burgeetree.jpg (15266 bytes) The Adventures of Lynn and Les on "Cottonwood"

   Catalina Island
wheel.gif (3486 bytes)   6-9-2002

Our first trip to Catalina with out new boat, Cottonwood, was special.  Our only other cruises since acquiring her was to move her from slip to slip, Long Beach to San Diego to Huntington Beach, California. So it was a much more casual and enjoyable cruise for Lynn and I. 

We  left Peter's Landing, Huntington Beach,  at 7:45 am and arrived at Avalon Harbor at 11:10 am. The trip across the 27 miles was uneventful and pleasant, 1 foot waves and swells at 10 seconds. Overcast, but clear. Radar and Autopilot working fine. But, uh oh, the Naiad stabilizers don't appear to be working. I went down to the engine room, leaving my Mate in charge at the helm, and see we have no oil pressure at the Naiads. Good thing the seas are calm. I will have to check out the Naiad oil pump and electronics to see where the culprit lies when we get back home. Eventually, I will have to learn to do this kind of thing whilst cruising. But for the first cruise, I wanted to enjoy, and the Naiads are a luxury and not a necessity until we get caught in an extended rough sea.

Although, we have found that our Alaskan is pretty stable even when the stabilizers are off. Cottonwood has a semi-displacement hull with hard chines. That just means that roll is damped against a rough sea, and the added Naiad fins, even when stationary add to the stability. Just more of the characteristics that we were searching for when we found our sweet boat.

We  arrived to another pleasure of our new boat. Sitting at the harbor entrance waiting for the harbor patrol to log us in and assign an available mooring, our Cottonwood just sat there calmly waiting. There was no drifting or bobbing, and minimal wind and current correction needed.  Her 30 tons and displacement hull is great compared to our 29' Balyiner Cruiser which was work just keeping her steady and in place while waiting. 

We were assigned a mooring and attempted to "pick up the wand" to tie up to the mooring.  This is a task we had gotten used to, me at the helm, Lynn goes forward to the bow, leans over and picks up the wand, pulls up the mooring line and hooks us up.  But with Cottonwood, we have a "heavy seas" bow. That is, a very high bow from the water. See picture and notice the bow height.  Lynn cannot reach down and grab the wand which is only about 5 or 6 feet long and our bow is 11 feet from the water to the top of the bow rail. So Lynn grabbed our boat hook and attempted to grab the line under the wand. Alas, I cannot see the wand under the bow from the pilothouse, and I was apparently not getting close enough to the wand for Lynn to reach the line even with our boat hook extended . We do have a longer one but didn't know we would need it. Luckily one of the harbor boats noticed and came over and handed the mooring wand to Lynn. She hooked up the bow line, walked the connector line back to the stern, pulled up the stern mooring line and hooked up the stern. Ahhh. Settle in and enjoy!

After a short rest, we lowered the dinghy with our electric dinghy winch, hooked up the gas line, and our new electric start Honda 9.9hp motor on our 11 foot hard bottom Nautica tender started right up.  And in we went to get us some lunch at our "West Coast Tropical Island" retreat! 

Besides the Naiad stabilizers, we got to check out most of the systems aboard from a pleasure cruise standpoint as well. We learned what we hadn't planned, or at least hadn't thought about. Such as, no toast or coffee, or hair dryer, unless we start the generator. No, we don't have a converter yet. We have 110v while cruising, but only 12v battery power while on the hook. Just before we left for lunch, the harbor patrol came by for the sanitary visit. Catalina is a no dump zone and they enforce faulty systems by banning you from the harbor. The way they check to see if your "black water" is leaking is by placing a fluorescent dye tablet into your toilet and flushing into your holding tank. If there is any dye apparent during your stay, say, floating around your boat, you can be in big trouble. Luckily, ours was fine, and they are very pleasant and courteous.

Lynn and I spent a restful night and woke up to a light rain with dripping sounds as water hit the dinghy tied along side. It now had an inch of water in the bottom. A leisurely morning, breakfast on board and we hauled the dinghy into place, dropped the mooring lines and headed back home. It was a little wet leaving but soon cleared and we had a pleasant trip back home.
We are next scheduled to attend the annual Defever Rendezvous (after our boat designer, Art Defever) at the Isthmus on Catalina Island the 26th of July. We leave on the 23rd to spend a couple days in Avalon, then on to Cat Harbor at the Isthmus. See all you Defeverites there!

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