I’m a bad bad blogger. Weeks ago I teased ya’ll with some potential ‘big news’ and then dropped the ball. What really happened was the deal took a little longer to gel than originally thought (isn’t that always the way?), then deadline was upon me. After deadline, we try to spend as little time as possible in the office and my home computer is just too slow to blog efficiently. So I let you hang. Sorry!

Here’s Part One of The Big News:


Yup, Tess is officially now the property of Art. After just 6 days in the “Too Late to Classify” section of Latitude 38‘s Classy Classifieds, she’s gone. We had four or five people email or call — far more than we expected for the whole month! Two guys came down on Sunday and didn’t seem too fazed at the prep work for the deck painting (we’d stripped and faired the cabin top, and had begun sanding) but neither made offers.

Yesterday morning, Art called to say he wanted to buy the boat even though he hadn’t seen it. He actually was pleased at all the prep work, could see her painted and was thrilled that we offered to knock off $$ if he took her as is where is, saving us the trouble of painting. He whipped out a wad of cash and the deal was done. The other two guys were really bummed when they called to buy her within 10 minutes of each other last night.

In reality, selling Tess was Part Two of The Big News because Part One was this:


Feolena is a classic Valiant 32 that is far more ready to do the Singlehanded Transpac than Tess. I wasn’t worried about the boat doing the race — I knew she could handle it — but I did have two specific concerns that Feolena solves:

  1. Rob’s back. He doesn’t have the best back, though it’s not really bad. I was worried that his 6’4″ frame would be hunched so much for the at-least-two months of the race and trip back that it would cause permanent damage.
  2. Radar, or lack thereof. We weren’t planning on radar for Tess as they would really only need it (potentially) for the first few days of the race. It gets awfully foggy on the coast in the summer. But those were the days that concerned me the most because they’re also the days he’d be right in the shipping lanes. Feolena has radar, chartplotter, Monitor windvane, etc., etc.

While we’re sad to let go of Tess — we spent a lot of time and muscle perking her up — we’re also excited to get Feolena ready (a far less daunting task, even as far along as we were with Tess). I don’t know if I’ll blog about her or not but I’ll leave this up for the time being as a reference to other Contessa owners. She really is a sweet little boat — we’ll miss her!


We have some potentially very big news. Nothing’s confirmed till tomorrow so I have to wait — stay tuned!

A busy summer — a trip to Oregon for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, visitors galore and all sorts of summer fun — have kept us from Tess for awhile. We’d been planning on a run down to Half Moon Bay this weekend but the dense fog we woke up to on Friday said “Nay!”

So we adjusted our plans and sailed up to China Camp. The new (very old but new to the boat) jib makes a WORLD of difference in sailing ability. So I guess I wasn’t so wrong after all — it really was the sails!

We anchored fairly close in because we (read: Rob) would be rowing ashore against wind and tide. Shortly after setting anchor, another little boat tried anchoring right on top of us. We sat in the cockpit, watching and waiting. They knew they were too close but were obviously loathe to admit it. Good sense (and undoubtedly visions of higher insurance premiums) prevailed and they reanchored. They were still stupidly close for such a big anchorage but at least we weren’t going to play bumper boats.

Strange and uncomfortable swell started rolling in later in the afternoon — strange because the wind direction was coming from the SW and the swell from the E. It lasted a few hours, long enough to drive off a couple other boats, but it settled down after sunset.

Sleeping on Tess is not the most comfortable proposition. I think my limit is one night, though Rob hopes to take longer trips. Not me. I like the comfort of Silent Sun. I have everything I need at my fingertips — no lugging back and forth — and I get a good night’s sleep in a comfy bed. But I can ‘go camping’ every now and again. Plus, she’s fun to sail!


Life has been insanely crazy for the past month. Mostly engulfed by deadline and a trip to Oregon for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It was great fun but PHWEW! Soooo glad it’s done.

Last month, Rob and I spent a couple days fitting our ‘new’ Monitor windvane on Tess. Rob managed to get the body set up with halyards while I was at work.

When I got there, we read and re-read the instructions and set to work. We tweaked, tugged, eyeballed, measured, tweaked some more and finally got the beast level. Measure twice, cut once. We probably should have measured a third time. We installed the first arm, then readjusted everything to relevel and attach the second arm.

Hmmm. Something’s not quite right. We have no idea how it happened but, to get the Monitor level, the second arm had to be installed way out of whack.

That’s frustrating for me because I like linear, orderly installations. (One time Rob played a joke on me by randomly rearranging my bookshelf. No longer did the books go from tall to short and I had to fix them immediately — not that I have OCD or anything . . .)

Our next challenge was the outboard bracket. Wild tangent: remember how we really needed a longshaft outboard because the motor kept popping out of the water whenever there was a teensy bit of chop or wake? We took a little Nissan we picked up at a swap meet for next to nothing to the local Nissan repair guy. He rebuilt the motor (the previous owner had stored the motor upside down with saltwater in it — a bad thing, as it turns out) and ‘Frankensteined’ it. Now we have a nice juicy longshaft!

