Why am I still here?

So I’m in the United States. I’m suppose to be on my way down the 1 highway through Baja but I’m laying in the back of my packed Jeep, kayak and all, at the beach waiting for a doctors signature so I can be on my way with this trip that I’ve been talking about for the past 6 months.  As you may imagine, it’s frustrating to be stuck here but not so much for the reason that I’m actually stuck here. I’m frustrated because I’ve told everyone that I’m leaving on a certain date for months now and here I am pushing the date back for the 2nd time. When I say I’m going to do something and spread the word to everyone, I make sure that it happens. Telling the world that I’m moving to Mexico has left me with a lot of doubters and people saying I’ll be back in a week. If anything, that’s only been motivation to get me to leave sooner!

So why am I still here?! Well the reason is good, though ridiculous. If you’ve read my last couple of blogs, you know I was involved in a very serious motorcycle accident. This accident left me pretty crippled for good deal of time. Well as a result of being disabled, my license was taken away for fear that I would be a dangerous driver and unable to safely respond in traffic. Since being pulled over in Mexico is pretty much part of the culture, there’s no way I would leave the country without some kind of Driver License. Now I know what you’re thinking right now. “Well if the accident happened 7 months ago, why didn’t you just take care of the issue months ago?” Excellent question!  It’s because they just recently decided to suspend my license, 7 months after the accident!  It all happened while I was at the DMV being a good citizen and registering my newly purchased Jeep. It was February at the time and I was still in my wheelchair. While talking to clerk at the DMV, I was asked why I was in a wheelchair. While I was surprised that I was being asked this question because I figured it was seen as a rude question to ask in the world, I went ahead and explained what had happened to me. Months later, when I was certainly no longer disabled I receive a letter that I my license was suspended. After inquiring about why this was, I was informed that the gentleman at the DMV had reported me but a tad bit late and caused this whole fiasco.  Now I agree that your driving abilities should probably be questioned if you’re in a bad accident. However, I think the doctor is someone a bit more qualified and capable of making an educated decision on how disabled one might be. My doctors had more than one chance to say no more driving when I was actually too disabled to operate a car but it wasn’t seen as a big enough issue. I now need to get a doctor notes for the DMV and must wait a few weeks for them to process everything so I can get a new license. Getting through to my doctor is turning out to be a bit more difficult that expected so I’m expecting to be here in the States for another 3 weeks at least.

In the meantime, I’ve been invited to race on a team in the San Diego Beer Can races on a Thomas 35′. For a while now, my interest has been migrating towards racing sailboats over cruising on them. I’ve mainly just been wanting to experience sailing on the next level and hone in my skills a bit more so I can become a better sailor altogether. I’ve also been sailing on Hobie Cats a few times a week and those babies have given me the need for speed on the water! The beer can races are a summer race series that takes place every Wednesday evening in the San Diego Bay at 6pm with all different classes of boats. Last night was my first time racing in one of the Beer Can races. I’m an experienced sailor and I’m not afraid to head out in any seas, but when it comes to racing I feel like a complete amateur… Which technically, I am when it comes to racing sailboats. Aboard a race boat, is the most hostile environment I’ve ever been in. People are yelling the seconds to start, yelling at other boats, yelling about possible collisions with approaching boats, moving fast, tripping on lines, hiking over the side… Did I mention yelling? Sailing has always been a very relaxing passion of mine, even in bad weather. 80% of the time, I have time to analyze what needs to be done and execute in a timely manner. Racing, on the other hand, is constant and fast! You’re constantly adjusting the sails, you’re debating on which line to sail on, you’re avoiding bad winds from other boats, and always debating on if it’s a good idea to tack now or tack later. All of this is happening simultaneously and it turns a very familiar activity into an almost foreign one for me. But I love it! It’s almost like learning how to sail all over again! With all that being said, I did really good out there.IMG_0549

My position on the boat was trimmer. I’ve always been pretty anal when it came to trimming sails so I think it’s a good spot for me on the boat. No complaints about my performance and as a team we all did really well. We actually placed 5th out of the 16 boats in our class. Regardless it was fun and the team wants me back to race again next week so I have no complaints. Another cool thing was that the actual designer of the Thomas 35′ was on the boat and skippered the race. At 86 years old he was still living out his passion of being on the water and racing. And what better person to have sailing the boat than the actual designer himself! For photos of the race, click here.

