Sunday, October 26, 2008

Impromptu 3-day Bay Tour

Why does it often seem either there isn’t enough time or there’s too much? I guess that’s what makes it special when everything seems to flow just right. We went out for a sail a few days ago and decided to keep going. It started with no wind and changing our 80% for our 100% jib. The wind picked up from the west and we played with our monitor wind vane- it definitely steers a straighter course than either of us! Late afternoon came and we found ourselves near Angel Island. Looking for some anchoring practice, we set the hook at Quarry Beach off of Point Blunt and decided to relax. We dined as the sun set and watched the stars and San Francisco city lights appear. The next morning brought beautiful weather- perfect for more anchoring practice. So we didn’t get waylaid by the fun of sailing, we motored counter clockwise around the island setting and weighing anchor in each little cove. The currents are pretty strong around Angel Island and it’s amazing the strange way the boat lays on the anchor. We stopped for lunch in Winslow Cove and with record highs took a cool off swim. This is definitely the life! We made our way back toward Berkeley, but with warm winds blowing off the land we just couldn’t head back to the dock, so we sailed through the slot in the Berkeley Pier and back toward the city. We ended up where Yerba Buena and Treasure Island meet, in Clipper Cove (the same cove used for the Clipper sea planes that carried Chris’ grandparents, father and uncle to their new home in Hawaii just after WWII), for another anchor and sunset meal.

The next morning dawned beautiful again as we had our cup of tea and watched people speeding over the bay bridge to get to work. We had a perfect view of the new bridge being built to the east and the Golden Gate peaked over the island to the west. The wind was picking up on the bay, but the cove remained calm. We set the sails and weighed anchor, but becalmed, we decided to motor to the wind line at the mouth of the cove. The winds began to fill our sails from the north and promptly the engine died. Couldn’t be more perfect timing, eh? So we headed out for some beautiful sailing. “Sounds like the engine isn’t getting fuel” was Chris’ guess. Were we out of diesel? The gage said over ½ a tank, but can we trust the gage? It has been a while since we filled up… Shawn took over sailing and Chris began his first engine repair under way. No, there is definitely fuel, why isn’t it getting to the engine? Noting air in the lines, a pump of the fuel bulb revealed the culprit, a small leak in the fuel filter line. He tightened the bolt and bled the lines. The engine started but still wasn’t getting enough fuel to idle. In the midst of this, a hose in the cooling system blew off (rusty hose clamps) and salt water spewed into the cabin. When it rains it pours! By this time we’re nearly to the Berkeley Marina- still sans engine and winds had dropped. The plan was a sail-by behind the breakwall to see if there was enough wind to sail into the slip. But our exit plan, the south entrance, was calm so we continued in on a breath of wind with the anchor at the ready. At the last second deciding that there wouldn’t be enough to get to our slip we sailed instead into the fuel dock snubbing her to a stop just shy of a fully decked out very expensive looking Baba 35, phew! Chris continued the repair, quickly replacing the hose and with the bolt tightened, like magic the engine was back to purring like a lion. With no wind now, we motored to our slip; happy, sun burnt and salty. What an exciting end to our impromptu 3-day tour.

October update

We thought we would be able to update this blog more often. Let’s just say we’ll try to update at least once a month and if we get more in there, then it’ll be a nice surprise for everyone… We’ve been busy- installing the monitor wind vane, improving the HAM radio grounding, building the double surfboard rack, inventorying lines, moving the dock box gear aboard, replacing mast top lights, hanging the radar reflector, reorganizing the galley gear and our sailing and reading libraries, moving chain to balance the boat, and the list goes on. In the midst of this Shawn managed an amazing week long trip back east and was able to attend her best friend from high school, Leah’s, wedding as well as visit her entire family and the St. Lawrence River. October 15th came and we’re off! At least we’re closer to off. We’re less attached to land than ever, using this month to practice, practice, practice and tie up the millions of loose ends that seem to keep appearing. The new date to keep in mind is November 15th (plus whatever time is required for the appropriate weather window). And we’ll be heading out past the Golden Gate and taking a left (quite a way to celebrate your birthday, eh Mum?). Until then, we’re enjoying parts of the Bay that we haven’t yet visited and doing the pre-shake-down shake. That means trying out all of our systems; the anchor, the windlass, the dinghy, the monitor wind vane, the reefing lines, changing sails under way, heaving-to, maneuvering, docking… Whew, never a dull moment! We’ve got some pictures and stories to tell already, so we’ll get another post up quickly.