VIVIMOS! Sailing Oregon's Columbia River to the Pacific and Turning Left

Note: This is just one of many posts documenting a sailing voyage from Hood River, Oregon to Colombia, South America aboard a $5000 1973 Catalina 27' sailboat named "Sin Fin".

El Viaje Sin Fin (Spanish for "The Trip Without End") was a 19 month adventure with plenty of twists and turns.

Check out an overview of the trip, or start with the first post of this blog.  Peace.


It's been a week since the last post. We've wanted to check in daily, but between Max freaking out over little things and/or puking constantly and Mac slaying fish, there just wasn't time.

Plus, it turns out that there's no cell service and hence no poor-yachtsman's-interweb 15-20 miles offshore in the North Pacific.

We didn't die over the course of three nights at sea and now we're at port in BEAUTIFUL Bandon, Oregon... 217.36 fabulous miles south of the notorious, ship-eating Columbia River Bar.

Here's a week of good living crammed into a little slideshow. No justice.

Could this be the best picture I've ever taken? FYI, that's freshly harvested "caviar" in Mac's carvinorous piehole.

We made it to Portland and got the boat hauled out. We're in a hurry to get South but we had to paint the bottom and retrofit some additional keel bolts. As you can see, the hull was DIRTY. Notice that the bottom little bit of the keel is spotless. Mac was kind enough to clean it by running aground on a sandbar just North of Portland. Well done!

If you ever wondered how they haul out superyachts like La Sin Fin, this is how. The boatyard made us wait 36 hours before they'd pull us out and that really chapped my ass.

They also wanted to make us wait to get it back in the water until Monday. Clearly they were trying to charge us for as many days as possible and didn't appreciate our hurry to escape the NW before the fall storms really hit. Otherwise, everyone was really nice and informative at the boatyard.

We were stuck in Portland for three nights watching perfect coastal weather slip away.  This drove Max to the brink of sanity. Fortunately, Justine Jerrel and Randy Bachelor (great name, eh?) put us up and gave us wheels to get shit done.

The friendly "yardmonkeys" in blue jumpsuits put us back in the water without notifying the ass-dragging bosses. As such, the boatyard never got a credit card number from us.

Go ahead and bill me... but what's my address?

Bottom paint is some horribly toxic shit so the uptmost protective measures must be undertaken. Sadly, Max's favorite pair of jeans and his old Jackson Hole employee polo shirt had to be thrown away after the painting project. All the yardmonkeys were quite jealous of the ridiculously steezy ski goggles.

While Max was painting, Mac installed 5 new beefy bolts in the keel. Again, thanks to Winona's own Fastenal for $240 worth of marine grade stainless steel.

We left the boatyard in such a hurry that we left much to be done "en route". FYI, boating and caulking don't mix. All the windows and deckfittings on La Sin Fin look like they came from Santa's Workshop thanks to hearty doses of liberally applied caulk. Importantly, as we discovered at sea, the water stays out.

Cruising down the Columbia River at dusk we came across a sailboat that had run aground. This got us nervous enough to stay attentive as we motored through the night towards the coast. Thanks, fate.

We were happy to pass industrial wastelands like this under cover of darkness. Motoring through the night and hitting Astoria, OR at dawn worked out perfectly. The river isn't exceptionally scenic for the 90 miles from Portland to the Coast... no wind either.

We stopped in Astoria for fuel (oilfreefun... not quite) and then got back at it, hoping to hit the Columbia River Bar when the tide was right. Visibility was somewhere between "horrible" and "supershitty". A hunch said the fog would lift and it did...

Meeting monsters like this in the fog isn't too much fun. Moms and Dads, note our incredible foresight in navigating just outside of the shipping channel. Equally deep water, but less likelihood of getting plastered against a supertanker. We're trying to be safe.

We followed this guy out the Columbia River Bar because he knew where to go. Everyone in Hood River we talked to was freaking out about the terrifying Columbia River Bar. It turned out to be anticlimacticly mellow on account of our intensely-safety-oriented mindsets and parentally-instilled-propensity for planning.