So I’ve got a little bit more time to take care of any leftover business/goof off for a bit so I’m taking advantage of the extra time and making sure there’s nothing else that can keep me from leaving again! However, after looking at the weather, I’ve noticed Hurricane Andrew having some fun around Baja and it’s looking like it’s going to be delivering a little bit of weather to the Peninsula. We’ll see how strong it picks up and if it’s going to be another road block. But for now, most of my days involve waiting in some kind of doctors office or urgent care trying to make some kind of progress and see a doctor. It’s been proving to be one of the hardest tasks I’ve ever taken on. So much so I’m almost ready to get in another accident so I can see a doctor immediately! But I suppose some extra time sailing in the states won’t hurt me too much either. If you or anyone you know is a doctor with a Medical License and care to help me out with your signature, PLEASE contact me at your soonest convenience! MY email is scseanhall@gmail.com! I’ll make it worth your while! In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted on my trip status and my racing results!

Fair winds,

Capt’n Sean.

Advertisements

The Plan

I’ve been been traveling to and from the depths of Baja, learning the culture, the language, and the lifestyles. With a future boat on my mind, a business plan, and a passion for adventuring, the itch to move down to Mexico has never been so itchy! Everyday, it is the first and last thing on my mind. If I hadn’t just committed myself to something for the rest of the month of April, I’d probably follow my impulses and leave tomorrow. So what’s the plan?

IMG_3947Originally, I was planning on heading down to La Paz and spending the month of June house and dog sitting. During this time, I would work on building my connections, shopping for boats, looking at properties, exploring my new home town, and of course, relaxing out on the tropical waters of Mexico. What would happen after that month was all to be played by ear. Simply put, I was going to see where the winds were blowing and head that direction. While all of that is still the current plan, that one month has turned into 5 months due to 2 more house sitting opportunities. And knowing what I’m capable of accomplishing with 5 months of time, it’s a safe bet that I won’t be coming back to the U.S. to live anytime soon.

While I have a few options for side work while I’m down there, my main focus, in terms of work, is on starting up a touring company. These past few months, I’ve been driving back and fourth across the border to explore the depths of Baja and familiarize myself with all the little towns and attractions. I won’t be going too far into detail about this touring business that I’m working on but I’m shooting to have a solid game plan by the end of this year and be able to begin giving tours throughout the Peninsula by the beginning of next year. I’ll write more about this in the future when there is a more solid game plan. Another option that I’ve been working on creating for myself is getting my Captain License and finding a boat that I can captain. A few months ago I began studying for my Captains License and after reaching out to a few people, I’ve come across the owner of a Cheoy Lee 42 in need of a new captain for his boat. I’ve met with the owner twice now and after an interview a few nights ago night, it’s looking like there will be a nice future sailing this boat around the Sea of Cortez. This too will be talked about more in future writings.

IMG_3935

After having to cancel my plans to go cruising in October, the main thing on my mind was to get back on a boat immediately. Being boatless is a scary way to live my life. Everyday of my life is relative to boats in one way or another so I’ve had a sharp eye out all over the World Wide Web for my next vessel. How can a man fulfill his total potential without his own ship to sail on? With the help of a few contacts down in La Paz, I’ve been introduced to a 1972 Rawson 30. She’s not the prettiest of boats, nor is she in the best shape. In fact, she’s probably a boat that I normally wouldn’t take on as a project. However, given her price tag, my level of motivation to just be and work on my own boat again, and the little fact that she’s being sold with the ownership of a mooring ball located in the harbor of La Paz, I’m making a few exceptions here. Worse comes to worse, I can use the boat to live on and have a free place stay in La Paz and rent out the mooring to other cruisers. So I’m undecided as of now and will go through my list of deal breakers once I get down there and see the boat in person. I certainly won’t be making any impulsive decisions that will result with me owning a boat that never leaves the dock. And In the unfortunate case that I can’t find a boat that I want to buy right away while I’m down there, I’m coming prepared with another boat.

IMG_3777

This past month, I’ve been working with the fine people of Aqua Adventures down in Mission Bay, San Diego. With their help, I’ve been able to get my hands on a 17.5ft Necky sea kayak, the Looksha IV, and the gear necessary to go on some great paddling adventures. I’ve also been taking a few classes to learn some of the different skills necessary for open water kayaking from strokes to capsize recovery and rolls. Aqua Adventures has opened many more doors and introduced a hobby to me that I never knew I would fall in love with. They’ve also introduced me to some great people associated with not only paddling but also resourceful contacts down in Mexico. So I’d love to show my appreciation to them and look forward to a future of paddling with them. If you ever find yourself in Mission Bay or La Jolla and are looking for a good day out on the water, stop by their shop and meet the team. They’ll give you some of the best and knowledgable service and point you in the direction of a great adventure. You can check them out hereIMG_3834

