Summer Sailing on the Bay

Lest the frank tone of the last post cast a dour pallor on your vicarious experience with this blog, let me clear one thing up: sailing is a whole lotta fun.

a captain and his michelada

Here we are rapidly approaching the Summer Solstice and the Bay Area weather has been unimpeachable. Some days hotter, some cooler, but nearly always a with a bright orb of sunshine overhead and consistent winds running across the water. And, even better, I have recently left my gainful employment and have vast expanses of time to devote to the boat. If I’m not taking her out to sail in a particular day, I’m working to move projects forward and get (ploddingly) closer to the day I sail under the Golden Gate.

Now, sure, I do occasionally wake with a start at the panic of having such an uninterrupted ebb of money into the boat, but I rationalize it by telling myself that this money was already spent–I just didn’t know it yet. The problems/shortcomings/hazards that are being addressed were always negative entries on the ledger but I didn’t have enough depth of knowledge to know which specific monetary figures they were shorthand for. And, true, that figure is never pleasantly lower than expected, but the sticker shock is (for now) largely mitigated by the gratifying joy of translating the punch list “shorthand” into currency spent (measured in Dollars US, blood, sweat, and tears).

But enough about that for the moment, this post is to revel in the levity of living on a beautiful boat and getting to take friends and family out onto the water. This past weekend, especially, was ripe for that as I had a trifecta of sailing days, each with its own tenor.

Saturday we were a crew of three: myself, Avery, and Mike C. Sustained 20 knot winds and morning sprinkles had me anticipating a “character building” day, but the clouds dissipated shortly after we passed Point Richmond and hit the Bay proper. Winds gusted at 22-23 but remained steady in the 20 range from the SW. Our path (with the tide but) into the wind to bash through Raccoon Straits was hard-won but very rewarding. Through the strait (between Angel Island and Tiburon) we got to try out my new self-tacking rigging setup on my staysail. Not the perfect sail shape by any stretch of the imagination, but we pingponged back and forth with slow ease. Once through, we furled the staysail back up and put out the jib. We shot counter clockwise around Angel Island and bombed home on a broad reach.

Sunday was a Father’s Day sail with family. Again the day started overcast but eventually turned glorious. 17-20 knot winds from the SW. I took us through Raccoon Straits again–another slow bash into the wind–but instead of circling Angel Island we retraced our path on a good run home, with the niece and nephew both leaning over the side and scaring the bejesus out of me in fearful anticipation of an accidental jibe.

Monday brought the hottest weather but the strongest water chop. Luckily this was a day concerned with enjoying ourselves on a summer afternoon on the Bay rather than needing to get anywhere in a hurry. Mostly I just sailed with the main alone, looping towards Treasure Island, soaking in the city skyline and back to port in Richmond. My guests on that day were a bunch of old restaurant coworkers and let me tell you, for all my trepidation with working in restaurants, these people know how to cut loose! Rick brought his patented (well no, but it should be) Michelada mix, Fay bottle after bottle of bubbles, Wendy the perfect Panama Pacific Rum Punch, Alonso and Maia arrived with 75 Kumamoto Oysters and–as if that weren’t enough!–an additional 75 Beau Soleil oysters. We were responsible (read: moderate) while on the water but as soon as we were tied up on the dock cleats, cue the party! The tunes were cranked, Carolyn busted out some scrumptious Teran Pet-Nat, and we started shucking. Sparkling Muscadet was flowing, I cracked some farmhouse cider gifted me from a friend in apple country, and we set about enjoying every bit of the beautiful June evening from the cockpit of the boat.

I’ll admit that Tuesday came early, but after a nice strong coffee and a brisk walk of the dog I dug back into boat work, running electrical wires and coaxial cable. So it is back to nose to the grindstone, but this weekend was a delightful reminder as to why this boat can be so gratifying and why it is important to remember to enjoy both the labors and the fruits of them.

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