Woke up: Santa Barbara, CA
Went to sleep: Santa Barbara, CA
Everything was going according to plan. After a short run, we did some last minute provisioning, took showers and pulled up anchor. Peter deflated and stowed the dinghy while I made sure everything down below was properly secured.
We motored to the fuel dock and waited patiently while a 60-foot yacht sucked down 500 gallons of diesel. We then topped off our diesel, gas, and potable water tanks. To our surprise, we watched as a heavy dense fog rolled down the face of Santa Cruz Island, across the Santa Barbara Channel and into the harbor. We left the marina and crossed the bar about 2:00 pm. We’re headed for Newport Beach, 110 miles away, about 1-1/2 days travel time. We discussed how important it was going to be to keep a close watch on the radar and the AIS, due to the dense fog.
About 30 minutes into the fog, Peter said, “I don’t feel comfortable with this.” It’s one thing to encounter less than ideal conditions while on a voyage. It’s entirely different to leave a perfectly good anchorage and steer bow first into dense fog when you don’t have to. We turned around and went back to our anchorage in Santa Barbara.
Minor Catastrophe at Anchor
Just as I settled in to watch Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lange, I smelled diesel. Peter learned many years ago not to have doubts when I say I smell something.
Soon after we moved onboard, I complained of the smell of mildew or mold in the V-birth (our bed). I washed the bedding and scrubbed walls and wood and still the smell persisted. Finally, Peter started poking around. He found a hole which had originally housed wiring, since abandoned, and not properly sealed. Upon further investigation, Peter discovered a 1-foot square area of dry rot in the deck above our bed. That repair involved pulling off the entire bow sprit and rebuilding the area with plywood, re-glassing with numerous layers of fiberglass, and “Hey, while I’m at it, I may as well rebuild the windlass support bracket.” So, as soon as I said I smelled diesel, Peter was all over it.
Poor guy. While I contentedly watched ‘Franchesca’ create a new life and start afresh in the stunning south of France, Peter had to remove everything from the lazarette, lie on his tummy in the cockpit, and work over his head to sop up spilled diesel from the hull.
Apparently, when we took on diesel this afternoon, he slightly overfilled the tank and with the rocking of the swell at our anchorage, diesel had spilled out over the cap. In addition to soaking up the diesel, Peter cut a new gasket for the cap from a piece of gasket material he had on board. He finished up just as the movie was ending and the credits rolled. We are continually learning what and how this boat and her systems work.