Currently, I’m trying to find someone to join me on the adventure down. I plan on spending a week or so making my way down to La Paz. In that time, I want to stop along all the nice beaches, kayak around the clear waters, search for whale sharks to swim with, and eat all the fish tacos that my stomach can handle. Preferably, I won’t be doing all of this fun stuff alone so if anyone is interested in joining me for the trip down, please let me know. Airfare back North is only around $100 so it’s reasonably affordable. You’ll have to be flexible on time as I can’t guarantee anything but if you’re interested then shoot me an email at scseanhall@gmail.com and lets go further into depth.

This post has been particularly hard for me to write. While I’ve had dozens of opportunities come my way, I’ve had to turn a lot of them down because they interfere with one another or some aren’t even set in stone enough for me to start preaching about them to everyone. While it may sound like I have a lot of things figured out, until I get down there I have a lot of uncertainties to still figure out that definitely leave this trip capable of throwing a few curve balls my way… as preferred in any of my adventures. What I do know for sure is that I’m creating a really great future for myself. While there will most likely be some pretty gnarly speed bumps that I come across along the way, I know that things are only going to get better and more opportunities are going to manifest from each previous adventure. I look forward to sharing each and everyone of those with you all and hopefully having some of you along for a few of my adventures.

Starting From Scratch

So I’m sitting in my hotel room right now overlooking Poipu Beach in Kauai, Hawaii. It’s raining outside, heavy for Hawaii even, and it dons on me that I haven’t written anything on my blog in almost a year. With nothing to do and a lot to write about, I’ve decide to sit down and start writing again. The past few months in particular have been full of travel and adventure with no end in sight any time soon. But before I tell you about all that, I must update you on the events that have led up to now. Where to begin?

About a year ago, I published my last post on here. I was just starting the long and fun process of prepping Que Sera for cruising. October 27th was the date I was to sail away from the docks and start the next chapter of my life. I spent the next 4 months working day and night preparing for the big sail. As September came to an end, there was very little left on the to-do list. But of course as every story that I have, there always tends to be a twist. On October 1st, I was involved in a motorcycle accident in an Los Angeles intersection about two blocks from the marina where Que Sera was berthed. Not knowing it at the time, this accident would change my life forever.

I’ve been in many motorcycle accidents. I’ve been extremely fortunate in every single one of those accidents and I’m grateful for the skills that I’ve acquired over the years from riding for there is no way I would still be alive today without them. Whether it has been by chance or there really is something looking after me, my track record for getting back up and walking away has been nothing short of a miracle. But as every experienced riders knows, there is going to be that big accident someday and this was my day. I was traveling down a main road in Santa Monica at 40 mph when a vehicle pulled out in front of me in an intersection. I managed to swerve out of the way at the last second but I was forced to slam into the back of a stopped semi-truck. Thankfully, and miraculously, I did not hit my head (don’t ask how I managed not to) and so was conscious through everything. My body was completely mangled and all my limbs on my left side were facing in opposite directions. Now, being the optimistic person that I am, I immediately looked at my body and said to myself, “Oh good! I just dislocated everything! They can just pop all that stuff back in and I’ll be good!” Well I couldn’t have been more incorrect on that assumption. At 40 mph, the impact shattered my pelvis, left elbow, and left wrist, and dislocated/broke my left shoulder and left knee. And due to the severity of my pelvis, there was a mass amount of internal bleeding that ultimately caused me to bleed out. I was pronounced dead for one minute and twenty-six seconds. I remember waking up again when we arrived to the hospital but no recollection of the ambulance ride aside for making a joke to the paramedic before I bled out.

10348385_748306878557729_1227983286212468708_n

I ended up spending the next two months in the hospital. The first two weeks I stayed at UCLA medical center and the remaining month and a half at a skilled nursing facility in San Diego. These two months were some of the hardest days that I’ve ever endured. I’ve been through a decent amount troubles in my life and I have managed to handle most of them pretty well but this was like nothing I had ever been through. While the pain was horrible, it was nothing compared to the emotional pain that I went through. I’m a pretty happy person who has an extreme passion for life. I love to live, love, learn, and experience new things in my life. I have acquired many coping skills through the years and have put most of them to good use to keep that smile on my face but the emotional toll that is put on you when you’re living in a hospital is just horrible. Being the positive person that I am, I have always avoided negativity and haven’t been in too many situations where I couldn’t walk away when negativity was present. I found myself surrounded by very unhappy people. People who understandably didn’t have a whole lot to be happy about but being surrounded by them really rubbed off on me. And the pain meds that I was on caused me to go on these emotional roller coasters that made life a thousand times more difficult than it needed to be. The highs were pretty miserable and the lows were just LOW. While I understand why pain meds are addicting, I don’t understand why people choose to take them recreationally without ever needing them… Except for Dilaudid. That stuff is amazing and needs to be kept locked up! And because of how great Dilaudid was, I knew it was important for me to get off of my pain meds immediately! I managed to only spend three weeks on heavy narcotics before I switched to smaller pain killers such as ibuprofen and Benedryll for sleeping.

