ESCAPE FROM NEWPORT

Early this morning Truce and I dropped down the Yaquina River from Toledo to Newport on the ebb tide.  Upon arrival at Newport I found the Coastguard had closed the Yaquina River the bar to vessels less than forty feet length.  As Truce is thirty-six feet long we couldn’t depart Newport.  Very frustrating, the weather outside is good and I want to make distance to the south.  Doubly frustrating, my French friends in their larger boat were allow to cross the bar and sailed at ten in the morning.

There is no option to wait until conditions improve.  I topped up fuel from the fuel dock and hung onto the dock waiting.  Finally, just after noon the Coastguard opened the bar to vessels more than 20 feet and I made my escape.

Once outside the bar I cracked on all sail and was soon romping south at six and a half knots.  Two hours later the wind died and I was motoring in a sloppy sea, rockin and rolling.  In the early evening a NW breeze came in and I can just manage to sail under the jib – about three knots.  There is not enough wind to keep the sail full in the seaway so we are crashing and banging along – but moving south.  The Oregon coast is slowly slipping away to port and we are getting closer to San Francisco.

Before dark this evening I am trying to get offshore beyond the hundred-meter line.  This whole place is infested with crab traps and buoys in the shallow coastal waters.  Outside the hundred-meter line I am hoping it’s too deep for traps and I can relax.

These uncomfortable light wind conditions are forecast for the next twenty-four hours, then a strong northerly wind sets in which should take us all the way under the Golden Gate bridge.

RUDDER FIXED

It’s been a full-on sort of day and I feel tired at the end of it – but importantly ‘we got the job done’.  The rudder is good.

Bushing fresh from Machine Shop
Bushing fresh from Machine Shop

At midday Truce was lifted out the water and half an hour later I had the rudder unshipped and hung off.  The bottom bushing was worn and causing the play in the rudder.  Thankfully everything was intact and no damage or wear on the metal parts at all.  I decided to have a new bush machined up and installed.  By four thirty in the afternoon the new bushing had arrived from the machine shop and was fitted.  Shortly after the rudder was back in place.  The bushing is tight and the rudder hard to turn – I expect as the miles go by it will free up a bit.

Rudder Unshipped and Hung Off
Rudder Unshipped and Hung Off

By five in the afternoon I was back in the water and tied up alongside the dock.  I really admire the can-do attitude of the American guys when it comes to engineering solutions.  I had the same experience in Wrangell last year when the shaft strut was cracked.  Within a few hours, a great engineered solution found and executed.  Thank you, Toledo boatyard, especially Asia and Ted for a great job.

In the early evening I took a walk into town.  Toledo is quite a small place, it looks like everybody knows everybody.  Tuesday evening and not much going on.  The main street is an attractive historic place that would be good to visit in warmer weather.

City Hall Toledo. Photo Ray Penson jpg
City Hall Toledo. Photo Ray Penson jpg

This evening I will have a good feed on board and get some rest ready for tomorrow.  In the morning I will take the tide down the Yaquina River to Newport and hopefully be able to head out over the Bar towards San Francisco.  I have a special date in San Francisco so need to get moving south.

Main Street Toledo. Photo Ray Penson jpg
Main Street Toledo. Photo Ray Penson jpg

RUDDER INSPECTION AND SUNSHINE

Heaps of rain last night and this morning and then the sun came out.  Wonderful to feel the suns warmth and the solar cells are charging the batteries again.

Soft Shackles.Photo, Ray Penson jpg
Soft Shackles.Photo, Ray Penson jpg

The diver turned up this morning, a very helpful guy called Carson.  He had a good look at the rudder and made a video.  All the pintles are in place – that’s good news, nothing broken.  However, there is a lot of play in the bottom shoe.  This is what I can feel when I move the rudder.

I will call the local shipyard in the morning.  To see what is going on I need the boat out of the water.  If the problem is general wear and tear then it should be a quick fix but until I can eyeball it I just don’t know.  There is a boatyard a few miles up river from Newport at a place called Toledo.

As it was Sunday today there were a few people wandering the docks, the sunshine probably brought them out as well.  Quite a few of them wanted to stop for a chat.  So, I spent some time today relaxing and chin wagging with the locals.  In between gossiping I finally finished all the small jobs on my list that needed doing before sailing.  Now I can start another list of jobs, this time more on the lines of preventative maintenance.

The weather looks good for a departure south on Wednesday.  The locals agree that the weather will turn on Wednesday – local knowledge is good.  I just hope my rudder is in good shape by then and I can make the hop down to San Francisco.