burgeetree.jpg (15266 bytes) The adventures of Lynn and Les aboard "Cottonwood"

   Maiden Voyage, 2-6-2002 wheel.gif (3486 bytes)

Our first voyage aboard "Cottonwood" and our shakedown cruise was taking her from her home of the last 30 years in Long Beach, California, to her new home at Harbor Island in San Diego Bay about a hundred miles south.

We began on Tuesday, February 6.  Lynn had worked 2 consecutive 12 hour night shifts at University of California, Irvine, Medical Center where she is a critical care nurse. She slept and rested Tuesday and Wednesday morning we were off to Long Beach with the boat checked out and ready to depart at 0900 hours.

Skies were clear and the Pacific was just that, calm.  I turned on the Naiad stabilizers once out of the harbor to try them out but things were so calm I wasn't sure whether they were working or not. After reaching the 3 mile marker I set our heading on 150 magnetic and engaged the  Cetrec autopilot. We both grabbed a cold soda and sat back to enjoy the ride.

Dana Point Harbor was our first possible stopping place for the night.  Being new to longer coastal cruises than our usual Dana Point to Santa Catalina Island, we weren't sure of the times required.  Also, our previous boat was a 27 knot cruiser so our current 8 knots took some getting used to.   However, the estimated $0.80 per mile fuel cost verses our previous $3.50 per mile eased the loss of speed.  And the comfort is no comparison. Cottonwood is a dream to ride along in.
We arrived at the Dana Point waypoint at 0200 and decided that the next stretch to Oceanside Harbor was no problem.  So we bypassed Dana Point and emailed relatives of our new destination for the night.  Currently, we are using the Motorola pocket email.  Its seems OK for the California coast so far. 
For those who haven't visited the specs sheet on this website, Cottonwood is a 46 foot wood pilothouse trawler, model Alaskan, made by American Marine. She is quiet, full of warm and cozy teak woods, and full of character. Lynn and I didn't want, and couldn't afford, a newer fiberglass trawler. We now are very pleased that we went in this direction.
We passed our home city of San Clemente just south of Dana Point and headed for Oceanside Harbor, seas still calm, doing 8.8 knots with a slight following breeze. We were buzzed by a Coast Guard helicopter off San Onofre Nuclear Power Station and asked for our size, registration number, home port and destination. After we transmitted, they circled a couple of times, waved and were off. We assume this was the increased security talked about since 9/11. It did make us feel more secure.
We reached Oceanside Harbor at 1620 and hailed the Harbor Master for a one night slip accommodation, cost $21.  We put into a slip for the first time and it slid into place like a slice of bread in the toaster.  The 'Admiral' stepped onto the dock and tied us up.   We went to the Harbor office and found we didn't even have to move the boat from where we had set in.  Nice end to the first day.  The transom hung out of the end of the slip about 5', but no one seemed to mind.  We headed for the quaint set of shops along the harbor and wound up at the Rockin Baja Lobster for dinner of lobster and Corona's. Whew! What a day.

The next morning we ate a  breakfast of bacon and eggs and were off again at 1100 headed for San Diego.  The trip again was smooth although we picked up about 1-2 foot swells as the day went on. The Naiads do work! They obviously stop the oscillation, and as a bonus, they minimize the pitch as well. Didn't expect that. It's always good to get a little somthin' extra.  Hope they continue to be appreciated as we encounter rough weather.

Finally, at 1500 we spotted Point Loma Lighthouse which is the marker to the entrance to San Diego Bay. As we headed in toward the buoys we found ourselves in the middle of a major kelp bed. We tried to maneuver around them but we were pinned in and would have had to back track and go around another mile or so and decided to just push through. Mistake! By the time we were through and into the main channel we were down to 5.5 knots still running 1750 rpm. We stopped the props and reversed for about 20 seconds then moved on ahead and were back to 8 knots. We had gotten rid of what ever kelp had been loading us down. We thought.  As it turns out, we hadn't.

At 1600 we pulled into our slip at Harbor Island, Sunroad Marina. Again, Cottonwood slid into place like she had lived there all her life. The Admiral tied us up and we shut her down. About the time I stepped down to the dock, Lynn pointed to the area around our Naiad stabilizers.  Oops, I had forgotten about them. The kelp hadn't though. We spent the next half hour pulling kelp from around the fins. We filled a large dock cart with kelp to take to the local trash bin.  I THOUGHT the chop in the harbor was causing us a lot more roll than we had noticed at sea, but it was the kelp. Sushi anyone?

Ah well, live and learn. It could have been a lot worse. As it turned out, our first voyage on Cottonwood was filled with good company, calm waters, and good weather. What more could you ask?      
                                         porthole.gif (76173 bytes)

Trip Pics

 Our new boat

1oldhome.jpg (104022 bytes)
Farewell to Long Beach

2underway.jpg (181354 bytes)

3oilderrick.jpg (140430 bytes)
Oil derrick outside Long Beach

4capnlynn.jpg (176958 bytes)
Lynn at the helm

5sanonofre.jpg (57082 bytes)
Visit from USCG off San Onofre

6kelp.jpg (102549 bytes)
Kelp beds, Point Loma

8pl.jpg (177666 bytes)
Point Loma, San Diego

10navycruiser.jpg (116990 bytes)
San Diego Navy cruiser, just passing...

11mercy.jpg (92695 bytes)
Hospital ship, Mercy, San Diego Bay

9newhome.jpg (145273 bytes)
San Diego from Sunroad Marina

Return to Cruising