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San Francisco, USA

San Francisco, USA

  • Date Posted: Oct 20, 2013

Our transit to San Francisco begins.  Smooth waters over to Port Angeles to take on fuel.

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Then onwards to San Francisco!  (Starting sleep routines)

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At this point, everything onboard INFINITY was going particularly well, then on October 19th, (@ 0330), approximately 770 miles into our journey, things began to deteriorate.  I have copied the excerpt (below) which I quickly wrote for the Nordhavn Dreamers forum:

 

Hi Guys,

A few people have asked me for more details about our maiden voyage down the Washington / Oregon / California Coast.

We departed Vancouver on October 15th – vessel Log # 019.  The forecast was favourable for the planned destination San Francisco.

INFINITY (N6218) performed admirably, and my wife, daughter, and I, were truly getting into the groove of passage making.  I was taking the night shift and Julie and Chloe were alternating every few hours during daylight hours.  I slept on the Pilot House bunk.  All was well,,,for days.

Oct. 19th, 62 miles west off the Oregon coast, the seas were building and I was a little sea sick.  I was also preoccupied with how INFINITY was surfing down the 10′ (12-second) waves,,,  Our rudder (AP) seemed to correct just before an imagined broach,,, the barometer was dropping…Things were loud outside too.  I needed another Java fix and put the Kettle on.  BLACK OUT!  I’m talking no lights, no Plotter position, no Radar, no nothing.  It was 0330 in the morning, just off Newport, Oregon.

I don’t mind telling you, I had a little ‘moment’ alone in the Pilot House for a few minutes…

I needed help, so got Julie up to Con the Pilot House while I investigated.  Inverter 2 was dead.  Inverter 1 was working.  All our Pilot House AC runs off Inverter 2,,,,,of course.

I decided to pull the PH power from INV 2, and splice into INV 1.  This took 15 mins and all was well again.  INFINITY was surging along (often 9+ Kts).  An hour later, while I was still working on the failed Inverter #2, Julie came down to tell me that the PH was blacked-out again.  I turned around to see Inverter #1 lights blink, fade, & die.

Yes, total 110v failure.  OH NO.  

INFINITY was now relying solely on her archaic Furuno NavNet II system, 12v battery powered.  I fired up the Genny to get some back-up power and piece of mind.  However, I could not get the Genny power over to the 110v panel because of the failed Inverters, and I could not get the Genny power over to charge the batteries because of the failed Inverters.  The batteries were the sole power onboard the vessel now, which were being charged by the ME alternators, 275 miles to go…

We soon got into a new groove and pressed on.  Engine room checks became more frequent, but more demanding.  The engine room was getting as hot as Hell because we lost our 110v power, no blowers.  Cascading failure developed.  With 175 miles to go, the ME crankcase breather pipe connection (wire braided hose) detached from it’s pipework.  The rubber hose was so hot I could squeeze it together with forefinger and thumb.  The more I attempted to tighten the hose clamp, the easier the rubber hose slid off it’s pipework.  Chloe and I had to wire it in place using oven gloves.  The vibration and heat caused many leaks and every time I did an engine room check, I found something to mend, or make good.

100 miles from San Francisco, while doing an ER check, I witnessed a ME alternator belt shred before my eyes.  It was a violent, brutal, display of power filling the ER with black debris and vapour.  Now down to one alternator giving power to our batteries, which was the sole provider of power to our electronics.  Coming into San Francisco, we had 100 yards viz, fog horns blaring, lots of traffic,,,it was so bizarre that we all started laughing,,,

Anyway, once into the Bay, the Fog was left behind and we were greeted with brilliant sunshine and 25 kt winds.  We accidentally dropped a fender in the water, so did an impromptu MOB rescue.  We can’t afford to lose a fender and I thought we needed the MOB practise.  It went well.  30 mins later, we were tied up safely in our slip, our maiden voyage complete.  I had a couple beers,,,

 

We are currently providing a ‘patch’ for our power management issue, as I type.

