Early Saturday morning, around 0200, light winds repeatedly snapped the sails back and forth, making a racket, so I furled the sails and started the engine. An hour later fog set in, and remained with us until we arrived at San Francisco.
Throughout most of the day we motored in the fog as if we were in an enormous sensory deprivation tank, accompanied only by the sound of the waves and the engine.
We decided to check the engine oil around 2100. Although we had sailed most of our way south, we hadn't checked the oil since departing Seattle. Once inside the engine room I found a quart and a half of oil in the bottom of the engine bilge. Not particularly a happy find at this time of night. We were leaking oil from somewhere. The question was, where? Chris shut off the engine and unfurled the genoa to maintain our way. Although the light breeze didn't give us much speed, it was better than bouncing aimlessly in the waves.
Dave and I spent the next three hours looking over the oil system, and concluded that the leaks sprouted from somewhere in the vicinity of the turbo charger. We debated the pluses and minuses about attempting the repair at sea. Everyone agreed that it would be better to have a leaky engine that worked, vs. a disassembled engine that didn't. So we decided not to take it apart. The dry dipstick-dry all the way to the bottom-confirmed that we had lost a significant amount of oil. We added half a gallon of oil, started the engine, checked it in 15-minute intervals, and discovered that the leak wasn't catastrophic. We continued motoring towards San Francisco with frequent oil checks along the way.
Sunday October 3, 1999
0700 - Point Reyes, about eight miles distant, signaled our approach to San Francisco Bay.
Just after 1200 noon Andanté sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. As we approached this global landmark, we all felt euphoric. Sailing under the bridge from the open ocean will most likely be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of us. We all felt as if we had accomplished a significant feat in sailing from Seattle. Although countless vessels and crews have made the passage before us, we felt like we were the first. As we passed under the bridge everyone attempt to savor the moment. Even Dipsy emerged from his perch in the aft stateroom for a photo op.
During the passage from Seattle to San Francisco we sailed 920 miles in five days and 20 hours, averaging 158 miles each day at an average speed of 6.6 knots. No slackers aboard this sailboat.
Pier 39, located at the foot of the city, had a slip waiting for us. Our slip afforded us a picturesque view of San Francisco's northern slopes, as well as the opportunity to just unwind. None of us quite realized the intense demands the passage made upon us until our frenetic activity suddenly stopped. During a 24-hour passage, you have time to sail, eat, and sleep, and that's about all you have energy for. That night, everyone luxuriated in a full eight hour sleep.
Monday October 4 through Tuesday October 5, 1999
Monday morning we concentrated on repairs: the oil leak, the propane system, and the ship's Webasto furnace.
Tuesday morning a Volvo mechanic stopped by to check out the oil leak, and found two loose compression fittings underneath the turbo's heat shield. After he tightened the fittings, Dave cleaned the oil from the heat shield with hot soapy water, and we were back in business.
Chris and Dave found a previously unknown fuse for the propane system. Replacing the fuse fixed the problem.
The only company in town that serviced Webasto heaters couldn't schedule us until later in the week: Thursday or Friday at the earliest. Instead of waiting around, we decided to take advantage of good weather and get underway on Wednesday. We can repair the Webasto in San Diego, where I'll be hanging out for a few weeks.
On Monday we also met our new crewmate who joined us for the trip down to San Diego. Jenny Marstaller, originally from Berlin, started sailing in Germany during college. Now living in San Francisco, Jenny lives aboard her Standfast 36, and looks for every opportunity to sail an ocean passage. Welcome aboard Jenny. Now, with four of us on board, life will be a little easier, watches a little shorter, and the passage south a lot more fun.