San Diego SITREP

It is a little bit over a week since we arrived in San Diego and I thought it about time to give an update on what I have been up to and what my immediate plans are.

My first order of business was to catch up with a long standing sailing friend, Danny North, who I met back in 2003 in Cape Town, South Africa. We shared quite a few adventures after that where I helped him deliver a couple of boats, including a Swan 65 from Greece to Brazil. We had quite a bit of catching up to do, and the fact that Danny was a member of the rather flash San Diego Yacht Club has made our stay all the more pleasant.

We experienced several days of strong and gale force winds during the week. Last Wednesday I was making use of the SDYC facilities, in particular their wi-fi while sitting in the member's lounge taking to a friend on Skype. I heard a strong gust blow through which caused me to look up out the window to where Sylph was at anchor. To my great consternation I saw Sylph drifting off down wind, clearly she was dragging anchor badly. I shut down the computer and raced out the doors and along the docks. It was pretty obvious that I was not going to have time to get in the dingy and row out to Sylph before she impacted with the dock, so I ran out along the dock to where it looked like she would end up and arrived just as she lay alongside the stern of two vessels. I was able to step aboard from the dock, start the engine and motor Sylph clear before any damage was done, feeling very grateful that I had happened to look up in time to see Sylph take off. I motored up onto the chain and gradually got the anchor in, to find the cause of the drama, namely a piece of rag that had wrapped itself around the anchor. Presumable the gusts had caused Sylph to drag back in the soft mud a little and then come foul of the rag which, once snagged around the anchor's flukes broke its hold almost completely.

My next problem was how to recover the dinghy, which was still alongside the yacht club's dock. I motored around to see whether there was anywhere I could tie up temporarily but the only places where there was any free dock space were also in such a position to the wind that once alongside I would not be able to get off again without causing damage to other boats. I eventually came alongside the guest dock, where, after speaking to Danny and the dock master I was allowed to stay for two days until the conditions abated sufficiently for it to be convenient to return to anchor.

Apart from catching up with Danny, and despite the wind and heavy rain, San Diego has provided the opportunity to effect a few chores, I particular replacing the old netbook which has of recent been getting more and more temperamental, crashing on a regular basis, getting very slow, and refusing to shut down properly. I purchased a new laptop yesterday and have now spent many hours getting rid of the rubbish programmes it comes with and installing the necessary software for the navigation and communication applications that I primarily need it for. As usual this is a time consuming process. The new operating system is not directly compatible with the older software and a few glitches remain before I will be able to get the computer to talk to the satellite phone and receive GPS input, but we will get there eventually.

The winds have abated, but now the problem is no wind, and a large swell is running outside, residual from several days of gale force winds. It is only seventy miles to our next stop, Ensenada in Mexico, but no wind and large swells make for very uncomfortable conditions, so my plan is to stay here until probably Wednesday when I hope the swell will have eased sufficiently for it to be not too uncomfortable for the short hop to our next port and country.

All is well.