1000272_727075287347555_5715514557799408389_n

After getting off my meds, I was able to start working on being positive. I had a very limited amount of energy and the way I looked at it was I could either spend it all on being negative or I could spend it all on being positive! With that being my option, it was a no brainer where I needed to spend all of my energy. I did my best to communicate with other patients and learn about why they were in the hospital and I spent a lot of time trying to be active. Most of my time in the hospital was spent in bed sleeping. But for the 5-6 hours of the day that I was up and about, I was the most active person in the hospital. I would wheel through the corridors with my one arm and one foot at hight speeds visiting anyone willing to have a conversation about anything. I also spent a lot of time in the physical therapy room lifting my three pound dumbbell with my good arm. I dropped to a staggering 109 lbs during my hospital stay so when I began feeling well enough to venture out of my bed, I was determined to get back into shape. Before I knew it, I was doing one handed wheelies in my wheel chair when the nurses weren’t looking and doing anything that I could to keep from going insane.

10704087_10152859313909274_230576322424059406_n

As a sailor and an outdoorsman in general, I’ve learned the importance of looking positively towards the future. During times of survival, it’s the ones who say “WHEN I get out of this situation.”, WHEN I see my wife next…”, WHEN I get home, I’m going to…” that make it through the other side and get to step out of that life raft. Not the ones that are saying, “IF” the whole time. It shows the importance of being positive. But with this knowledge, I began planning what I wanted to do with my life once I recovered. Going cruising was no longer an option. Figuratively speaking, that ship had sailed and I was left with a blank page. It was my job to write the first word of this new chapter and I had the option to go in any direction that I chose with nothing to hold me back.

After this accident, I found myself to be single, homeless, unemployed, and possessing few belongings with little to no commitments to anything. Now to most people, single, homeless, and unemployed sound pretty horrific but I saw an opportunity in it. I saw it as having more options than I have ever had before. Fortunately, I had over $13,000 saved up in the back that I was planning on going cruising with and I know how to stretch a dollar pretty well so I knew I had some wiggle room. Immediately, I became fixated with Mexico. I started looking at properties and investment opportunities south of the border and coming up with ways to make a living. I know I am capable of being successful in anything I choose to put my energy and heart into and I also know I’m very adaptable. With the help of a few connections south of the border, I’ve began traveling back and forth into Mexico in the past few months to further explore my options and see what I have to offer Baja.

11024595_799776743410742_8195012377555296999_n

Currently, I have been working with a partner and building a business plan that we are shooting to launch early next year. My main goal, which is open ended at this point, is to buy property, beach sides preferably, down in La Paz, Baja California Sur, and rent the property out as a vacation Rental. My aim is to have residual income flowing in 5 years to responsibly carry on my sailing adventures and any other new hobbies or interests with less distraction in the financial department. I will be going further into depth on this topic in future blogs.

10502212_10153142852391252_7047387889682565898_n

So where am I at now with my recovery? I have got 11 screws and 5 plates in my pelvis and 6 screws and 2 plates in my left elbow. I am suppose to have surgery on my shoulder but I have full range of motion with little to no pain at all and will most likely decline surgery unless convinced otherwise. I am still doing occupational therapy for my elbow and am working towards being able to straighten it. I will more than likely never be able to completely straighten my elbow but a second surgery is being considered in the coming months if I am not happy with my capabilities. So far I’m not too unhappy with what I can do. My pelvis feels as good as it ever has. I’m still a little weak in the sense that my leg gets tired after doing about a miles worth of walking in a day, which is a very little amount for me, but other than that I don’t have any restrictions and just need to continue strengthening my leg muscles. The only real issue that I am still dealing with is my left knee. A little bit of crunchy sounds and pain here and there but not the end of the world. MRI’s have been taken on the knee and I’m beginning to see a new specialist to see what more we can do to speed up the healing. (Update: I was diagnosed with some kind of knee syndrome where my patella slides out of place and causes my knee to give out under too much pressure. I don’t remember the name of the syndrome but it is a result from the atrophy I experienced. The good news, nothing is permanent and I will be making a slow but full recovery in the knee by simply continuing to strengthen the surrounding muscles and ligaments. Until I have that strength again, I have a knee brace which holds the Patella in place.)

