Monday, January 13, 2014

Trip to Grand Marina Boat Yard

Since my last post, I have been getting her ready for a haul out. The problem is, the closest haul out is Alameda Marina, all the way across the San Francisco Bay. For people who do not know the Bay Area, this is quite a distance. Across the Bay, is even a longer distance for a novice [at best] sailor like myself. So I did my best in doing the prep work, such as engine maintenance and check list items, and woke up early on Sunday morning and motored her out of the slip. 

As soon as I cleared the Marina, I turned off the engine and threw up the sails. It was not long before I was making my way on a 1-2 knot winds, heading out towards the deep water of the shipping lanes. I knew there was a few areas to watch out for, one being a smily face ball that had shallow rocks underneath. To my surprise, this section of the bay is actually quite shallow, and I have 6 ft of draft to watch out for.

It did not take too long before I was out into the deep water of the shipping lanes. The only problem now was I was heading into a strong head wind, that was coming directly from my final destination. So I began tacking back and forth, for what seamed like eternity in order to gain just the slightest bit of distance. But I just did my best to figure out what was working best, and after a few hours, I began to get a better feel of it.

Soon the ocean was choppy as the wind began to accelerate. Not only that, there were small swells and every now and then a small wave would catch her bow at the right time and break over her and I. Things began to get faster, my hands were soon hurting from pulling line and switching the main sail from side to side. But eventually I figured out how to trim the sails and ride the wind. I was hauling ass and things were were looking pretty good.

As I approached the City of San Francisco, there were large tankers spread across the Bay. Things were really put into perspective now, for I had markers to go by. I could really see my speed, and measure my distance quite well. Eventually though I made the turn up the Oakland Estuary, and turned with the wind towards Alameda.
 Once inside the channel, the water was calm, and was choked with weekend warriors. It seemed that every person who owned a boat in the Bay Area, was in that calm channel. I felt like I had just had battle with Mother Nature, and was now calmly drifting up the channel.

I eventually found the Boat Yard, and docked her along side of another sailor and his new boat that he had sailed their a couple of months earlier. I got a lucky ride back to San Francisco, where I caught a train back to Redwood City, and then to my truck. I had sea legs for a couple of hours and felt a mix of shock and awe.

I called at 8am the next morning, and they already had her out and were pressure washing her. At 2pm, I stopped by nervous of some possible bad news of her condition. But I was blessed to see her with her first coat of fresh paint. She had no blisters or anything else worthy of fixing on her hull. Tomorrow, they will do some driveshaft repacking and valves. Because she had such a great bill of health, I am paying for a new wax job, cause she needs it. The guys at the Grand Marina Boat Yard are great and are very helpful.