The Galen Diana
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Sailing the Farralons March 2018

Sailing out 30nm from San Francisco can be a very rough ride or simply beautiful. Planning the right weather window is hard to do but there are times during certain seasons a break in the weather and fog will give way to a beautiful sailing experience off shore and a reward to see the Farralons up close. It was on a Thursday morning I set sail from Oakland at 0600. The winds were north easterly I was able to sail out of the estuary as the commuters were having their morning coffee on the ferry so was I aboard The Galen Diana. It was a slow ride out to the slot but once out there the winds shifted northwest  blowing 10-15kn allowing for a steady reach on starboard tack out and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Mild rolling swells made for a comfortable ride out as if the boat was floating on air. By mid afternoon the winds picked up to 18kn with full sails The Galen Diana was moving at a swift speed of 9-10kn. The sun was shining and the weather was warm. Shorts and T-shirt weather. Days like this it is hard to turn around but there came that time after a few passes across the main portion of the islands where the scientists are on station. No shark sightings this time of year. Perhaps in the fall when the Great Whites migrate to feed and make little shark babies… I decided to stay the night at sea watching for the big ships on AIS and staying clear of the inbound and outbound lanes. I was on the radio with the coast guard VTS standing by on ch 12 and in radio contact with the ship’s pilot to let them know I would stay clear of their heading. I was keeping a friend company for the night. She is training in her “row boat” on the SF Bay and near the coast of San Francisco regularly to row the Pacific Ocean from Japan to San Francisco in the near future. A journey that will most likely take her six(6) months to complete. The link below is to her web page and her story of her Farralons row today in which I caught up with her within sight of the islands. I didn’t feel right leaving her out there alone given her proximity to the shipping lanes so I stayed close by and kept a sharp eye out and regular communications with the coast guard VTS and passing ships to insure her safety during the dark hours. https://rowliarow.com/snakes-ladders-part-2/ It was a tiresome night sneaking in a quick nap between ships and the 30 minute broadcast from the coast guard vessel traffic service. However the reward was one more beautiful sunrise at sea. Until next time Farralons, Capt. Rod.

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The Farrralons

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Scientist outposts

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Weather buoy 20nm off shore

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AIS to identify and track commercial traffic

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Sunrise at sea

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Calm morning sunrise

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San Francisco to Monterey 3 night getaway by yacht.

The first ocean experience of 2018 for The Galen Diana was a 20 hour cruise to Monterey, one night in Monterey and then a 22 hour cruise back to San Francisco. We took advantage of a dry weather window in mid January. The plan was to sail as much as possible taking our time within reason. We were on a pace  threshold of 3.8kn sog. If we fell below our threshold for more than ten minutes we would fire up the iron sail and motor sail until the winds picked up. We also wanted to be out ten miles off shore  in the shipping lanes to avoid the crab buoys and a wrapped propeller shaft should we have to motor at night. We passed under the Golden Gate Bridge on a Friday afternoon. The fog was lifting and it was going to be a clear sunny January afternoon. The winds were mild at 9kn out of the north but became NE late afternoon blowing 18-22kn 120d off our starboard quarter. The swells were rolling passed at 10-12 feet at 18 second intervals making for a smooth ride down. There was one area of fog as we passed by Half Moon Bay but that only lasted for an hour or so. When we reached the edge of Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay the winds changed to the East at 27-32kn as a front was moving through the area. We obviously reefed in for a comfortable sail but we were still cruising above 8kn on a close haul as we made our approach to Monterey. We arrived at the Monterey peninsula Saturday at dawn and had our slip assignment and were docked by 0800. It was just my daughter and myself on this cruise. Once we were secure at the dock we began our day ashore in beautiful Monterey. The plan for our return trip was to depart Monterey by 0800 Sunday and sail across the bay towards Santa Cruz staying a little closer to shore before heading back out to the shipping lanes before sunset. The forecast was for 12-17′ swells and breaking swells across the four-fathom bank on the approach to San Francisco. We would have to make our approach at dark and would not be able to see the swells therefore we would stay in the deep water channel and not cut the corner in to the gate. It was the right call. The swells were not breaking in the channel but we were getting a long ride as we were surfing our way in from swell to swell. We reached the Golden Gate Bridge at 0420 on a clear and dry Monday morning. It was a 22 hour trip home but we sailed over 112 nautical miles back up. We covered in all about 220 nautical miles within 42 hours of sailing. We saw whales, sea lions, jellyfish, sea birds and sea otters. We witnessed beautiful sunsets and sunrises from the boat. It was a wonderful sailing experience and a priceless father daughter memory.