With all these injuries, screws, and surgeries, one would think I’m pretty limited in my abilities now. Well contrary to popular belief, I am back at my old speed and even more active than before. While I do tire easily now, I have adopted the phrase, “Mind over matter” as my new motto and manage to still pass people hiking up mountains and swim in the ocean on a regular basis, along with many other activities… Especially sailing! With a positive attitude, I have managed to start a new page in my life on a good foot and big smile on my face.  I’ve learned more about myself and other people from this accident and I couldn’t be more grateful in the life lessons that I’ve learned, regardless of how awful it may have been.

10930110_807298749325208_1939316689792514460_n

Taking on Water

I’d like to start off this post apologizing for the 2 week hiatus. Life gets in the way of things sometimes and it’s been taking me a bit to get the ball rolling again. But I’m back and I’m working towards my goal of cruising again. And getting back into the midst of everything, I’ve been presented with quite the challenge that no sailor ever likes to face. But before I tell you that story, let me tell you about my morning…

I woke up today at anchor to the gentle rocking of my boat. I took my time getting up and sat outside for a little bit up on deck in the sun taking the beautiful morning in before I started my day. I believe some steak and eggs were definitely called for on a morning like this so I fired up the grill and began making my cruise line buffet. I don’t know if you’d call this the breakfast of champions but the passing by paddle boarders certainly were jealous of the aroma sneaking away from the deck.

With a full stomach and the dishes all washed and stowed, I removed the sail covers, switched headsails from my genoa to my regular sized jib, ran the jib lines, pulled the dinghy up on deck, and began hoisting the anchor. With the anchor up, I ran back to the cockpit, hoisted the main and sailed peacefully out of the anchorage before hoisting the headsail. The wind was a steady 10 knots leaving the anchorage and blowing at a convenient beam reach so I didn’t even have to tack once while leaving the channel. The swells were only a few feet at most and well spaced apart. Today was going to be a day of smooth sailing as far as I was concerned…

You know, the saying about those who assume usually just make an ass of themselves? Well I wouldn’t say I made an ass of myself but assuming everything was going to go to plan and be smooth
sailing when everything had gone without flaw so far was a mistake! As soon as I got out of the channel, the winds picked up, the swells increased in size and decreased in seconds apart, and the water became choppy as hell! And the sun disappeared too! I felt like Mother Nature just played a prank on me! I even had to put a short on. I might add that the weather didn’t become anything worth considering dangerous conditions but rather just really uncomfortable conditions. I even had a few hull shuddering crashes when the boat came out of the water and crashed back down.

I sailed about 2 miles offshore before making a port tack towards La Jolla. I probably spent about an hour out in the water before turning back at the point of La Jolla at the kelp beds. It was on my way back that I caught smell of something that tickled my nose is a way that no human wants to be tickled! SEWAGE! Right away, I knew something had happened to my holding tank! I knew the tank was full and I was planning on stopping at the pump out station on my way back into port but I guess the violent swells must’ve helped mix things up like a giant soda and/or flexed the holding tank and somehow caused a crack! I can’t tell you for sure but all that mattered is that I had raw sewage leaking into my bilge and that’s just gross!

About an hour later, I was back in my slip and I began tearing my boat apart and removing everything from the storage below the settees. I quickly found the crack in my holding tank and busted out the quick-curing epoxy before I had to take in another breathe! Needless to say, the smell was putrid! 20140411-223220.jpg
With the holding tank all sealed up and the surrounding area all cleaned and sanitized, I went to pump out the bilge. This is where problem two sprouted, or rather, was discovered. While pumping out the bilge I noticed an excess amount of water! I had just checked the bilge two days prior and she was practically dry! There was no good reason for there to be a number of gallons of water in my bilge! It was at this point that I realized that my boat was technically sinking! So I quickly checked all the thru-holes on my boat assuming a thruhole would be the most likely culprit. Well this time I didn’t make an ass of myself by assuming and I quickly found the culprit. It was the old thruhole in the head that was no longer in service and what looked to be seized. It was obvious that the previous owner disconnected everything up from this thruhole and sealed it up. While it was certainly not a professional job, it seemed to do the trick… Until I went through yesterdays waters. 20140411-223458.jpg
Regardless of what caused the thru-hole to leak, a bung needed to be shoved in there to prevent and more water from getting in. So I called up my diver, Danny from Dakine Diving, and he made a last second, emergency run to throw a bung in and put some 5200 sealant in there until I can get the thru-hole replaced.

