Friday, December 30, 2005

General Log, 2005

December 4 - Despite the fact that it was between 40 and 50 degrees, we took two very close friends, Klaus Dehn and Rob Bastress, out sailing. Winds were light, which was just as well considering the chill factor, but we managed to sail out to Alcatraz and back in four hours, and reveled in the clean, crisp, and clear air.

October 20-22 We picked up Spindrift at Bastress Custom Boats in Grand Marina after a little over a month in the yard (see maintenance log), and returned her to Marina Village just in time to load aboard food and other supplies for a three-day voyage to Drake’s Bay and Bodega Bay, a total of 50 miles up the coast from the Golden Gate Bridge. Our friend Steve Katzaroff joined us at 15:00 hours, and we cast off for the first leg of our trip, over to the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon.

The new prop moved us along at easily a seven-and-a-half knot pace at 2500 RPM, and we saw little wind at the end of the estuary. Just south of the Bay Bridge, the wind picked up, and we raised the main. We should have put in a reef right away – clearly the skipper’s mistake – and just behind Treasure Island, we headed into the wind and reefed the main. We also put out the jib with a four-turn reef, which also turned out not to be enough as we entered the backside of the slot – again the skipper’s fault – and had to reef four more turns. Spindrift flattened right out and sailed beautifully at eight to eight-and-a-half knots, when suddenly we found ourselves in pea-soup fog with about 200 yards visibility. It was enough to avoid collisions, but still very unsettling to be sailing without radar and only a GPS system.

I was using my new “Coastal Explorer” charting system (my Dell laptop connected to my Garmin GPS), but this trip to Tiburon was to be my first actual use of the system, and neither Deborah nor Steve was familiar with it at all. I kept us on a course, which I was confident would take us behind Angel Island and to Raccoon Strait (and I assumed out of the worst of the fog), but Deborah and/or Steve decided we were moving so fast that we risked passing Raccoon Strait. So we decided to drop the sails – in a twenty-knot wind – which we did, and, with Steve and I exhausted from dropping and tying up the main, Deborah motored northwest into Raccoon Strait and to the Corinthian Yacht Club, where we tied up at the guest dock.

(I checked our GPS track log when we returned past the same spot two days later, which revealed that we had turned and dropped the sail about three-fourths of the way across the slot, still southeast of Angel Island.)

We celebrated our successful passage through the pea-soup at the bar of the Corinthian, where I met my counterpart at the Corinthian, the club’s “piano man,” and we talked of organizing a night of dueling musical groups from the Corinthian and the Encinal yacht clubs. We ate a great chicken mole dinner in Tiburon at Guayma’s Restaurant, before returning to the boat for a good nights sleep and the start of our trip out the gate the next morning. San Francisco sparkled across the bay in the clear night sky, a good sign we thought for our voyage.

Next morning we awoke to pea-soup! Bummer! Even the ferry boat captain, who saw our uncovered mainsail, shouted to us: “You don’t want to go out today!” So, we went into town for coffee, then breakfast, visited the San Francisco Yacht Club, and around noon returned to the boat. The fog was still heavy, but we could see the outline of Angel Island, and, although I suggested we still try the coast and go up to Bolinas Bay, just about 15 miles, we finally made the decision to head inland, up through the Carquinez Strait to Benicia.

Though disappointed, we cast off and motored east and then northeast up toward San Pablo Bay. We sailed briefly between Raccoon Strait and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, but ended up motoring the rest of the way, past the Brothers Islands and lighthouse, and into San Pablo Bay. Just below the Carquinez Bridge we called the Benicia Yacht Club, only to discover they had two groups coming in and had no slips, so we diverted into the Napa River at Mare Island and, after a phone call to clear it, tied up at the Vallejo Yacht Club’s guest dock for the night.

We enjoyed a nice sunset, a couple of cocktails, and Steve’s wife, Michelle, drove in to have dinner with us on the boat. Since they were fairly close by, Steve decided to spend the night at home and return the next morning, when we agreed we’d push on up the Napa River to Napa. Meantime, we cleaned up after dinner, and then went up to the club bar for a nightcap.

At the club bar, we met Todd Mehserle, Vallejo Yacht Club’s Commodore, who told us what to watch for going up to Napa. I also discovered that my old friend and sailor Bruce Sinclair, who I’ve known for many years through the Society for the History of Technology, had just joined the club.

