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Old 07-30-2016, 06:07 PM   #1
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SF to LA and ........

Sitting in our slip in Marina Del Rey after a 29 hour 30 minute trip from SF to LA, this completed my third trip downhill in our Beneteau Swift Trawler 44.

Each trip has it’s own personality, learning’s and uniqueness. This year was no exception. It will be remembered by the low and visibility down the coast then zero visibility rounding Pt Conception. In addition a little Conception witchcraft giving us two seas that snuck up in the darkness and zero visibility resulting in us burying the bow, twice.

Other than that up to Conception Seas were generally 7-9 @ 9 seconds down the coast, winds were fairly light so there was nominal wind chop. Followed by Classic “Southern California” waters 2 and 3 feet @ 12 and 14 seconds.


The “best” visibility we had prior to rounding Conception was 1 ½ to 2 miles, the worst was literally zero which happened to be as we were passing Point Arguello on our post midnight rounding of Pt Conception. The only “visibility” during that period was the Red and Green wall created by our running lights against the gray fog encircling us. As if Magic after we past Conception the fog cleared, we saw the moon, the seas flattened and temperature climbed about 20 degrees.

If you have found yourself in this situation you know how macabre it as as you literally have no sense of direction or sea state, direction or speed as if a pilot operating IFR. The only sense coming from the Radar and Chart images.


I became a HUGE fan of the newly installed Flir Quantum Chirp radar, its awesome performance made the experience much less stressful than had we been using our old school closed dome RayMarine radar. The solid target identification including very small and low to the water craft and sailboats with the Quantum is phenomenal.Giving you a great deal of confidence in less than ideal conditions and at night.

The Boat performed flawlessly, although in the extremely confused seas which lasted about an hour and a half the RayMarine Auto Pilot that was swinging 30 degrees to Port and then 30 degrees to Starboard immediately after the 2 seas went into a “Soft reset” resulting in the boat spinning about 180 degrees to Starboard all in seconds until I figured out what was happening, Solely based on watching our position on the chart spin.

I have of course seen the Anchor in water before ..... but never in it’s raised position in the bowsprit. Following the first sea I cut the boat speed back to about 7 knots and took control from the auto pilot. Shortly there after the boat speed increased up to 16 and then we buried the bow the second time. Ultimately I kept the speed about 6-8 enough to keep control and would cut back further when I saw the speed accelerating and played with course to try and ascertain the best ride that would keep us on course and away from the oil platforms and coast.

In preparing for the trip, we made some additional upgrades to our Swift Trawler 44


Quantum Radar: As mentioned the most notable upgrade was replacing the closed dome Ray Marine HD Radar with a Flir/Ray Marine Quantum Radar. Amazing difference!. I’ve attached an image I grabbed leaving the Golden Gate with a number of fishing boats off to Starboard, many of them very small “motorboats” you get an idea how strong and clear the images.

Shaft Shark Propeller Protection: One of the challenges in transiting the coast are the “billions” of fishing traps both in and out of season. Although our rule of thumb is to stay in waters 400’ + deep minimizing that’s not always possible and certainly not coming in and out of a port. Example,leaving Santa Barbara in November there were literally hundreds of traps right outside of the harbor that we had to carefully navigate around on our nighttime departure. If you haven’t seen a Shaft Shark they are a gnarly piece of equipment that sits on the end of the shaft next to the props and will slice through lines and even kelp keeping them from fouling the prop. And hopefully avoiding an unplanned swim.

Water Alarms/Pumps: We added water alarms in the Bow, Engine room and in the Stern as well as three pumps in those areas.. The boat only came with an engine room automatic pump and manual one. No water intrusion alarms. or pumps in the bow or stern which is not the margin of safety we feel is important.

LED Nav Lights: We replaced all of the old school Nav, steaming and anchor lights with LED’s.

The plan is to head off to Catalina tomorrow, then trips later in the summer and early fall to San Diego, Santa Barbara and explore more of Catalina and the channel Islands.
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Old 07-30-2016, 07:32 PM   #2
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Great trip report.

7 to 9... 9-seconds...

Did you or the crew have to contend with sea sickness?

Carl
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:05 AM   #3
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The darkness and confusing seas is another situation in which night vision, FLIR's specialty, is very valuable. We think of using it close to land or docking at night or in canals, but once you have it, then you use it in far more situations. Sometimes even with all the equipment, and your FLIR radar is very nice, a visual still is great to have.
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Old 07-31-2016, 11:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BandB View Post
The darkness and confusing seas is another situation in which night vision, FLIR's specialty, is very valuable. We think of using it close to land or docking at night or in canals, but once you have it, then you use it in far more situations. Sometimes even with all the equipment, and your FLIR radar is very nice, a visual still is great to have.
Hey BandB totally agree, I consider the night vision Flir a crucial piece of equipment and frequently rely on it for nighttime navigation. As you point out ,its super helpful to get a visual on the sea state. Unfortunately, the challenge with the fog, it was of no use as all it picked up was grey.
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by CeeBee View Post
Hey BandB totally agree, I consider the night vision Flir a crucial piece of equipment and frequently rely on it for nighttime navigation. As you point out ,its super helpful to get a visual on the sea state. Unfortunately, the challenge with the fog, it was of no use as all it picked up was grey.
Go it gave you a great view of the fog....that's not much help. Glad your other equipment helped. It is conditions such as you described where the latest generation of electronics distinguishes itself.
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Old 08-01-2016, 10:36 AM   #6
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Great trip report.

7 to 9... 9-seconds...

Did you or the crew have to contend with sea sickness?

Carl
Hi Carl, thanks. Fortunately no neither of us got "queezy" I'm pretty good unless I'm down below and lose the horizon and trying to read
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Old 08-01-2016, 10:46 AM   #7
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Go it gave you a great view of the fog....that's not much help. Glad your other equipment helped. It is conditions such as you described where the latest generation of electronics distinguishes itself.
YEP! just a "gray screen" Now if they could add through fog vision that would be must have equipment!
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