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Old 08-17-2014, 10:01 PM   #1
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SF to LA in our Beneteau Swift Trawler 44

Hi All! We just completed an amazing 15 day coastal trip from San Francisco to Catalina on our Beneteau Swift Trawler 44, The Emily B. We made stops in Monterey, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara, Marina Del Rey and on to Catalina.

We put together some learnings sincerely hoping that these “tidbits” may help if you’re getting ready to make a coastal trip or to provide the needed “you can do this thing” nudge. We had a magical time regardless of the conditions and if you are prepared, so will you.

My wife (new to boating last year) also kept a blog chronologizing our “adventure” her “storyline” and pics can be found here: Alameda to Catalina- A Coastal Journey

First off, we love the boat. She is well laid out, solid craftsmanship and handles a variety of seas extremely well from large swells, to the dreaded washing machine; wind waves meet swells and the pretty much constant steep in your face chop when 25 knot winds meet 5-6 knot ebb currents in the San Francisco Bay.

There are some specific notes specific to the Swift Trawler 44 at the end which may be of use to others as well.

We had the boat for a little over a year prior to our coastal trip and during that period made several smaller offshore trips and outings in a variety of conditions to prepare and understand how she handles.

Put a Fender Board on your boat! (you can just use a 2x6 with holes and rope) Several of the fuel docks up and down the coast are primarily for commercial vessels and as such even in places like Morro Bay without one between the pilings and your fenders you risk really ripping the side of your boat up.

Speaking of fuel, at a fuel dock used by commercial boats ask them to turn the flow DOWN. The flow of fuel for fishing and commercial vessels is much different than what works with recreational craft and at the fueling stops that many of us are accustomed to when “filling er up”.

There is an APP for that! Weather planning: Love the Buoyweather APP you can customize forecasts for points along your route. I placed three around Pt Concepcion J Also the NOAA Buoy App for real time conditions in front of you, realwind APP and Passageweather provided solid intel. Drag Queen is a great APP to conserve power during the night and be alerted if you are dragging. For WiFi we used a Verizon MyFi which worked great and ATT for cellular, 4G coverage is pretty good only with a couple of dead spots. Notice we used ATT for the iPhones and iPad and the Verizon for the Wifi so we had redundancy between the two.


Safety: We added The RayMarine MOB lifetag system which works in sync with the RayMarine system on the boat. We placed the “tags” on our mustang inflatable vests as well as installed two Dan Buoy SOS throw able markers. One in the fly bridge and one on the below aft deck.

The House batteries were entirely not sufficient for anything but a day-outing. We added three additional beefy deep cycle batteries to the system to better facilitate the electrical load.

Get experience in zero and low visibility fog! This is a constant up and down the California coast especially early in the AM and late afternoons. You WILL get in fog and Radar becomes your eyes. We have found that the buoy setting on the RayMarine system is by far the best for “seeing” other traffic. Also helpful to add the AIS overlay which you can do in the menu set up. Although it’s surprising that some of the large cargo ships and most fishing boats don’t transmit AIS.

Another consideration is using an iPad as a second screen. We loaded the Navionics APP to our iPad and use the charting function when using the full main screen for the radar. It fits perfectly below the main screen. As mentioned previously It is a 4g and WiFi iPad with service from the two different carriers.

A bit costly but we feel worth it, is a Flir night imaging camera which works in tandem with the RayMarine system. It works extremely well giving you amazing night visibility. We have found this critical at night both during crab season as the traps are everywhere including in the main ship channel. Also useful for seeing whale spouts, both of which can ruin your night (not to mention the dumb shits who boat without lights).

Stash rolls of quarters. Before departing go to the bank and get several rolls of quarters as when it comes time to clean your dirty laundry (and really get your towels dry) you’ll need lots of quarters for the washer/dryers. While washers and dryers are fairly easy to find sometimes change isn’t.

Go Old School, Invest in paper charts, (we used Maptech Central and Southern California Chartkit), a gps plotter ruler and dividers. Using Lat/Long we plotted our position on the charts frequently and the paper came in extremely useful as even with the Platinum Navionics chip many of the oil rigs in Southern California were not on the chip but were on the paper. This helped with a couple of WTF moments. We also had a Hand held compass should we have a complete electronics meltdown.

As you venture South (past Morro Bay) keep an ear out for notice to Mariners on military exercise zones that are “hot” that day. The CG will alert you on 16 for the report on 22. They will give you the zone and hours of military usage. Again the paper charts were extremely handy for easily finding where these areas are.

We learned quite by accident that if you have any item on board requiring parts its very useful if it is stocked at West Marine as they are in virtually every major harbor on the coast. We got this lesson when our Dickenson grills (not a West Marine item) regulator bit the dust and the only way to get another one was have it shipped after ordering online. However, regulators for the Magma grill which they do stock are readily available. This was an Aha moment as well when I had a question about the RayMarine system which they were quickly able to help with.

In some small way we hope this helps even one person or couple who wants to make a coastal adventure. Welcome your questions and comments.
My wife new to boating had understandable anxiety the night before we left. She had the same anxiety the last night of the trip …….. this time about going back, she didn’t want to leave the boat. A quote she found and used in her blog

"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever." - Jacques Yves Cousteau

Notes specific to the Beneteau Swift Trawler 44 (but could be of use for everyone) :

We added three handholds on the flybridge, as when going to and fro there simply was no secure place to hang on to between the fly bridge seating and the stairs. However, below decks this is well thought out and you can literally move from one hand hold to the other. We added one at the top of the stairs, one on the mast and a second one on the upstairs galley. Thus providing solid and secure handholds moving about in a seaway.

