I saw a big ship coming!

The distance of the ship was at least five miles off but those ships come fast! I figured that the ship was moving at least 10MPH and possibly faster so that meant it would pass my way in probably 15 mins. I knew I would be across before then so I felt ok. But I undid the jib line from the winch and held it in my hand and pulled it in and let it out manually to help the boat go it’s maximum speed.

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All went well and I passed the shipping lane without incident. I now could see the big ship passing by where I was. I was happy that I had measured its speed correctly.

Soon I sailed right by an oil rig! It was amazing. I’ve seen these oil rigs from the beach many times but always wondered how it would be to see them up close. Now I was getting that chance. And I can tell you it was really weird!

Those oil rigs stand really high and tall out of the water like you can imagine. It’s just the craziest thing when you’ve been sailing out at sea and seen nothing but water for two  days to all of a sudden pass by one of these! It’s really not anything I can explain…you just kind of have to do it to understand!

Anyway, after passing to the left and right (port and starboard) of a few of these oil rigs, I finally came to where I could see Long Beach off to my right. It wasn’t long before I was getting near San Pedro too.

In the mean time I thought I had sailed far enough out to sea to clear San Pedro and Point Vicente but the wind was driving right in my face and I was on a close haul tacking harder towards land than I had hoped. So much harder that soon I realized that I wouldn’t even clear San Pedro – not to mention Point Vicente!

So I tacked again out to sea towards Catalina island. I was not really getting much farther ahead – maybe just a little so I didn’t like this tack. It just would mean getting home was going to take that much longer.

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Here’s a text to my wife around that time:

Albie: Hey! I’m cruising @ 6knots along San Pedro. Trying 2 pass Pt Vicente. It juts out into ocean & the wind blows in ur face making it hard to pass.

A: Plus the wind is blowing 20 knots & waves r short n steep (but only 2 feet). I will b SO glad when make past Visente (Gods help). Miss u!

Wife: Dido

W: B safe

W: Mom is wondering where u r @ this point and how far u have gottin.

A: Can see San Vicente pt. Am half way across Long Beach/ 1/2 way out 2 Catalina. Super wind. If continues u can come get me this eve!

And a little later…:

W: Where might u b?

A: 1/2 way up Point Vicente. It stretches 10 miles. In an hour or so I expect to be past it (i hope!). Am hoping 2 get 2 Redondo n sail 2 MDR tomorrow. How r u guys?

A: I love and miss u So much. Tonight was a beautiful sunset and San Pedro Hill was pleasant 2 sail by. Was very lonely 4 u all.

A: Wish u were here w/ me seeing all these beautiful sights. The stars r beautiful and the lights on the mountains. The rushing of waters past the boat is restful.


W: How cool.

A: Having 2 heave-to by Vicinte Pt. tonight. Wind died just as getting close 2 rounding it. :-( But, Lord Willing, will b able 2 go 2 MDR tomorrow. I Love u! Xxooo

W: U must b tired.  Hey u r almost back.  R u excited? JUST AROUND THE RIVER BEND…  Kisses”

We ended the texting around there.

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Later I tacked again towards Point Vicente, hoping that I would clear it but it was at this time (11:00pm) that the wind died again leaving me two miles from shore. In the morning the drift of the tide and waves had brought me in about a mile or so from shore. I was thankful I was far enough out during the night so I hadn’t got too close to shore by morning!

 I hove-to all night (putting the sails in opposite directions so that the wind would just move the boat back and forth or sometimes just in circles). It’s kind of like parking out at sea. Sometimes people ask me why I don’t just drop the anchor but I explain that the water is so deep out there that I would need close to a thousand feet of line to even anchor at all (the depth being 300 ft or more).

It was as restful as a night as one can expect having to wake up and check for boats and ships every 10 or 15 mins all night. I had gotten used to it by now though. I don’t have any bad memories.

In fact I can only remember the fascinating things like watching the oscillating light from Point Vicente shine bright and then disappear for seven or eight seconds as it shined bright in its circular wide path.

