I had to hurry the finish a bit, because time for my vacation was running out, but it finally got finished. I loaded the truck with dogs, kids, and kayak and drove to the CA coast where some family live. Wife and kids took the ferry to Avalon and my older son dropped me off at Cabrillo beach where I set up.
There was no wind really for quite some time the morning I left and the tide was not in my favor. I made slow paddling through the NW shipping lanes at 1 - 1.5 knots before I hit good wind. Had 6 and occassionally 7ft swells from the NW, 2-4ft swells from the SW and a current running south. Broke my lee board in the mix after heading a bit more southerly off the island. Occasionally surfed the swells at 8 knots according to the GPS. Honestly I was comfortable and happy to have the wind finally. The outbound trip took 9 hours because of the slow going for so long. John's words to me "Reef early, reef often" were often heeded.
After a few days, the wind was projected to be as good as it was going to get before dying down for days, so I took off with a perfect tide that due to the moon phase squished the two high tides together to give me basically a power assist until 6pm when it would max and turn direction. Now paddling to Newport beach I made 3 knots.
Still no wind though in the morning when I left. I ended up paddling through the shipping lanes that run east-west before hitting wind.
I had the strangest experience while resting after the shipping lanes. I started hearing long low moans that sounded like old steel doors were being forced open. Also some chirping sounds. I was scared that some giant tanker was bearing down on me but nothing in sight. No birds either. With the 3rd long low moan the kayak litterally shook with harmonic vibration. I really mean that. That was amazing. Whether or not it was blue whales, I do not know. I later discovered they are the loudest animals on the planet. The CA coast was crazy with whales (this was 2 weeks ago) because of the krill that the NW current was bringing to the coast. I only saw Minke whales on the trip though a lot of sailors I spoke to saw blue whales that week. But now I wonder if I built a sea violin that goes into harmonic vibration when whales make noises.
After that it was pretty smooth sailing into Newport harbor. One man stood on his moored sailboat and gave me a standing ovation. I figured I'd brag a bit and simply yelled "Avalon!". To which he replied "I know!" Wat?!
The return trip took 9 hours because I had to paddle so much. Overall the GPS recorded each leg at about 32 nmi.
I have posted some pictures here in case you would like to see a few of them. I am really happy with the design and John and his team did a great job of dealing with my questions all the time. I reinforced a few additional areas of the boat and I am glad I did (heck I call myself "What could go wrong" here so that is some indication of my tendencies, right?). I can share that data if anyone is interested. Thanks for letting share the experience with you.