In the morning, Steve arrived about 09:00 hours, and we discovered that the tides were against our going up the river to Napa. Spindrift simply draws too much at 6’8” to risk the trip at anything lower than median tide, so we decided just to head back to Alameda. Again it was foggy, but the visibility was at least a half-mile, and it got better as the day went on. We made the trip to Alameda in six-and-a-half hours, and were too lazy to raise the sails across the backside of the slot for the only twenty minutes of sailing we could have experienced on the day’s journey.

It wasn’t quite the trip we had planned, and we were all pretty disappointed. But we’ll try again. After Steve headed out to check on his own boat, Vroom, which he’d just gotten out of the yard, Deborah and I spent the rest of the afternoon and the next day organizing storage aboard Spindrift to make future voyages easier, and we realized that, although we had never left the bay, we’d learned a whole lot. More photos

August 20-21 -
We joined friends from our Encinal Yacht Club to cruise over to the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon. The Corinthian is adjacent to Sam's, a traditional breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinking hang-out for sailors all over San Francisco Bay. Tiburon is on the north side of Raccoon Strait, which cuts between the north bay's Marin County and Angel Island. Adjacent to Tiburon is Belevdere Island, which is home to the San Francisco Yacht Club - don't ask why it isn't located in San Francisco, it just isn't. In any event, the view of San Francisco is spectacular, particularly from the Corinthian YC.

We departed Alameda at 10:30, initially motoring alongside Tony and Vicki Kay in Chassaseuresse. They pulled ahead of us as we went down the estuary (more on why later), and we stopped to put up sails at the mouth, while they motored on. Our sail across was lovely, a nice close haul in 10-12 knots, which moved us along at hull speed. By the time we picked up the flood tide moving from the gate toward Richmond, we were hitting 9 knots over ground.

When we arrived, we at first missed the destination, motoring over toward the San Francisco YC in Belvedere Cove, but we quickly discovered our error, thanks to a radio check and the shouts of our friends, and reversed course to the proper guest dock at the Corinthian. The nice thing about cruising, when you're not the first to arrive, is that there are lots of hands to bring you to a safe landing. And, this was no exception. We soon were ensconced at the dock and rafting David and Susan Sherrill's Argonauta to our starboard side.

The party soon began, first on Argonauta, then moving to Chasseseuresse and spilling on to the docks. Eventually, we all tumbled into the Corinthian YC for dinner and a night in the bar (or on the town, depending on one's predilections). More photos

Next morning, Deb and I had breakfast at Sam's with Tony and Vicki, then helped a couple of boats away, and then wandered over to the San Francisco YC for a looksee. We weren't disappointed. One would expect a touch of opulence in Marin County, and both the San Francisco and Corinthian clubs have it. A fun place to visit with a lot of friendly folks.

By early afternoon, we departed, and Deb decided to try out some driving tricks she'd been told by Tony Shaffer, Encinal's rear commodore. So we hoisted the full main, set the full jib, and headed out into 20 knot winds across the slot from Belevedere to the lee of Alcatraz and on to the Bay Bridge. We started with an Olson 33 coming up strongly on our port side - two boats in the same direction are always racing, you know - and by the time we reached Alcatraz, we put at least twenty boat lengths between us and were doing upwards of 8.5 knots over ground. Deb was having the greatest time feeling out the boat.

It would have been a perfect day, but when I finally pulled in the jib, tightened up the main, and turned on the iron genny, we realized that our slowness down the estuary the day before was a power loss. We couldn't do over 5.2 knots at 3500 rpm. We got in safely, but now we have to troubleshoot the engine. Hope it's nothing serious, because we're looking forward to a trip up the coast to Bodega Bay in late October, and we need a solid engine then. So, it's off to call the mechanic...

August 12-13After a three-week hiatus, we returned to Spindrift to take our Glen Cove, New York friends, Neil and Ruth Cowan and their daughter Sarah (who lives in San Francisco) for a sail. Our Friday sail was short in duration, just out into the south bay, but a grand time.

On Saturday, we participated in the Gracie and George Regatta, sponsored by our Encinal Yacht Club, in which the driver must be female and the crew of only one must be male. The course was about 12 miles, and we managed to complete it in 3 hours and 48 minutes and capture the next to the last place. This was our first race in Spindrift, and we really captured our position at the start. Had we crossed the line more to the lee and closer to the gun, we might actually have placed. But we had a great time, learned a lot, and discovered we really enjoyed the whole racing idea. In the end that’s what counts, and we’re looking forward to another race in Spindrift.

