The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.

Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.

Our favorite sailing quote:

"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January 5

Taking a page from SV - Totem's playbook, one of the boats we keep tabs on, I thought I would highlight a few stats from our first full year of cruising.  In the past year we have met fantastic people, cruised in amazing locations, learned many lessons and created thousands of memories that we will tuck away and relive in our rocker days. In the last 365 days we have traveled over 10,000 nautical miles through two oceans and into the Sea of Cortez, the Caribbean, the Irish Sea, and the Mediterranean, as well as through 23 countries and a few overseas territories.  Here is how our year stacked up:

Roughest leg: Sea of Cortez running in a northerly blow. Also one knockdown in the Bay of Biscay.  Boat performed wonderfully in both occasions.  Have I mentioned I think our boat loves big seas?  Although I don’t relish testing that theory out regularly!
Most difficult cruising: sailing in the Irish Sea was tough with huge tidal fluctuations we needed to time perfectly.
Biggest seas: North Atlantic, although the wave periods were so big it was easy sailing.  We saw short period waves in the Sea of Cortez that were steep and much more terrifying than anything we saw in the North Atlantic.
Stupidest move: Running south down the Sea of Cortez in a a Northern.  We were nervous moored in Puerto Escondido during a gale so we left the bay in 35 knots of wind.  Lost our kayak overboard due to that hasty decision.  
Biggest breakage: Spinnaker pole in a squall (knock on wood, we’ve been lucky). Also, the starter motor burned out as we started across the Tehuantepec.  Mike managed to fix it after we turned back around, but it wasn't a pretty sight and the kids learned a lot of new 4 letter words.
Best sailing: Santa Cruz to Monterey, 15 knots of wind, flat water with the spinnaker up; the kind of sailing that you dream about.
Fastest section: Up the Gulf Stream and in a few places in Scotland where we had 3 knots of current.

Nicest anchorage: Too many to count but the Chagres River in Panama and the Isle of Skye rank at the very top.  Anchoring alone off of Liberty Island in NYC was also pretty cool.
Worst anchorage: San Blas in Mexico. Hot and humid at night with biting insects that were so small they got through the mosquito netting on our hatches. We spent one long night there before up anchoring.

Gear we love: Water maker, furling headsail, water heater, AIS and electric windless (coincidentally all the things we didn’t have on our first boat). The SSB modem for email and getting weather info at sea is also a favorite although we had that the last time around.
Gear we’d love to have: Satellite communications, wind generator and 4 feet extra boat length (the HR 46 has an extra set of bunks that would make life so much easier). On my next boat I will also have a small washing machine.  I spend way too much time seeking out washing facilities.  Not to mention it is not cheap outside of the US.  In Gibraltar I paid $9 to wash and $3 to dry.  Needless to say with those prices we wear our clothes until they can stand on their own.  In the tropics we definitely hand wash more.
Gear that failed us: Autopilot (not failed, just worn out and needed to be replaced after more than 10K miles).   We've also had a water pump fail, two alternator belts and our refrigeration compressors take a little TLC regularly.  We've been lucky that most of our fails have been due to wear and tear.
Gear we don’t use enough: Wind vane.  We used it on the North Atlantic crossing, but we rely too heavily on our autopilots that not only use electricity, but have more moving bits to potentially break. The Wind vane is great, but due to a small manufacturing defect we cannot alter course from the cockpit.  The cables are too stiff and we have to go back to the stern and manually alter course.  Not a big deal on a long passage where wind is constant, but kind of a pain with changing weather.  Also, steering requires a clip in with the harness in big weather.  On the list of repairs to make.
Gear that disappointed us: Wifi booster - doesn't give us much added wifi range. Go pro (ours freezes up and has provided me with countless hours of frustration updating software and googling possible remedies).
Things we can't live without: My iPad has made many a long night on watch bearable. I don't watch many movies, but I listen to podcasts and music and the time flies by. Mike needs his air popcorn popper so he can roast his own coffee (we have green coffee beans on board to last us a year).  The boys love their Kindle readers.  Ana can't live without stuffed animals and at least a few princess dresses (don't you see drying princess dresses on the lifelines of every cruising boat?) 

Nicest people: Newfoundlanders, although we’ve met fantastic people everywhere.
Nicest cruising grounds: Belize has been one of our favorite tropical cruising grounds and the fjords of Newfoundland took our breath away.
Disappointments: We were a little disenchanted with Costa Rica, not as a country, but as a cruising ground. Too many expensive marine parks ($300 plus dollars a day to visit as a family in some), bad experiences with officials and checking in and out of the country and extreme wind in the North. That said, on our last trip Cocos Island 400 miles off the coast of Costa Rica was one of our favorite all time stops.  Now it is extremely expensive to visit and getting permission to anchor is near impossible.  I love that they are preserving some beautiful places, but the cost is prohibitive for all but a few people.  
Coolest sights: breaching humpbacks, bioluminescence, the boat above us as we free dove in a thousand feet of water off the coast of Guatemala and watching sea turtle hatchlings scurry to the waters edge are among some of our top experiences.
Best fish caught: Black and Striped Marlin were the biggest, but our all time favorite fish to eat is definitely Dorado.

Where would we go back: Lot of places, but we definitely want to head back to the Sea of Cortez, Belize, Newfoundland, Scotland and Morocco.

This is a little bit of a repeat for those that got our Christmas letter, but here are some of our individual highlights:

Most memorable events (most enjoyable/hardest) of the last year:
Zander: Best - getting PADI scuba certified, any day underwater and sailing into Ireland after 12 days at sea. Worst - any hard passage.
Porter: Best - hanging out with other kid boats. Worst - getting seasick and leaving friends.
Ana: Best - rescuing sea turtles and calling dolphins. Worst - getting her hair pulled by a monkey in Gibraltar.
Amy: Best - watching the kids find a love for books previously absent tied with hiking at the Isle of Skye and around the Newfoundland fjords. Worst - the fighting between the kids (sibling rivalries do not disappear just because you force kids to live in close quarters).
Mike: Best - being around the family constantly. Worst - being around the family constantly! Honestly, too many bests to keep track of.