San Diego to Avalon - 83.5 NM, 19 hrs, 5 hrs sailing

So, after all the preparation, including getting all new House Batteries, installing Deck Speakers, buying a variety of new Docking and Furling Lines, shopping for groceries, packing, and planning, it was finally time to leave San Diego. We cast off at 8:40 a.m. on Thursday morning for our big adventure.

It was a fairly busy morning in San Diego Bay, and as we were leaving there was a Destroyer and a Submarine coming into the bay, and another Submarine going out. That meant, of course, that the usual entourage of Tugboats, Naval Security boats, Harbor Patrol and Coast Guard boats were all out in force. Inasmuch as we were going to try and sail as much as possible, we put up the sails and started tacking our way back and forth out of the bay, trying to time each tack so as to thread our way thru the traffic.

On about our 4th tack, we were making perhaps 4 knots, and watching all the boats around us. I was at the helm, on a port tack (and so could not see anything to the right of the boat), when my crewmate hollered "oh my god, you're going to hit it--turn, turn!", and red Buoy #14 appeared in front of the boat from behind the headsail about 10 yards away. I put the helm hard over, but not in time to avoid the buoy completely, and so, as an auspicious beginning, we bumped into the bouy, glanced off of it, and kept sailing. The blow broke about a 2 inch square out of the gelcoat on the bow, but by leaning over the pulpit, I could see there was no real structural damage, so we decided to keep on sailing. I was very embarrassed as it seemed like there were a dozen or more official personnel watching us at the time of the mishap.

The winds were pretty dismal, and after about an 3 hours of sailing at a languid pace, we decided to start the motors and get ourselves to Avalon. We arrived ahead of schedule at about 3:30 a.m. grabbed a mooring and promptly went to sleep.

We woke up around noon and decided to lower the dinghy into the water, mount the motor, and go out for a spin. At about 3:00 we pulled into shore and thought we would have a quick cocktail, and then an early dinner, so we headed to Luau Larry's. We saw a couple drinking some big Margaritas and so told the waitress to give us each "one of those". What we didn't realize was that the drinks were $20 each, 45 oz., and had about 10 oz of tequila in them. We were having a good old time when we ordered a second round, yikes. I was getting real friendly, buying drinks for people, and we completely forgot about eating dinner. When we finally got back to the dinghy, about sunset, I don't remember too much! Somehow we got back to the boat, put the dinghy away, and collapsed into a drunken sleep.

We woke up the next morning a little worse for wear and tear, especially considering that we were setting off on another 24 hour leg, yikes again! Going to sea on a boat is even worse than getting on an airplane with a hangover, and I was a little green for a few hours. Fortunately, the seas were mild, the wind was right, and the hangover wasn't too killer. We instituted a new boat rule as a result of that little escapade. Henceforth, there will be a limit of 2 beers or 1 mixed drink on nights before passages!