July 16-17
Buddy-boated with Doug and Jo Leavitt to Sausalito this weekend. Hooked up with Jenny in the estuary, and motored out to the mouth, where we both set our sails. We double-reefed the main and the jib, and Spindrift jumped ahead. We read 19.5 knots true and 22+ knots apparent on the way across the slot, whereas Doug later said they read about 25 knots true – maybe our wind instrument is not properly calibrated. In any case, we arrived in Sausalito a good half-hour before Jenny, dropped our sails, and then motored over to the Sausalito Yacht Club moorings and picked up a mooring for the first time. Deb stopped Spindrift right on the ball, and I only needed a couple of swipes with the “Happy Hooker” to secure it. Needless to say, we were very pleased with ourselves.

We had a great weekend. Doug and Jo offered to use their dinghy (ours was tied on the foredeck), so we had a light lunch on Jenny and then went ashore and did the Sausalito shops. We had dinner at the Spinnaker Restaurant with a window seat overlooking our boats, ended the evening with a nightcap at the SYC, where I played the piano a bit. The rolly anchorage sent me to sleep right off, though the mooring ball knocking on the hull occasionally woke both of us up. Next morning we had an eye-opener on Jenny, and we dropped the mooring ball just before noon. The mooring line had wrapped around the mooring ball anchor chain, and Doug made it easy for me to get it free by coming over on his dinghy – I’ll have to remember to not let out so much line there next time. The sail back was smooth, pretty fast, and uneventful. We were in the slip by 15:00, and soon off to have dinner in the City with Deb’s son, Jason. (More photos)

July 9-10 – Cruised over to South Beach Harbor with our cruising group to go to a Giants game and spend the night. It’s a short trip from Alameda to South Beach, so we motored over. A strong wind off the beam made docking a bit tricky, but Deb handled it well and we had help from fellow cruisers on the docks. By noon we were headed toward our nose-bleed seats at PacBell (well...SBC) Park. Although there was a persistent marine layer over most of the bay area, the sun shone through at the ballpark, and we spent a glorious two hours consuming peanuts and beer and watching what was surely the shortest game I’ve ever attended. We then adjourned to Ken and Joanne Baker’s trawler, Fiesta Forever, for a visit, and by 18:00 we were at the South Beach Yacht Club for a barbeque and a fair portion of libations. Ended the evening with a drink at near-by Paragon.

On Sunday morning we awakened to a day without fog and with light winds. We joined the group for fizzes and Bloody Mary’s on the docks and then adjourned with our friends Mike and Judy Porfiri for breakfast at the Java Hut, an institution by the docks that one should not miss. We then stripped the canvas off our toe-rails and headed out for a sail on the bay. What a gorgeous day it was!

We tacked north past the city front, put a reef in the main and headsail, and sailed close-hauled past the lee of Alcatraz and on to Sausalito.

On the way back, Deb took the helm and we tracked back along the same course to the bay bridge, winds hitting 23 knots and, in a slack, speed over ground and through the water topping 8½ knots. We rolled in the headsail going down the estuary, and coasted along all the way to Coast Guard Island before dropping the main and heading into the slip.

July 1-5 – Moved aboard Spindrift on July 1st for a four-day stint. She’s a very comfortable boat to live aboard, though the icebox is very poorly insulated and requires a lot of ice, which soon melts away. We put a small block in and then poured in three standard sized bags of crushed ice. I added a couple of bags a day, and the block was still there after four days plus. Could fix this problem, but it would mean pulling major cabinet sections, and we’re not ready to do that yet; moreover, if we did pull out the cabinet, then I suppose we’d put in a refrigerator/freezer rather than just insulate an old icebox. Hmmm...another project.

deborah on her boat at the club dock

In any case, we had a great time at the club, exchanging visits to boats, going for a dinghy ride with friends, listening to music and playing music, lounging about, eating and eating and drinking and drinking (photos). Quite satiated on the morning of July 5th, we returned Spindrift to her regular slip.

just some of the boats that arrived for the weekend

June 29 – Moved Spindrift over to the EYC docks in the afternoon and tied her up for the duration of the July 4th weekend, a members’ cruise-in at the club.

