If you’re going to buy a boat to sail the Pacific … Pearson Triton 28

I know, I know … my first lesson for newbies is “Don’t buy a boat.”

But hardly anyone listens to that. So, if you’re one of those likely to ignore me, here’s little boat that can handle our big ocean. I’ve sailed her a lot and if my pal didn’t have two boats, I’d say he was nuts for putting her on the market.

She’s priced right at $17,500.

Here’s the other important information about this classic and beautifully restored Pearson Triton 28:

The Pearson Triton 28, designed by famed naval architect Carl Alberg, is a handsome boat with classic cruiser looks inspired by the well-loved Scandinavian Folkboat. She carries a narrow beam, long overhangs and low freeboard of the Cruising Club of America (CCA) racing rule boats of the time. The Triton has successfully double circumnavigated and completed many trans-oceanic passages.

This is a completely restored classic. She is forgiving, nimble and sails as gracefully as she looks. She is a beautiful, go-anywhere family cruiser with excellent and extensive electronics including; radar, chart plotter and auto-pilot that will cause appreciative smiles as you sail into any port. This sloop was completely redone in 2006 and in 2013 she was hauled out and all bottom paint was stripped and two coats of bottom paint rolled on. Her hull was prepped and primed and sprayed with white Awl Grip, Blue Awl Grip sprayed to boot stripe and pin stripe added.

New rudder fashioned and installed
New R&R prop and R&R shaft
Engine overhauled
Cylinders honed
Valve job on cylinder head
Install all new valves, guide and seat
New fresh water pump
New fuel pump
Overhaul injectors and injection pump
Starter replaced, new fuel pump, clean fuel tank and lines
Less than 50 hours on engine since overhaul — runs great
8.5′ Donghy
Perfect single hander with auto pilot

Call (818) 430-7379 for a look-see.

The whales of summer

The eastern portion of the Santa Barbara Channel has enjoyed some fabulous whale watching this year.

We had a grand parade of Grays during the late fall, winter and early spring and now we have Humpbacks and Fin Whales.

Stubby Fin Whale - 51


We had anchored for lunch at Fagans Lunch yesterday, when we spotted  three spouts about a mile south of Anacapa Island.  We finished hurriedly and got our anchor up and headed SSE. On the way to the rendezvous, we were rewarded with a number of flukes, though no breaches.

We remained outside 100 yards, killed the engine and sailed parallel to the animal to the south. We think it was our old friend Stubby, who we haven’t seen since the fall of ’08. We’re not 100% it was Stubby and we argued back and forth as to whether this was a Fin Whale or a Humpback. The picture, BTW, is the best one from ’08. Yesterdays pics were taken with a fairly wide angle lens and don’t show much.

We’re 99% sure this was a Fin Whale as it didn’t show much of its body as it swam, nor did it ever show its fluke. We didn’t get close enough to examine its jaw for the two tone coloration that distinguishes this whale. But the fin, that seemed like a giveaway.

A word about Sail Channel Islands whale watching: While we thoroughly enjoy sailing in company with whales, we don’t make it a practice to go after them. Whale watching with us is a passive pursuit, i.e. the whales usually come to us and keep a curious eye on us.


Cheap Charts

Not many bargains available for sailors — but these charts are a fantastic value.

Not really called Cheap Charts

NOAA chart 18729
NOAA chart 18729. Click chart to see order page.

It’s the frugalnavigator and said navigator has a chart bargain for you: They’re the real NOAA deal, printed on better quality paper than we used to get directly from NOAA and they’re up-to-the-minute accurate when they slide them into the mailing tube.

At $15.95 for each of the charts I need, these cheap charts will replace all of the marked up and stained (and possibly old) charts that live in my nav table.

How good a deal is that?

All of the charts I formerly used were $27 a piece from my old vendor.

And delivery is fast. My first chart was here in three days.

I know, you use your GPS/Chartplotter. And so do I, but when I need to plan a trip somewhere outside of my local area, I still like to see the whole route on paper. It’s easier – at least for me – to study it on a  large paper chart than it is to roll the cursor ahead on my chart plotter. And planning the route on paper is a good way to catch waypoint entry errors on your GPS.

If you’re a touch paranoid or a worst-case-scenario kinda sailor, you’ve already figured out that GPS could go belly up and these charts would be mighty handy, especially if they’re up-to-date.

Coast Guard inspection on the high seas

The local Coast Guard inspection force is in  frenzy mode.

Here we come, ready or not.

We were boarded last week

Why us?

Because we were there. Not many choices that day, we were the only ones on the horizon.

BUT we’d just gone through our annual Coast Guard Auxiliary inspection just a few weeks before, (we semi-pleaded) when they asked if they could board.

No point in saying no, so we extended an invitation.

As always, the “coasties” were polite and very respectful of our boat.  And the boarding party from the cutter Halibut completed the inspection in 20 minutes. (The old men in the auxiliary took an hour plus.)


What were they looking for? It was primarily a safety check: They looked in the bilges to see if we were sinking, they checked our flares, wanted to see our sound signaling devices, they  jiggled our fire extinguishers and looked at the gauges, noted that we were all wearing life jackets, checked our documentation then quizzed us on holding tank procedures.

For a complete rundown on what you need to have, download http://www.uscgboating.org/images/420.PDF

Coast Guard inspection protocol

When you see the blue lights, and last weekend there were many blue lights on multiple Coast Guard craft in the harbor,  here’s what you do:

Maintain course and speed unless directed otherwise. No matter what they direct, you’re in charge of your boat and they can’t see what you see. So don’t put yourself in danger by cutting someone off or getting closer to a dock than you’d like. If you’re sailing, a close reach is probably easiest for boarding. It’s critical that you hold everything constant as they board. Before they come along side and once they’re aboard, if you need to maneuver, just tell them what you intend to do.

