Low and behold, the skies cleared and it was summer! Now that I’m long of tooth with many summers in my wake, I realize how precious and fleeting they are, these glorious summer days. My favorite memories of summer include the sweet smell of hay being cut and the foggy-boggy pong of the Delta at low tide. Hot, hot days and cool, green water, evenings spent on the flying bridge with the Milky Way spread dazzlingly above and my wonderful Sweetie beside me to share it all. How could any summer evening be complete without a mosquito’s annoying love song hovering inches from your ear?
Oyster Cove Marina loses Harbormaster Tim Christopher this month with Jason Koukoulis taking over in his place. I will miss Tim. He was a good Harbormaster who never played favorites and kept the marina in good order with safety always the first priority. All of the ladies here agreed that he was a visual pleasure as well as a capable manager. I personally love his unique walk, which is not quite a swagger but still gives the impression of supreme confidence.
Good luck in your new endeavor Tim! I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that whatever he chooses it will not involve a boat or boating!
My cockpit painting project is progressing slowly. The windows are taped, the wood trim has been sanded and the surfaces have been washed. If all this sounds big, it’s not. It’s just a tiny portion of what actually needs to be done, but you have to start somewhere, right? I need to check with my painting Guru, Mary Buckman, to see if I’m ready for the next stage. But the problem with consulting Mary is that it usually involves drinking and then all thought of work flies out the window. I do know for certain that Mary will give me the “Stink Eye” when she sees my progress thus far. Mary strives for perfection in everything she sets her hand to, while, on the reverse side of the coin, my family motto is okay is good enough! Maybe if we lubricate Mary first with a couple of Sweetie’s famous Mai Tai’s her critique of my work will not be so strict and I will be able to put off painting for a few more days.
We had dear friends, Joe and Sandie Tynik, with whom we cruised for many years. Any given weekend would find us rafted together at Clipper Cove, Ayala Cove, Richardson Bay or Aquatic Park. On long weekends we would skedaddle up the Petaluma or Napa Rivers. When vacation time rolled around we cruised the Delta together, buddy boating through the sloughs in search of the “perfect” anchorage.
Joe and Sandie did their boating in a 38-foot full keel Hans Christian sail boat named Panache. Our Catalina 36 had a similar draft of 5-foot 6-inches but for some reason, Joe always followed us rather than taking the lead, fearful that he would run aground.
Running aground is one of those things that you have to experience as a boater at least once. It happens quickly and if you are lucky you can back out the way you came, but sometimes all you can do is wait patiently for nature to come to your rescue.
Such was the case on the Petaluma River over a past Memorial Day weekend. Panache and Dancing Dragon (the sailboat) had made plans to stay at the municipal marina in Petaluma but we arrived early enough in the day to venture a little further upriver to see what the downtown docks had to offer. We secured the boats at the municipal pier and wandered into town, had lunch and poked around in the many fabulous antique stores that downtown Petaluma has to offer. By the time we were ready to leave the downtown dock the tide had begun to recede. After untying the boat we took the lead, as usual, and headed downriver toward the marina. Oops! We came to an abrupt stop when we made touchdown with a surprise shoal that had formed at the mouth of a small creek. We tried reverse, we tried forward. We tried listing the boat so that the keel would rise from the mud. We tried every trick we knew to get off that shoal (with the exception of kedging as that would be too messy), knowing that the tide was falling and if we didn’t make the escape soon we might be stuck there for at least 6 hours, maybe longer, which, as it turned out, we were. Meanwhile, our cruising friends on Panache blew past us like the Bullet Train! Joe was so terrified that he would be caught in our same predicament he never even made eye contact as they motored past at light speed. We thought their wake might help lift us off the mud, but no such luck. By the time happy hour rolled around the boat was sitting sideways and we were joined by a pair of domestic geese who stood on the now-exposed gravel shoal and kept us company while we waited. It was well after dark by the time we joined our “friends” in the marina, with no harm done and good stories to be told. The moral of the story is; it’s never quite as bad as you might imagine.
Sailors To The Rescue!
This year the U.S. Sailing’s Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal was presented to Roger Van Hertsen and his father, Evrand Van Hertsen, for their rescue of a swimmer severely injured by an attacking sea lion in San Francisco Bay.
The timing was everything. “It was a 60 second window,” says Van Hertsen. “We had just finished lunch and were going for a casual sail around Angel Island when I saw two heads bobbing in the water and slowed down.” The victim, 56 year old Christian Einfeldt, out on his regular swim, cried out that he had been bitten by a sea lion. “I didn’t know how bad it was when I first called the Coast Guard and then saw all the blood and called them back, which escalated their response time.” Van Hertsen indicated that anyone in his position would have done what he did and was happy it turned out the way it did.