Then I remember waking up and seeing a fishing boat coming my way.  He passed and went by a ship on the horizon in the shipping lanes – some going north up toward San Francisco and some heading south to Long Beach or San Diego.

I felt a little vulnerable out at sea without much power – except an oar in a real emergency. But at the same time I felt fairly safe too – knowing I was far enough away from the shipping lanes and not really in the way of fishing boats either. So it was a strange feeling of happiness and concern all mixed together.

I really enjoyed the rhythm of it all – the constant movement of the waves against the boat, the silence and solitude. The only sounds were the sounds of the sea and the main sail moving from side to side (windless) with the motion of the waves. The darkness with the slight light of the stars shining from above was also amazing.

I was nearly back. Redondo Beach was ‘just around the corner’ – so to speak and then after that was Marina Del Rey (about 10 miles off). As soon as the wind came out (in the morning or later tonight) I would be off.”

Want to read the original story or the series? You can find it and many more stories by clicking here and reading from my original sailing blog:

Sailing Up From San Diego IX: From Newport Beach To Point Viscente

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If you like this article. please subscribe to hear more hair raising stories!

Thanks for your comments!

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~Albie Derbyshire

1-877-635-5708

cell: 626-379-5692

sailingwithalbie@gmail.com

Want more sea stories? 

http://sailingwithalbie. blogspot.com

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Sailing and Surfing over the Waves

JoepicSailingwithAlbie1

Welcome to Sailing With Albie!

I love sailing, hiking, personal motivation, business and sharing what I love with others! Feel free to check out all my exciting adventures at my websites below!

Being out on the ocean last night brought back memories of a night sail a few years ago.

 

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This is what I wrote then:

“The waves behind the boat first lifted the stern and then begin lifting the keel.

When the waves moved under the bow, the whole boat began to rock and slide down through the waves!

It was so fun and exhilarating.”

Wow! That’s exactly how I felt last night out at sea.

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Here’s more of the story:

“Being on the water suddenly brings a peace over my mind.

There’s something about it! The beauty of the wind on the water and the ripples over its face, perform an amazing miracle in your heart and take you away from the day to day stress that builds up.

Suddenly all that matters now is solving little problems like where you will turn the boat next!

 

I turned and tacked to the left (port side) and the sails luffed as it lost wind. As the boat changed direction, the wind caught the sails in the ‘wrong direction’ and they back-winded. The wind, being in the sails the wrong way, put pressure on the sails and the boat completed the turn. Simultaneously, when the pressure reached its highest point in the sails, I let go of the ropes that held the sail and pulled the opposite ones in. Now with the sails pulled in on the right direction the boat took off. The timing of all this is was a graceful thing to watch and participate in.

 

Tacking out of the first inlet, I came to the larger body of water – the main channel. Here the sun was just over the horizon but it was still strong and bright at least half an hour before sunset. I put my sunglasses on as the rays of the sun were often in my face as I came up into the wind and tacked again.

By sunset I had made it to the last stretch of the harbor and a sweet double masted boat with a gaff rig sail (like a boat from the early 1900’s) greeted me.

I took three pictures of it as it passed by in the orange afterglow.

 

 

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I was getting thirsty so I remembered my Dr Pepper and thought how nice that would go with my chicken sandwich. But when I got the Dr Pepper out, it was warm, so I put it in the cockpit for the wind to chill it.

The wind was starting to chill me too so I put on my windbreaker, but later went for my scarf and gloves also. Even though October in Southern California is still warm, you wouldn’t know it being out on the water!

The afterglow faded with amazing deep reds and maroons, so that the sky was almost crimson.

Out at sea, the sky was so clear and clean, you can see the lights on the mountains some twenty to thirty miles away!

The wind was blowing from the south east that evening. It made sailing easier as I didn’t have to tack much and could just head right out to sea.

 

After a time of cutting through the swells and enjoying the motion of being lifted by the waves, I turned back towards home.