June 24-26 – Cruise out to Angel Island with our Encinal Yacht Club cruising group.

la scala, spindrift, and impetuous - a hans christian and two cals

We started at our marina, hoisting the dinghy on to Spindrift’s foredeck, then sailing across the backside of the slot to the lee of Angel Island, where we doused the sails. At about 16:30, we motored into Ayala Cove, where EYC’s port captain, Chuck Wetteroth on Cat's Meow directed us to raft up with Mike Chambreau’s Cal 34, Impetuous. Mike had captured bow and stern moorings earlier in the day, and we added a line to the forward mooring. By 18:00 Michael and Judy Poifiri’s Hans Christian 42, La Scala, was rafted up to us, and Doug and Jo Levitt’s Jeanneau 42, Jenny, to them, and we had lowered our dinghy and put the motor on her.

our fearless port captain, chuck wetteroth

Friday night was great fun, drinks leading to an unplanned potluck on La Scala. We all drank a bit too much, and slept solidly through a roily night. The surge in Ayala Cove, caused mainly by currents and exacerbated by powerboats, is really something – and we had not anticipated it.

Saturday we arose to bacon and eggs (not going to cook bacon again on the boat; the odor took all day to dissipate), and then helped moor and raft up a dozen more cruisers. Ultimately, we had seventeen boats. The highlight of our day was a hike to the peak of Angel Island’s Mount Livermore, about 780 feet up along a mile and a half long trail, along with Steve of Varoom. The views going up are increasingly beautiful, and at the top the 360-degree panorama of the bay is absolutely stunning. Too bad the day was overcast with a thick marine layer, but we definitely plan to go back on a sunny day in late summer or early fall.

there are great views of the harbor from the hillside trail up mt. livermore

further up the trail you can see the harbor as well as belvedere and tiburon in the background

jim and deborah at the end of the long climb

ayala cove from the peak of mt. livermore

Saturday ended with a bring-your-own BBQ on the island, to which everyone dinghied over. Saturday night usually is pretty raucous on cruise-outs, but we had expended ourselves the night before, so the evening songfest aboard Jenny sort of petered out on, and we all crashed early to another roily night in the cove.

doug and jo leavitt among others at the saturday night barbeque

just a few too martinis for some of us

Cruisers started pulling out at 9:00 on Sunday. After breakfast, a dinghy trip ashore, and then hoisting up the dinghy motor and stowing the dinghy on the foredeck, we finally left shortly after 12:00. It was a beautiful sail back across to Treasure Island and a brisk wind dashed us down the estuary at six knots. We doused sails and docked at the EYC for a late lunch, then returned to our slip and put Spindrfit to bed. A great cruise out, which we’re looking forward to doing again, with or without the club group. More photos.

May 12 – What a lovely sail! It was Deb’s day to do things she hadn’t done before: backing out of the slip, raising the mainsail and securing the first reef, pulling out the jib, and so forth. We left just before noon, motored over to the Jack London Fuel Dock, and, after circling a bit while awaiting the departure of another boat and the docking of one other ahead of us, Deb smoothly docked Spindrift, and we tied her up with good professional help from the fuel dock staff. She took twenty-two gallons, and I added the requisite biocide. We then set off for our afternoon sail. Deb raised the mainsail easily, made sure the first reef was in securely, and, with a bit more effort, got the jib out. She then took the helm and we tacked north along the lee side of Treasure Island. Just past Clipper Cove, the reef in the jib seemed to have slipped out, so we headed up, and I brought in the jib about four turns. I then sailed her across the backside of the slot in winds up to twenty knots apparent and seventeen true, and we hove-to in the lee of Angel Island for some lunch.

After lunch, using the Cunningham, we put in the second reef, and Deb took the helm to backtrack across the slot. With the second reef in, in sixteen to seventeen knots true wind, the weather helm was really reduced, and she handled beautifully. Below the Bay Bridge we slowed for a container ship and then turned into the wind and I took out both reefs to go down the estuary. But the wind had faded almost completely, so we pulled in the jib, motored back to the marina, dropped the jib, and settled into our berth. Couldn’t have been a nicer day!

May 5 – No sailing today, but we did motor over to the pump-out station and thoroughly clean the holding tank. Deb did a great job trying to turn Spindrift around to bring her in on her port side at the station, but the wind was working against us, as was our starboard prop walk. Marina friend Tom McClellan helped out by taking the bow and walking us slowly around. Had he not been there, I would have eventually gotten off and done the same, but he made it easy.

