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  1. #1
    Offshore OceanRider
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    San Pedro, CA (LA Harbor area)

    First Winter Day Ride 12/21/08

    SUBJECT: First Winter Day Ride 12/21/08

    The ride this morning was a total of 110 miles long – just about all of it was WOT. The seas were totally flat and it was sunny and clear except for just a few spots around the Point Dume area. The ride officially started at Queens Gate – Long Beach, CA. We rode along the coast line towards Marina Del Rey; fueled up and then shot over just north of Malibu to Pt. Dume. Full tank of fuel plus 13 gallons for me + $10.00 launch ramp fee. Pt Dume juts out just so, to make it an easy run back across the other end of Santa Monica Bay (Pt Vicente). This cuts out allot of coastline but puts us smack in the middle of the ocean.

    Yesterday I casually tossed out the words “Real Men” and also used the word (Adventure) in the same sentence and when I was done; I was left wondering if anyone of you felt left out. You see, everyone in this club fits this category – you too ladies. If not for our sport then for all else you do, year round be it jog, run, hike, kayak, snow ski, camp, dirt bike or ocean ride or just plain live in California. We never get shut out. At least, that’s what the rest of the world thinks. How many people do you think go out in the middle of the ocean on little boats? Lately, you’d be amazed but, 7 years ago another Ralph built a boat that could operate with the engine down in less than a foot of water, handle some rough chop and was seaworthy for fishing. He did this in Florida for some great flats fishing. His version of a little boat was 21 foot long. Our little boats are way smaller and I like to believe can handle chop pretty well. Today, as we neared the LAX coastline on our way to Marina Del Rey; I saw a plane probably loaded with passengers who were also probably looking down at us wondering where are those three fast moving little boats heading.

    So this morning we called ourselves adventurers and headed out on the First Day of Winter knowing full well the weather report. While the rest of the country was gripped in coast to coast incidents of lost power (Iowa) from snow and ice storms or hurricane force winds (Washington State) or snowfall (North Dakota 19.3 inches) we were out there training; what kind of training, can’t tell you – just training. And yes, we have another ten days left till the end of the year to get out on another two maybe three more times – but not on my ‘08 Ultra, not just yet anyway, it looks like the head is now coming off. I was riding my dependable Seadoo GTX.

    Want to know the secret of offshore riding. It’s really this simple. Stand up, pretend to be holding on to handlebars; now keep your feet flat, shoulder width apart, evenly spaced across. Next, crouch down, just till the point that it starts to hurt your lower back, leaning forward gripping on to those handlebars but not enough to hold a death grip. Pretend, the ski is now coming off the water, keep those handlebars straight, legs bent, ready to land back down on the water, without coming off the ski, because you’re wedged in. Don’t let off on that throttle (do so if you’re in the air for an unusually long time) but the key is to keep her pegged so when you land you’ll follow a straight path. THAT’S IT. Now, the other part is outlasting your competition. Try crouching in that position for say almost three hours like we did so today. Sure, you want to plant your seat down to rest – yes grasshopper do so, but only at the point of beating yourself up even more. And, when that big wave comes that’ll launch you in the air, you may not have the stance necessary to pull it off to outlast your competition.

    If you got your current issue of SeaTow there are a few good articles that should interest you as boaters. One is from Mario who stated that the most important safety gear on your boat – is you. He says that marine emergencies always start with an easily avoidable mistake made before leaving the dock. Guess what – he was right. I looked at the GTX fuel tank and saw an almost full tank. I fueled up at the dock with 5 gallons and she burped it back at me so I thought I was full. Somewhere on the way to Marina Del Rey my fuel alarm goes off and off again. I quickly surmised that I was not going to make it so my best option would be to shoot over to Redondo Beach. I did so without any ability to let my two WOT (wide open throttle) partners know. I fueled up and then headed back out to Marina Del Rey and as I was scanning the waters to my port side Lee magically appears from my starboard side.

    Things quickly could’ve gone south for me and for the rest of the group, so you see this is one incident that could’ve been avoided at the dock. Mario also comments about a float plan; weather; commo; EPIRB and the rest of the safety gear we all carry. For more information visit

    Brrrrrrr John, we’re wearing the same thing we wear when its 75 degrees outside and heading to Avalon. Again, not the point. Point 2 – float plan. Someone on shore needs to know where you’re going and when you’re coming back. Point 3 – weather. If you get caught in the cold or rain it could make all the difference in the world. Point 4 – commo. Ask for help before the water gets up to your ankles. Been there – done that. Point 5 – EPIRB. Update your EPIRB registration; he’s got me there. Maybe there is still one under the Christmas tree. And last but least, safety equipment. Mario admits that sometimes it is about the gear; what does he know; he’s just a former helicopter rescue swimmer who writes for Sea Tow and us we’re just Adventurers.

    Let’s see – I know what you’re now thinking; its 40 degrees outside as you sit in the comfort of your home reading this story. Our water temperature must’ve been say 58 degrees. You are correct. That’s only part of it. Last night I slept outside and this morning before the ride I cooked myself some tri tip and three eggs on the barbeque just so I can picture me doing the same thing in Alaska. Don’t know what the weather in the Aleutian Islands will be in May ’09 but didn’t want to wait too long before I start training for that 2,000 mile expedition. San Pedro, outside air temperature (49 degrees); Aleutian Islands air temperature (9 degrees) with a hint of our Santa Ana’s blowing at 50 knots. There’s a reason there are no trees on those islands.

    So you’re thinking of joining me on this adventure, I’ll get started on a few FAQ’s (frequently asked questions) for you, like I did for our Miami to Bimini Ride. Also don’t want to hear anymore about that 25k entry fee. Take my word for it – it will change.

    The rest of this story. Do you recall the movie Tropic Thunder? There is a scene whereby Ben Stiller’s character decides to plot on alone separating himself from the rest of the fire team. It’s now dark and he’s made himself a hootch (a native hut, house or G.I. living quarters). He sits looking out while watching a movie on his IPOD. Picture that scene and now picture me in my backyard. You might recall what he did next if you saw the movie. Seems a certain panda ended up on the wrong end of a knife. Neighbors cat did come and pay me a visit but no – I didn’t end up wearing him like a ‘coon cap’.

    Great way to start the day. You’re getting this story before Lee has even had a chance to get home. Now where is that copy of the LB2CAT 2008 offshore race video? I think I’ll cook up some more tri-tip – enough of an adventure for one day!

    See you on the Water,


  2. #2
    ou812's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Nice write up ralph!
    I didn't know this ride was planned. I would have joined!

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