Again, rest easy parents.  We're trying to be safe.

Excitingly, as we crossed the Bar, Max looked below deck to see 6 inches of water had burbled up from the bilge. Too much weight in the stern had put our output hose underwater. The bilgepump proved that it kicks ass in this instance... and we safely negotiated our first technical incident of the trip. Disaster averted.

This may be the biggest boat either of us has ever seen. Its a Chevron Tanker. Without boats like this millions of suburbanites wouldn't be able to commute between pointless jobs and vacant, faceless communities. Yee-haw. Burn it up, suckers.

This was the best picture Max ever took until the one of Mac's massacre. We must have seen three dozen seals out thus far. Great critters, except for when they steal fish off your line.

After we reeled in Mac's first fish, one came right up to the stern of La Sin Fin and gave us the meanest look.

These overgrown aquatic gerbils were pretty cool too. It's amazing what qualifies as a mammal.

On a sailboat with the motor off, you hear the whales before you ever see them. In the middle of the night, their finslapping and spouting can freak you out. The greatest critters on Earth?


Mac reeled it in and then Golem netted the fish. Golem loves fishies. Golem couldn't wait until Baja to bust out his classic retro Mexico soccer jersey and got it filthy with caulk, fishguts, gasoline, and assorted boatsludge.

C'est la vie.

Our first fish.

The sushichef brutalizing the unborn as he butchers their mother. Gruesome stuff here. I wouldn't have partaken in the sushifeast that followed had we not already eaten through all 20 pounds of candy aboard La Sin Fin. We didn't bother with rice... just soysauce and wasabi. We could have used some spicy aioli mayo stuff but regardless it was the best sushi of my life.

As we dined, the view proved incredible too.

Shortly after this picture was taken, our weather window closed.

"Red sky at night, sailors delight," my ass.

The beautiful N wind we'd been sailing on for 36 hours switched to straight out of the south. We battled upwind for 24 hours and made it about 40 additional nauseating, wet, dreary miles.

Exhausted after four nervewracking nights and with weather forecasted to get worse as the week continues, we pulled in to quaint, sleepy Bandon, OR. And here we are...

It looks like we'll be stuck here until at least the weekend. Fortunately, some of the nicest people on Earth live here... and the kiting looks to be epic.

Ohh yeah, my knee is getting better every day. Good times? Great times.

Sell yer house and buy a boat. Trust me.

Hasta luego, amigos.

Max Mogren


Note: This is just one of many posts documenting a sailing voyage from Hood River, Oregon to Colombia, South America aboard a $5000 1973 Catalina 27' sailboat named "Sin Fin".

El Viaje Sin Fin (Spanish for "The Trip Without End") was a 19 month adventure with plenty of twists and turns.

Check out an overview of the trip, or start with the first post of this blog.  Peace.


The Boat Is Doing Better Than Max's Knee

Day one of the trip went as well as could be expected. With a 5:20am departure from Hood River we made it to the boatyard in Portland where we'll be doing some haulout work tomorrow.

We had good wind from HR until about 15 miles from Portland when we had to fire up the motor... which started and ran well. Amazingly, we didn't break or lose anything.

High winds near Rooster Rock State Park (30+ knots) tested our sail-shortening abilities. All went smoothly. We ran into several friends out kiting who were happy to show off for the camera as we went cruising by.



We saw lots of other fun things too...

He must be after some fast fish. Officially the biggest outboard either of us has ever seen.
Viagra is cheaper, Tough Guy.

Mother Nature was looking good.
Blangin' Tugboat.
Max shredded his knee yesterday by falling the completely wrong way while merely kiting along. After five years of bumming hard, he was "due" for the standard ski bum injury. Fortunately, Mack can handle most of the manual labor while this sorts itself out. Hopefully, it just takes time.
Mac enjoying not being in traffic on the interstate bridge.
Good times, troubles and worries and all.

Big day tomorrow. One-legged hi-speed hull-painting 101.

Check out our progress:



Inspiration!... 3rd Installment


If you ever dated an intelligent girl in college you probably have a dusty little book named WALDEN sitting on the shelf right there next to your computer.

You don't even have to read beyond the first chapter to realize it's a work of true genius. I've never needed to read any further. That first chapter alone stokes you up enough to throw the book down and git er' dun, so to speak.

Here's just a few choice cuts... all from the first chapter.

But men labor under a mistake... laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool's life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.

Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them.... They have no time to be anything but a machine.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

...(I)t appears as if men had deliberately chosen the common mode of living because they preferred it to any other. Yet they honestly think there is no choice left.... It is never too late to give up our prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof.

Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only dispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.

None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty.

To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.

Try saying "magnanimity" 5 times fast!

I got only my labor for my pains. However, in this case my pains were their own reward.

...(I)nstead of studying how to make it worth men's while to buy [stupid shit], I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of selling [stupid shit].

I substituted "stupid shit" because long-dead HTD was talking about selling baskets. My mom sells baskets so I can't rag on that, even unintentionally. Her baskets are beautiful.

Equipment for kiting, skiing, and climbing isn't stupid shit. They get people out of the box. Farting around with them is a celebration of freedom and the beauty of life. Recreation recreates reality, and one perfect moment will stay with you for life.

Lookin' good, Benny.

I could quote HTD all night long (with the book in hand) by just flipping pages. The whole book oozes freedom, simplicity, and the joy to be found in the natural (aka actual) world.

Its time for bed, however. All this stress and the cold, shitty fall weather is making me sick. And reminding me its past time to go.



We'd Love To Have You Aboard...

... but there's no room.

Almost everyone who hears about the trip has the knee-jerk reaction of wanting to come with. This includes all drunk women, notably those with heavily tattooed boyfriends standing nearby.

Invariably, their eyes light up as they conjure images like this:

As they begin mentally preparing for the voyage - perhaps deciding whether they'll become crew or simply stowaway - their first question is always...

"How big is the boat?'

I laugh and answer, "27 feet."

Most people realize that 27 feet is tiny and accept my apologies for failing to throw my life away in the corporate world chasing hopes of one day affording the kind of boat glamorously portrayed above.  Say what you will, but at least I won't look like Judge Schmales before I've got a seaworthy vessel of my own.

Let me live while I'm young.

Occasionally people perhaps aren't really listening when I say "27 feet" and they invariably go "WOW!". All I can do is smile with the smug satisfaction of a distinguished yachtsman whose ship has come in.

Yes, indeed. 27 luxurious feet. You know... that's almost 10 yards. Ahoy, Paloy!

So here she is... looking exceptionally ragged as we scramble to get things ready.

Well, HELLO there. We did, in fact, acquire her from the Prince of Dubai... and it shows.

The tenacious bow.  Our sunbathing supermodels had the day off.

Beautiful Native girls wait to satisfy our every desire.

Would you join me on deck for a game of Clusterfuck?

Notice how our "tender is almost as big as the vessel being tended. Nice!

Communications and Navigation Command Center. Those on deck never know the life or death decisions made daily... right here.

The Main Salon. Thanks to Naish for the beautiful surfboards.

The Well-Appointed Library. Exquisite Captain's Quarters. Additional Surfboard/Kite Storage. Also, note the fine smoking jacket hanging in the Lounge between the Main Salon and this luxurious chamber.

Subdeck. Major Storage Space. Why, yes! That IS a bag of skis. 5 kiteboards live here too.

Only the cheapest cuisine fills our Galley's Pantry.

I hope Mac likes peanut butter.

The Bathroom and Lounge Viewed through the Forward Entry. Good luck finding the toilet under all those shelves. Please kindly direct your urine off the stern.

More pics of the boat will be posted once we're underway. Keep checking back.