** We’ve been sorting through a big box of photos which had been stored under the bed in Illusion for quite a few years. It’s been quite a surprise to find out which photos survived and which were damp and stuck together – we haven’t got through them all yet, but so far there are some great ones from various adventures, including travels in Mexico, South Pacific tropics, and New Zealand. Over the next few weeks we’ll scan some and post them here on the blog to give a bit of Illusion‘s back story. **
I was living in an apartment in Tiburon (near San Francisco), California, failing to find a used boat to buy. I almost gave up after a boat deal in Germany fell through. Then the MacGregor video of their 65 foot sailboat at a local boat show sparked my interest in taking a closer look; a factory visit to meet Roger MacGregor; and a downpayment to get on the waiting list. A year and a half later, in late 1994, I went back to the factory in Costa Mesa, California to see her being built. Surprisingly, the photos of her in pieces, with the hull partly assembled, survived in good shape!
We did it! Finally! Illusion made it to Vancouver, Canada on the 24th of June, after almost three weeks at sea. The three of us (John, friend of a friend in New York, Ivan, good friend of Sara’s from Spain, and I) had an undramatic and enjoyable passage, with a bit more motoring than hoped for (definitely worth fixing the engine!), decent conditions overall and no major storms.
After three (unplanned!) years on Oahu, things finally lined up for us to set sail – engine fixed, crew available, captain recovered from shoulder injury, and reasonable weather conditions. Continue reading “Last Days in Hawaii!”
I’m back from about a week in Hawaii working on boat projects to prepare Illusion for her journey to Vancouver, Canada this summer. These were all projects we’d hoped to do once the boat was in Vancouver, but since this trip has been so long delayed, I decided to work on them now. And they’ll be useful for this coming passage, too, of course. I went alone this time (sorry, no cute photos of Toby on the boat – though, cute story, apparently he spent the whole time I was away saying ‘Dada, boat!’) and apart from the odd run along the beach or walk through the park, it was pretty much work, work, work. It was great to see the Full Monty crew and Johnson who runs the Sumo Ramen and Curry place across the road – always good to see his friendly face and catch up. Here’s a brief list of what I got done: Continue reading “Recent trip to Hawaii”
They’re not often talked about, but I’m fascinated by rogue waves – waves that are much bigger than the rest of the sea around them, jumping up at you out of nowhere. Even the name suggests mischief and danger. I’ve witnessed what I’d call mini-rogues (basically waves that are noticeably larger than the average sea state) many times while out in the Pacific, usually during or near storm systems, but sometimes caused by storms hundreds or a thousand miles away. Proper “rogue waves” are less common, but more dramatic. Continue reading “Rogue Waves”
With the news about hurricanes in Mexico, especially Patricia’s near miss of Puerto Vallarta, where I was based for months while cruising around Mexico’s Pacific coast, I’ve been reminiscing about Illusion‘s early years and my first cruising experiences.
As those of you who’ve followed the blog for a while know all too well, Illusion‘s engine unexpectedly became a main focus over the last couple of years – we’ve written about it here, here, here, here, here, and here! We’ve probably talked and thought more about the engine – a MerCruiser D3.0L – than any other aspect of boat life, even sailing! But as we have a few new blog followers, and because a few people have asked, here’s an overview of the engine parts I’ve worked on/serviced/replaced since starting the preparations for this journey (not counting basic maintenance, such as filters & fluid changes), a few lessons learned (which might help you avoid a similar nightmare) and sources of information, just in case you too have fuel injector woes: Continue reading “Engine recap – overview of jobs, lessons, and resources”
It’s kind of nice having a second home, especially one that’s in warm, sunny Hawaii – even if it has moldy carpets and leaky windows! The surprise was that when my friend Martin and I arrived at the boat (Sara had to stay home for work), our neighbor informed us that we had just missed four days of clouds and rain – but all of our time there was great, especially considering the bitter cold for Vancouver last week. We had a fun, relaxing few days (joined for some of it by another good friend) and managed some jobs around the boat, too, in between beers in the cockpit and exploring the island’s beaches. Almost too relaxing, as we nearly failed to do the main job: mailing the fuel injector pump off to be rebuilt! After the difficulties of the last voyage (from New Zealand to Hawaii), it felt great to have some time on the boat to chill out and not have any imminent stresses. No sailing (without a usable engine, I can’t easily get out of the marina), but plenty of exploring and socializing. Too busy having fun to take many pictures, but here are a few: Continue reading “Quick visit to Hawaii”
I’m about to head back to Hawaii to spend a few days working on Illusion – and maybe get a little winter sunshine, too! This time there’ll be no sailing of course – without an engine it’s too much effort to get in and out of the marina – but heading back to the boat has had me contemplating those last couple of weeks when I was sailing up to Hawaii from Nuku Hiva. Arriving back to Vancouver I was exhausted; a friend recently used the word “depleted” which is a pretty good description. The first few weeks back were a bit of a blur: it was great to see everyone at the ‘Welcome Home’ party (thanks to all who came and gave me such a warm welcome), but somewhat overwhelming to be surrounded by so much noise and activity after all that solitary time and seven months living on the boat, most of them without a whole lot of sleep! I wrote a bit about some of my experiences at sea alone, but I thought it might be interesting, especially for those who have never done long passages, to have an idea of the kinds of things that need to be done and thought about whilst under way. It’s all relevant to group sailing too, but just a little more intense when there’s just one of you… Continue reading “Solo Sailing: Routines”