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Repositioning a 3988 from Oakland to Long Beach, Ca.-gctid811317

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    Repositioning a 3988 from Oakland to Long Beach, Ca.-gctid811317

    After my buddy Alex, another retired fireman, decided it was time for he and his wife to enjoy all that boating life has to offer we began to look at 3988's. We traveled up and down the California coast looking at all of the inventory and found a 2001dock queen in Oakland that had less than 400 hours total time on Cummins 330's. The interior was well taken care of but the port engine overheated almost instantly on the sea trial. Fast forward to the second sea trial after the owner had replaced both aftercoolers, raw water pumps, port alternator, trans coolers, overhauled both heat exchangers and the boat ran great!

    The goal was to move the boat to Southern California but before we could we needed to ready the boat for such a voyage. About the only electronics that were reliable was a 2001 antiquated monochrome radar. We installed a new VHF radio on the FB, complete with antenna and outfitted the boat with a 6 man life raft and a para tech sea anchor. After running the boat all over the San Francisco Bay to prove itself we were ready. All we needed was a weather window.

    March and April did not cooperate at all, big water everywhere! But watching the various Wx sites (including Windy.com) indicated a very promising window starting May 20th. True to the forecasters promise a big ole high pressure system parked itself off the Ca coast and was poised to give us some great traveling Wx.

    We flew up to Oakland early Friday morning to provision the boat and make final preparations for an early departure Saturday morning. All was going according to plan until a joint in the 1" FB Bimini tubing suddenly snapped and the Bimini collapsed! Let me just say it's good to have friends and the BOC is a great place to meet those friends. Steve Woodwork (Woodsea) motored over from Alameda on his dinghy with a bunch of tools and together we were able to effect a repair. Shout out thank you Steve!

    0630 Saturday morning saw us motoring away from the Oakland slip under crystal clear blue skies. We snapped some pics of the beautiful San Francisco skyline and life was good until we rounded the corner out into the Bay and saw a solid wall of thick dense fog! Well that wasn't in the forecast, but what you see is what you get with the Wx. The radar was working fine and we had a GPS course layed out on two iPads running Garmin Blue Chart. Alex maintained course and we watched the Golden Gate Bridge approach on the radar but we didn't actually see the bridge until we were directly underneath it! BTW, each stantion of the bridge has a immensely loud fog horn that sounds like an ocean going tanker. At first we thought tankers were nearby but we couldn't see them on the radar which was confusing at first until we realized the horns were the bridge. Local knowledge would have addressed that. Via the GPS and radar we identified the main channel buoys and turned south after the second buoy. The water was as advertised, 6' swells at about 9 seconds off the starboard beam, light winds, the 39 handled this easily. After a few hours the fog lifted enough to allow us to make 18 knots towards Monterey.

    Logistically, Monterey was the best port we stopped at. We were able to reserve a slip days in advance and the fuel dock was staffed with great help. Restaurants were about a half mile walk along a nice, strolling boardwalk and you couldn't ask more more seafood! One more claim to fame at Monterey is that it's the sea lion hang out of the world! I've never seen so many stinky sea lions basking in the sun. Trouble is they take over every horizontal surface, including kayaks!

    Day two brought us more heavy, dense fog. With about a hundred feet of visibility we eased our way out of the harbor amongst all the weekend warrior, console fishing boats that clearly did not have any radar. I do not know their mindset as it's one thing to GPS navigate and a whole nother thing to not hit anything. About an hour later the fog lifted enough we could once again make 18 kts. in 5-6' seas. We had pre made sandwiches purchased from a great little deli adjacent to the fuel dock, I'm sorry I don't recall the name but it was pretty good eats. About 1400 hrs we rolled in to Morro Bay, a small, quaint harbor with little in the way of transient mooring. A large dredge was working at the small harbor mouth which required VHF channel 13 communication to coordinate passage. No big deal but without prior knowledge It might have been trickier. The one and only fuel dock is the pits as there is no dock. Rather, there are about 10 vertical telephone pole pilings in a row that stick up, depending on the tide height, about 15' above the water. There's nothing for the fenders to fend against and the boat is forced against the raw wood pilings. Tug boats with tire rub rails would do well here. To make it worse the fueler had the personality of one of the pilings. Diametrically opposed to the negative experience at the fuel dock was the Morro Bay Yacht Club where transients are treated like long lost friends! Can't say enough good about them!

    0600 the morning of the third day felt like ground hog day as we once again motored out of Morro Bay Harbor in extremely dense fog. Good thing that old radar was up to the challenge bad thing was the auto pilot gave up the ghost thus it was hand steering for the next 200 NM. Sea forecast called for 4-5' swells but we would be rounding Pt. Conception around noon and any west coast ocean boater knows that can be a rough area. Lucky us as the seas remained relatively calm but once around the corner the ocean really layed down. Plan A called for an overnight at Santa Barbara but the calm seas allowed us push on into Ventura.

