Ambassadors for all we America was. Apologists for all America is.

Why this blog …

We are a couple forced into early retirement by the economy of the US since 2007/2008.   We have chosen to leave and just sail away.   We own an Ingrid 38 ketch, named Spiritus, which I will describe in some detail elsewhere in the blog.

I am writing this to set to word my thoughts, discoveries, feelings, intuitions, emotions and senses which are engaged and generated by the sailing experience and by the experience of leaving the familiar behind.

The voyage is a physical one of seas,waves, winds and currents.  It is of fuel, engines, electrics, solar and the technology of modern (and not so modern) sailing.   It is of maps, charts, radios, and GPS and all the things that get you from the known to the as yet unknown.

The voyage is also very much a spiritual one.   I don’t mean here spiritual in the religious sense, I mean where your spirit takes you in this world.  I guess it is a bit of a metaphysical journey.

If there is one thing we have already discovered, it is that anyone can do this.  In the travels of Spiritus, so far, I have encountered the young, the very young, the old and very old, those still working and those not working, or some not yet working, the wealthy, the very wealthy, the very poor, and just those with a lust for wandering.

The only common theme or experience is that we have all somehow made it to Mexico and the Sea of Cortez.   Some boats sit at the dock comfortable and tied securely, while others sit at anchor out in the harbor or what is called the “Magote,” less comfortable and less secure but still tied.  Still others make a hurried stop at the marinas of La Paz and refit, refuel, tune up and head out to sea again.  Right now, Spiritus sits at a dock having repairs, alterations, provisioning, and generally recovering emotionally and psychologically from my first long blue water voyage.

It revealed that I did not know as much about sailing as I thought.   It revealed the objective dangers of sailing.   And the trip south showed me, again, how difficult it can be to interact closely with other adventurers even when we share a common goal of sailing the deep blue.

As Ben Rumson in the movie/musical  “Paint Your Wagon” puts it, “There are two kinds of people–them going somewhere, and them going nowhere.”

The sailors of the Sea of Cortez are kind of like that.   Some will go on to other places like the South Pacific, thru the Panama Canal, or down the West Coast of Mexico and central America.   Some will stay and play in the Sea of Cortez for an extended period, and some will stay permanently here.   Some will sit a while and end up selling their boats for a loss.   Some will store their boats, “on the hard” permanently.   Some will simply anchor the boat and disappear.

In Mexico, you learn that sailing can also be a trap where all is lost in the gamble to gain everything the freedom of the sea can grant.

The blog will both describe what sailing a large heavy cruising boat is like, in this case, an Ingrid 38 ketch.   It will also try to describe what letting go and actually going to sea is like for the new sailor or sailor of minimal experience.

I will post to it at least weekly.  The first few posts will be longer as I set up the narrative of what this is all about.

I have done many things in life– skied, extreme skied, rock climbed, ice climbed, paddled a canoe in white-water, used a kayak, hiked and backpacked some big mountains in my youth and middle years.  I have even sailed a number of smaller boats throughout my life.  I have done these things with my wife and daughter and a select group of friends and “partners” have followed or led during parts of the adventure.

My wife and I have now committed our lives to the sea and sailing.  We hope you will find the narratives here interesting and worth following.

11 responses

  1. Thomas- got here via the Ingrid group; thanks for the link to this blog.
    We’ll be following your journey with great interest. Our Ingrid, “September”, isn’t quite ready but the plan is to eventually also head to the Sea of Cortez. We’ll be leaving from Puget Sound so not that far from Oregon, either.
    Best wishes,
    Robin and John

    January 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    • Hope to see you when you get here. Let me know of your progress from time to time. If I can help, in any way, let me know by email. I go by Russ.

      January 18, 2013 at 9:43 pm

  2. Allen Jones

    Enjoy your blog I also own an Ingrid 38 we are doing our finial gear installation .lol hopefully . We plan to leave this sept or so for San Diego .then mexico and beyond .

    January 23, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    • We look forward to seeing her and you two. Keep us informed of your progress and take lots of pictures.

      Russ and Carolyn

      January 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm

  3. looking forward to hearing of your adventures from here in Sitka Alaska aboard the Ingrid 38 S/V Windfish

    January 25, 2013 at 6:06 am

    • For Steve and everyone living up north …brrrrrrr… Jan 25 and 80 degrees at 1 pm . in La Paz, Mexico… hahaha come on down south.

