Well the day started early for us 0330 (3:30am). It is a 90.44 nautical mile trip taking at least 14 hours if everything goes as planed, it didn’t. We are leaving early so when we get to San Simeon it will be before 2000 (8:00pm) which is sunset. We didn’t want to go into an unfamiliar anchorage in the dark.

The morning started with having to get out of bed. Neither one of us do well at that. Then I went up to the harbor master’s office to pay the bill. Luckily the sea lions were still staying away. After getting back to FatDash we prepared to get under way. I copied the route to the SIMM card and loaded it into the Garmin chart plotter at the helm. I hit the import button and it says all routes loaded some were truncated. I look at the route we are to take and the route is listed but it goes nowhere. I try again and same thing happens. I take all the other routes off the card and try again. Success except that the route we followed in is gone. Oh well we know the way out of the harbor.

I rig a spring line to the aft cleat and around the dock post so I can pull the aft end of the boat around as Lisa backs out of the slip. This almost worked except Lisa didn’t back far enough and when she went forward she couldn’t clear the dock. Oh well back up some more and hard to port and ahead slow. That’s when Lisa asks “which way do I turn to go out?” I had deleted the way out of our slip so she couldn’t follow the line. Not a problem I tell her just turn right, I should have said starboard, at the end of the boats. Well at the end of the boats she turns left. Deeper into the harbor we go. Lisa panics so I take the helm. Forward, back, forward, back, forward and we are turned around and on our way. I forgot that she always mixes up left and right, never that problem with port and starboard.

But we are on our way, the night is clear and the water is calm. We head out past the city lights and are on our way.


We watch the sun rise in the east and the big fog bank way out to sea where we aren’t going. We will be traveling about 3 miles off the coast. We see fishing vessels doing what they do. We pass another sailboat headed someplace the water is flat with 2-3 foot swells every 18 seconds. The only problem is the steering is really hard and it seems that every we steer one direction happens then all at once it over steers. I go back to the new self steering rudder that we just had installed and there are 2 lines attached to either side of it to hold it straight. Well one of them had slipped. They supplied nylon lines and they have a tendency to slip any knot I use. I retied the line and FatDash was her old self.

Now we have been traveling about 5 hours and everything has been looking good. Every hour I go down and check on the engine. I use a laser thermometer to check the temperature of the cooling system and the engine cylinders. This time I open the engine room door and there is cooling fluid everywhere. “Shut the engine off!” I yell. I check the engine temperature and everything is normal. In fact if anything the engine is running cool. I have Lisa restart the engine and I check again. Everything looks normal except that the coolant was now completely filling the reservoir. We talk it over and decide that I would monitor the engine and we would continue on our way. I started with every 15 minutes then increased this to 20 then 30 minutes. Everything seemed ok. I still have no idea why this happened. There is nothing in the coolant and the coolant isn’t in the oil or raw water. This will need looking at when we get someplace there is a Perkins mechanic.

Well we are back on our way and even though there is no wind we are making good time.


I took a nap, Lisa rested and generally it was good. We had a pod of porpoise tagging the bow of FatDash. Saw whales spouting all along the coast. Otherwise we just motored and I checked the engine every 30 minutes.

About 3 hours from San Simeon I was feeling good about most things when all of a sudden the engine just stopped. It didn’t sound like it had seized but more like it had no fuel. I checked the temperature and everything still looked good. I just didn’t know why it had stopped.

Ok we are on a sail boat. Time to raise the sails and get FatDash moving so the swells quit throwing us around. We got the jib out and yea we are doing 4 knots. Raise the mizzen and we are now doing 5 knots. Considering this was downwind and I was going to go back down and work on the engine we didn’t want to raise the main for fear of a accidental jibe. Lisa had the helm under control so I went below.

Well maybe I had air in the lines so I started bleeding the lines having Lisa turn over the engine. Didn’t work. Then I thought maybe the other problem is connected and for some reason we had used too much fuel and the tank was empty. I switched tanks and tried starting again. It ran for a minute then quit.

Well time to get ahold of Sea Tow, like AAA for boats. I have unlimited towing from US Boat. Guess what, unlimited towing is limited. False advertising. They will send out a tow boat from Santa Cruz which will take them 8 hours to get to us where we currently are but we are moving away from them. They said that it would cost about $6000. and they would pay the first $2500 but we would be responsible for the rest. We decided that we would sail into the San Simeon anchorage and anchor under sail. The US Boat dispatcher said that he would connect me with the coast guard if I wanted and I accepted that.

I talked to the petty officer at the Coast Guard and explained our situation. He asked if we wanted rescue or are we just informing them of the problem in case we needed rescue later. I said we are just informing them and he said they would keep track of us.

Well the last time I used the auxiliary tank I had problems. It got me thinking maybe there is still a problem with the fuel in the auxiliary. I also wanted to know how much fuel was in the main tank. To measure the fuel I have a brass rod that I stick into the tank and measure the depth of the fuel. I measured and found I had 1¼ inches which is 2½ gallons. We have 10 gallons on board for emergencies. I loaded the 10 gallons into the main tank and measured again. Now I had 6¼ inches or 12½ gallons. I wondered if the last 2½ gallons can’t be used. Lisa tried starting the engine again. Yea it’s running. We motor sailed the rest of the way to San Simeon anchorage and found a nice spot in 25 feet of water with a sand bottom. I dropped the Mantus anchor and boom we are locked tight to the bottom. We really love our anchor, set and forget. Well not really I mark the position where I drop the anchor in a program called “Drag Queen”. If FatDash moves more that 100 feet away from the anchor an alarm goes off.

It was just barely sunset and the anchorage was calm. There was one other boat in the anchorage but they were way out. After getting the anchor set and monitoring it for a hour or so Lisa broke down and all I wanted to do was relax. We have a good bottle of wine on board and some fresh bread rolls and we just sat there and congratulated ourselves on a job well done. Tomorrow we will try to figure out what we are going to do.