    Ventura Harbor is a large and well protected stopover. However, in a southern swell there can be breaking waves at the harbor entrance. At the fuel dock we were very pleasantly surprised to be greeted by the most beautiful English woman ever! If you need fuel and you're near Ventura you won't be disappointed! Plenty of logistical support and restaurants within walking distance, I'd go to Ventura again.

    Day 4 dawned (the last) you guessed it......foggy! Been there done that but more careful now that we're very close to the shipping lanes. Straight line as the crow flies across the widest portion of Santa Monica Bay, we rejoined land again near the Palos Verdes peninsula then continued on into Long Beach, Shoreline Marina safe and sound!

    Lessons learned- be prepared and ready for the unexpected. Have a plan B and plan C. Our plan was to harbor hop but we could have stayed out all night if necessary. Watch out for those pesky crab pots! They are often layed out in a straight line and once that line is determined angle away from it. Although we didn't end up needing extra fuel filters, carry plenty! Along the coast cell phones are a very nice addition to access Wx and to call ahead to secure arrangements. File a daily float plan! Wear life jackets. Watch out for whales. One was so close we heard it take a breath, literally! Call each harbor for local knowledge details, i.e. The dredge at Morro Bay. One good website for sea and wind conditions is windy.com, there are several others. Check the engine room periodically to assure things are normal. Be sure to have hearing protection and a flashlight handy. We found it very helpful to have a silicon squeegee on the FB to quickly wipe the fog moisture from the glass. I'm sure there is more but this post is long enough. Questions and comments are most certainly welcome.
    Jim Gandee
    1989 3888
    Hino 175's
    Fire Escape
    [email protected]
    Alamitos Bay, SoCal

    #2
    Good write up Jim on the tips etc. Nice favourable weather makes things much easier. Most folks don't know what they don't know and head away with prep they believe covers the bases. An experienced head can offer alternative thoughts to provide additional safety margins.

    Cheers
    John H
    Brisbane QLD Aust
    "Harbor-nating"

    2000 - 4788/Cummins 370's

    Comment


      #3
      Very nice write up. Sounded like a great trip. Thanks for sharing
      1997 3788/Cummins 6BTA 5.9 M2s (Sold)
      2003 Silverton 42c/Cummins 480CEs
      2019 Cobia 240 CC
      2006 Boston Whaler 13 Sport
      1985 3270/Hino 135s (Sold)

      Vero Beach, Fl.

      Comment


        #4
        Done that trip dozens of times, south bound is much better than bashing north. Glad you enjoyed the trip fog and all.
        www.boatyardgm.com
        www.pacificyachtimports.net
        2002 Carver Voyager 57
        "Making Waves"
        3988 250 Hinos
        "The Dark Side"
        Alameda, California

        Comment


          #5
          "Jim Gandee" post=811317 wrote:
          The one and only fuel dock is the pits as there is no dock. Rather, there are about 10 vertical telephone pole pilings in a row that stick up, depending on the tide height, about 15' above the water. There's nothing for the fenders to fend against and the boat is forced against the raw wood pilings. Tug boats with tire rub rails would do well here.
          Great write-up. I have a pair of fold-up fender boards down in my lazarette that would help with that situation. They're also handy if you have to raft someone alongside who's smaller and normal fenders are of no use. They fold up and stow and are easy to build.

          [attachment]37083 wrote:
          fenderboards.jpg[/attachment]

          [attachment]37084 wrote:
          fenderboards2.jpg[/attachment]

          They work on all sizes of boats too. Here's a Nordhaven:

          [attachment]37085 wrote:
          NordhavenFenderBoards.jpg[/attachment]
          Custom CNC Design And Dash Panels

          iBoatNW

          1980 CHB Europa 42 Trawler- "Honey Badger"

          Comment


            #6
            Some, great idea! If I was routinely, or even frequently, having to deal with pilings like that I'd fabricate something similar.
            Jim Gandee
            1989 3888
            Hino 175's
            Fire Escape
            [email protected]
            Alamitos Bay, SoCal

            Comment


              #7
              They're also good for those situations where you're trying to fend off a power panel, ladder, or other sharp pointy bits on the docks.
              Custom CNC Design And Dash Panels

              iBoatNW

              1980 CHB Europa 42 Trawler- "Honey Badger"

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks for taking the time to share Jim, and you wrapped it up like an aviator, with lessons learned!

