Monday, April 18, 2011

April 10, 2011 - Moving the new boat from Stockton to San Francisco

I (Steve) drove down to Stockton CA on April 1 so I could spend a week working on the boat and getting her ready for the big trip up the coast in a month or two.  That move will completely depend on the weather so I can't predict when it will happen.

It was a long 14 hour drive from La Conner to Stockton.  I left at about 3:00AM with a cup of coffee in my hand.  I am a morning person so this wasn't as bad as it might sound.  It also meant that I wouldn't be driving after dark when I was tired which would have been the case if left at say 8:00AM. 

I arrived in Stockton about 5:00PM and then spent almost two hours unloading the van, which was packed FULL.

The "lowrider" van.  I loaded it down with boat stuff.
I then spent several days adding electronics, changing engine oil and filters, changing fuel filters, making repairs, exploring the boat, and finding new issues to deal with.  One of the biggest issues I discovered was that the dual fuel filter setup is broken on the port engine.  There is a lever you move so you can move from a clogged fuel filter over to a new fresh filter without ever shutting down the engine.  The lever moves but it doesn't actually change filters.  There is a plastic piece inside that had been stripped.  Apparently on these early Racor 500 duel filter assemblies this plastic piece was a poor design.  There is an "upgrade" kit to change it over to all brass parts that should last forever.  All of the newer units are not made with this plastic piece.

The Racor dual filter setup.  The gauge is broken & the selector valve does nothing.

The stipped out plastic part inside the Racor dual filter selector valve.

Another view of the valve.
After several days of work Kathy flew into Sacramento and I drove to get her.  On the way from the airport we stopped at Costco to load up with non-perishable foods for the boat trip up the coast.  After owning this boat for more than a month Kathy finally got to see it in person.  She has seen lots of pictures and video that I took, but she had never seen the boat in person.  I think she likes it?  It's pretty dirty inside, although it is in very nice condition.  It will take a lot of cleaning to make it seem "right", but that's easy stuff.

Kathy's first look at her new boat!
We got up a little before 6:00AM the next morning (Friday morning) because we are moving the boat from Stockton to Brisbane (San Francisco) today.  It almost 90 miles and with a boat that goes 8-9 knots this is going to be a long day.  The weather started out great with no clouds and no wind.  We were underway by about 6:20 when it started getting light enough to see.  Stockton is up "The Delta" from San Francisco and is on the San Joaquin River.  This boat has spent quite a few years in fresh water which is a good thing.  Stockton is an interesting town with a beautiful waterfront, but it gets pretty sketchy the further you venture away from the waterfront.

Goodbye Stockton California.  San Francisco here we come!
I spent quite a bit of time down in the engine room while Kathy drove.  I was checking for oil leaks and water leaks.  I adjusted the propeller shaft packing glands to reduce the amount of water dripping into the boat.  I checked the temperatures of various engine components and the transmissions with my infrared temp gun.  I checked fuel filters and switched from tank to tank.  This boat has 4 fuel tanks.  3 of them seemed fine, but one (the aft keel tank, 300 gallons) seems to have some VERY dirty fuel.  I am going to have to have this tank professionally cleaned, but it may be able to wait until we get the boat up here as we shouldn't need to use this tank at all on the trip north.

The "Delta" was a very interesting place to cruise, but I think once was enough for me.  It's a river and there just aren't the places to go, all the places to drop the anchor, all the places to simply get away like we have up in the San Juan's.  Sometimes I don't think we realize just how great our cruising grounds really are!

Running in light fog.

This fog was pretty dense.  We couldn't even see the bank of the river.
We started out with fantastic conditions, although it was quite chilly in the morning.  Then some light fog started to appear.  At first it was very low on the water and we could see right over it.  Then it disappeared and we thought we were through with it.  Then all of the sudden, POW.  Heavy fog that completely obscured our view of everything.  It was a good test of the radar and chartplotters.  The electronics performed great and we never did slow down (well, if you can call 9 knots fast?).   We were in the fog for over an hour and we were both quite relieved when  it started to disappear.

Not long after the fog lifted we approached the US Navy mothball fleet.  This is a place where old boat go to "rest".  Apparently these vessels are laying in wait,  in case they are ever needed again.  They haven't been discarded.  They are obsolete but not forgotten.  It was VERY interesting to see at least a hundred war ships sitting here doing nothing.  Are we not in a war or two right now?  Hmmmmmm.......

Some of the "Mothball Fleet."  What did it cost to build these ships?

The "Cape Fear" has some definite style.  Look at the radar tower.  Impressive!

Not long after making a detour to view the Mothball Fleet we finally entered San Francisco Bay.  There was much Anticipation at seeing the Golden Gate Bridge.  OK, maybe it was just me, but somehow the Golden Gate Bridge holds a certain awe, a prestige, a pedigree if you will, for boaters.  If you've made it to the Golden Gate Bridge you are definitely a serious boater.  Well. maybe for a Seattle boater like me anyway.  I don't think a San Fran boater would regard it as highly as I do.  Anyway, we saw the Golden Gate from our boat and also took a swing by Alcatraz. 

The Golden Gate Bridge, as viewed from our boat.

Alcatraz.  I can honestly say that this must have been a terrible place to be!
The boat is now moored at Brisbane Marina, just a few miles away from the San Fran airport.  As we got close we passed Candle Stick Park (now AT&T Park) on opening day.  It was a packed stadium!

Opening Day at Candle Stick Park.  Just look at all the people!
We arrived at Brisbane Marina shortly after passing Candle Stick Park.  I had a map of the marina so finding our slip was fairly easy.  I didn't count on it being such a tight slip.  I literally had less than 2 feet clearance between us and the next boat.  It was blowing about 20 knots, pushing us into the next boat when we arrived.  Despite having never docked our new boat before, I managed to get Adagio into the slip without incident.  Fortunately, there was someone there to grab a line from us which was a great help.

A tight fit.  I'm sure the guy on the left isn't going to like this.

The next day the winds were even stronger, which is what was forcasted.  I worked on the boat that day while Kathy hopped on an Amtrack train to go retrieve our van which was still back in Stockton.  It took Kathy about 6-7 to make the roundtrip. 

The next day we changed slips, at my request.  We jumped over a few slips next to a much narrower boat and also next to a Nordhavn 40', which is very coincidentally the exact make and model of boat that I helped bring up the coast 5 years ago.  Our Hatteras simply overshadows the 40' Nordhavn!

Our Hatteras next to a Nordhavn 40 MK II.  Our boat is bigger!  :-)  ha ha

Obviously I'm just kidding with my caption in the last photo.  I think Nordhavn's are the best boats out there.  If I had the money to buy one I would.  But I could buy 5 of our 48' boat for the price of one Nordhavn 40'.  Hey, we scored a bargain; what else can I say?

After a day or two of work on our new boat we packed the van and drove back home.  It was much tougher leaving at 5:00PM and drining overnight.  I think both Kathy and I experience extreme drowsiness while driving overnight.  That just didn't happen when I left at 3:00AM.  I was good all day without feeling like I needed a rest at all.  It's just not the same after being awake all day and then trying to stay awake all night too.

Anyway, we made it home fine.  A bit tired when we arrived. A bit overwhelmed.  A bit shell shocked.  A bit proud too as we have finally purchased a vessel that in some circles could be called a "ship".   This is definitely a huge step up in quality and abilities from our beloved Bayliner 45.  Bringing her up the coast is going to be an interesting trip.

More to come......