20140411-224115.jpg
As of now the boat is safe to sail again and just needs a little bit of airing and drying out to do. A few more items have been added to my to do list but nothing tragic. As long as my boat sails and doesn’t smell like a public bathroom then I’m happy. Just glad it turned out to be an easier fix than expected and I only have to miss 2 days of sailing instead of a week or month of sailing.

Back in Mexico!

So I’ve made the long trip down to San Carlos, Mexico with my buddy James. (The same James who’s motor blew up in the previous blog). We planned a road trip down here to look at a potential cruising boat that he wanted to buy. He found a CT-41 for $10,000 and anyone who knows about that boat is aware that, that price tag is pretty much giving the boat away. So Friday morning we packed our bags and left in search of freedom down in Mexico!

20140325-152834.jpg
We made our way to Arizona where we stayed one night before finishing the second leg to San Carlos in a nice rental car. We managed to find our way all the way to San Carlos without a map or a GPS telling us how to get there. It really is true than men are natural born navigators. After about 10 hours of driving we had made it to our destination. We quickly met with the owner and then made our way out to the boat.

Seeing the boat for the first time was very exciting! The hull was beautiful! Looked like it had just been painted! The rest of the boat was a little rough however. The first thing that we noticed was the rigging. All of the standing rigging was loose and needing replacement. The wood on the boat was in pretty decent condition as well as the decks with only a little flexibility on the bow.

20140325-153015.jpg
Down below was a bit of a mess, the floor boards looked like the boat had once been underwater at some point and was pretty much stripped of everything. The only electronics were an old VHF radio and some old instruments. Nothing special there. The boat was huge however and definitely showed a lot of potential for the right person.

The engine only had about 500 hours on it but had a lot if oil in the bilge beneath it. A concerning amount if you ask me. The big problem was the main mast however. I say main because this boat was a ketch witch means it has two masts; the fore mast is taller than the aft mast which we call the mizen. Anyway, the dolphin striker beneath the 7ft long bowsprit had broken off relieving tension on the forestay, thus relieving the forward pulling tension from the mainmast and, of course, as a result relieving forward tension from the mizen as well. The problem with all this relieved stress is that the main mast has become bent and warped and looks almost like a tree out of a Dr. Seuss book. Also, after climbing the mainmast, we found a giant crack about 12 feet below the top of the mast. With all this said, the mast needs to be completely replaced which is a pretty big deal and not a cheap job. The mizen also had a little warp in it but still appeared to be salvageable. A simple little issue had caused a whole chain of events and added about $20,000 in repairs alone. That price is arguable I’m sure but with boats it’s usually a safe bet that you’ll find yourself paying more than what you expect.

20140325-153320.jpg
The boat was a beautiful boat, a dream boat even, but as with any old neglected boat it needed money and dedication. After heading down to the boat for a second time on Sunday morning, we decided it wasn’t the one. However, not without jumping off the mast first and having some fun in the water. We spent the rest of the day eating marlin tacos and enjoying the good scenery that San Carlos has to offer on the beach.

20140325-153501.jpg
It’s Monday now and we’ve been driving for about 8 hours with about 7 more hours to go. Leaving the beautiful beach house that we somehow managed to stay at was no easy task. The house arguably had the nicest waterfront location in all of San Carlos! I’ve been invited to stay at the neighbors house next to where I stayed this trip in case I ever find myself back down in San Carlos.

20140325-153638.jpg
Very excited to make my way back down there! I definitely have some unfinished fun to have down there and what a great way to better my Spanish!

BANG!!!

This past weekend, I spent some time up in Marina Del Rey taking care of business. And what would business be without sneaking a few sails in here and there. So I met up with a couple friends, James and Tina, and took their boat out a few times. After the first day of sailing their Islander 28, the boat was bought for asking price. James wasn’t too happy about saying goodbye and as it turns out, the boat didn’t seem to happy to say goodbye either.

Now usually, once you sell your boat the headaches are over. No more slip fees, no more cleaning mold, no more tweaking the engine every time you want to go out. This wasn’t quite the case this time. For celebration, we decided to go out on one last sunset sail out to sea. Keep in mind the boat was technically no longer ours to sail but we still had the keys and what could possibly go wrong? As soon as we exited the channel and were in the ocean, the wind blew us over onto a nice heel and we heard a sound that no gear head ever wants to hear. A lot of clackiting sounds, a bang, and then silence.

