Posted by: vlbyers | September 6, 2009

The long-awaited update from San Francisco

September 5th, 2009

We had planned to stop in Eureka Ca. after leaving Newport Or. due to storm warnings on the weekend. Well, throw those storm warnings out the port holes! What are 20-25 knot winds if not to sail in!! We passed up Eureka thinking we would go straight to San Francisco–we were all feeling well and resting the first 2 days of the journey. Vicki was complaining at 3 pm about the 6 knot winds we had with a full main up ‘where are those 25 knot winds we were promised?’ Larry ‘they’ll be here and more’. About 5 pm the winds whipped up, we took in one reef (first mistake), and left it in until we had been battling 35 knot winds for 6 hours (second mistake). Vicki then became sick, same story different verse, and Andrew and Larry were left to do battle. We lost the boom vang and broke a part on the traveller and the  ignition for the engine was broken in the meelee, it’s a sailboat right!? We hove to, great time to practice this, it didn’t make the winds and waves go away (was much smoother) for about 1/2 hour so we could talk about our plan.  Thankfully we were only about 30 miles offshore (we did learn something) and decided to try for Shelter Cove.

We arrived in Shelter Cove about noon the following day-thankfully Andrew was feeling strong and he was able to stand watch all night and navigate us into the cove. After throwing out the anchor, and assured we weren’t dragging, we all fell into a comatose state until dinner time. It wasn’t much less active-very rolly anchorage, but we were safe from the remnants of the storm.

After seeking some shelter at the appropriately named Shelter Cove to make repairs on the boat and rest and recover for the crew we took off again down south. This time we were hesitant to say we were going to San Francisco, I didn’t even put it in our log at the time what our destination was, afraid I might jinx our efforts.

We had repaired the most important items needed for the next leg, the ignition plate (we could still start the engine) would have to wait until we got to port. We were able to leave several hours earlier than we had planned, timing our departure with the weather forecast and when the small craft warning would no longer be in effect meant the first few hours we were still being thrown around a bit by some large waves and swell that was left over from the storm (we kept telling ourselves this), hoping that we hadn’t left too early.

The remainder of the trip was quite calm, we left on Monday hoping we would get to San Francisco by Early Wednesday morning knowing we may need to deal with some fog, the tide through the Gate and of course unknown winds. By about 10 O’Clock on Tuesday it was apparent with our speed through the night (we powered most of the way) that we would be able to make it to the Golden Gate by the evening giving us plenty of light to navigate to our final destination somewhere in the Sausilito area. The winds remained steady so we raised the sails and our speed under sail remained about 6 knots. The excitement grew as we ticked off the miles marking our position on the chart.

Our excitement grew even more once we were able to see the south tower of the golden Gate through the light mist -looking through the binoculars every few minutes, checking our course to miss the shoals which are well known and marked in Bonita Channel and adjusting the sails to get every knot out of the wind, it was an activity filled time.

Rounding Bonita Point the Golden Gate came into full view our thoughts came pouring out. We had all talked about being excited to go to San Francisco, Andrew bought a book about what to do in San Francisco, we were really looking forward to our planned 2 weeks here. In disbelief we all talked about our thoughts that this was kind of surreal we weren’t sure we would ever make it, didn’t think that coming into this port would be such a big thing but now that we were looking at our accomplishment in the form of sailing our little boat under this huge steel icon made it all real and a very big thing indeed. After not seeing many boats this leg we are now looking at no less than 3 huge container ships, one cruise ship exiting the harbor, 2 ferries, countless wind surfers, kite surfers and sailboats adding to the excitement of this passage. Right before we passed under the bridge we looked down and saw several porpoises swimming around the boat as if to say ‘welcome home’.

Our trip under the bridge was celebrated with a little bubbly and calls to our kids and close friends to share the momentous occasion-there is a great place for technology! Of course the wind changed and left us scrambling to prevent an accidental jibe and the bubbly went on the cockpit floor. We never pass up a chance to christen our sailing vessel, she worked as hard as we all did.

So here we are, very graciously berthed at the San Francisco Yacht Club with showers and coffee in the morning, being hosted and driven everywhere by our good friends Jackie and Mark Kenziorick and having a great time seeing all the sights in and around the Bay area. The weather has been wonderful, not typical according to the locals with very warm sunny days, no fog and pleasant nights.  So far we have seen Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere and San Francisco, we have ridden the Trolley Cars and been to Ghirardelli Square and to Golden Gate Park (we plan to return there to really take in the museums and sights next week when we have more time). Yesterday we were treated to a limo tour of the wine country-this is the life.

Black Cat was as ready to get on land as the rest of us, wasn’t more that a few minutes and she was on the dock exploring the other boats. She has really adapted well to this cruising life-I am sure she would have a great story to tell about the Tuna we caught –“what the !@#$@ are they doing now?” She is a trooper and we enjoy having her aboard to share our adventures.

There are still a few repairs that need to be made we ordered the engine plate, purchased some very needed items (a cup holder which swivels for the cockpit-I used to think that was a frivolous item:), we plan to attend the BAJAHAHA get together in Alameda on the 9th of Sept. for the first kickoff and spend a few more days sailing and exploring the Bay area before we head south. The remainder of the trip down California is going to be short trips to the many beautiful bays and islands along the coast. We are looking forward to increasingly warmer weather and water temperatures-can’t wait to jump in and swim.

Our love to everyone-life is a great adventure live it.

Vicki, Larry and Andrew


  1. Wow, glad you made it out of the northern Cal. winds! I celebrated a birthday last week, but nothing that exciting. Could have used your help with “You Say It’s Your Birthday.” Maybe next year?
    SF sounds really great. We’re jealous, like many. Hi to Mark and Jackie, too.
    Peace n love, T + K.

  2. Yeah!!!! you guys are doing it and will soon be caught up with us. We just got into Oxnard from Santa Cruz Islands where we had our little vacation. It had felt like we had been in delivery mode and I needed some days of laying in the sun reading and swimming off the boat. This proved to be the perfect spot!

    See you soon.

  3. Wow! What a story! I do need to remind you that when you Christen a boat, you’re supposed to have one bottle for the boat and a bottle for the crew! 🙂 Hopefully, you grabbed another bottle or two while cruising aronud in the limo in Napa!!!

    We had hoped to go sailing today, but NW weather said 70% chance of rain, so stayed home and cleaned up after being at the Fair all weekend at the horse show. Hoping to get a couple more days in before the weather gets too cold for me (J).

    Karla was saying she would love to try to meet up with you if you have time. I gave her your phone number and web page. You rememer Karla & Bill and Lloyd (my dad) and Joanne from Greece?

    So happy that you arrived safely. Can’t wait to share some warm weather with you! Look forward to chattng with you soon.

    Love & Hugs, Jeanna and Steve

  4. Congratulations! It was great to read about this last leg. I have been checking the site for updates and knew a good yarn was coming any day. Have fun and please post some pictures on the site. Your fans need more details…

  5. And I thought you had to cross an ocean for ‘Real’ adventure, heck, you found it right here in our back yard!! Glad to hear it went well and the repairs are minor, can’t wait to see the pictures and hear more stories!
    Take Care and keep your salts aboutcha!

  6. Happy Trails, Rocinante! Or should it be Happy Sails? Enjoyed having you in the SF Bay area, and glad to learn you’re on the way to Half Moon Bay today.

    Joe and Maria

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