Ship Logs

The transofrmation has begun! While the name on the back still says "Sleepy II", (though that will change very soon), Cal 2-29 #744 has officially become 'Loophole' at heart. From grandpa's weekend condo to performance racer/ cruiser, I have converted the boat from wheel to tiller steering, assembled an inventory of sails and have pulled the mast and fully re-rigged the boat to reflect her new ambitions. With any luck, I will sail my house in her first beer can race this week in Oakland and possibly do a 27-mile in-the-Bay race with a few friends next week. After anoter re-fit in September, the boat should be fully ready for our first big adventure: cruising Southern California and the Channel Islands for the winter and chasing surf. 

First off, I have spent way more at this point than I initially planned. Having said that, I have ended up doing a lot more than I originally planned on and feel that all of the money was well spent, so i'm generally pretty stoked. Just very broke. When I entered this re-rig, I wanted to achieve a few major things: get rid of the stock wooden spreaders, install all new standing rigging, internalize my halyards, and generally bring the rig up to date (new VHF antenna, tri-color light, etc). In typical me fashion, I didn't really come up with a super thorough game plan, I just pulled the rig out of the boat and tackled things one by one until I felt it was ready to step. Having dismasted boats is a pain in the ass and having a mast or a boat in a boat yard is equally a pain in the ass, so time was of the essence.

'Loophole' dismasted. My Cal 2-29 dismasting was much smoother than my Cal 2-27 dismasting :)

Step 1: Chop the top of the rig off with a large and powerful saw. No, seriously.

 When I went into this project, one of my main goals was to make the halyards run internal in the mast. My mast was the ultra-stock shitty cruising version which was equipped with just two wire-to-rope external halyards


Cal 2-29 #744 'Loophole', (ex-Sleepy II) sailing in Alaemda, CA April 2015.

It's been six weeks since i've been home, and five weeks since i've written in the blog... Geez, has it really been that long? What can I say, time flies when you're having fun! San Francisco sailing is truly world class and I am beyond thrilled to be back here for a while. I've been sailing a lot, racing a lot, working on some other boats and generally getting back into the scene, while 'Loophole' has begun it's transformation from 1970's weekend condo to bluewater cruiser and possibly ocean racer. I'm still transitioning back to life after my journey across the Pacific on 'MONGO' and getting re-established in California, yet I am already getting itchy feet as I live on, and love, my cool little Cal 2-29 'Loophole'. 

Birds of a feather.... 'Loophole' and the turbo Volvo 70 'Maserati' rafted up together in Oakland before 'Maserati' goes out to smash the SF - Shanghai record. Thanks to 'Timo' for the hospitality and boat tour!

In between idyllic day sails in the Alameda estuary, cocktail parties and entertaining friends on board and beginning a re-fit, I have found myself perving on Google Maps at night and planning a journey. It's my nature, and part of the reason I live on sailboats. The route looks something like a gentleman's run at the 2016 Singlehanded Transpac and then quick cruise to Asia and back or a longer cruise to Mexico, central America, then French Polynesia, South Pacific, New Zealand and onto Asia and back. Or Mexico, Central America, Panama Canal, Carribbean, East Coast and over to Europe. I digress.... While my brain, empowered by ownership of another fine Lapworth-designed sloop, has begun to conjure up vivid dreams of knocking out tradewind miles to distant lands, I have become a bit more focused in my goal to do this year's Baja Ha-Ha.


As soon as one chapter closes, another one opens.... Truly the end of an era, but my beloved s/v MONGO has been sold in Opua, New Zealand and I have flown back to California and purchased the Cal 2-29 "Sleepy II", which is to be renamed. Total transition time? 2 weeks from final sale of MONGO in Opua to signing of papers on Sleepy II in Alameda. Had a killer four months in New Zealand, but ultra-stoked to be back in the Bay and pursuing all that life has to offer on the left coast. Stay tuned, a lot more to come as I prepare this Cal for it's first journey to Mexico this fall and update the blog with more from my time in New Zealand, the Moth Worlds in Australia in January and upcoming adventures including this summer's "TransAtlantic Race", another Hawaii return delivery, September's Big Boat Series and probably the Baja Ha-Ha in October. Much more soon.

The new whip - Another fine Bill Lapworth-design built by Cal Yachts. 1975 Cal 2-29 "Sleepy II", lying Alameda, CA. Lovingly owned by the same couple since she was nearly new, Sleepy II has spent most of her life under a full cover, only seeing the light of day on weekend sails. As a result, she looks almost like new inside and out and runs like new with her low-hour Universal 3-cylinder diesel. Once again, California provides and i've scooped up another clean small cruising boat well capable of going places. This little boat has absolutely no idea what is about to happen to it...


The original plan was to sail MONGO to Australia and sell up before returning home to California. Australia ended up being New Zealand, and for the time being, it has become home as well. It took me a long time to get here and now that i'm here i'm in no rush to leave, especailly as we're coming into summer down under. California still lays on the horizon for me, but I have everything that I need in Opua, New Zealand and plan to explore that for a while; with Rebekah, through part-time work, sailing on MONGO and with new Kiwi friends. Home is the sailor.

I have settled right into feeling at home here in Opua, New Zealand. I've found part-time work, am loving cruising New Zealand, have company on MONGO and am happy to explore a daily life in Opua for a while. Picture is of MONGO anchored at Urupukapuka Island, Bay of Islands.


This is how much of the passage to New Zealand looked. Deeply-reefed sailing upwind on port tack in 20-25 knots. There are truly no free sailboat rides to New Zealand, but the little boat straight rocked it out. Long live Bill Lapworth, the famed Cal Yachts designer.

I've written in these pages about many "changes in plans" before and i'm sure I will do so again... As you can tell from my last blog entry to this blog entry, there has been a big change in my crusing and voyaging plans. Namely sailing MONGO to New Zealand instead of Australia. And for that, I will say 'mission accomplished'!!! This was by far the most challenging and daunting passage and test that MONGO has ever under taken and without a doubt the sweetest feeling upon completion.

It all started the moment I got to Fiji. Pretty much everyone that I met was headed to New Zealand and when I told them that I was headed to Australia, I would oftentimes get the question "why?". I would expain my motives; good market to sell the boat, great place to cruise, surfing, doing the Sydney to Hobart, etc. The more I talked to other cruisers (many of whom have 'been there, done that'), the more that I learned and began to change opinions and beliefs on the matter. It turns out that New Zealand is arguably as good a place to sell the boat, it is 100 times better of a cruising destination (at least compared to the east coast of Australia where I would have taken MONGO...) and the surf is as good or better and imminently less crowded. With no good Sydney to Hobart ride sorted out (I turned down a couple of potential offers on slow shitters), the motivation to head to Sydney was waning. As I continud hearing and reading horror stories about the Aussie bureaucracy and making friends in Fiji that were all headed to New Zealand, I became a bit upset that I was headed to Australia, even though I had a great time there last year and I love the country.

Cruising friends upon arrival in Opua. They had all made the crossing to NZ at the same time as I did. L to R: Tony and Steve (Knot Tide Down), me (MONGO), Joe and Heidi (s/v Huck) and Debbie (Buena Vista). Great to arrive to friendly familiar faces after a challenging crossing and swp stories!

The final nail in the coffin came on the day before I cleared out of Fiji. After sending my pre-notice of arrival to Australia, I received two very dickish (at least in my interpretation) emails with a lot of bold-print, underlined words such as you' MUST NOT' do this and you 'MUST' do that, followed by a table of fees, potential fees and other expenses that could have, at the whim of a single customs agent, literally bankrupted me.


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