The TRACE Inverters (2005 technology) require 12v input to work.  Because of my own poor power management practices, I placed WAY too much load on the DC output and blew a fuse.  I suspected this, but I did not know the system well enough to start removing fuses on the fly.  Remember, if I lost that last vital 12v link to the PH, I was hooped.  (I had begun to look at the compass and plot our ‘get-out’ plan on our small-scale paper chart).  I have ordered half-a-dozen spare fuses and had a ‘school’ session with Julie and Chloe about our Power Management practices.  The second inverter failed because of the increased load/demand too.  The wiring became hot, expanded, shifted, and the connection was lost.  I now know every inch of the Inverter wiring,,,always learning.

The ‘patch’ I spoke of, will be two switches installed to enable me to ‘bypass’ my Inverters if I ever lose 12v power to them.  This will allow the Genny (or Shore) power onto the 110v panel with a simple flip of a switch.

 

I think that’s it,,,much to do before we depart for San Diego.

I certainly have learned a bunch, you never stop learning in this game and fortunately I’m open to that.

 

Julie and Chloe both handled the event with surprising poise, I am officially impressed (& thankful) to have such a fine crew.  In fact, my wife Julie, strongly suggested I perhaps overstated the issue,,,  Her words, “Yeah, yeah, a belt broke and there was a bit of a mess, no biggy”  A true Brit for you,,,what can I say?

 

 

“Here’s a few shots of those increasing seas I was talking about”

Here's a couple of shots of those increasing seas

Here’s a couple of shots of those increasing seas

 

 

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“Entering San Francisco Bay – under the “Golden Gate” Bridge.  Things got better as we entered the Bay.”

Entering San Francisco Bay - under the "Golden Gate" Bridge.  Pretty damn foggy, but things got better as we entered the Bay.

Entering San Francisco Bay – under the “Golden Gate” Bridge. Pretty damn foggy, but things got better as we entered the Bay.

 

 

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“Passing ALCATRAZ ISLAND as we enter the Bay”

Passing ALCATRAZ ISLAND as we enter the Bay

Passing ALCATRAZ ISLAND as we enter the Bay

 

 

“Julie ‘Bag’s’ a fender!  Impromptu MOB (man-over-board drill) completed.”

Julie 'Bag's' a fender!  Impromptu MOB (man-over-board drill) completed.

Julie ‘Bag’s’ a fender! Impromptu MOB (man-over-board drill) completed.

 

 

“Making electrical Upgrades to INFINITY”

Making electrical Upgrades to INFINITY

Making electrical Upgrades to INFINITY

 

 

“Taking time to refine the Safety equipment onboard”

Taking time to refine the Safety equipment onboard

Taking time to refine the Safety equipment onboard

 

 

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“Prepping the boat for the San Diego trip,,, clearing a bouy which was wrapped around the Port Stabilizer”

Prepping the boat for the San Diego trip,,, clearing a bouy which was wrapped around the Port Stabilizer

Prepping the boat for the San Diego trip,,, clearing a bouy which was wrapped around the Port Stabilizer

 

 

“Pre-departure meal onboard INFINITY, with our good friends (& crew) Dale & Mary-Ann Harper”

Pre-departure meal onboard INFINITY, with our good friends (& crew) Dale & May-Ann Harper

Pre-departure meal onboard INFINITY, with our good friends (& crew) Dale & May-Ann Harper

 

 

“Night-time departure,,, (my favourite!) from San Francisco – Bound for San Diego.  :  )”

Night-time departure from San Francisco (Bound for San Diego),,, my favourite.  :  )

Night-time departure from San Francisco (Bound for San Diego),,, my favourite. : )

 

 

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    4 Comments

  1. Gosh, I feel like I’m reading a novel. Keep it coming please. Can’t wait ’til next chapter. 😉 Glad things went well at the end & you had your brilliant crew to keep you in check! Xoxo

  2. Hi gang, you had me on the edge of my seat, hanging on for dear life!! Oh how exciting. Well that’s one way to start your journey, a huge learning curve and no one around to help or advise!! I’m praying for happier days and much less stress, let the fun begin!! Love ya.

  3. Firstly – glad you’re all safe and sound! I’ll send you my ISM blackout recovery checklist 🙂 don’t worry mate, the big ones do that too

    • Thanks all for the replies. Early this evening, (Nov 4th) we have arrived Ensenada, Mexico! The San Francisco Leg for our site is now updated, and I will complete the San Diego Leg very soon, perhaps tomorrow. INFINITY crew all well, vessel performed great, no issues.

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