Spring fling to Marin YC.

Weather forcast for last weekend in the San Francisco Bay was overcast, rain, even snow down to 500 feet. Our first Ballena Bay Yacht Club cruise-out from Alameda to Marin YC was a question mark in the calendar, that is, for everone except members of BBYC.

Last out the marina as usual, I departed on Shamrock against the tides. The only hazard to navigation was the big boat racing series around the Berkeley Circle as we passed Treasure Island, wind on the nose, we motored away at 2,800 RPMS, doing the bob and weave between the long line of race boats.

Despite the overcast and cool conditions, it was a beautiful day to be on the water. From TI to the Richmond-San Rafael bridge against the ebb tide it was a long slow motor, wind on the nose all the way to San Rafael Creek. It took 3 hours to make it from TI to the mouth of the creek, average speed 2 kts over ground against the tides.

Our little Yanmar 3GM30F just kept ticking away the miles without a worry in the world. At 14,000 pounds 27hp 3.8 hp/ton ratio is ideal. I only once wanted more horsepower, it was just after the sun went down and I was freezing my buns off; it was about the time the cigarette boat came wizzing by at 50 knots, or so it seemed…

In the long open water streches of open water under autopilot, I removed the trash can in the front engine cover under the companionway and sat in the companion way as the heat radiated up from the engine compartment to get a little extra warmth, mostly hands and feet got a little cool. Say what you want about West Marine, but those new polyester/spandex thermal underwear and skull cap are a god sent, well worth twice what I paid for them.

With ice forming on my nether regions, I arrived at Marine YC, to the warm welcome of the our Commodore and fellow club members waiting on the dock. We found an inexpensive oyster bar, some of the cruise-out crew embided in a little anti-freeze and payed a card game called spoons; best to increase your medical insurance before playing this game. You get three of a kind, slap your cards on the table and everyone dives for a spoon in the table, person without a spoon is out of the game, warning paying this game with cute petite littel women is dangerous… one member still has to recover the feeling in one finger, this too shall pass…

Sunday showed high tied at 10:00, high clouds forming on the coast, billowing over the Marin headlands, clear skies overheat at 8:30, had enough of bucking the tides last night, decided to wait for high tide to depart.

By 10:00 the sky filled in and light cold rain was upon us, as I started Shamrocks engine and set about warming her up and taking in lines. Just then, a call came in over the VHF, Shamrock this is Destiny, our starboard engine will not start, can you help? Destiny is our 50’ Defever big brother on the cruise-out. Funny I thought, I just had the same problem with Shamrock this morning, I tried to start our Starboard engine and it didn’t work either!

Off I went trodding down the dock in the pouring rain. Arrived to find the skipper with the instrument panel up and meter in hand, although neatly done, these big powerboats are a spagetti fest of wiring. Got to love these big power boats when it cold and pouring rain, you can vertually stand in short pants and a t-shirt and navigate a storm in comfort, but when they develope electrical problems, it becomes a career in electron chasing.

No power down to the starter relay, I jump the relay and off she roars, WE MAKE FIRE!

With Destiny underway, it’s my turn, again almost the last boat out of the harbor at 11:00. Despite the rain, I’m toasty and warm in my new thermals and foulweather gear, wind on the nose all the way to Treasure Island, no sailing today; as luck would have the racers clear the race course as I approach, scared them away I did…Lone sailor with a loose screw at the helm would scare anyone.

Call came in from the VHF it the Commodore, “Hey were at the San Francisco Yacht Club, stop by for a drink, there is plenty of room,” old power boater trick, by the time I diverted 2 hours to Tiberon they would be underway again, to smart for that one. This horse is heading for the bar boys, see ya there.

Three miles to go to home, wind shifts, got the staysail up on a beam in 3’ chop, sleet and cold rain snuck behind the dodger, almost thought of taking the new dodger off, foolish boy… Face stining from the sleet, hands, face and feet freezing, damn’d it low tide again; 4’, 2’, 3.8’, 2’ damn’d the depth it full speed ahead, thankfully it never went below 2’. Fastest tie up at the dock in history, more like calf roping at a rodeo, Yea Ha!

As I closed the last twist lock on the sail cover, our powerboat friends where attaching their shore-power cord, just came in behind me at 12kts. Everyone headed to the Yacht Club for a warm-up round of Baileys and Irish Coffee, a bunch of red faced sailors, all smiles.

Any day on the water is better than a day at the dock.

Can’t wait, our next cruise-out is April 8-9.

Cheers to all.

Marty Chin