Expedition Around North America
Log Book
Leg 10 :
Vancouver (Canada) - San Francisco (United States)
(31 October - 9 November, 2008 )
 Around North America Homepage
The Leader's note
Around North America Expedition
Southern Star, centerpiece of the expedition Around North America
The team
Around North America Expedition
Around North America, Photo Gallery
Around North America, Photo Gallery

Follow "Southern Star" from day to day  

Leg 11
Vancouver (Canada) - San Francisco (USA)
(31 October - 9 November, 2008 )

November 9th 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 8)
Saint Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco, California.
23h20 local

The forecast is being confirmed. The calm is here, it is the price to pay to get through the high. We are alone, enclosed in a thick fog. There is a good atmosphere on board. A pelican is passing by our reduced field of vision, shortly followed by some Dall porpoises and humpback whales. The area is definitely crowded as we cannot see further than ½ mile (900 meters). We are navigating at a distance of fifteen miles from the coast, on the way up to the continental shelf. Those zones are generally rich with animal life as the plankton is present in quantities. Finally, Sunday morning, the northern wind is rising and our vision is extended. We are now on the south slope of the high. We are again progressing at a good pace and must even sensibly reduce our speed are we are awaited for at precisely 2 PM under the Golden Gate. On the beacon that marks the south of Duxbury Point, some seals are relaxing and watching us passing by without a complaint. The sea is heavy and is breaking its waves on “Potatoshoal”. We are approaching the bay via “Bonita Channel”. After passing “Bonita Point”, the Golden Gate makes its majestic appearance. We are entering the bay of San Francisco in a down wind. Some boats have come to welcome us. A foghorn is sounding as we are passing the Golden Gate. In our bow, the island of Alcatraz is serving as a guide before we turn South to enter the San Francis Yacht Club that is going to be our host during our stay in San Francisco.

After 10591 miles navigated since Tromso, this makes an end to the 11th leg of the expedition;

The crew members who participated to this leg are:

On the top, from left to right: :Frédérique Wellner (France)
Monica Larizza (Italy), The little child Giulio Ceresoli (franco-Italian), Laurent Ceresoli (France), Marie Rose Lefevre,(France), Jacqueline Pellet (France), Vincent Berthet (France)

On the bottom, from left to right: :Olivier Pitras (France), Vonne blanchet (France), Alan Peyaud (France), Pascal Guillot (France

Crew Vancouver - San Francisco - Diana Conan

Crew Vancouver - San Francisco
Photo Diana Conan
(Cliquez pour agrandir)
November 7th 2008 (Onboard time = UTC - 7)
North Pacific, 39°15’N – 124°31’W
23h55 local

We are entering the middle of a high. The night is splendid, the sea beautiful, the wind low, everything is quiet and peaceful. At dawn, far in the East, at 50 nautical miles (92 kilometers) we are starting to distinguish the coast. The deep and warm colors of the rising sun quickly fill in the sky. It is bound to be a beautiful day, calm, but nice. We will have to slightly reduce our objectives in terms of navigation, but as we are not delayed, everything is in order. This weather precisely matches the passage of the 40th parallel. As the day goes by, everyone goes back to find a pair of shorts in their luggage, and comes back to the deck lightly dressed. This is the first time it happens since the start of the expedition. The thermometer indicates 16°C, but it is warmer under the sun.
The day goes by like that, without any major events. The whole crew enjoys the weather. 36 hours ago, we were hoving, so the contrast enables us to enjoy the weather even better. We are going to be very busy with all the events planned in San Francisco. With this nice weather, we are working on the logistic aspects of the next stops.

Lever du jour - Pascal Guillot

Sun rise
Photo Pascal Guillot
(Cliquez pour agrandir)
November 6th 2008, (onboard time = UTC - 7)
North Pacific, 40°29’N – 125°57’W
23h10 local

Hoving for two hours was enough to get rid of this violent warm front. We keep going southward. Everything is gray. At noon, the whole crew have a toast and celebrate the election of Obama. Hours after hours, the sea gets calmer and we sail comfortably with a good deal of speed toward San Francisco. It rains, a dense layer of low clouds isolates us from the rest of the universe. The night is dark like ink. The Golden Gate is 230 nautical miles away now. In the East, Cape Mendocino, marks the point where the coast bends to the South-East. In the evening, the sky clears up, we can enjoy the moon which is already high. The crewmember on the wheel can steer guided by stars .

Giulio - Vincent Berthet

Photo Vincent Berthet
(Cliquez pour agrandir)
November 5th 2008, (onboard time = UTC - 7)
North Pacific , 43°22’N – 128°W
10h30 local

This miraculous north-westerly wind is holding on until Tuesday evening. We are sailing fast and quite comfortably towards the promising south – still keeping a safety zone from the shore. The showers and gusts are still pretty strong so we are voluntarily keeping a smaller sail combination in order to go through it without too much hassle.
Looks like we are alone on this planet, not much light, no ships, no signs of life apart from a few albatross taking us out of our isolation. During the night the wind turns south announcing the next heavy winds. Our heading is south-westerly, waiting for the storm to pass. This should not be too long. After these maneuvers having a glance at our onboard emails we find out that Obama is in a good position to get to the White House which brings some joy to the entire crew. Even though nothing is confirmed we should be celebrating in a few days in San Francisco. As soon as the wind turns in our favour we will be sailing fast towards our destination.

Navigation de nuit - Vincent Berthet

Sailing at night
Photo Vincent Berthet
(Cliquez pour agrandir)
November 3rd 2008, (onboard time = UTC - 7)
North Pacific , 46°36’N – 126°54’W
19h20 local

The way out of the Juan de Fuca strait is coinciding with dawn. The wind is southern, the sea heavy and above all confused. A succession of swells are disturbing the sea and are shaking us uncomfortably. The stomachs are difficultly adapting to this and the watches are reorganised accordingly. The day and part of the night are spend in tacking against wind and current. Finally a north west breeze enables us to gain towards the south. Soon, the breeze is becoming strong and is pushing us at a good pace towards our destination. The crew is fully available again, and the watches can go back to the normal schedule. We are sailing along the hostile coasts of Washington and the Oregon at 130 milles (240 kilometers) offshore.

Sailing to San Francisco  - Vincent Berthet

Sailing to San Francisco
Photo Vincent Berthet
(Cliquez pour agrandir)
November 1st, 2008
Juan de Fuca Strait.
48°16’N – 123°50’W

23h25 local time

Friday, 5PM, we’re leaving after a busy technical day. Soon, only lights and planes give us the idea of a city next by, couple of fireworks too, it’s Halloween today !!
The weather is calm. In the middle of the night, we sail through “Active Pass” between Galiano and Mayne islands. The current helps us. It can be very strong in here. One hour later, we cast anchor in the entrance of Lyall Harbor on Saturna Island for the rest of the night. In the morning, we reach quickly the American waters and we call at Friday Harbor to clear customs. During our stop, the wind starts to blow strong from the South-East. Luckily, our route turns West while we enter the Juan de Fuca Strait. We enjoy for another couple of hours the calm inside before sailing off shore again.

Customs at Friday Harbor-Photo Vonne Blanchet
Customs at Friday Harbor
Photo Vonne Blanchet
(Click to enlarge)
Back to the map