Anthology of A CENOURA

Hi I am Philip Skinner. A Cenoura is my sailboat and my home. These are things that go on in my life with the most recently-shared event on top.
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10.18.14 & 10.19.2014
It was the weekend of October birthdays for Mia’s family. Mia, her cousin Sydney and I drove up from LA to shell beach on Friday after work and stayed until Sunday. The weekend included some horse visits, a surprise party for Mia’s sister Maeve, a cupcake fight, a silly string fight, and a lot of food. It’s worth mentioning that the horse I sat on is the tallest horse I’ve ever seen - 18 hands they say.

10.11.2014 & 10.12.2014
First trip on A Cenoura to Catalina Island. Although im sure the boat has been there before with the previous owners. We left at 630am Saturday and motored to two harbors. It took about 4.5 hours from leaving the dock until we were securely tied to a mooring. We were sort of beating into the choppy waves and without any wind at all I didn’t raise the main - I thought it would just swing the boom and make a lot of noise, so it was kind of tippy. We got settled in and jumped off into the perfect clear warmish water, swam to my neighbor Connor’s boat about 200 yards away, helped them re-tie their mooring lines and had a beer. Mia and I swam back and relaxed, had lunch and got ready to go on shore for the big Cruisers Weekend dinner and party.

At one point we walked across the isthmus to the Cat Harbor end and this woman asked, “Will you be here a minute, can you hold my dogs while I go grab my fiance from our boat?” We said sure. One of her german shepards squeezed out of his collar I was holding the leash to, and ran down a cliff to the beach and waters edge, I had to chase him down the cliff and the beach. They also barked like crazy and jumped at another dog walking by. The “Golden Dweeb” (named for being a short golden retriever) was the nicest of the three and went with Mia right away. When the couple came back from their boat after 20 minutes they just said “Thanks” and took the dogs back. Comical. Then Mia noticed a Buffalo up on the hill, we could check that off the list for Catalina Island.

Back at the event, people loved the huge salad Mia made as part of the potluck dinner, and there were plenty of dock neighbors around to make us feel right at home as newbies. We were given “Buffalo Milks” which is like a white russian drink - but it “The drink of the island!” so we can check that off the list of Catalina Island things, too. We woke up Sunday after a bumpy and rocky nights sleep and we left in the late morning. We got back in just 3.5 hours going the same engine speed as the way there, the seas were with us and I had the main sail up to keep the boat steadier. Filled up at the fuel dock - 11 gallons used in one entire year (awesome) and then my engine wouldn’t start. It could’ve been flooded or had a vapor lock but for about 10 minutes we waited at the dock trying after I fiddled with batteries and random things, until I called for a tow through my BoatUS insurance. “$300” the man said on the phone, to be towed about 100 yards from the fuel dock to my dock, and put me on hold to contact a boat. Just then, really not wanting to spend $300 for something I could probably do under sail without the motor (although it’s risky) I tried the engine again and it fired right up. I hung up the phone on the BoatUS guy who still had me on hold.

I can see why everyone loves Catalina so much and I hope to make more frequent trips there. It used about 8 gallons of fuel to motor there and back, and if planned well around weather and sea conditions I could see it being a really easy getaway.

The autopilot is a huge help for long trips, especially in spots without a visible heading, although on Sunday the autopilot had a tough time working and kept beeping that it was giving up. So I’d steer with (with my feet, comfortably laying back) for 5 minutes and then try the autopilot again. Which would give up about every 10-15 minutes. 

It got foggy, when we anchored the wind was pushing us too close for comfort towards another boat, in an emergency fashion we straightened out the boat and threw out the stern anchor. I went to work on trying to eliminate the loose steering wheel. Lifting open a cover in the lazarette revealed the chain/wire pulley system that rotates the rudder. Found out I need more serious tools than I own to really fix it and the previous owner has it tuned very one-sided but functional. All the steering components look to be in great shape. Maybe a project for another day. That work space is one of the more uncomfortable ones in the boat.
The sun came back out and we hung around until almost dark.

The same person who had used my boat for shooting video for an Alzhiemers documentary came out again, this time with his wife and their young boy. The idea was to grab shots of the family sailing the boat, carrying on the tradition. It sounded to me that it was going to roll during the credits. It was short and easy, at first we motored out to the ocean and only had the mainsail up, but without a lot of wind the boat more or less bobbed there. We turned around and I opened up the jib and A CENOURA came alive, for about 4 minutes, then we dropped the sails and motored back in. A quick way to make a few bucks, and the group was super polite and cooperative. Even though the boy pooped his pants.

9.27.2014 & 9.28.2014
Mia’s friend, Laura, and her boyfriend Sean were in town from the San Fran Bay Area and we had a huge brunch on Saturday in Santa Monica. I was full and in food coma mode but went and test drove my realistic-dream-car. Or a version of it because what I want is a rare combination. On Sunday Laura and Sean stopped by the boat and brought us bagels. As a thank you I took them on a harbor cruise, also because the sun was too hot for us to sit at the dock. They left, Mia and I grabbed dinner supplies and went to anchor. It was blowing about 20+ mph winds from the south, which was new for us on the anchoring spot, but we managed without any problems. The wind ticked around from the north and calmed down in time for us to have an awesome dinner that Mia made all in the boat on anchor. It was Thai noodles and grilled veggies and things. Then we motored back to the dock as it got dark.

