Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Emerald Bay

We headed over to Catalina Island's Emerald Bay last week, expecting lots of activity for the Fourth of July holiday. This was the Finisterra's first voyage to our favorite cove. We left the marina in Long Beach at 1500 and tacked up the harbor toward Angels Gate in light air. The UV cover on the jib let go after four or five tacks at the spot where it rubs on the mast mounted radar antenna, so we looked a bit ragged as we passed through the Gate, with a foot-long tatter trailing off the leach of the jib, but the boat sailed well until we ran out of wind. We motored the rest of the way to the cove, arriving at 1845.
Finisterra moored at Emerald Bay

We picked up a mooring behind Indian Rock and sat back to enjoy the view as the sun set behind the hills. On the trip over from the mainland we used the autopilot and about every twenty minutes it conked out, with "Drive stop" on the display. According to the manual, that message means that the linear drive quit because the force required to turn the rudder is too great for the system. That doesn't sound right to me because the helm was pretty light at all times, so in the next few days I'll be tearing into the system to find out what's really going on there.

The boat is equipped with electric heads that use fresh water to flush. I'm not a fan of them and, sure enough, the aft head stopped working. So we'll swap them out for the tried and true Jabsco manual heads. Aside from that little glitch, the boat and its systems worked well throughout our stay.
Calm weather prevails as we look toward the west end of the Island 

Since this was our first trip aboard the boat, there were lots of little things to fix, and this took some time, but we still had plenty of opportunities to hike and putter around the anchorage in the dinghy. We met some folks from Corsair Yacht Club, John and Judy, who sail a beautiful old Ericson 41. They invited us to a barbeque at their club site, which is located next to the scout camp near the west end of Emerald Bay. It was nice to connect with them. The next day we hiked out toward the west end of the island past Parson's landing, where the views were spectacular and we saw lots of signs of deer, island fox and bison.

Not far from Parsons Landing we encountered this bison on the trail. Notice that his horns have been clipped. For several years the Island conservancy kept them out of the the west end of the Island, but nowadays they roam freely.

The weather stayed cool and overcast until our last day, and we departed the island under beautiful blue skies and sparkling sunshine. The Finisterra sailed under main and raggedy jib, doing seven and a half knots, until we reached the entrance to LA harbor. Passing the lighthouse, we hardened up and reefed the jib in about 20 knots of wind and sailed up the main channel to get a glimpse of the famous old battleship USS Iowa, which recently took a permanent berth near the maritime museum. The ship first deployed in 1943, and participated in bombardments of Japan in WWII. As the war drew to a close, the Iowa was present along with the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay for the official surrender of Japan, marking the end of the World War. It is interesting to note that it was during WWII that the battleship, with its big guns was supplanted by the aircraft carrier as America's premier seaborne combat weapon. Already obsolete by the end of the war, the USS Missouri was the last US battleship to be built. 
USS Iowa at her permanent home in Los Angeles harbor

The big guns on the Iowa are impressive artifacts of a bygone era

Leaving the Iowa behind, we headed back down LA harbor's main channel and bore off for Long Beach, only to be confronted with the sight of a large ship entering the harbor loaded down with several new hammerhead cranes destined for service loading cargo in the Port of Long Beach. It was quite a sight to see the ship with its cranes working its way, with the help of a couple of tugs, through the harbor entrance and into her berth. The cranes were painted with the COSCO/SSA emblem. COSCO, not to be confused with Costco, is short for China Ocean Shipping Company. SSA is an American logistics company that manages marine shipping terminals.

It's hard to imagine this shipload of cranes crossing the Pacific. The weather routing service earned their pay on this project. Shipping companies, like us regular yachties, use routing services to route their ships to avoid weather systems. 

Three tugs guide this unwieldy ship to her berth in Long Beach harbor.

We got back into our slip before sunset after a nice sail down the harbor. I have been pleasantly surprised by the performance of the boat with the small roller furling main sail and look forward to sailing with the new rig. The mast has been shipped from the manufacturer and we expect it to arrive this Friday.