The anchor that came with the boat (Delta) and the 75’ chain/and rope ground tackle was simply not enough to work on a good day much less a more challenging one. We ended up with a 65 pound Manson Supreme anchor with 250 feet of all chain rode and this works like a charm. I do wish the boat came with a dual anchor bowsprit as having a choice of anchor and being able to put out two anchors for a Bahamian mooring is very useful in anchorages up and down the coast where swell and currents can oppose each other or change directions 180 (of course while you are sleeping)

A small thing but a big one, in the Master head we added a bolt to secure the shower seat as when it was up and someone was using the head it was un secured and would come down on the person using the toilet. (Ouch)!

We do NOT open the fuel exchange valves as based on the position of the two tanks the starboard tank fills the port tank and can create a difference of upwards of 15-20% in the tank levels. However keeping them closed they were equal all through the coastal cruise.

We weren’t able to do anything about the mysterious missing 4th windshield wiper. There is one far port and two on the Starboard side but for some bizarre reason there isn’t a second one on the port side and in any significant seaway when water is flying you have a blind spot between about 10 and 11 o’clock. Hopefully Beneteau will SEE this omission in future models.
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:44 AM   #2
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Cool! Thanks for posting.
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:05 PM   #3
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Hi Moonfish, a pleasure!
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:25 PM   #4
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Yes, thanks so much for posting that great story. Brings back some old memories; made that trip on sailboats and parts of it on sailboats and power boats a few times.

I am curious as to where you anchored that you had issues. We hit all the anchorages I can think of that are along that stretch of coast, plus the Channel Islands, all with CQR- equipped boats, chain and rope rodes.

Also, I am not sure you used the term "Bahamian moor" correctly. In some of those coves in some conditions, one can take a kedge anchor off a stern quarter to keep the bow pointed into the swell. A Bahamian moor pivots the boat around a fixed point and would not solve that problem, in fact probably amplify it.

Glad you had a great time. Are you staying down there full time or heading further south? If returning north, it is usually not as fun a trip unless you are very patient waiting for weather, but I'd guess you've already figured that out.
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:32 PM   #5
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Thanks for posting!

Regarding the fender boards...

Do you think it would be better to have two four footers rigged up, or one longer one?
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:39 PM   #6
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Great post and a great read. Love the practical wisdom learned first hand. Thanks for sharing this and the blog. I'm still working through the blog, but love your wife's pics and sense of humor.

Great job!!
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Old 08-18-2014, 01:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
Thanks for posting!

Regarding the fender boards...

Do you think it would be better to have two four footers rigged up, or one longer one?
Three or four footers are a lot more wieldy. A couple fit in one of our deck boxes. One of those big Taylor Made Freedom fenders with an indent on one side also comes in very handy on rasty pilings, especially hung from the piling, not the boat.
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Old 08-18-2014, 01:57 PM   #8
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Thanks for the post, planning on leaving Fortman Marina in Alameda in the spring for a one way trip south, taking our time down the coast, so I too would be interested in hearing about where you anchored.
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Old 08-18-2014, 05:00 PM   #9
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Greta read. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:50 PM   #10
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Good blog read and great dolphin photos.

I wish our blog was half as good as yours but after starting off with good intentions with our blog on the Great Loop we are now unfortunately way behind. maybe tomorrow I'll work on it !!!

Again looks like you had a fun trip with good weather.
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:27 PM   #11
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Awesome trip and post CeeBee, very informative. Can't wait to here more.
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:38 PM   #12
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Really great reading. Thanks for posting.
We're heading out from Annapolis to FL. gulf in a few weeks.
BTW, where did you place the added batteries?
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:20 AM   #13
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Congratulations on your trip and photos. Great pictures. Can't wait to read more about future trips.

Cheers
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Old 08-20-2014, 03:33 PM   #14
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Hey George, thanks for the reply. We did have a great trip and were going to leave her down in MDR and commute back and forth BUT alas life and work called so we're bringing her back up this week. The Bahamian Moor is the recommended anchoring technique from the locals in Morro Bay where you get tides shifting boats 180.
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Old 08-20-2014, 03:35 PM   #15
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Hey Al, THANKS! Awesome trip and glad you liked my wifes pics and "commentary"
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Old 08-20-2014, 03:41 PM   #16
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Hi DWizzler we actually stopped in Monterrey, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara and Marina Del Rey. The comment regarding the anchorage was that it looked like there was no room at the Morro Bay Yacht club guest dock and that we would have to anchor there for the night but the awesome people there let us moor for the night along their dingy dock. Super people! There are a couple of amazing anchorages up and down. Charlies Charts is an awesome reference guide. Paradise Cove in Malibu and San Simeon Bay are amazing!
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Old 08-20-2014, 03:43 PM   #17
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RClarke they were added in the middle between the engines in the engine compartment. HIGHLY recomended move! Have fun!
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:41 PM   #18
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Ah, above the 3 bilge pump intakes, right? We've not had issue with batteries and have anchored out only 3 nights. Don't get the problem. We certainly don't run much at anchor: refriges, anchor light, that's about it. Genset should easily charge 'em if necessary.
Glad the boat performed. We've not really tested Lady Di as yet.
You got 1 50 amp shore power in? Lady di came with 2- 30's but a/c kept tripping so dealer gave us upgrade to 1-50 amp, prob. solved. What year is Emily B?
Just got dinghy, AB 9' RIB aluminum w/ Lehr 9.9. 210 lbs. Good stuff!
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Old 08-22-2014, 10:58 AM   #19
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Confirmed with its mayor, Bruce Delgado, the City of Marina (up the coast the bit from Monterey) has neither a marina nor a dock.
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Old 08-22-2014, 12:46 PM   #20
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Confirmed with its mayor, Bruce Delgado, the City of Marina (up the coast the bit from Monterey) has neither a marina nor a dock.
???
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