Guns: if you have any aboard, let them know. It’s probably best to let them know before they board. They didn’t ask us until they were on Sancerre, but we don’t have anything more sinister than a flare gun.

Why so many inspections?

They may be filling some sort of training quota and/or inspection/ticket quota. In any event they’ve been out there in force. We were boarded about three miles out, but most of the action last weekend was in the harbor.

Save your Coast Guard Inspection form

According to the guys who boarded us, it’s sort of a get-out-of-jail ticket. Good for one year, they won’t board you without a specific cause if you can produce the form.

Probable cause?

Apparently doesn’t apply in the case of stopping you for a safety inspection. On the other hand, I’d bet 95% of the boats they stop have multiple discrepancies, so think of it as a service.

Very popular in Sweden

We think this says –

The crew is incredibly talented, knowledgeable and remarkably handsome.

At least that’s our take on this article that was recently published in Sweden about sailing the Channel Islands with us.

We're famous ... at least among Swedish sailors who read BATNYTT
We’re famous … at least among Swedish sailors who read BATNYTT

Photographer Par Olson and reporter Sam Victorin spent the day with me aboard Wiley and we explored the waters between Port Hueneme and Anacapa Island. The wind was very light and Par decided he wanted to get a shot of us underway, so we launched the kayak in the separation zone and he got this picture. If you click on the graphic, you’ll see the rest of the story. (And, if you know Swedish, let me know what it says … unless it’s not complimentary. In that case, make something up.)

Since my Swedish doesn’t go beyond SkolI can only assume that he wrote about the humpback whale that came close aboard just after he returned from kayaking.

Both Par and Sam were excellent sailors and taught me a thing or two about sailing in Sweden. Mostly I learned that it’s mostly too cold for a southern Californian. I mostly stay close to home.

Painted Cave – a great kayak adventure

We’ve updated our Painted Cave page, but the main thing that’s new there is our latest video shot last November. You’ll be relieved to know that the original video ran on for about an hour, but I’ve excised all the under exposed (we’re talking totally black…. it’s a cave and it is very dark)  and now the video runs just a shade over four minutes.

If you’re thinking of heading into Painted Cave any time soon, check out the page in our cruising guide and if that doesn’t give you enough info, give me, Capt. Dan, a call at 805.750.7828. I’m happy to discuss sailing and cave exploring in the Channel Islands just about any time.

And you thought hammerhead sharks were bad

When I was flying the rather unfriendly skies of North Viet Nam the one thing that scared the bejesus out of me was snakes. Sea snakes to be specific. If your plane got hit, your best strategy (most of the time) was getting “feet wet, ” get somewhere out over the Gulf of Tonkin before taking the nylon decent.
Pelamis Platurus Costa Rica
Yellow-bellied sea snake (You gotta like the name, though it may rile the snake if you mention it. By Aloaiza (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I never jumped out, but we all had to be prepared. And the thing that scared me the most was the prospect of landing in a swarm of sea snakes. Forget Snakes on a Plane (which I didn’t see because I’m sure it would have scared the pee out of me). These snakes are inquisitive (like water moccasins, which reputedly just strike for the helluva it) and have cobra-like venom.

If you read this morning’s LA Times you know that El Niño has brought some variety of these critters to our shores. Silverstrand to be precise. And the snake, to be precise, was a yellow-bellied sea snake, Pelamis platurus to sound scientific.

The expert said it probably wouldn’t bite you if you didn’t pick it up. Wikipedia (the font of all knowledge) adds that though the snake has neurotoxic venom, no human has ever been killed by “envenomation,” which leads me to suspect that they have some other killing mechanism. The Wikipedia report adds that the snake is helpless ashore BUT can be found in the water in “aggregations of thousands.” Maybe they can smother you.

My nightmare has followed me home. Fortunately people are no longer shooting at me, but “feet wet” is where I live.

Google Street View Vessel lurks the Channel Islands

Street view of the Channel Islands
Street view of the Channel Islands

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted a blog. But this encounter jolted me out of indolence.

Google Street View?

Frankly, we’re not sure, but what else could this be but a mission to detail our favorite coastline? It certainly is one of the oddest vessels we’ve encountered out there, this enormous catamaran.  On the other hand, it’s no quirkier than the Google cars we’ve seen on the road.

Only a few crew were visible, but it’s unlikely that this operation takes many folks.

I’m hoping Google will allow us to use the pictures in our cruising guide. We’ve got our own, but I’m sure they’ll have much more than we can do with our Brownie.

Apparently Google has been doing watery street views for several years and launched a boat for Amazon, the river not the store, exploration in 2011 as well as an unmanned boat that mapped San Francisco Bay last February.

The boat we encountered is apparently only one of a fleet. For more info, go to the source: Google.

Photography cruise

Any cruise can be a photography cruise

The show starts early at Yellowbanks

The colors and contrasts, wildlife and landscapes, shadows and sparkles will delight your lens.

One of our favorite anchorages – Yellowbanks – is the usual starting point for a photography cruise. The show begins before sunrise.

photography cruise
Yellowbanks anchorage is an arresting sight at sunrise. We anchor here frequently and have taken hundreds of pictures of this scene. It’s a great place to start a photography cruise.
Yellowbanks/Sandstone point is south and Anacapa is east. Hard to know where to shoot first at sunrise.
Yellowbanks/Sandstone point is south and Anacapa is east from this anchorage. It’s hard to know where to shoot first at sunrise.

Sail for just a few hours …. or several days