Anyway, we quickly realized that there would be no way the lower port strut would be at the suggested angle because the outboard is in the way. Luckily, Rob had already received the blessing from the company’s owner Hans. I had no choice but to accept the wonkiness.

Rob took a couple days to play with the lines and leads and all the other goodies, then took Tess out for a little sail. It was a light air day but sunny and beautiful. Coincidentally, my coworker JR was out shooting a race that day so he snapped a few of Rob.

“That Monitor is magic!” Rob still has a smile on his face!


Rob’s been very motivated this week and has done a lot of stripping. Months ago, I bought some West Marine “PRO” stripper that worked like a charm. Rob used it up awhile back and bought some more of what he thought was the same stuff. Only this tub didn’t say “PRO” on it. Didn’t work at all. Not at all. The next time we were in WM, we looked it up and apparently they’re not selling it anymore. Lucky for us, there was a big gallon tub of it at the nearby Boat US store, which we quickly snapped up and stored away. Now this stuff actually works! Isn’t that always how it works? You find some incredible product that works great and they pull it.


So this weekend our only goal is to install the Monitor. If there’s any spare time after that (which there should be), we’ll continue stripping the decks and maybe even get a little sanding in. Who says we don’t know how to have fun?!


I have no clue what was going on yesterday but here are the pix I tried to post. The first was close to the beginning of the race when Sutter, our race editor, went by in the photo boat. We sucked in our tummies, showed our good sides and smiled for the birdie.


Yes, I know the jib looks like shit. My bad. I raised it and didn’t get it tight enough — Rob fixed it later. I’m just a frail little woman that can’t raise a sail, apparently. Wimpy jello arms. Gotta work on that.

After shooting a jillion boat, Sutter came by again a couple hours later. Though the jib looks better, we weren’t much farther along than when she went by the first time.


And just look how high cut that clew is! There’s no two ways around it, we need a bigger headsail. Rob said “You can’t blame the sails for how badly we’re doing.” Uh, hello! It’s my birthday and I can do whatever I want! Damn straight it was the sails. Heh hem.

And finally, Kim sent us a few shots of us leaving China Camp (after getting pushed off the mud!). She may be a slug, but she sure is purty.


We checked the schedule and we don’t have another race for awhile. We will be in Brownsville celebrating my folks 50th wedding anniversary on June 2, the date of the Delta Ditch Run AND the In the Bay Race (both of which we would have like to have done). After that is the LongPac (the qualifier for the SH Transpac next year) but Rob’s son Ian will be in town.

This lag in racing gives us plenty of time to finish a bunch of stuff – stripping and painting the decks, repainting the hull, mounting the Monitor, setting up the interior, replacing the rigging (though that may wait till winter), etc. No rest for the wicked . . .

My only birthday wish was that we not finish dead last in the Great Vallejo Race and my wish came true! We didn’t finish at all! It was an unusual year in that the race to Vallejo on Saturday was a beat the whole way — it’s usually a lovely spinnaker run. We decided just after rounding the first mark waaaaaaaaaaay after everyone else, that we were just going to bag it at China Camp but didn’t ‘officially’ call it quits till we got there. We were only one of two DNFs — I guess that party is really worth it!

We met up with some friends — NINE boats! — and had a great Cinco de Mayo celebration on shore, complete with carnitas, guacamole, chocolate flan, margaritas and a pirate pinata. Rob was the 7th to take a whack and he blew that bugger to smithereens! This was all that was left:


By the time we all puttered home, the wind had died and the rolly anchorage had calmed considerably. We were gently rocked to sleep only to be tossed awake a couple hours later by strong northeast winds — the WORST direction for the wind to come from for that anchorage. We weren’t in any danger but it was very uncomfortable and kept us both awake for most of the night.

We woke up at 8:30 and realized we’d better skedaddle or we’d be stuck there all day with the strong flood against us. Our dinky little short-shaft motor doesn’t work in any kind of swell or chop so we couldn’t use it to pull ourselves up to the anchor. We raised the main to sail up to it, tack and break it free. We got up to it but Rob couldn’t break it loose. A friend finally came over in his dink and pushed us up to it. It broke and we promptly tacked the wrong way and drove firmly into the mud (China Camp is notoriously shallow). He shoved the bow around, we raised the jib and were off! I was worried that I’d be stuck in that spot — heeled 15 degrees — till the tide rose. Not fun on my birthday!

We had a beautiful spinnaker (I’ve named her Barbie) run home with the ebb, hitting 9 knots on several occasions. We made it from China Camp to our slip — about 15 miles — in just under 2 hours. That’s making some good time!


Yes, there’s a small wrinkle up there but I liked this shot better than the ones where the sail was all full. I post more pix but the server’s acting weird. Gotta run!