Friday, July 19, 2013

The final leg home

We are completing our final preparations for our final passage home. Sophia has been in Ko' Olina, Hawaii (just west of Honolulu) for 2.5 months awaiting our return. Phil and I (Rachel) arrived 2 weeks ago to get her prepared. We tackled leaks (more on that below), tidied up some wiring issues, cleaned, organized, and provisioned. Karl arrived last night and we are nearly ready to go. Other sailors on the dock keep asking if we're still planning to leave this weekend, as there is still a flurry of projects in the works. And it's no wonder as we've tackled some dandies... Four days ago we decided to finally address some persistent and pernicious leaks on the starboard side. Phil pulled off the teak deck on the starboard side to find 18 "after-market" screw holes that went all the way through the deck. No wonder we had leaks with the golf course set of holes! He filled the holes with epoxy and epoxied the deck. We put a quick coat of non-skid paint over it to get us home. We'll do the port side and re-do the starboard side once we're home. Today, with Karl here, Phil went up the mast to address some problems there. Namely, the tri-color wasn't working. Turns out that the casing was falling to pieces. So, Karl and Phil are off to West Marine to get a new tri-color light casing. So it is no wonder that folks continue to ask if we're leaving tomorrow! With around 25,000 miles under her keel, we know Sophia is sea worthy and the things we're doing now are mostly for our comfort, rather than our safety. We've been really fortunate to have our friends, Sharon Reed-Hendricks and Steve Hendricks, as hosts at Ko' Olina. They've been living aboard here since arriving nearly a decade ago after a 7 year cruise from Everett, WA to the South Pacific (New Zealand) and back north to Hawaii. Sharon and I have crossed paths numerous times in our lives -- Sharon lived across the street when I was a little girl, her daughters used to babysit me, and when I was in high school I worked for Sharon in her marketing business. We kept in touch on occasion over the years (mostly because Sharon put out wonderful newsletters about their travels) and when we knew we were coming to Hawaii, I asked her where we should keep the boat. They have been such generous hosts! Everything from yoga on the beach (sunset and sunrise), stand-up paddle boarding, a delicious lunch at Farm to Table, a tour to the east (wet) side of the island (think steep fluted mountains with lush tropical vegetation and waterfalls -- and I didn't bring my camera), and most crucially the use of her car for our provisioning and boat part errands. What wonderful friends and a hoot to spend time with. Sharon is a great storyteller and I recommend you get her book -- "One Man's Dream; One Woman's Reality" -- about their 7 years cruising. They'll be doing a book tour early next year. Alas, the projects are not quite done, so I'll sign off for now. We'll be using our SPOT device again so you can follow our sailing track via the "Current Sailing Track" link on the left-hand sidebar. We expect the passage to take a little over 3 weeks. We'll be trying to get around the Pacific High pressure system -- it's been a little squirrelly this summer, so we might have a wandering track as we make our way northeast 2750 miles to Bellingham. Fortunately, we'll have Doug feeding us weather updates via the Sat phone. Until next time... Rachel, Karl, and Phil

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sophia en route to Hawaii (from Golfito, Costa Rica)

Sophia started the long passage to Hawaii on March 6th. Captain Phil is heading up what will be the longest passage to date for Sophia -- about 4500 nautical miles (roughly 5200 statutory miles). To put this distance into perspective, consider that the flight distance from New York to Hawaii is 4300 nautical miles (roughly 5000 statutory miles). It is a LONG way. Joining Phil on this long passage are two new Sophianauts, Bernie and Skip. The land-based crew (Karl and Rachel) will give periodic updates on their progress. They'll be checking in with us via Satellite phone for weather updates. You can watch their progress via the "Current Sailing Track" link on the left.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sophia's in the Pacific Again!

