(Editor's note: The following is a brief diary from Indigo Sea owned by Shawn and Corinne Severn. Eight-year liveaboards, they followed Shawn's job to Los Angeles and sailed their Hunter Passage 450 down the treacherous west coast. Besides being great people and experienced sailors, Shawn and Corinne were also my dock mates for four years.) I thought it might be amusing to relate some of the stories of our trip. Onthe whole the trip went pretty well. We underestimated the amount of delaywe would have waiting for weather windows. Corinne and I decided we neverwant to sail down the northwest coast again. However, if we changed ourminds, we will never do the trip when we have a schedule to meet. The wind,seas and breakdowns are just too hard to predict.The trip was marked by extremes. We either had no wind and calm seas orvery high wind and rough seas. Either the boat was working perfectly or ithad serious problems. In general the first half of the trip had most of theboat problems and bad weather and the second half of the trip was prettybenign. However, that is generally to be expected.We left Seattle on October 2nd, a Thursday. We had strong winds blowingfrom the north, which meant that we had to beat our way up Puget Sound. Itwas a fun sail although quite a bit of work. The next day we had no wind atall but started to get a sense that our equipment might not be workingcorrectly. We could not seem to charge our batteries. We left Port Angelesthe next day and motored to Neah Bay. The weather then closed in on us. Agale was blowing between the Columbia River and Neah Bay and it continued toblow a gale for 3 days. The Macaw Indians have built a new marina in theNeah Bay and they were extremely helpful and just plain nice. In fact,almost every one we met was very helpful and nice. We are very appreciativeof their help getting weather faxes and pointing us in the direction ofthe fisherman who could interpret the weather pattern. We left Neah Bay onthe 4th day and motored out of the bay into 7 foot rolling seas and a lightwind. We actually ended up motoring approximately 3 hours until the windcame up enough to give us a nice sail for the next 18 hours. We discoveredthat our batteries were getting worse. (Just prior to the trip I had replaced the batteries with the best money can buy. So you can imagine my frustration with the continuing problems.)We had a nice sail as far as the Columbia River. That night the wind calmedand then started coming from in front of us. This generally makes for veryrough seas because the swell was still coming from behind us. With a littleexperimentation, we were able to sail with a reefed main and the engine running. We made pretty good progress and didn't seem to bash into the waves too much. At the time, we though we were going pretty slow but we later found out that other sailors out in the same weather were making about half as much progress as Indigo Sea. We got to Yakina Bay, our first port in Oregon, two days after we left Neah Bay. We slept most of that day and then did chores on the boat to prepare toleave on the flood tide the next day. These small ports on the West Coast of Washington, Oregon and California allhave sand bars at their entrance. These bars move around and are affectedby wind and waves. When the weather gets bad the bars become impassable andare closed by the Coast Guard. Once you are inside a port you have to getpermission to leave. This is primarily because going over the bar can beextremely dangerous.I called the Coast Guard to get permission to go over the bar. The radiooperator indicated that the bar was open, but asked me if I knew that therewas a gale expected approximately 140 miles down the coast. I said that Idid but that we would not get there for at least 24 hours and expected it toblow itself out by then. He then asked me if I knew there was a gale 140miles down the coast but 200 miles off shore. I said that I did but that wewould not be going that far off the coast. The Coast Guard shore boat thatwas out on patrol then broke into our conversation asking if I knew therewas a gale 140 miles down the coast. I then asked then if they were tryingto tell me something. They said they were not allowed to tell me not toleave. The Coast Guard is not allowed to tell the skipper of a boat what todo. I asked them how they would feel if I went back to bed. They boththought that was a very good plan, but of course it was up to me. I wentback to bed. Later that day we met some other sailors making there way downthe coast. They all heard my conversation with the Coast Guard and haddecided to go back to bed. They were impressed with my discussion with theCoast Guard because generally it is very hard to get them to provide anyadvice.We were able to leave Yakina two days later and had a lovely sail for about4 hours. Unfortunately, our navigation electronics started fail. By thatnight we were hand steering and only had power if we kept the generator andthe engine on at the same time. When the wind came up the bouncing was toomuch for the generator and it had to be shut down. We hand steered forabout 10 hours. Coos Bay was not that far away so we decided to make anunscheduled stop. About midnight the fog rolled in. Things were going frombad to really bad. The visibility was down to about 10 feet (no kidding -you could not see the front of the boat from the cockpit). We were concerned that we were about to loose all of our navigation electronics (radar was the important one) and navigation lights. So I called the Coast Guard to let them know that we were having some electrical problems and that we were making our way to Coos Bay. I also gave them our position in case something really went wrong. They would have a place to start looking for us. (We were afraid of getting hit by a larger ship. A large ship would not even notice us). When we got close to Coos Bay the Coast Guard offered to come out alead us into the harbor. We did not want to enter the harbor in the fogwith iffy electronics. As it turns out there were two dredges working thechannel. We would certainly have gotten ourselves into trouble if we hadtried it on our own. The Coast Guard boat arrived when we got to the outside marker and led us into the harbor. There were a couple of tense minutes when Corinne tried to hit one of the buoys but we made it in and tied up without further incident. We found out why most people do not like having the Coast Guard help them unless it is really necessary. It turns out, once you are tied up they board and search your boat. They also check to make sure that you have all of the safety equipment on board. If you do not they will fine you. We were happy to be at the dock and if they wanted to come aboard that was fine with us. By inviting them on board they seemed to loose interest, saying that they were short handed and wanted to get back to the station.We got a really good electrical guy down (Ray) to the boat the next day. Hefound the problem. It was not the batteries. As it turns out, ourelectrical system goes through an AMP meter. The meter had broken and wascausing a voltage drop. That is why none of the electronics would workproperly. We took the AMP meter out of the system and all of the electronics started working and worked fine for the rest of the trip.The next morning we left Coos Bay and had a short sail in the morning andthen motored for a while. The wind started to rise at about 1 PM andcontinued to raise all afternoon. At about 6 PM the wind really started toget going and got so high that with the waves (9 ft rollers with a 5 to 7 ftwind wave) the boat got broached. Basically we got rolled over on our side.Just as the boat righted itself we got rolled a second time. The secondknock down caused the circuit breakers on the autopilot to blow. I finallygot my wits about me and begun hand steering. Corinne and I then handsteered for the next 12 hours. We worked a watch system of an hour on thenan hour off. The other person got warmed up and watched the radar. Thewind calmed down by the morning, but during the night we were sailing with ourstorm jib and reached speeds of more than 10 knots. The next night was a repeat of the first, but without the knockdown. We werealso able to get the autopilot to work so we did not need to constantly handsteer. The following morning the wind calmed -- and that was the last we sawof it for the rest of the trip.We stopped in Monterrey for a rest, just south of San Francisco. Nothing much happened in Monterrey, except that I broke the transmission dip stick. I did get the stick out but did not haveanything to replace it with. We spent the day looking for a bolt that might fit. We never did find one. However, I figured out that a pipe fitting would fit. So we plugged it with a pipe fitting end and continued on to LA. The pipe fitting leaked oil the whole time and I am hoping that I did not severely damage my transmission. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. We powered our way down thecoast, through the maze of drilling rigs, around Point Conception (one ofthe places on the coast with the worst weather), but it was sunny and 80 F when we got there - no wind. We reached LA the next day found a new home at slip #C211 Dolphin Marina.