So we did it! We left the dock and headed south. It was a bit emotional for both Kelsey and I finally getting underway leaving my dog Osita with my mother and saying goodbye to all our family and friends…
(To see the video / time lapse - https://youtu.be/9folullSQq0 )
Just after a short way of getting under way it feels like a huge weight has been lifted.
We had light winds. We mostly motor sailed the whole way down, dodging fishing nets around the Coronado Islands and keeping way from the shipping containers. We have been doing a lot of work on the boat before leaving and for some reason the radar was not receiving data. Steve spent most of the day trouble shooting the problem, turns out there was a loose wire behind the control panel, and now its back up and working again. We pulled into our slip at Baja Naval just as the sun was setting and just in time for the new water fountain light show.
The following day we had the boat hauled out bright and early. If you've never seen a boat get hauled out of the water it is quite a site. Huge machine with massive straps lifts the boat out of the water and over the sidewalk. It is then put onto stilts and blocks of wood to keep it stable.
We have been working on everything we can while the boat is out of the water. We cleaned all the through holes, polished the the prop, doing some electrical, and the final touches on the inside of the boat. There is always something to be done, and both Kelsey and I are learning a ton about pluming and electrical. Thanks to the good old fashion youtube lesson I have taught myself how to whip lines and have been spending the evenings watching the fountain and finishing up out reefing lines.
The Mexican government is putting a lot of nice touches into the city of Ensenada and we are enjoying getting to know the city and its people. Kelsey and I both struggle with our Spanish but Steve is fluent and it’s fun to watch his interactions with the locals. Everyone is we meet is friendly and always so helpful with directions and where we might find the stores we are looking for.
Every day we take the time to watch the local kids play in the fountain. They are always fully dressed all the way down to their shoes smiling and laughing running threw the fountain without a care in the world. The fountain is a huge deal to the people here and you can see how much happiness it brings everyone. We can see the show from the bow of our boat since the fountain is right next door to the boat yard we are staying in.
The boat is currently on stilts on dry land and we are still living on board! Its a lot like living in a tree house which of course I love. Climbing the 15+ft later everyday to get in and out of the boat is fun. Our bosons chair in the very bow of the boat hangs over the fence and above the boardwalk. Its fun to watch the people walk by and see there surprised faces as they notice you sitting so high above the ground.
We will continue working on the boat and finishing the last few things. There is a bit of weather that is supposed to dissipate before it gets to our intended route. If the weather stays as it is, and the boat work gets done on time - we should be back in the water and back on our way Saturday July 9th. We will be sailing 2,200 nautical miles to Hawaii. Just a whole lot of blue water between here and there. Oh, and look its still blue...
There is a race called the Pacific Cup it leaves from LA I believe on the 11th … so thankfully we won’t be alone out there. We will also be able to talk to the cup about weather and any other advice as we may need.
Fair winds and following seas,
Captain - Steve Harris
About 7 years ago Steve read the book "2 Years Before the Mast," and ever since has wanted to be a “cruiser” (familys that live on sailboats and wander around the world). He started out by taking ASA sailing classes till he completed all the courses. Then he bought his first boat Solace. She is a 42ft Baltic sea worthy South African , ocean going racing boat. While still working as a engineer for Qualcomm, he would take multiple weeks off to sail around California.
One time Kelsey got too sick and had to fly home half way threw the trip so Steve single handedly sailed south from San Fransisco. Steve has done multiple long range trips with his daughter Kelsey, and I. Steve is a smart and capable sailor and he even completed one of his life goals in completing his Captains Licence in October of 2015. Now after retiring from Qualcom after over 19 years of working there, he has retired. Steve can fix just about anything, and he sure has been putting in work on Solace, making her as ready as she’ll ever be to sail around the world!
Cook -Kelsey Harris
Kelsey is Steve’s one and only child. Kelsey’s mother died when she was 6 years old from an abnormal circulatory disease. Steve and Kelsey make a great team because of this. Both of them are very neat and organized. Steve takes care of the numbers and fixes just about everything. While Kelsey cooks and cleans yes, but she is very good at minimizing waste which is so important on a boat! Kelsey also knows a good deal about natural healing and diet.
Kelsey was born and raised in San Diego. Grew up surfing in the Australian surf academy, and competed her whole childhood. Needless to say she is a water child to say the least. One of my favorite things about her is to watch her body surf. She always seems to the happiest when she’s floating in the water like one of the sea’s creatures with this little grin across her face. Kelsey loves to fish as well, her best guy friends growing up are all now work on long range sport fishing boats (Jack and Nick on the Intrepid). The last year or so the two of us have been learning to spear fish and dive as well. She is way better at me at it and its impressive how fast she has been picking it up.
Me- Kim Kirch
Well now, how does this Kirch girl fit into the Harris family situation…. Kelsey is my girl friend and or partner in crime- which ever you prefer. We started dating two years ago, and have been inseparable ever since. Funny tho, Kelsey and I originally met in high school and have traveled to many of the same destinations around the world and have pictures us each of us looking at the same view…Kinda crazy that our paths didn't intertwine till well two years ago.
I was born and raised in San Diego California. I am the middle child and have two brothers: Kyle and Kevin. My awesome mother Shelley raised us on her own. I was a problem child till I was… Well …they still might consider me a problem child. But anyway I stopped getting in trouble so much after I was 21 and learned a thing or two. I won a junior world championship for wake boarding when I was 18, Dropped out of flight school when I was 22, and have held a USCG Captains License sense 2010, I am 24 now. (March, 2016)
I learned to sail when I was 22. I loved the Idea of sailing but I didn’t know anyone who had a boat or sailed. So I applied for a job working as a Crew // Captain for a sailing tour company out of San Diego Harbor. Naturally with my captains license and my spunky attitude I was hired right on the spot. I can still remember my fist day being like “heave the what?” I was way over my head for the first couple of weeks, but thanks to all the guys I worked with - I learned fast and have been in love with sailing ever since.
Solace is a Doug Peterson designed cruiser-racer. She was ‘detuned’ from full racing spec and fitted out to take on the oceans of the world in the greatest comfort, with good performance. Her 8ft draught can be restrictive in some areas.(shallow reefs)
Below decks there is an owner’s suite aft (Captain Steve) and guest or crew accommodation forward (Kelsey and Kim). In-between is a huge saloon with a great galley and ocean-going chart table.
Displacement: 18,400 lb
LWL: 34ft 6in
Beam: 13ft 4in