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Fog lifting in San Francisco

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Crew on watch

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Crew in Monterey

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Galen Diana under sail

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Crew relaxing while underway

ais to monitor traffic

A.I.S. helps monitor traffic

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Tanker in the shipping lane 10 miles off shore

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Golden Gate Bridge before dawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawaii to San Francisco in 21 days.

Imagine 21 days at sea with 80 percent of the weather perfect. This video sums up some of the best sailing weather out on the high seas. My hurricane footage  on the passage to Hawaii will come another day.

Position Update 9-3-16

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Hello all,
At 08:40 we are 151nm away from the SF Buoy. Our position is 38.49.576N x 126.32.967W. We have sailed over 2501nm the last 19 days, 8 hours and 40 minutes. Our heading is 130dT, average speed the last 21 hours has been 8-10kn. At this pace we are looking at a Sunday arrival late morning to early afternoon. The winds are gusting up to 32kts and the seas are up to eight feet and building. We are on a broad reach surfing our way in to our SF waypoint. It has been a rockin night and with first light we realized why when we could see the swells building and some breaking. It is a fun and exciting ride compared to the past several days of light wind and calm seas.
We will update you all again as we reach the Farallone Islands.
Hope to see you all soon. It has been an adventure but we are not out of the woods yet.
Conditions are looking great for the rest of our journey.
Time now for some classical music and a cup of coffee to to complete this beautiful morning sailing at sea.
IMG_1097day 20IMG_1090IMG_1066IMG_1063
Standing by on the Pacific.
Captain Rod.

09-01-16 position

off the bow dSeptember 1, 2016. We are 6 hours in to day 18 and 490nm away from the SF Buoy. Our track from Honolulu is now at 2209nm. We are still motor sailing since yesterday afternoon due to light winds out of the west that are due to change eventually to NW allowing us to cut the engine and sail again.grib 9-01
Our 0900 position is 39.55N x 132.06W (Slightly south of Pt. Arena 372mn off the California coast). Current Speed-6.6kn. At this pace we are looking at a Sunday afternoon arrival however,the grib looks favorable for increased speeds within the next 24 hours or so which could advance our arrival to early Sunday morning or even mid day to late Saturday. We will need to revisit the ETA as conditions improve.
Weather here is nice. BP is up to 1015mb, it is clear and sunny and the ladies may be in their bikinis again absorbing the rays while they can. We had two cargo ships pass by us almost simultaneously this morning and a little too close for comfort. One within 1.5nm to our port side and the other less than 4nm to our starboard.
It had been two days since our last ship sighting but as we approach San Francisco we are definitely near and in the shipping lanes and will be keeping a close watch on things. The sunsets and sunrises continue to amaze us with their ever changing uniqueness from day to day bringing us a feeling of warmth and joy as we witness the beauty that our earth, sky and sun deliver us each and every day.
So not taken for granted on the high seas and the highlights of the morning and evenings. Another breathtaking show that being on night watch has to offer are the stars that have been shining so bright the past several nights. They seem so close that you could reach up and grab a few. Lots of wishes have been made with all the falling stars we have seen.
During the day the wildlife action is an entertaining sight. Curious Terns
We have had a lot of seabirds circling the boat. We had a couple of “Terns” checking us out yesterday which appear to be a male and female in the photo.The male has the black outline around his eyes and is ahead of the female who appears a bit smaller in size. That’s my guess anyway.
Albert Ross
The one seabird I have been hunting down to photograph is our Albatross AKA “Albert Ross” I refer to as Albert or Mr. Ross. He visits us time to time but doesn’t stay long. I was able to capture a few close ups of him. This one he appears to be dragging his wing in the water like a surfer carving his bottom turn. What an amazing creature and huge wing span at 10-11 feet at the least. He soars so gracefully. Solely riding the wind like a remote control glider I have yet to see him flap his wings.
More updates to come.
Standing by on the pacific.
Captain Rod.September SunriseCargo Ship 9-1
9-1 ships passing

