Greetings to all from our Sailing Friends

November 8th, 2012 Terri Berbena-U'Ren

Pam and I are safely in warm, sunny Bahia Santa Maria Mexico on the Pacific coast of Baja.  The Ha-Ha group numbers approximately 135 boats and was quite a sight to behold leaving San Diego.  With colorful spinnakers flying, the fleet spread out slowly on the horizon.  The first evening we saw a continuous parade of lights heading south.  Two more nights at sea had us virtually alone although the AIS showed scattered targets around us.  Turtle Bay appeared on the crystal clear horizon the morning of the fourth day.  We enjoyed an entertaining lunch ashore at the Maria’s seaside restaurant and lavanderia (laundry).  While eating, we noticed the waitress putting clothes on the line behind the kitchen cialis india price.  A short while later, a cruiser walked in with dirty laundry for Maria.  Only in Mexico.  A rousing beach party, pot-luck and talent show followed the next day.  See ‘Lectronc Latitude for pics.  Out next leg was uneventful and significantly more mellow.  We are loving life!  Next stop Cabo.

Pam and Roger


August 28th, 2012 Terri Berbena-U'Ren

Our uncomfortable but speedy run ended  40 miles west of the Farallons as the wind shut down at the beginning of my watch.  With the prospect of motoring the remaining miles home, all hope of an arrival under sail ended.  This was an emotional low point for me as I was loath to fire the motor.

As dawn emerged, the rocky islands were abeam to starboard.  We were also greeted by the local charter fishing fleet of perhaps a dozen party boats all gathered within a quarter mile of each other.  It must have been a really good spot.  As we neared the gate, more signs of humanity crept into our senses.  Vessels of all types were zipping about, large tankers moving deceptively fast and channel markers with clanging bells introduced us to sounds unheard of for nearly three weeks.   We sailed under the bridge @ 1 PM.  It was a beautiful, sunny day on the bay with lots of people enjoying the conditions.  Being the last day of the AC 45 World Series, there were perhaps more boats out than usual.  Actually, there were tons and tons of boats.  Like Fleet Week on steroids.  In addition, there were multiple helicopters buzzing, seaplanes overhead, ferries and kayakers.  It all bordered on sensory overload.  A big contrast to say the least.


Re-entering is difficult.  The simplicity of life on board does not translate well to modern society.  The pace of things is the most striking. It also hits you pretty quick.  Driving home on the freeway is about 650% faster than we’ve moved during the entire trip.  And all those cars were way too close.

The house also tends to move.  For me, this was most apparent taking a shower.  I was bracing myself as if we were at 20 degrees of heel.  I only occasionally run into walls now.

Top ten highlights:

10) The evening sky.  The cosmos are a never ending source of enjoyment for us.

9) My mid-Pacific dip.

8) Baby wipes.  Don’t leave home without them.

7) Sailmail.  Hearing from friends and family was always a treat and much anticipated.

6) Our friends Sonja and Paul for hosting us before our departure.  They are always accommodating.

5) Food.  We ate well.  When even a simple PB&J sandwich can seem gourmet during a gale, many of our meals were over-the-top.

4) Landfall.  San Francisco bay on a sunny Sunday afternoon has to be one of the prettiest.

3) Bequia.  Our magic carpet.  Tolerant if we were exhausted.  Responsive when on our game.  Solid and reliable always.

2) Skipper Dennis Ronk.  ‘nuff said.

1) My wife Pamela for enduring some pretty crazy adventures over the years and always being up for more.

Smellin’ the barn

August 28th, 2012 Terri Berbena-U'Ren


Bequia has the bit and is charging hard for home.  Over the last few days we’ve experienced our longest run of good boat speed and, more importantly, heading in the proper direction.  Currently @ 0100 hours PDT on Saturday we are 220 NM from SF.  The living conditions aboard have been challenging.  This is mostly due to the sea state but also because skipper has run out of smokes.  I’m unsure if smoke-free is a good thing right now.  As I noted earlier, the motion of the boat is uncomfortable acheter levitra en france.  The seas are running 5 to 8 feet with occasional long-period rollers of 15 feet.  Moving around below, you must be very deliberate.  Your path and hand-hold locations have been etched to memory, but it’s still work.  Sometimes I just sit down for a rest.  Sadly, hanging out in the cockpit to work on my tan is out.  I would probably get wet anyway.

Latest projection for arrival is early Sunday AM.

Off to the races

August 28th, 2012 Terri Berbena-U'Ren

We finally got the wind we were seeking yesterday.  Its as if the wind gods rewarded us for our patience.  I’ve always been taught to be careful what you ask for.  The implied meaning is that you may get too much.  We are well prepared to handle wind, but that doesn’t mean life is a box of chocolates on board.  This particular wind is coming from the direction we’re headed.  That translates to the boat heeling up to 20 degrees and a choppy, uncomfortable motion.  Sailors have an endearing term for this: Bashing.  If you envision your favorite rock band on stage destroying their instruments for your entertainment, you have a good idea.  Its been said gentlemen do not bash to windward.  Obviously spoken by a wise sailor.

Magazine sailing

August 22nd, 2012 Terri Berbena-U'Ren

You know the full page glossies of beautiful boats with beautiful people in beautiful tropical locations.  Everybody all smiles, even the kids.  Well, we’ve had our ‘zine moments on this trip.  We had one the other day in fact.  A decent breeze, good boat speed and a brilliant blue sky led my wife and I on deck to bask in all the goodness.  And yes, we were smiling.  A lovely interlude read here.  Then the wind promptly turned off.