Sophia completed the southbound trip through the canal on Jan. 17-18th. Daniel and Melanie arrived early and met up with Sophia and crew when they arrived in Panama City. We had limited communication from the Sophianauts as their internet connection was spotty. However, we learned that all necessary projects were completed in Shelter Bay prior to their canal transit and they were provisioned for their passage to Golfito, Costa Rica. Also the news that the SPOT was not working when they transited the canal. We received an outgoing email message this afternoon (12:12pm PST) that they were on their way to Costa Rica. It seems the SPOT is still not working. Drats! They expect to arrive in Golfito by Jan. 27th (and likely before). More news when we have it (they still have a sat phone). -Rachel (land-based crew)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

St Lucia to Bonaire

We left the fuel dock at 1000 hrs and headed west on a run with an increasingly lumpy sea. We were going fast (for us) and continued this coarse of 270° for about 24 hrs.  We came to 230° to make it a broad reach and continued to make about 7 knots over the bottom. The sea became more smooth as we went south and we are sure we were getting an increasing boost from favorable current.  Some squalls but great sailing; could hardly be improved upon.  We approached Bonaire and rounded the southern end to pick up a mooring near the 'North Dock'. Went ashore to customs a little south of the dingy dock (at the water side pub).  All aboard must go to have passports stamped,; no fees, one stop, very simple an easy.  Bonaire is very different from the other islands we have been to. Much smaller and more laid back; most of the town is easily within walking distance.  The Harbor Marina is a must visit since they manage the moorings and collect the $10 per day fee. No anchoring is permitted anywhere here.  Our 'dock to dock' time was 3 days to the hour.    

Bonaire is very different from the other islands we visited.  It is much smaller, quite 'laid back' and seems to have little poverty. The shops are nice and seem to depend on tour ships.  Food here is good and the official money is the US dollar.  The water is extremely clear and bright pink flamingos are common as are bright green and red or yellow parrots. A three foot long lizard dropped out of a tree at our feet and scurried under a hedge as we walked streets in town.  Diving and snorkleing are the big things here as is sea salt production.  

Enjoy.   Phil,  SOPHIA

Friday, February 3, 2012

Off to the ABCs!

Sophia is off on her next adventure! On Tuesday (Jan. 30) she left St. Lucia with Phil, Jeffrey, and Bernie (the newest Sophianaut) en route for Bonaire.

Jeffrey, Phil, and Bernie
Ready to head from St. Lucia to Panama

The time in St. Lucia was rejuvenating for the crew -- settled sleep, showers, mornings at the cafe, afternoons at the beach, ziplining through the trees, and rum tastings. Ah, the life!  This time also allowed for mending of the main sail, welding of the windvane, and a few other repairs after a lumpy Atlantic crossing. She was shipshape in no time thanks to a diligent and knowledgeable crew.

Joan and Christine have both headed for home, leaving the guys to take Sophia to Panama. They will certainly be missing Christine's amazing cooking!

As of this writing (Friday, Feb. 3), they have just arrived in Bonaire. They plan to make a few other stops along the way, possibly in Aruba, Santa Marta, San Blas Islands, and finally Colon, Panama. You can watch their progress via the "Current Sailing Track" link on the left.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


At 11:45 PST Sophia and crew entered the snug harbor at Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, making the crossing 22 days on the nose.

Looks really Nice!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

500 miles from St. Lucia!

Sophia is within 500 miles from St Lucia!!
We heard from Mom (Joan) last night and they were having a "you can count them on one hand" party. For those of use that have not been at sea for 18 days that means they can count the hundreds of miles on one hand now - it can feel so close!

The bad news was the Main Sail ripped near the top several days ago, forcing the crew to take it down. Without a main they have been slowed to about 4 knots per hour, but consistently logging about 100 miles per 24 hours. Luckily the wind has shifted more from ENE to the NNE allowing them to sail a more direct coarse to the west and St Lucia. The forecast appears to be for 10-15 knots of wind for the 3 days with building to 15-20  around the 15th. With this forecast we estimate Sophia and crew will make landfall this weekend!