Standing over the port primary winch, I grind hard and watch our big white Code Zero fill with breeze. Accordingly, our crew can feel Yahtzee start to rocket forward and our boatspeed quickly jumps to nearly 8 knots. Though it feels like it, we’re not racing other boats, rather the sunset as we sail south towards San Diego. Running smoothly at a full gallop now, my dad, Jill and I sit back to enjoy the ride while the boys bounce back and forth between the cockpit and down below. It is yet another dream sequence in an increasingly long list of them.

Riding the Code Zero south to San Diego.

After a stunning summer in Alaska, Jill and I had some trepidation about what cruising the coast of California would bring. With more people and boats than we’re used to, more hustle and bustle, would we enjoy it? Umm…yes. Sometimes I feel as though we’re living in a dream world that gets punctuated by the day-to-day facts of life that include homeschooling and work, and the inevitable parts of being a nomad like finding laundry, showers and groceries ashore. Fortunately, after so many years of cruising under our belts, we know the routine well and are exceedingly comfortable with the flow.

Much of what we enjoyed about our time in San Francisco Bay has carried on as we’ve sailed south. Sunny warm weather is pervasive. Beach town vibes are easy to meld into. Finding fresh, delicious food is a real treat. Linking up with old friends brings a lot of laughter and reminiscing. And connecting with other sailors and cruising families in Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Pedro, Newport Beach and here in San Diego is incredibly rewarding.

From the boys, we’re seeing an equally enthusiastic response in our changes of latitude. They’re reveling in the typical lower latitude cruising routine of waking with the sun, playing all day in it, and falling contentedly asleep shortly after it sets. We are too.

But what’s been particularly rewarding for them is meeting and playing with new friends from other boats. We’ve experienced this a little bit in our travels through the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, but it’s different here. Instead of meeting weekend or summer-time vacation cruisers, we’re sailing with full-time cruising families heading in the same direction, south to Mexico. Because of this, we’re able to hook up time and again at marinas, anchorages and on beaches. And we’re continually in awe of how quickly boat kids connect and then hang out like they’ve known each other for years. Age doesn’t seem to matter when they’re not constrained, arranged or assessed by the standards of grade levels, organized sports or the societal norms of cliques. They’re just kids being kids.

As I type this, we’re days away from shoving off to continue the voyage south. With us, we’ll carry fond memories of California firmly etched in our minds. Happily, we’ve enjoyed it far more than we thought we would. And now, it’s on to Mexico…

Sailing south from San Francisco.
Yahtzee anchored under a bright sun in Half Moon Bay.

Wednesday night sailing races in Santa Cruz.
The family minivan loaded with skateboard, scooter, wagon and more.
Downwind to Monterey.
Practicing their busking skills to fill the cruising kitty.
Greeted by seals during sunset on an overnight passage to Santa Barbara.

So many dolphins once we passed Point Conception.

Put to work on Maiden.
Football on the beach with the boys from SV Descanso.
Watching sailing races from the deck of the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.
Surfing with buddies from SV SUR.
Of course we’ve had to do a boat project here and there.
Skateboarding with the boys and friends back to Yahtzee and SUR in Santa Barbara.
My dad joined us from Santa Barbara to San Diego.
Watching surfers at Ventura Beach, one of our favorite stops.
Reading time while sailing.
Hanging out in San Pedro (LA Harbor) with our new buddy Steve, owner of VIVA, Grand Soleil 39 hull number one.
Yahtzee shined up and nestled in at the beautiful Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club in San Pedro.
Balance practice in Newport Beach Harbor.
Ready for a night on the town!
Story time with Papa.
Newport Beach Harbor from the ferris wheel.

Happy hour at the beach.
Trick ‘or’ Treating on Coronado Island.
Sunsets are incredible every night.

Seward to San Diego in 5 months and over 3,000 miles.

6 Replies to “California Dreaming…”

  1. Take your time and enjoy the sail to Cabo. So many remote locations to stop unlike any others you’ll find once in Mexico.

  2. Wonderful!, as usual. Love following along on your adventure.

    I’m spending my last winter in someone else’s cabin, here on Decatur Island. Next winter will be the first spent in my own! Other than that, life is just as you left it four years ago here.

    Miss you guys! But not too much, because I know you’re out there having a great life.

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