Light air (part 2)

We’re seeing a nearly identical pattern over the last few days in which the wind picks up in the evening around 10 or 11 PM.  It continues throughout the night (at times freshening) then drops in the morning and completely shuts off by noon.  Daytime is marked by scattered clouds, evening by overcast mixed in with more ominous-looking but mostly impotent clouds and rain.  The wind is typically 10-12 kts, so we’re not setting the world on fire.  At this point, we’re just thankful we’re not having to motor too much.

Happy Birthday from the Bequia Crew to Bill

August 20th, 2012 Terri Berbena-U'Ren

The crew of Bequia would like wish Pops a wonderful and happy 94th birthday today!  We would love to hear from him and any other family if they wish to send us a message.

Dark and stormy

August 20th, 2012 Terri Berbena-U'Ren

The last two things my wife says to me before ending her watch are “its wet out there” and “happy anniversary”.  I refrained from a smart alec remark about it being wet.  And no, I didn’t forget.  Earlier in day, overcast skies with little sprinkles (or pissers) kept us alternately opening and closing hatches.  More of an annoyance than anything.  The night was especially dark as the overcast had shut out most of the light from the stars.  However, it was still possible to see dark patches in the sky.  A good thing considering what was next.

With the light wind we’ve experienced the last couple of days, the priority has been to just keep the boat moving.  This leads us to steer the boat to always maintain the wind on the beam.  Sailing this way means you’re not always going in the right direction.  Our heading varies from east (good) to north (less good).  I mention this because our squall wasn’t your tropical, intense, exit left affair that racers seek out.  It was a more extended, gentlemanly, controlled boost that had the boat moving like a freight train for well over an hour.  A few taps on the autopilot was all it took to smooth things out when it got rowdy.  I never did see our speed as I was trying to stay dry under the dodger.  I still got soaked anyway.  Not only was the night dark and stormy, but it was now cold and clammy.

Bad motor scooter

August 20th, 2012 Terri Berbena-U'Ren

Have you ever had a song playing in your head for hours?  Days?  Right now, Sammy Hagar’s tune Bad Motor Scooter (and ride) is in mine.  I’m sure it was wishful thinking.  Motoring for over 30 hours straight does that.  The monotonous drone hour after hour with literally nothing to do is decidedly un-scooter like and definitely not bad.  Its also not healthy.  Your mind has free reign to delve into wild scenarios that, although plausible, are remote.

We needed some horsepower found on this site.  And quick.

While describing to a co-worker what I was doing for my vacation, I was asked in deadpan fashion … why?  At the time, I responded with my typical “because its there” response.  But my free-range mind of late was asking the same thing.  The answer came in the form of a steady breeze from the south.  Wandering minds now become focused.  We tweaked this, ground in that.  The boat came alive along with three giddy sailors.

Lake of the north (Pacific)

August 17th, 2012 Terri Berbena-U'Ren

Bequia is firmly ensconced in the Pacific High.  Zephyrs from horizon to horizon.  It reminds me of a lazy summer afternoon on Folsom Lake.  Only there is more trash floating by.

We’re on the lookout for the elusive Japanese glass fishing float.  I don’t quite understand the fascination with these.  Perhaps skipper is planning a nautical museum for the garage.  Or a shrine to fishing flotsam.  I bet you could find one on e-bay.  No long voyage required.

Shit happens….

August 16th, 2012 Terri Berbena-U'Ren

I’m convinced that the person who came up with the phrase “shit happens” was a sailor, or perhaps a honey truck driver.  Motoring on the darkest night by far in near zero wind, the engine speed unexpectedly goes to idle.  This was accompanied by a increase in vibration.  Throttle back, transmission to neutral.  Throttle up, no RPM, no thrust, lots of vibration.  Check fuel – plenty of gas.  Hmmmmm.

Humans are very adept at detecting even small changes in frequencies. Old sailors, even ones in the deepest REM, snore-filled, hula girl dream sleep are hypersensitive to these things. Skipper is on deck before I can whisper WTF? to myself.  After the requisite smoke, he determined there must be some kind debris caught in the propeller and that I was to investigate in the morning.  Somehow, I don’t think it was fate that this occurred on my watch.  There was plenty of time for me to  envision hours of painstaking 30-second snatches of work under a rolling boat with a sharp knife in my hand.  As soon as I went over the side, it was clear what the problem was.  A portion of fishing net lodged itself on the strut just forward of the propeller.  I tugged a couple of times to no effect.  Returning with a knife, the entire mass just floated free before I could wield any damage.  It turns out the worst part was the anticipation.  The swim itself was quite pleasant and refreshing.

Just another day on Bequia ….

As we are traversing the largest garbage patch in the Pacific, it was inevitable that we encounter some of this up close and personal.

Light air

August 15th, 2012 Terri Berbena-U'Ren

The last few days we’ve experienced lighter than desired wind as we are nearing the edge of the Pacific High.  It’s a windless, ever changing, amorphous blob smack in the middle of where we want to go.  Every return skipper studies the behavior of the High; where it goes, what shape is it and most importantly, how to get around it without going too far out of your way.  It doesn’t garner respect like a gale or a storm.  It’s more likely reviled because it takes your foot off the gas, takes your keys and doesn’t even call a cab.  For us sailors, its death.



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