      Thanks for the comment, Steve.

      Am spending today washing salt off the roller furler and jib on furler. Yesterday was spent tuning the standing rigging as it had too much slack from the last two thousand miles of sailing. Now it sounds a base guitar string when you strum the strands of the standing rigging individually … and the mizzen no longer pumps in a hard wind.

      January 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm

  4. Hi Russ and Carolyn,

    Glad to see that you made it, looked for your name in the latitude 38 list, but didn’t see it. Were probably about a year behind you, we just spent a couple of months down in LA working on the boat. Got her almost ready to sail up here to Coos Bay, plan to work on her a bit more, and hopefully will have enough summer left to visit some of the Alaska islands. After that will probably find more work to do, and then hopefully head for the South Pacific Neither one of us wants to be in Baja in the summer., We almost died when we went down there to look at GRACE. And thanks for taking us out in SPIRITUS, it was a big factor in our deciding to buy an Ingrid. Look us up on our blog, it’s not as exciting as yours (yet) but hope to get there.

    Best wishes, Tom and Shannon

    February 19, 2013 at 1:05 am

    • Tom and Shannon, glad you found your Ingrid … will let you know how we fair with the summer in the Sea of Cortez, I think we are going to try staying here and sailing for a bit.

      February 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

  5. CAI Kabrell

    Moi Russ and Carolyn

    Found your blog. I like your Ingrid and the Blog. Assume wood work with fun details and extras (stained glass skylight for example).

    I got hold of old Chiang (hull 77) witch had a center cockpit layout. She actually have newer been in the water… . Bill got her before me and was going to make her a motor sailor and basically stripped out most of her.

    So now I try to get her into the water.
    I (I better say We, My wife Jackie may see this) renamed her to AtLast.

    Here is our blog

    Would be nice to see out out there soon.

    R. CAI

    January 9, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    • Would love to meet you both. We are preparing Spiritus for sea again as we speak here. Getting ready to head to the mainland of Mexico nest week if all preparations are completed. Just waiting right now on last piece of immigration paperwork and installing a newly acquired used water maker … cross fingers.

      January 10, 2014 at 12:28 am

  6. David Bereznai

    Russ and Carolyn,

    I’m enjoying your pathfinding exploration. I’m even thinking of taking a trip to the mainland next winter (maybe).

    MdLP is starting to empty out for the summer. I’ve mounted my AC already! Next week I’m off to Escondido for Loreto Fest. I don’t really care much about the adult summer camp activities, but it’s a good excuse to get off the dock and lolly gag in the islands.

    I have a little boat maintenance story for you.
    On my trips this spring to the Islands, I noticed that after sitting on anchor for a few days, Ansa would be hard to start – I had to put the batteries in All – something she has never done before. I did some testing and concluded that the one year old batteries weren’t holding a charge, so I went to whine to Lopez. Marcus sent Victor the Electrician to investigate. He had me charge the batteries for two days, leave them sit for three days, and then came back and load tested them. He declared the batteries good. OK, so David the Electronics Engineer is out-engineered by Victor the Electrician. I couldn’t believe there was something wrong with the boat, but hired Victor any way to check it all out. The first thing he did was measure the starter motor and battery voltages while the engine was cranking. Lo and behold, the starter had 8 volts and the battery was 12. I’m missing 4 volts. I think Victor has done this before – he immediately started taking each battery connection apart, cleaning them with sandpaper and putting back together. After each connection, we checked the voltages again. Things were improving. When he was done with every single connection, I was only losing 1 volt instead of 4. I was amazed because visually, all the connections looked good.
    Then Victor volunteered the information that all the battery wiring was original – no marine grade wire – and the wires were half the sized they should be for the starter current of 400 Amps. Also the battery switch was similarly undersize. Reminded me a little of some of the wiring problems you had early on. Anyway, I asked Victor to fix it all, so he re-wired all the battery circuits and changed the switch. Did a nice job. Even moved the switch to a location where I can see it and operate it without physical contortions.

    What I learned: Big current circuits need really really good connections. 🙂

    Be safe and well,

    April 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm

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