June 2 – Jim took his friend Ed Todd, from Connecticut, and Ed’s brother Jim, who lives in Saratoga, out for a day sail.

jim & ed todd after lunch in the lee of angel island

This was the first time either Deb or I sailed Spindrift without the other on board. Jim was an old salt with small powerboats and had done some sailing years before, so he easily took over the helm when sails had to be hoisted and lowered. Ed followed directions well, working the lines and helping to douse the mainsail at the end of the day. We hoisted sails at the mouth of the estuary, putting a single reef in the main. We sailed north along the lee side of Treasure Island, across the backside of the slot to Angel Island, where in the wind shadow, we hove-to and had lunch. Going across the slot, with winds just under twenty knots, I headed into the wind and put a three to four turn reef in the jib, which, with the traveler on the main all the way lee, kept the rails just out of the water. After about twenty minutes for lunch, which saw us drift south about a half-mile, we turned north again and then west through Raccoon Straits, a port tack the entire way from Alameda to Belvedere Island. A few hundred feet from Belvedere Island, we tacked southwest, toward San Francisco, and crossed the slot again on a course to the St. Francis Yacht Club. It was gorgeous, with only three or four other boats on the bay, the sun bright, and the haze confined almost completely to the Berkeley/Oakland hills. The winds peaked at 1:30 p.m., so the second trip across the slot was more comfortable, and a beam to broad reach along the waterfront past Pier 39 was really pleasant sailing. The trip back to the marina was uneventful; we motored from just below the Bay Bridge, as the wind died away. They did yeoman work helping put Spindrift to bed – the new toe-rail covers do take time and effort to take off and put back. Took Jim and Ed to our Encinal Yacht Club for a drink to end a really beautiful day on the bay.

Motoring in a vibration appeared suddenly at 2500 RPM, seemingly coming from the prop. Throttling back to neutral immediately stopped the vibration, and powering back again did not restart it. But fifteen minutes later the same thing happened, again the vibration disappearing and not coming back. No visible sign that the shaft or packing gland was loose; the motor was fine. I think it’s the collar on the prop zinc, perhaps coming loose. By email, asked our diver to check it out and let me know.

May 7-8 – Cruised to Spinnaker Yacht Club in San Leandro with the EYC cruising group. A nice calm largely downwind sail on Saturday got us to the SYC in just under three hours. Rafted up to Doug and Jo Leavitt’s Jenny, and in turn Mike and Ina Tabak rafted Nova up to us. That night rains arrived, at least a half-day earlier than predicted. We awakened to what turned out to be a lull in the storm. Since the tide had bottomed out some of us, we had to wait for a rising tide until at least 10:30 or 11:00 to leave. When that came, we found ourselves pinned to each other and the dock by a 20-25 knot breeze out of the south and on our beam. Fenders were quite literally flattened between hulls. A couple of Catalina’s, including Nova, with a half-dozen folks pushing them out, got away by pulling out in reverse and taking advantage of a port prop walk. Spindrift, unfortunately, walks starboard in reverse. Boats all along Jenny’s port side fended and pushed us, and we managed to get the bow out far enough to pull away. But just as we got momentum, the wind on the beam pushed the stern in, and our stern pulpit collided with Jenny’s, damaging our life-sling bag and breaking an old GPS antenna, which we don’t use but had not gotten around to removing from the rail. We decided to motor back to Alameda, a two-hour trip of which half was in the rain. All in all, a good experience, and Spindrift came through it wonderfully.

March 26-27

looking none the worse for wear, we enjoyed easter brunch at the encinal yacht club after our cruise out

The great cruise-out to Clipper Cove, our first anchoring Spindrift using our new windlass with all chain, the first use of our dinghy and motor. Dinghy in tow, we set off just before noon on Saturday morning for the cove at Treasure Island, where we planned to navigate the shallow channel into the cove at high tide. Just below the Bay Bridge, Rod and Peggy Kidd overtook us in their Catalina 42 Sashay, so we followed them into the cove and to the anchorage. After two tries we got the anchor set; our friend Doug Leavitt dinghied over from Jenny, his Jeanneau 42, to assure us that things were as they should be, which is a nice touch for folks who are just trying out new equipment, as we were. We then hoisted our new Honda outboard down to the dinghy and made sure it ran.

We’d looked forward to spending a sunny afternoon polishing winches topside, but the wind came up and a cirrus cloud cover cooled things down enough to keep us inside. We discovered that Deb does not like to be confined. Like a prisoner in solitary confinement, she look out soulfully at the world, faced with the equally unwelcome choices of staying warm on Spindrift, or being cold and windblown on deck or making the rounds to other boats in the dinghy. Don’t expect much cruising from us, unless it’s gorgeously warm weather, short sailing legs, and lots of things to do ashore.

