Getting to the Starting Line

May 15, 2014

I think I have a spot at Marina Village in Alameda for the few weeks before the race starts.  That should be firmed up in the next few days.  The whole area seems to be busy with Pacific Cup entries.

We’re hauling BackBeat out on the 19th for its annual bottom and beauty job.  Other than that, the boat is pretty much ready to go.  I made my lists, checked them more than twice, and am pleased to have just a few minor jobs left to do.

The plan is to be ready to head South around June first.  I’ll be watching the weather closely; I’d rather not beat my way out of the Strait of Juan de Fuca if I can help it, but my must-leave date is June 8th.  If I can’t get decent wind out of the Strait, I’d rather have no wind at all.  I can motor all the way to Neah Bay, top off my fuel, and get around the corner pretty quickly if it comes to that.

Assuming the worst–that I tack my way out of the Strait–the trip should be about 875nm.  Once I round Tatoosh Island I plan to work my way South on or near the 125th meridian.  A friend who captained ocean-going tugs recommended this route; if there’s a lot of commercial traffic I’ll head out a little farther.

875nm assumes a lot of tacking and course changing.  Allowing for unexpected light weather, I’m giving myself eight days for the trip.  That’s a pretty conservative plan, and I expect that with reasonable Northwesterly winds I could get there in six or seven days.

I want to give myself as much time as possible before the race starts with little to do.  I’ll have to fix anything that broke, and add some fresh provisions, and work out a few other details, but my goal is to have little to do during the time before the race.

Why?  Well, because of sitting and staring.  I do a lot of that.  If you walked by and saw me you might think I was catatonic.  Really, I just sit there and look at everything and iterate every possible failure mode–in every system–that I can think of.  “What if this . . . what if that,” etc.  Then I go out and sail for a while, and come back with more to think about.  It’s an odd process, but it really helps me feel ready to go.  Leaving without feeling ready has been the single most stressful element in any of the misadventures I’ve had, and I want plenty of sitting and staring time before the 28th.

Well, that’s all for now.  I bought an Iridium satellite phone for the trip, and it’s time to configure and test that system.  More later . . .

Update 5/16:  Got a spot at Marina Village from 6/15 to 6/28.  Whew!  Glad that detail is settled.

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