The moment the sails fill with wind and the engine is killed is usually the most relaxing part of sailing. Everything goes quite and peace is in the air. Well this time, worry was in the air. It was to our surprise that the connecting rod had actually punched a hole through the side of the engine block! Just our luck! Luckily there was a just enough wind left to creep back to the slip, and all my practice of sailing in light winds without an engine came to good use!

20140316-194808.jpgSo after looking at all of our options, we decided to spend the next few days hauling out the old engine and replacing it with a new engine we quickly found and bought on Craigslist. Getting the engine out was one hell of a job and just disconnecting the engine alone took an entire day in itself with over 5 trips to the Home Depot. James managed to keep his cool but he was definitely put to the test. I could definitely go without ever hauling out another engine like this one ever again and I’m sure I can safely speak on James’ behalf that the feeling is mutual.

20140316-195012.jpgGetting the new engine in the boat proved to be a bit of a challenge as well but I don’t think either James or I had high expectations of it being a piece of cake after everything that went wrong while hauling out the old engine. Nevertheless, we got the new engine in the boat. A few extra pieces are needed to be ordered before the project can be deemed as completed but I say close enough!

20140316-195422.jpgWith three outings on the water and a lot of work this past week, I’m ready to head back down to San Diego and sail my boat again! Planning my first offshore trip to Catalina single handedly sometime next month.

Tina and James just started up a blog if their very own. To follow their adventures you can check out this link!
https://www.blogger.com/profile/03095672291457635490

The Old Fashion Way

Now that my boat is becoming closer and closer to being ready to sail offshore, I’ve realized that I need to make sure I’m ready to sail offshore as well. All the other boats that I’ve sailed on all had some level of electronic instruments that were pretty reliable when it came to navigation. That, and they also had ways of powering such instruments either by alternator or solar. In my case, I don’t have an engine to recharge my batteries, nor do I have solar installed yet. Because of this, I lack certain things like a chart plotter.

Since I’m unable to rely on a chart plotter to tell me where I need to be heading or what’s ahead of me, I have to do things the old fashion way and use paper charts. The only problem with that is I never had to use paper charts and thus never learned how to navigate using just a compass. So I payed a visit to my good friend Captain Jeff and he schooled me in Navigation 101: The Basics.

20140313-083313.jpgAfter an hour or two, I learned so much and I’m already feeling totally confident enough to make it to just about anywhere without the aid of electronics. Of course I have plenty more to learn but with a little bit of practice, I think I’ll be a pretty damn good navigator soon! Being able to pinpoint my location from the middle of the ocean is such a great feeling!

One of my favorite things about sailing is the learning curve. There is always so much to learn and you’ll never be able to learn everything! It really prevents sailing from becoming boring. And the rewarding feeling of learning something new for me that has to do with sailing is such a magical feeling. To know that I can always learn so much more at any point is a very exciting thing!

As for now, I’m going to continue reading up about navigation and pick me up some paper charts and all the little navigational tools needed as well. I’m am in search of an iPad which has become the new tool for navigation on sailboats. Plus it uses it’s own battery. If you have or know anyone with an iPad laying around, please contact me and we can work something out. It’s preferred to have one for a safety precaution. It would be a damn shame if I were to miss Hawaii because of my lack of navigation skills! I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

Electrical Mayhem!

I’ve jumped into the DC world of boat electronics and tackled a very intimidating issue with my boat. You see, when it comes to boats and electricity, you don’t get to cut corners. You do everything by the books which means spending a nice chunk of change and a lot of hours wiring.

My boat, in terms of electrical, was an absolute mess and was an electrical disaster waiting to happen! The previous owner seemed to have cut every corner he came across! He coupled wires by simply twisting them together and a little bit of electrical tape and then went ahead and ran them through the bilge! It really is a blessing that this boat was just about stripped of everything electric when I bought it because it probably saved me from a fire. The few lights that are on the boat still don’t work and for reasons I’m pretty sure of.

20140308-084554.jpgThe first thing I wanted to get rid of was the old sticky fuse panel. Lights were always causing my fuses to blow due to the whole setup. My replacement would be an illuminated 6 switch circuit breaker. Flipping a switch it was easier than driving somewhere and spending money every time a fuse blows… Especially if you’re out at sea and don’t have anymore backups.

