Cruising with Playpen
Installment 5 - Captain's Notes
CAPTAIN FREDíS THOUGHTS:
More CAPTAIN FREDíS THOUGHTS 2/10/03 Papanoa, Mexico, 35nm south of Zihuatanejo
We used Masonís cord attached to a yellow gallon jug to mark the anchor. Line and jug are small enough not to bother the props if fowled. It didnít fowl; the Mexican Navy, when they came out to board us, ran over the float. They spoke no English. We showed them all our papers and gave them cold Pepsis. Showing them the papers and passports seemed to make them happy, and I figured it gave them a purpose. Marking the anchor is a good ideaóespecially in tight anchorages. I had used Ĺ " polypropylene line and a fender last time. When the boat floated to the fender I realized the importance of smaller line and float.
The last couple of days have been about 95 degrees in the shade. I run mostly from the pilothouse because it is the most comfortable seat. Stretching my legs I wander from the sunny side of the deck to the shady side. Sitting on the port bow box was wonderful. My feet on the gunnels, my elbows on the handrail, the warm sun on my back, the cool breeze in my armpits, and the dolphin swimming in the bow wave. We passed a pair of turtles today. They are about the size of trashcan lids. They were similar to the pairs of whales. She was on her back, flippers waving. Real biology lessons. Two days ago I saw a huge whale. It was gray with white spots or visa versa. I canít recall. A gray whale I supposeó1st one seen of that color. Cruising 3 to 4 miles offshore lets you enjoy the beautiful coast, miss the fish long lines, and be inside the shipping lanes.
BOAT EQUIPMENT, ETC.
Iíll tell you a little about Playpenís main mechanical, safety, and navigation equipment. I guess a lot of my equipment is outdated, but it works well. The twin engines are Detroit 4-53, 112hp each. The gensets are 7.7 and 15kw Westerbekes, none of which have turbos or computers. To date we have traveled 3659 nautical miles from Anacortes to Papanoa. From Anacortes to San Diego we covered 1849nm, and from San Diego to Barra Navidad, 1549nm. Our fuel stops were: Bodega Bay, CA 866 gal. @$1.43
Newport Beach, CA 653 gal @ $1.32
Shelter Island, CA 68 gal @ $1.40
Bahia Navidad, Mex 1166 gal @ $2.02
That totals 2753 gallons so far; Anacortes to Barra Navidad= 3398nm/2753gal=1.23nm/gal
2753gal/482hours=5.7gph average including 267 hrs generator time.
Because of the time and distance I just pulled a distance out of the air of 7000nm for this odyssey. Now Iím guesstimating trip is Ĺ done.
Our Navigation and safety equipment:
48 mi Furuno radar in pilothouse
26 mile Raytheon radar on fly bridge
Magnavox MX100 GPS
Garmin III+ GPS
2 Motorola VHF
1 Standard Horizon handheld VHF
2 Data Marine International depth sounders
I-Com M-820 SSB
KVH Tracphone 50 Sat-phone
2 406 EPIRBs
8-man Zodiac offshore raft
Lots of flares, life jackets, strobes, whistles, throwables, water jugs and life sling
13í Boston Whaler w/ Honda
11í Zodiac w/ Honda
Gyro-Gayle air stabilizers
Lots of good handholds
Lots of spare parts
Electronic and paper charts the whole way
Lots of cruising guides
Wood Freeman Autopilot
Engine room CO2 and 4 10lb CO2
Aside from charts, Iíve always felt the radar was the most valuable nav aid followed by the GPS, followed by the Sat phone. I value the sat phone above SSB and VHF because I can call anyone, anywhere from anywhere, and they can easily call me. I wouldnít go ANYWHERE without a 406 EPIRB. If that fateful moment came I would launch everything that would float including all seat cushions and all life jackets. I know Bruce Kessler would say there wouldnít be time, but weíd sure try. Although environmentally incorrect Iíd take the fuel caps off so the slick may be seen and stage deployment of the EPIRBs. The EPIRBs are registered with NOAA and USCG giving boat description, boat phone numbers and 2 land contactsóeach with alternate phone numbers. I personally believe any vessel that goes 10 miles from the dock should have a 406 EPIRB.
We have put on life jackets in daylight in Long Island Sound, and met others in theirs on a 60í vessel when we arrived at Norwalk Cove Marina. We donít go out the door after dark without the life jacket /strobe/whistle. My parents infected me with the disease called boating 50 years ago. Thatís one Hell of a lot of fun experience with family, friends, and strangers on the waterways. My children wore "boat coats" (life jackets) from the parking lot, thru the cruise, and back to the parking lot until they were good swimmers. A couple of years ago at a July 4th celebration a child drowned near home while watching fireworks without a boat coat on. That would devastate a lifetime of good memories.
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