September 30, 2004

We're on our way!

Just a quick note to let you all know that we left our slip this morning at 1035 AM.

We've been busy over the last couple of days getting all the last minute preparations done, shopping stowed and getting everything ready.

We arrived in Half Moon Bay just after 4 PM this evening after - what was supposed to be a pleasant downwind sail with winds from the North West - turned out to be a slog to windward with southerly winds (from the direction we were headed).

Sometimes I think I need to replace the wind indicator on the mast as it seems to mostly point to the bow ;-}

Tomorrow, off to Monterey!

Regards to all
Bill and Mary

September 25, 2004

We're on board and testing our Radio Email

Hi Everyone!

Mary and I are busily preparing to leave next Thursday the 30th.

Gosh, there's so much to do and so many things to store and still some last minute testing and debugging.

This email post is being sent via ham radio email from a volunteer service "winlink" - see for more information. This and "Sailmail" ( will be our usual means of email when at sea and away from cities with wireless hotspots.

This is also how we send the position reports that you can see on the map on our website.

These emails go out from our onboard computer, to a special "radio modem" - which then modulates the signal on our High Frequency Single Side Band Marine Radio and communicates via radio with a number of fixed radio stations (usually in volunteer's homes) who have a similar setup that includes an Internet connection. When we're far away from land, we have a feature built in to our email program that helps us chose the right radio frequency based on the time of day, our location (from our GPS) and the location of the land station we're trying to reach. This helps us get everything right so we can bounce our radio signal off the Ionosphere to reach the other station.

If you're used to a normal Internet connection, this is "PAINFULLY" slow.... it only runs a net speed of around 2400 bits per second. Just enough for text only email with no attachments.

Fortunately, the servers that we use strip off attachments, so no 25 Meg PowerPoint presentations like I used to email around Cisco ;-}

If you want to contact us, go to our website contact us link: we've encoded our email address so we don't get spammed!

We'll continue to send out updates as we begin our trip... The next should be around the time we leave on Thursday or Friday.

Regards to all!
Bill and Mary

September 7, 2004

Update on our progress

Feel free to share our Blog and Website with any other friends and family members who haven't signed up yet. The Blog address and our Website is at

We just wanted to update you all on our progress.

We're still planning to depart SF Bay on the 29th or 30th of September.

Our current plans our to take our time cruising down the coast visiting spots like Morro Bay and the Channel Islands.

We'll arrive in Marina del Rey sometime the week of October 10th to visit with family and friends in the area and continue to San Diego to spend some time the week of October 17th prior to the start of the Baja-Haha on October 25th.

We went on a short cruise this past holiday weekend with 4 other Valiant sailboats down to Half Moon Bay (about 5 hours down the coast).

All went well with the usual minor things to attend to that any true cruiser must attend to.

Someone once said that cruising is "working on your boat" in exotic locations.

We did have a wonderful time visiting with other sailing buddies and just relaxing.

The biggest problems were 1) no wind - so we had to motor both ways and 2) annoying kelp flies - so we got to try out our hatch screens.

I hope you are all well and had a great labor day weekend!