Deb stranded in Clipper Cove

EYC cruise-outs are evidence enough that ours is really a drinking club with a sailing problem. After we all dinghied ashore for an Easter Egg hunt that held hints to a buried treasure (a case of beer, which promptly was consumed), some of us retrieved hors-d’oeuvres from our boats, and all assembled at the Treasure Island Yacht Club, where the drinking and drinking and drinking and eating commenced. Later, in the glow of the lights from the Bay Bridge, a few of us stalwarts found our way to Rob and Carol Woltring’s motor yacht Perfect, the perfect party boat, for additional drinking, karaoke, and dancing (it’s a big boat). Eventually, after some sleep and morning Advil, we awakened Easter morning to gin fizzes and bloody marys on the docks.

It is a tradition at Treasure Island that anyone who is anchored in Clipper Cove on Easter Sunday awakens to an Easter basket on his or her boat. It remains a mystery as to who is the Treasure Island Easter Bunny, but for years the baskets have appeared. Alas, the Easter Bunny missed Spindrift (or the basket blew away before we found it), for we alone did not get one. We were appropriately sad.

Finally, Sunday, 11:30 hours, high-tide approaching, we hoisted the outboard aboard, attached a towing bridle to the dinghy, weighed anchor, and motored out. All morning we watched a storm approaching and knew it would hit in the late afternoon, but we were stunned as we came out of the cove and headed south, under the Bay Bridge, and toward Alameda. A southerly wind of twenty knots with greater gusts hit us head on and in the opposite direction of the tidal current, rolling up four to five foot waves every ten to twelve feet. Waves literally broke across the bow and down to the cockpit, soaking us quite thoroughly. While Spindrift took the waves with no problem, waves rolled the dinghy 360 degrees twice and then flipped her upside down and sucked her to the water's surface. We slowed to a crawl and tried to raise her to break the suction, but with rough seas simply couldn’t do it. When we reach the estuary breakwater and the wind and seas calmed a bit, Jim ran a line from the dinghy to one of the winches and managed to raise her enough to break the suction and flip her right side up. This time she stayed, and we completed our journey to homeport, but - and this is the nice thing about cruising out with a group like our friends at EYC - not without Doug and Jo Leavitt on Jenny, who had passed us on the way in, motoring back to see if we were all right.

March 13 – After a good night’s sleep, Deb and I arose to tackle setting up our dinghy. A task that should have taken a few minutes took us the bulk of the day. The U.V. storage cover was the wrong size, and it took us two entirely different trips to West Marine to get the right one and finally stow the inflated boat on the storage rack we installed the end of last summer. We were too exhausted to put the motor on her and try her out, so we’ll be back at the boat in two weeks, and we’ll be forced to try it all out since were doing an overnight cruise to Clipper Cove (Treasure Island) with our Encinal Yacht Club cruising group.

March 8 – Mounted motor mount on aft port rail and motor-mate hoist adjacent, picked up Rob Bastress as crew, and motored Spindrift down to Mariner Boatyard to pick up Honda 4-stroke 5 hp outboard. Put motor aboard, and motored back to slip. It’s nice to be on the water for any reason.

March 6 – After four weekends of grey, cold, and rain, we caught the ebb and sailed out the Gate again with our friend Rob. A good breeze reaching 15 knots, 10-12 foot swells coming about 14 seconds apart made for a beautiful sail two miles out the Gate. The tide changed just as we turned back, and gradually built as we neared the Golden Gate Bridge. Winter’s making way for Spring, and we can hardly wait for longer days.

January 30 – With the sun brightening the winter sky, we found a nice fresh breeze out the Golden Gate that easily carried us out past Mile Rock and Point Bonita. On the way back in, on a beam reach from the bridge’s north tower to Crissy Field at 7.5 knots, our sailing buddy Rob Bastress put it best: the old girl enjoyed lifting her skirts today. These are the days that make all the working days worthwhile.

January 17 – Shakedown cruise today, after six months of no sailing. Winds from 8-16 knots. Motored out the estuary, set sails with a two turn reef in the jib, and Deb drove a starboard tack across the south bay to San Francisco’s Portrero District shoreline, a bit south of Pacbell Park; I took the helm on the return. She’s always tracked solidly on a port tack as opposed to a starboard tack, and this was no different. This is not a big complaint. Much bigger is the failure of the wind directional instrument (which has acted up ever since our sail broker Sylvain Barrielle put his knee into it and pushed in the clear plastic cover). It never broke free to register direction, which may mean it’s corroded. Also, the knot meter didn’t register, which is probably just a clog in the paddlewheel in the thruhull; we’ll clear it later. All other systems seemed to perform flawlessly.