Today, the double handed farallons race was scheduled...I ultimately decided against going...here is why
The weather forecast is up but in my opinion safe for experienced sailors in a boat that is well maintained, just received a clean bill of health and has all the safety equipment. The good news about it is that it is pretty steady so the conditions you see out in the morning will be similar to the conditions in the afternoon, allowing for turning around safety calls based on actual conditions.
So had I known I was going with the person I am doing Pac Cup with, with the 2nd crew who had expressed interest, Nathan with whom I have been sailing for years, Nick whom I have a lot of respect for as a sailor and know well, Scott who is very experienced and skilled, or anyone else I know well, have sailed with before, I would have gone.
However, around midnight, with 8 hours to go, I finally secured one person to go out there with...And that one person is someone I do not know and who does not know the boat. He sounds like a fantastic sailor, and my kind of sailor (offshore/adventure type, and a small boat lover despite the discomfort) but I felt rushed not having the time to chat with a couple of people I know and trust as sailors about him as a sailor.
With this unknown, I had a small doubt in my mind about how safe a call it was to go out to the ocean (as opposed to rocking around on the Bay). The swell is really a critical factor in safety, the wind not as big a problem, and certainly a problem that can be much more easily managed.
I talked with a couple of people whom I know as sailors and respect and asked them what they would do in my position - they both agreed that given the rush + unknown factor and the conditions out there, they would not be going in my shoes.
That advice and an old principle of mine which says that if I can't be 100% sure I am making a safe decision (even if if I am mistaken) for the crew and the boat, then it probably is not a safe decision...and I will err on the safe side. My irrational side was pushing me to go so badly just because I am a huge fan of ocean racing, but I tried to set it aside as it is not a good safety companion. My rational side had one open question - at sea and with the comfort of choice because the boat is in port right now (obviously, hitting a storm out in the ocean triggers a different set of decisions), open questions about safety are paramount.
So it is with a very heavy heart that at the very last minute, I erred on the safety side :(
it is probably a good call. And it still sucks big time...