First Overnight Sail from Catalina Island to San Diego

Well, to say the least, we were both a bit nervous for our first overnight sail.  We both tried to take a nap a few hours before and both of us kept opening our eyes at each other, clearly not sleeping.  Our strategy for watch is below:

  • Trevor 4 hours: 4-8pm
  • Kimi 4 hours: 8-12am
  • Trevor 3 hours: 12-3am
  • Kimi 3 hours: 3-6am

We took up our anchor and didn’t hit the fishing vessel who anchored 30 feet to our port side (left side).  Wind was super light and confused but we raised the sails anyways to keep us more balanced underway.  We kept the engine running because we weren’t moving under sail power alone and we needed to charge our batteries since our generator “blew up” the night before.

Trevor is getting ready to tack the jib sheet
Trevor is getting ready to tack the jib sheet
Just cause!
Just cause!


Trevor’s first shift was uneventful.  As I took my first shift, Trevor snuggled down in his sleeping bag to try to get some “zzz’s”.

It's almost like camping
It’s almost like camping

My shift was a little more interesting.  Throughout my entire shift, I had 6 different vessels on my radar (the instrument that let’s you see at night).  Not that I was super concerned but the vhf radio was very active with ship-to-ship communication, thankfully we were not hailed.

It's a busy night
It’s a busy night

There was only 1 ship that came close, about 2 nautical miles, from us.  It is definitely a sensation to be sailing at night.  It is pretty much pitch black, with the exception of the lights form a huge barge or cruise ship on the horizon.  Additionally, you see other ships on your radar but you can’t physically see their lights. I felt better when I was able to identify the lights I saw in tandem to the radar.  Though I struggled with the anticipation of each ships course and when we would pass each other so I pretty much watch the radar, like TV.

We arrived in San Diego at 7:30am.  San Diego bay is HUGE and BUSY!!!! It took us about 30 minutes to round the point and get to the point where we turned for our marina, Cabrillo Isle marina.  When we arrived at our slip we barely fit, beam wise, in the slip (6 inches on each side) but Trevor parked Slow Flight like a dream!


  1. That’s the same hours for watch standers in the Navy, if you get the midwatch (midnight to 4 am) you get extra sandwiches and coffee from the mess decks and they let you sleep in, instead of rolling out for reveille at 6 am. Glad you guys have radar !

    1. Trevor enjoyed this fact and now demands food and drinks for his midwatch…..I think I may need to amend the schedules : )

  2. It sounds like you are also getting a starter-course in Air Traffic Controlling! I love the finger puppets!!!! I was just at the San Diego Marina in May. It is gigantic! I saw a huge yacht with a helicopter on top of it.

  3. Well done! It sounds like keeping watch at night while sailing (motoring) would allow my imagination to drive me crazy and scare the poop out of me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *