In 1997, Gene sailed SALLY ANNE from Mission Bay, near San Diego, to Honolulu and back without incident. But like the Purvises (TRONDELAG) he and his crew...two outbound, one inbound...never encountered those idyllic 15-knot trades anywhere in the Eastern Pacific. Twenty to thirty knots was the norm and no sunshine until transiting the Molokai channel westbound or Point Conception eastbound. It's an ill wind that blows no good. Both transits were fast, bettering by days the average time of boats of comparable size. by coincidence, Gene came across an old chart of the track of the Stevens brothers' (Olin and Rod) DORADE when she swept to victory over 20 contenders in the 1936 TranPac. A comparison of the two tracks is interesting: Both SALLY ANNE and DORADE were obliged to beat north from Oahu on the starboard tack considerably more than 1,000 n.m. before topping the Eastern Pacific high and its northwesterly winds for the sleigh ride to California. Far from being a high performance racing machine like DORADE, LOA 51', SALLY ANNE made the eastbound transit in a respectable elapsed time. DORADE took 20 days, 16 1/2 hours to sail the 2544 n.m. to San Francisco. SALLY ANNE sailed nearly 200 miles farther (2636 n.m.) to Mission Bay in 22 days, 21 hours.
Gene added that his Monitor performed flawlessly, steering the boat 95 percent of the time and on all points of sail. His boat is yawl rigged, but he never flew the mizzen at anytime because of its interference with the monitor's wind vane. He contemplated fabricating a shorter and wider vane that would clear the mizzen boom and sheet, but Hans Barnwell, Scanmar Marine's respected engineer, talked him out of it, saying that the Monitor would not perform well with such a modification.
Gene also mentioned the satisfaction that a SSB transceiver gave him and his lone shipmate, Paul Whelan, on the Honolulu to Mission Bay leg. Paul has an amateur license enabling him to check into the Pacific Maritime Net (14.313 Mhz) daily at the 0400Z roll call (1800, 1900, 2000, or 2100 local, depending on their time zone). The net controller in Medford, OR, paged each boat in turn, recording its position, course, speed, weather and any problems being encountered. He also obligingly passed E-Mail messages to friends and families ashore, and on one occasion managed a phone patch between the SALLY ANNE and Gene's anxious wife in Denver.
When they topped Lat. 37-00N, the weather turned cold and blustery, much to the dismay of Paul, who lives in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. As he flew to Honolulu to join Gene for the home voyage, his fallacious planning for clothing went something like this: "I'm leaving warm FL for warmer HI, returning to SOCAL. All I need is shorts, T-shirts and foul weather gear". On day 13 out of Honolulu, the temperature dropped to 40 degrees F, the sun disappeared and the NW wind piped up to 35 knots. Gene's one London Fog parka saw double duty until we sighted Catalina, some eight days later.