                Cheers

                Checks

                Comment


                  #9
                  Jim, I just went from Sausalito to San Diego. My trip was much different. No fog but wind and 6 ' plus swells leaving SF. Went all the way to Morro Bay except around 2300 hrs we lost our port side transmission. Continued on with one engine. Around 0030 hours 13 miles offshore we had a hydraulic steering line pop off. We were not able to reattach in the heavy swells and called 911 for Coast Guard rescue. They arrived about an hour and a half later. In the meantime we where throwing up repeatedly as the 6 foot swells where tossing us around mercilessly. Dropped off at the Morro Bay Yacht Club around 0530. Miraculously we found a truck mechanic who replaced our transmission. Also discovered our steering dampener was separating from the stern. The wood was all rotten and needed all new fiberglass. Got that fixed in only a couple days but transmission was a different matter. Total time there at the dock waiting for repairs was 9 days... Then we finally left for Ventura. Water spraying everywhere... Dripless issues. Pulled boat out at Venture and saw crab trap ropes on both props. This was new as we had a diver look over props in Morro Bay... 5 days later we left for San Diego and as we pulled into the marina in an extremely tight place I discovered I could not lower starbourd engine below 1300 rpm. I sent my friend down to manually try to lower throttle. He wasn't able to and may have pulled wrong cable as I now found starbourd engine was stuck in reverse. Luckily we called to someone on the dock and managed to pull into a side tie. Wow..... May never leave the dock again....

                  Comment


                    #10
                    These repositioning cruises are some of my favorite posts. The sheer adventure of it is awesome, and I always learn a lot from them. Keep posting them everyone, and the more detail the better!
                    1993 Bayliner 3058 Cierra
                    Twin 4.3L V6's
                    Alpha 1 Gen II Drives
                    Moored in Everett, WA

                    Comment


                      #11
                      After hearing about your voyage, I cannot complain about the fog! Without Jim, myself being a new boater, I would not have been able to pilot the boat down the coast. Prior to our voyage, we did focus on making sure the boat was as mechanically sound as possible but, as they say, stuff happens. It looks like you guys had a much more dramatic voyage but I'm glad you made it ok. I learned so much on our trip and have much more to learn. Thanks for sharing your story.
                      Alex
                      Orange County, Ca.
                      2001 3988
                      Twin Cummins 330's

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Jimbo,

                        I just came across your narrative about our voyage down the coast from Oakland, Ca. to Long Beach, Ca. You painted a very accurate picture of our journey and I can't thank you enough for taking the lead in preparing our boat for the trip, (I'm talking from mechanical, safety equipment, weather window, provisions, etc.). I'm not gonna lie.....the thick fog really spooked me but you assured our radar was our eyes and we had a plotted GPS course....it all worked out great. Due to the mechanical work prior to our trip, the boat performed pretty flawlessly and the seas cooperated due to a very good interpretation of predicted weather. I learned many lessons along the way and am looking forward to enjoying the boat here in sunny Southern California as well as the many needed projects on my list.

                        One thing I can say, being new to this, is that I've never met such awesome group of people, (boating community), along the way. Everyone is so willing to help and it's not the norm in the general population....truly a breath of fresh air. This forum is part of that community and I appreciate all of you.
                        Alex
                        Orange County, Ca.
                        2001 3988
                        Twin Cummins 330's

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Alex, just wanted to add that we did hire an exceptional diesel mechanic from List Marine to go over both engines prior to leaving on this trip, Didn't want you to think I just pushed off from the dock and went south. Total time on the engines to this point was less than 500 hours. Still waiting for the truck mechanic in Morro Bay to try to see why the tranny failed.

                          As far as loosing our steering goes I can't help wondering if running the one engine with the autopilot may have stressed the hydraulic line? Or it is simply possible it just vibrated loose.

                          Honestly I'm still shook up by the experience. As they say, "live and learn!"

                          I was left with an incredible respect for the Coast Guard! I couldn't stop myself from saying to the Coast Guard rescue crew, "God bless you" after they dropped us off at the dock, and I am not even religious!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            What a great voyage! So you got a cruising speed of 18 from the Cummins? What is top speed?
                            Tony, Cape Cod, MA
                            Vice Commodore Bourne Yacht Club
                            1994 Carver 390 Cockpit Motor Yacht
                            454 Merc Cruisers inboards
                            "HOLODECK"
                            2014 10' hard bottomed Dink powered by 3.3HP Mariner 2 stroke
                            www.bourneyachtclub.com

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I'm sure you did your due diligence before setting off and that's why I mentioned that "s" happens sometime; mechanical things break all the time. There was quite a bit of work done prior to our departure but we also had good luck on our side. Our auto pilot did stop working two days in but this was a pretty benign problem. We prepped for potential problems, ( extra fuel filters, impellers, good set of tools); however, it's impossible to plan for everything. In your case, you had a pretty major problem with your transmission and there's no way you're gonna be carrying a spare....lol. In either case, thanks for sharing your story and I'm glad it worked out in the end; I learned some valuable lessons from your account and, I have to agree....great that the Coast Guard is out there to bail us out if need be. My buddy had also strongly recommended Vessel Assist early in the game after I purchased the boat and I jumped right on it. Hope you guys have a fun summer; we're really enjoying this new experience!
                              Alex
                              Orange County, Ca.
                              2001 3988
                              Twin Cummins 330's

                              Comment

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