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After tacking around, I notice that the waves were behind me and the wind – which usually was also behind me – was coming from the beach instead. This was really great news because I could now bring my sails in real tight on a close reach and balance the boat really easily.
This meant that I could sit on the bow pulpit without having to worry about steering and watch the boat surf the waves all by itself.

So I put on my life jacket and maneuvered on hands and knees over the moving cabin top to the bow rail and sat down.

I held on tight to the grip rope. The waves behind the boat first lift the stern and then begin lifting the keel.

When the wave moved under the bow, the whole boat began to rock and slide down through the waves! It was so fun and exhilarating.

Suddenly I then noticed that the deck was flooded with bright white moonlight!

I looked up into the dark sky and saw a full moon shining down on me. Often the night was very dark at sea and the stars and few lights on shore were all you can see. To have the moonlight, the wind and waves all in my favor was beautiful.
When I came back in the harbor, I sailed home with the wind on my back and also noticed I had a cold Dr Pepper now to enjoy!
See the full story from my blog “Sail Surfing in the Moonlight” from Oct 16 2011 here

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Thanks for your comments!

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~Albie Derbyshire

1-877-635-5708

cell: 626-379-5692

sailingwithalbie@gmail.com

Want more sea stories? 

http://sailingwithalbie. blogspot.com

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Avoiding a Storm!

 

JoepicSailingwithAlbie1

Welcome to Sailing With Albie!

I love sailing, hiking, personal motivation, business and sharing what I love with others! Feel free to check out all my exciting adventures at my websites below!

Simple Lesson to Avoid a Storm:

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This is a little story of the importance of your VHF and how we could have avoided a big gale:

One weekend my good friend and I checked the regular TV forecast and it said there would be a little rain. So we thought “well, that’s not all that bad.”

So we didn’t put off our sailing trip to Catalina. We sailed over on that Friday night. In the morning we saw a hundred dolphin. The sun was shining an all was at peace.

We arrived at Two Harbors on Catalina later that morning and got ourselves all situated there. Later we took a stroll and stopped by the Harbor Master to see what the weather was going to be like the following day. We were shocked to see that a gale was on its way with 40 knots of wind!

The following day was sunny and bright and nothing seemed amiss. The wind was blowing the tops of the palm trees but that was the extent of any weather. We both decided to go back home. I thought that maybe we would experience 5 foot waves at the most.

 

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Well, we experienced 5 foot waves just leaving the harbor. Then the seas rose to ten feet. After we had crossed out of the shadow of the island, the wind really kicked into gear and the waves got to twenty feet high and stayed this way for the remaining 9 hours home.

 

 

 

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White water was everywhere…

 

It was extremely dangerous and we thought the sails would tear or that the rudder would break.

Often the wind exceeded 40 mph and we went back to get a report the following day and there were reports of gusts up to 70 mph.

All this to tell you to listen to the NOAA weather report before you go sailing. This would have told us about the gale coming and we would have saved ourselves a ton of trouble!

 

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~Albie Derbyshire

1-877-635-5708

cell: 626-379-5692

sailingwithalbie@gmail.com

Want more sea stories? 

http://sailingwithalbie. blogspot.com

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Before You Buy Your First Boat..

…and how NOT to lose your mast twice… like I did.

 

JoepicSailingwithAlbie1

Welcome to Sailing With Albie!

I love sailing, hiking, personal motivation, business and sharing what I love with others! Feel free to check out all my exciting adventures at my websites below!

Lesson One: 

Today I want to share with you the first thing you need to know before going out on the water: 

Four things to do before you buy your boat!

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Now I want to start by letting you know that I’m not an expert in buying boats. However, I’ve been sailing for twenty years and been in a mixture of 35 small craft advisories and gales and crazy things that the sea has put my way. So my advice is follows:

Have someone who knows what they’re doing check these four things:

  • 1) the condition of the rigging.
  • 2) Check the Keel bolts.
  • 3 check your through hull fittings.
  • 4) check the boat engine.