What do you do when you finally make it back to the United States after a hurricane leaves you stranded for days in Mexico? You do laundry. And you go bowling. Some clothes were still clean, but needed some febreeze spray and fresh ocean air, so we hung them.

Alaska airlines cancelled all flights due to weather, and the airport was closed and probably will be for a month or more. They wouldn’t refund my ticket because it was booked through a travel website. Alaska airlines customer service agents are awful. It felt like I was talking to someone at the DMV, which sets the bar for caring the absolute least for customers.
The travel website won’t refund my ticket until reviewing an email I send them, verifying with Alaska airlines that the flight couldn’t take place, and the upon approval, waiting 40 days to refund me a portion they see appropriate. That sucks, but at least the rep I spoke to was understanding and mildly polite.

This wasn’t the big-screen USA hero-rescue that I thought would take place when there are 26,000 stranded Americans just a 2 hours flight from Southern California.

9.15.14 to 9.19.14
Monday through the whole week until we arrived in LAX was a combination of hopeful highs and terrible, deflating lows. The general manager of the resort did his best to keep all of the 700ish guests informed, however each meeting brought bad news or good news that fell through. Every plan had it’s hitches. Every day was spent sitting around worrying if we will survive, or be rescued, or be robbed, or whatever else awful things I could imagine.
The only designated safe areas we were contained to was the cement built loading dock, which is where meals were served, and a 2 story parking garage without windows beyond the first 50 yards. We thought we made out lucky when we put out patio chairs - “beds” - in that area. That’s until a chemical spill or leak in the garage burned everyone’s throat and eyes, so we were herded into the driveway outside. With a glass half full attitude, i could look forward to sleeping under the stars, made even brighter by the lack of electricity polluting my sky anywhere within hundreds of miles. A glass half empty attitude meant that I stayed up all night feeling the bugs land and crawl on me, worrying about how far our food and water resources could stretch, concerned for the well being of my mom, my girlfriend, Karen and our small group we formed with a few others. Anyways, it’s basically a blur of little sleep and stressful boring daylight hours with a few events that probably aren’t worth repeating so they can hopefully be forgotten in my own mind.

4 days went by, and after seeing the worst brought out in humanity after previously feeling somewhat united with the other stranded guests, we were taken to the airport in shuttles. High spirits on the way, while feeling as if we escaped, we could see all they devastation among the outside world. Reminiscent of imagines of destroyed buildings from tornados, or tsunamis, or earthquakes all look the same as this hurricanes wake. Just rubble, and panic.

Arriving at the airport there was a distinct line for domestic traveling Mexicans and then one for Americans eager to get out. We spent 6 hours in the sun and wind, shuffling forward in a line that moved each time a plane landed. By sunset, much fewer planes were around, and a US consulate worker informed us that the last free one-way-trip plane has left. Now the US was going to charter a couple more commercial sized planes and we could be passengers bound for Dallas Texas if we sign a promissory note to pay the US back $600 each.

We had not other alternative. There’s no shelter in a destroyed, closed airport, and no transportation to take anyone back to a hotel that told them they cannot return.

On the Tarmac, being metal-detected, we found out that the flight plan changed and it’s landing in Los Angeles instead. Finally, the best news I heard on 5 days.

One news article said that the days following the hurricane in cabo was like witnessing the end of the world. I couldn’t have said it better myself, and I was confined to a busted down resort. It’s been a week now, and finally people in the US have seen enough damage and heard enough outcry to make the political moves to send aid. However not the government, it’s basically environmental, humanitarian, and surf-industry-based groups.

Hurricane Odile was incorrectly forecasted to brush past cabo. All of the resort staff told us not to worry, meanwhile we received bulletins under the room doors thst escalated the severity every few hours beginning Saturday night. The hurricane hit cabo San lucas like a bullseye and as the eye diminished, the winds and rain parked over the baja peninsula, about 4 - 5 times the entire width of land.
We had originally been put with a group of 12 and placed in an emergency stairway corridor. As night fell and the front smashed into us, it was clear that we were no longer safe.
After a few hours of missing Karen, who was hiding in a bathroom for safety with another group caught off guard by shattering glass, we all reunited around midnight in a giant ballroom.
The next morning the general manager was giving a speech on safety procedures when the ballrooms leak, rain soaked steel struts and decorative ceiling began to collapse. I got the hell out to the only exit I could find, a cement loading dock. The resort was and still is a disaster zone.

Cabo fun

Went to cabo to hang out with my mom and her friend Karen. Landed Friday and spent a day and a half doing the cabo stuff… Pool, beach, sun, fun.
Then a hurricane hit.

My dad’s boat was filmed by a news helicopter because a grey whale was in the marina.

Sunday 9.14.2014
On a fun vacation in cabo San lucas with my mom, her friend Karen, and Mia. Friday and Saturday were great, and a looming category 4 hurricane “Odile” is set to hit tonight. Currently I’m sitting in a huge conference/ballroom listening to the general manager of the resort tell us about how the lockdown is going to go down.

Saturday 9.6.14
Broke some things, fixed some things, had to drill through fiberglass and make a couple trips to the hardware store. All before sailing up to marina del rey that day.

Saturday 9.6.14
Sailed to marina del rey rather quickly once we motored out past the harbor and in front of hermosa. Got back in time to sit out on my dad’s boat for a drink in the sun. The following day my college buddy, Dante and his girlfriend Jenna, met up with us and we left marina del rey and sailed back to redondo. The weather and wind was pretty perfect, unfortunately they had a serious struggle out of a hangover earned the night before at an old college friends wedding.