Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Half Moon Bay Return Trip

Serge, Jim, Vlad and I had dinner and shared a bottle of red wine before spending the night on Elise.

 Proudly displaying Elise's toilet. This is how you can tell that she is not a cruising boat.

In the morning, we sailed ut of the harbor in very little wind. We were upwind most of the time so we could actually achieve pretty decent boat speed. We saw two whales in Half Moon Bay and one more on our way back in the Ocean as well as a curious sea lion right by the boat, looking at us several times with intense curiosity.

Jim whale watching. We were in short and T shirt the entire time.

 The wind dropped to nothing so we had to use the engine to make any progress the moment we turned downwind to head North to San Francisco. It still made for a pleasant day on the water.

Vlad making faces

Saying good bye to Half Moon Bay

 in style!!! Veuve Cliquot champagne!!! One of the best delivery trip ever!

As we re entered the Bay we came across a dead sea lion. The carcass had been untouched by sharks and other marine scavengers. There was a line wrapped around the body and I wondered if this human action killed the poor mammal or if it wa a natural death.

Right at the bridge we had a 10 knot breeze so we set the kite. We attempted a jibe but wrapped the spinnaker around the forestay as the starboard twing block broke so we just took it down early. I spent 15 minutes unwrapping the damn thing.

We put the boat back on her trailer and were done for the day. Another marvellous day on the water.

What a treat.

Half Moon Bay Race

This was a rare treat. There were light winds at the start  but enough to sail. It was my first single handed spinnaker start - as it was ebbing I was very conservative and the last one to cross the line in my division. My competition was Taz so I decided to cover him to the extent that it was possible.

I caught up with Taz! a few minutes after the start - we went too far inside the Bay and found some flood still there. Gybed together and headed out. I sailed right by the South Tower and ended up parked before Mile Rock with the rest of the boats except for the first starts - caught by no wind as the wind was to rotate to NW.

Taz caught up - like all the other boats who caught up until they got to the no wind zone and bobbled up and down with the rest of us. Taz caught the new wind well before I did and started to develop a huge lead on Elise. He set the kite fast and was gone within minutes. I think that the teeny red kite on the left of the picture above is Taz...

As soon as the winds picked up I was gone too, staying high to head out offshore, worried about no wind near Montara. At the beginning of the day, the winds were still light and I was going nowhere fast but still moving nicely. I set the kite as early as I could and kept sailing at a hot angle, headstay reaching. I'd come back down and as soon as the wind dropped or boat speed was below 7.5 knots I'd head back up again, flirting with an invisible performance line.

Wearing shorts - and for most of the race a T Shirt I was a happy sailor with good conditions and a perfect day to welcome me back to the world of single handed racing.

Most of the day was reaching in 12 to 15 knots of wind. I focused on boat speed because I had only one goal in mind: catching up with Taz. I played the main a lot as it really gave a boost to boat speed and focused on the speedo and boat feel.

I finally caught up with Taz and invited a match race down to the finish, staying with him for a while off Pillar Point. By then the wind had really started to pick up and was oscillating between 17 and 20 knots. Taz didn't seem to want to gybe even though we were slowly sailing past layline so I didn't wait and gybed over.

Crap, a tiny little twist right at the top of the spinnaker around the forestay. Not a problem sailing but could become a problem taking the sail down. So I gybed the main back and the twist went away. Yet another spinnaker wrap I could get rid off by simply gybing back. Phew.

Off I went. Now surfing at 10+ knots and having the time of my life. Winds gusting to 22 or so knots gave Elise a fabulous little push and she was just loving it. Easy to steer and just taking off in the gusts and waves, her usual self.

Pumpkin wanting some love the evening before the race (like every evening really...)

Dawn of the race - stunningly clear day

As I got to the first green marker, heading up when the wind would be down to 17 knots and down with the gusts up to 22, I dropped the kite as the next mark which was the finish line was basically on a really really tight reach, nearly upwind from where I was and I couldn't carry the kite there.

I hadn't run my spinnaker halyard back to the cockpit so I had to do a douse standing near the mast which actually worked just fine, the spinnaker didn't even touch the water.

I finished under main only and docked under sail - a fishing boat fouled me so I fouled Erye on a last minute tack inside the channel. We all recovered so no harm no foul but still.

I spent several minutes watching a whale right by the entrance to the channel. It was mesmerizing.

Elise and Doomsday did well in the race

Friday, September 11, 2015

Evening cruise on Echappee

After spending time on Echappee or Crescendo, I can more acutely tell the difference between these boats and Elise in terms of comfort. While Elise is fast and welcoming and delivers a lot of fun, she is not spacious by any means, not dry, not suited for gourmet cooking or anything like that...

Nathan took us out for a night cruise on a warm warm night in San Francisco. No wind but what a view...

My beloved city

the world famous Golden Gate Bridge

What a shot

The new Bay Bridge.

Nathan's home as seen from what looks like a drunk man's lens

There is no cruise without wine

Hershel was sad to see us go.

Samantha and Clara playing Titanic

The Good Life.

Clara was uber elegant


Clara driving the boat

Samantha and I got dropped off at Pier 1 while Serge, Clara and Nathan kept going until 2am.

ZYC Challenge Award Dinner

We hosted the ZYC Challenge dinner at Pier 23 to honor David, Synthia and Phil, the winners of the event.

Happiness is as simple as drinks with dear friends.

2nd place!

3rd place

Nathan and David

Brian and Synthia

ZYC Commodore

Guest Vice Commodore Clara

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Little fanfare - huge accomplishments - Japanese solo sailors crossing over to the US

I love this!!! I really want to do this, just the other way.

Delivery from the Windjammers - Half Moon Bay to San Francisco

the crew changed a bit. It was Nathan, Vlad, Nat, Serge and Clara.

Clara wanted a night sail and as she won't have as many other opportunities to sail, we picked that.

Arrival back to the city

That gate.... Beautiful in all conditions

Serge actively sailing during the night, with the 60 pound spinnaker at the back of the boat. We had the bigger engine and it made a world of difference.

Clara half asleep - we did not see more than 5 knots of wind so we motored all the way

serious looking driver

A smile on a face is all we want to see!!

We left after dinner and arrived at 2 in the morning.