Maiden Voyage, 2-6-2002
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.
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.
were clear and the Pacific was just that, calm. I turned on the
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 150º magnetic
and engaged the Cetrec autopilot. We both grabbed a cold soda and sat back to enjoy
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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?
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
Our new boat
Farewell to Long Beach
Oil derrick outside Long Beach
Lynn at the helm
Visit from USCG off San Onofre
Kelp beds, Point Loma
Point Loma, San Diego
San Diego Navy cruiser, just passing...
Hospital ship, Mercy, San Diego Bay
San Diego from Sunroad Marina