The second item on the electrical to-do list was to mount power busses to eliminate having to twist or combine wires together with couplers. These power busses are key to organization in my opinion. Plus you can install them anywhere on the boat if you need to branch out your electricity from a single wire instead of running a bunch of wires across the boat.

Not being the best electrician and having to sit down with an electrical disaster, located on a boat of all places, I was very intimidated by what I was about to get myself into. Drawing out the schematics really made me feel much more capable of the project and was easier to tackle what I needed to do first seeing it on paper and organizing everything in my head.

20140308-084446.jpgIt may not be the best wiring schematic but it’ll do.

After three trips to West Marine, Home Depot, and Autozone, I was ready to start pulling wire. I took everything out, including all of the batteries and the fuse panel. My boats DC system was all gone and I had already felt better! After spending the next 10-13 hours down in the engine room, I finally had all the cabin lights up again with all new wiring, new wiring for my navigation lights, and all the instruments that I’m still in the process of buying wired up so all I have to do is plug them in upon arrival.

I also climbed my mast to run a coax cable for an antenna for my VHF radio. The antenna that came with the boat was designed for power boats and doesn’t work when the boat heels over. Now that the new coax is ran, I just need to buy the new antenna for the mast, and my VHF will be all set!

20140308-084902.jpgSelfie at the top of my mast.

The difference between my job and the previous owners job is night and day. I used all marine grade wire and connectors and was sure to use heat shrink on every coupler. I neatly cabletied groups of wire together and mounted them out of the way. I also coated everything with dielectric grease for lasting conductivity and protection against corrosion. The job looks beautiful and even those who don’t know what’s good and bad can see that a lot of time was put into it.

20140308-085030.jpg

20140308-085041.jpgWith the extra equipment that I’m in the process of buying or yet to install, I’m going to purchase a second circuit breaker, today, to mount above the existing one. This will be more for instruments such as a tiller pilot, my GPS, depth sounder, a stereo, etc. With everything neatly wired in, I’m able to sleep a bit better at night and I can trust that my electrical devices are not going to fail on me.

New Engine! Let’s Go!

After going back and fourth on whether or not I was going to buy another inboard or just an outboard, I decided to go with the outboard. I bought a nice 15HP Johnson Seahorse and have her all hooked up to the transom mount. The transom mount I currently have is a fixed mount which I’ll use right now but I’m looking to buy an adjustable mount soon so I can more easily raise and lower my engine in and out of the water and adjust the depth of the propeller.

20140307-212633.jpg
I rerouted the fuel lines of my original 25 gallon built in gas tank and drilled a small hole for the fuel line to come out of the cockpit and through the drain hole on the transom. Drilling holes in your boat is an awful feeling just for the record. Especially when it’s in the hull or around the hull.

So what’s next? Well now that I have an engine on the back, a new VHF radio, a nice big zodiac, and plenty of food, I’m ready to hit the islands! Most likely Catalina, that is, and I’d like to circumnavigate the island. Just looking for a crew who can come along and commit. If you’re interested in coming along, let me know so we can get a sail in and see how well you do out there. Don’t pass up this opportunity! You can get a hold of me by email at scseanhall@gmail.com or call me if you have my number.

Finishing Touches on Mongo

So yesterday I stopped into SD Boat Works to pick up some new turnbuckles for my rigging. While I was there I met David Servais who happens to be the project manager of the TP52, “Bud”. It just so happens I was speaking to the owner of “Bud” not too long ago on the phone. After talking for a little while and exchanging info, I was told the boat was being outfitted with a new mast and rudder and that he would call me to come down sailing on her once she was fitted with her new items! I see a lot of doors and opportunities opening up there and I’m very excited to start taking advantage of such opportunities!

20140305-183842.jpgThis is a TP52 which you can understand why I would be so excited!

After meeting with David, I cruised on down to Half Moon Marina to help my my buddy and infamous sailor, Ronnie Simpson, to get his boat, Mongo, ready for his next big adventure, sailing solo to Hawaii on his engineless Cal 2-27. We took care of all the provisions, stowed everything nicely, and watched the waterline sink below the water from all the added weight.

20140305-185050.jpg
With the provisions completed, we pulled the rudder off in the water and lubed up the the rudder shaft. It was definitely a kick to watch Ronnie wrestle the rudder in the water and find the right angle to put it back on. Apparently rudders float so installing them in the water is a bit of a hassle. As of now, Mongo is ready to sail off to Hawaii and never look back.

If you’d like to follow Ronnie on his adventure, you can do so by following his website at http://www.openbluehorizon.com.