Position 0830 8-29-16

Hello all,
Our position is 40.05N x 139.45W.  Heading 081dT. We are cruising 5-6kn on a broad reach with NW winds 15-17kts. Last night was foggy and millions of these floating jellies with sails illuminated by the STB nav lights all night long.
jellyFor the past several days these guys have been sailing on by. These creatures, whose scientific name is Velella , aren’t actually jellyfish but hydrozoans, related to the Portuguese man-of -war.
Yet unlike man-of-war, they don’t sting humans, though authorities don’t recommend touching your face or eyes after handling them.
Each little sailboat, measuring about 2.75 inches (7 centimeters) long, is in fact a colony of hundreds of smaller organisms, each with a specialized function such as feeding or reproduction, researchers say. “They sit at the surface of the ocean and have little sails ,” and their movement depends on which way the wind is blowing, said Richard Brodeur, a fishery biologist at NOAA Fisheries’ Newport, Oregon, research station. Most of the time off the coast of Oregon and California, the winds are blowing toward the South, into the open ocean. But when big storms sweep out of the southwest it blows these living flotillas onto the beaches. There, they usually die, giving off a bad smell as they rot.
They are everywhere and so dense if you go for a swim they will be all around you.
We have been under motor for the last 12 hours until the wind picked up this morning about 0700. Very smooth sailing now and yesterday before the wind died. The current grib looks good for us with consistent flow going our direction. Attached is the file showing the LOW up near Canada turning counter clockwise and then the HIGH to the east turning clockwise. Cool stuff to view so plainly. We came uncomfortably close to a pallet made up of 4×4 lumber. Imagine what that could do if hit head on while moving at 8-9kts… ouch. We have been seeing more ships now that we are approaching the west coast on this latitude. Thankful we have A.I.S. to spot them in time to get out of the way but they can see us too so we notice they change their course to remain at least 5nm away on their closest point of approach. This one, Hyundai cargo ship is headed to Pusan and has an ETA to their destination on 9-07-16.
We are 817nm away from San Francisco and our ETA is some time around Labor Day weekend. Still too soon to pinpoint an exact date and time. Today we are doing some laundry, laying out on deck catching some rays and after my watch I am making my bolognaise sauce for a pasta dinner tonight.
Life is good aboard the Galen Diana today.
More updates to come as we continue our approach towards the west coast…
Standing by on the Pacific Ocean.
Rod.
grib 8-29cargo ship 8-29-16pallet lat 40 long 140

Day 13: Weather giving us a beating and bath

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Hi all,
We are at 40.21N x144.21W approx. 1028nm from San Francisco. We have sailed over 1635nm over the past 12 days 9 hours.
We have been in a rough wind and mini rain storm pattern since 1330 yesterday.
It appears we are beginning to see some relief on the horizon.
The boat has been rockin and banging against swells and disorganized seas all night long.
The wind has been blowing steady in the mid to upper 20’s and when the storm fronts pass over up to 32kts with rain.
We have reefed the main to 40% as well as the jib. We have been controlling our speed to slow down at night so crew can sleep then accelerating during daylight to a boat speed of 7-8kts. The wind system that is passing us by is forcing us down to a heading of 130dT however when the wind changes we should be able to crab back up to a desirable latitude if needed for our approach to the west coast.
Attached is he latest grib file showing where we made the turn and our progress to date.
grib 8-278-27 rod c8-27 crew b Also a couple of pictures of the crew and environment today.
Standing by on the Pacific Ocean
Rod