High Spirits

The crew of Spirit of Cardiff are enjoying an unscheduled stop in order to replace yet another wave battered winscreen…

The crew of Spirit of Cardiff are enjoying an unscheduled stop in order to replace yet another wave battered winscreen? Clive Tully reports:

“On Saturday we make an unscheduled stop in Westport, near Aberdeen, Washington. Alan has decided to take on a little extra fuel, and to replace a fuel pump which conked out amid odd burning smells during the night.

While there, we take the opportunity to have a bite to eat at a nearby diner. Given our long journey, the slogan “may the Lord bring you safely home” seems quite fitting. Except for the fact that it’s been carved with a knife into the wall of the men’s room!

We’ve been playing cat and mouse again with the weather. We’re in big following seas, at times racing along at 24 knots. There’s bad weather behind us, but as it’s unlikely to change much over the next few days, we’ve opted to press on and make the best of it. We had been worried about tropical storm Boris in Mexico, just off Acapulco. We might have been forced to sit that one out for several days. Fortunately the good news is that it’s dying down, and no longer a threat.

The irony is that every time someone tells me we’re through the worst of the weather, something else happens, and that’s exactly what Sunday brings us. The following seas we’re in are massive, driven along by 35 knot winds. And whilst I’m blissfully ignorant of just how dodgy it all is, perched in my bunk in the back of the cabin, Alan and Steve confess that they’re seriously worried about the situation. It’s hammered home, literally, when we’re catapulted into a wave and the starboard windscreen shatters. Fortunately we’re just a couple of hours outside Eureka in Northern California, but the entry into the harbour is extremely dicey. Huge waves are rolling straight in, whipped up over a sand bar.

The first call we get on the radio is from the coastguard, congratulating us on our excellent seamanship in bringing the boat into the harbour in such conditions. Apparently the sand bar is notorious, and has claimed four boats in the last year.

From what you might call the ridiculous, we go to the sublime. We’re met in Eureka by Fred Deo, whom I’m sure wouldn’t mind being described as a colourful character. He’d read about us in the local newspaper, primed by information from back at base and decided we couldn’t spend some time here without showing us some hospitality. He whisks us off in a stretched limo and checks us into a local hotel, then off to enjoy a fine meal at his restaurant, the Angelina Inn.

On Monday morning we’re up bright and early, Alan and Steve get the broken screen out, and set to cleaning the cabin. You wouldn’t believe the muck that’s accumulated over the last two months – I’d swear things are moving down there in the carpet. Since we’re here slightly longer than expected, we’ve taken the opportunity to do some of the servicing originally scheduled for San Diego. The boat will still come out of the water for a gearbox oil change, but the rest of the stop will be a bit shorter.

And if anyone else says we’re through the worst of the weather, we may just take it with a little pinch of salt…”


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