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Lets examine Number One. The rigging. 

Is it old and are there sharp broken strands? Is it looking rusted? Is the rigging too tight, just right or loose? These are things you’re going to need to know! I’ll give you an example why.

 

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The starboard upper and lower shroud rigging that holds up its side of the mast.

 

 

You see, if the rigging is too lose, it makes the mast weak and if you get sailing on choppy water, it makes the mast swing about too much and puts more wear on the rigging than it should. In worst case senerio you could lose the mast.

I also had my rigging literally snap on me because it was too tight. Its almost impossible to break the rigging with your bare hands so you know some incredible force must be on it to snap through all those metal strands!

I’ve also lost my mast because of old rigging that had broken strands. One year, my rigging broke near the top of the mast because of the strain of heavy gusts of winds that suddenly came up one evening. The rigging snapped like a gunshot and the mast fell in the water before I could even blink. That was a difficult time I can tell you! lol!

looking back, I could see where the strands were weak and old. I should have been paying more attention – but I simply didn’t know and learned the hard way.

I’ve also lost my mast to the cross trees being at the wrong angle. This was the worst and hardest lesson I learned as I lost the mast out in a gale at sea and had to be rescued!

Now you can get a pretty good idea if the cross trees are right. Its pretty common sense really. You can also tell if they look secure.


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Second Replaced Mast in background

My cross trees came lose at sea and they slipped down at a bad angle. I had seen that happen before and that was really my warning signal. It was a bad idea to be out in bad weather like that with cross trees that could possibly slip.

Basically the strain of the mast at sea in big waves, put way to much pressure on the cross trees and the mast blew out again – like a gunshot! It shook me to the core!

I was out at sea that time and lost use of my sails. My outboard engine had been carried away recently by a large sea in a previous storm. So now I had no way of getting back. The funny thing is that I had thought my engine had been chained securely! Lol! It would have been a good idea to not just suppose that the chain running around it was holding it properly – but that I was sure!

But now I’m getting off the topic. Haha! This really is a different story!

Number Two is to check the Keel Bolts.

 If you know what you’re doing, you can take a hammer and hit the bolts and can hear if they sound solid. If there is a different “hollow” sound then, its possible that this particular bolt has rusted through down below and is not holding the keel properly!

Number Three is to check the Through Hull Fittings.

This is where the toilet hose runs through and out the boat and where a hose runs water from the engine to outside the boat for cooling. I don’t know a lot about this. However,  these hoses can be turned on or off with a valve. It is possible to have the valves open when they should be closed and vice versus. Also the valves can get sealed by old age and refuse to budge. So check this too.

Number Four is to check the reliability of the engine.

I’m not a mechanic and don’t have a lot of expertise in this area. But if the engine can run for half an hour without getting hot than that’s a good sign. Also for outboard engines, you should notice that a healthy stream of water is “peeing” out the back into the ocean. Having someone check the oil, the spark plugs, carburetor and putting new gasoline in the engine is a good idea. Of course many inboard engines run on diesel so ask an authority about this.

Hope this helps you find a good reliable boat!

PS: There are some other things I look for too, if your looking to go out further to sea.

Boats that are ‘Blue Water” rated are more safe in storms and in the open ocean. I’m not an expert here but things I look for are cockpits with lazarette’s that cannot leak water through to the cabin would be a good sign. Fast emptying cockpit drain holes would be another. And my final test would be how the boat performs in small craft advisory weather and storms. Of course this should be accompanied with experienced sailor/s, great care and proper security measures (Unlike some of my own crazy ventures). If you like this article. please subscribe to hear more hair raising stories!

Thanks for your comments!

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~Albie Derbyshire

1-877-635-5708

cell: 626-379-5692

sailingwithalbie@gmail.com

Want more sea stories? 

http://sailingwithalbie. blogspot.com

Maiden Voyage 2 pic
Amazing story how a young teenage girl sailed around the world alone! Click on cover to see more details.
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