Rescued or kidnapped, I don’t care so long as a jolly fellow is behind the evil deed, so when Mrs. Harper’s handsome fireman son, Bob, stopped me on the dock and asked if I wanted to come along on a pre-flight cruise to over to Oyster Point, I jumped at the chance! Mrs. Harper has been worrying herself silly over her necessary haul out at Grand Marina Boat Yard. Her list of worries was a long one but getting the boat over to the yard was never on the list with Mrs. Harper’s three capable sons on hand. John, the youngest, has a 100 ton license from the USCG, Tommy, the oldest, has a beautifully restored Grand Banks 42 that he uses around the Long Beach area and middle son Bob is a willing and able crew member. “We are just doing a systems check before we head across the bay tomorrow.” Tommy called out from the flying bridge. You don’t ever have to ask me twice to go for a boat ride! I had been waiting for my darling Sweetie to get ready to go out for lunch and take care of a few chores but he was dragging his feet so I accepted the offer from across the dock. After untying and unplugging we were out of the slip and away. Even when it’s not my own boat I still experience a feeling of joyful independence whenever the lines are cast.
The haul out is the final, final step in the massive restoration project that Mrs. Harper has sunk every available penny into over the past 5 years. The little trawler has proven to be more than a pretty face and she handled very sweetly on the water. La Tortuga answered the helm like a lady and the engine purred with the sound that only money and regular maintenance can accomplish. All systems were “green” and happily La Tortuga’s sea trial was a success. I had a swell time with Mrs. Harper and her boys. Tommy even encouraged his mom to take the boat in and out of an available slip all by herself, just to build her confidence in the boat. She found that the throttle and transmission worked as expected and was thrilled with her success. What must it be like to come from a family where everybody likes each other? My wacky clan was always feuding and fighting.
The boat was gone the following morning when I came back from swimming, my fingers are crossed that all went smoothly on the cruise across the Bay. It is strange to look out my window and see a hole in the water where there is usually a boat. Hopefully my darling neighbor will be back soon with a few scheckles left in her pocketbook.
Mrs. Harper was unpleasantly surprised to find that her existing bottom paint was peeling off in great, jagged patches. The boat yard recommended that they strip the entire bottom and start fresh, but the cost was prohibitive for Mrs. Harper at $175 per foot. Stripping the old bottom paint of her 34-foot trawler would have run about $6,000, not including the new bottom paint and another small fiberglass repair she needed completed on the hull. The final yard bill would have had our dear retired neighbor working until she was 120 years old! In a perfect world there would be all the money necessary to take care of these little problems, however, knowing ones financial limits is a key to happiness. I don’t know if this advice was correct, but I told her that there are boats in our marina that haven’t been hauled for decades and rarely does a boat sink from lack of bottom paint.
Today, as I write this, is Opening Day on the Bay. I had been invited to attend the annual prayer breakfast at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon, an elegant affair that celebrates the occasion in style. The weather is perfect and all would have been well had I not come down with a vicious little stomach bug that has kept me confined to quarters for the past few days. Happily, our own Bill Wells was able to attend so please reference his Delta Rat Scrapbook for all the yummy details. I was so looking forward to sharing a glass of bubbly with my adorable friend, Boozy Cruisey Hoosey, but it will have to wait until next year. For now, the resident geese and I are holding down the fort here in South City while everybody else is out having fun on the water.
It has been a few months since our last haul but the expensive, high tech bottom paint seems to be holding well. I contacted my diver, David Laird, to come and check the zincs and lightly scrub the waterline. He got right back to me saying that he was short handed at the moment but would take care of us as soon as possible. It is always better to get rid of money sooner rather than later.
Sweetie has been busy in the engine room topping off fluids and checking belts and hoses. He found a cracked hose and pulled it off for replacement. The Super Mechanic, Isaac Crawford from Fathom Marine, just happened to be on the dock so I asked if he could locate a replacement for us. The hose was only about 4-inches long so I was hoping he might have a tail-end of something comparable on hand in his shop. Sure enough, Isaac to the rescue again! I have scheduled an oil change for all three engines. Yes, this is another little bite to my pocketbook however not as expensive as replacing an engine. I have learned that the hard way. Also I find it’s easier to schedule major expenditures rather to than be surprised down the road.
Long-time Yachtsman reader, Blair Hake, has given me a heads up about the situation at Clipper Cove. Developers have been drooling over the old U.S. Naval Base and want to create a facility to accommodate mega yachts. The plan would close off most of the cove from recreation, not to mention that it is one of the very few protected anchorages on San Francisco Bay. Currently, the cove is home to the community sailing center used for Olympic training and the STEM Youth Sailing program that introduces thousands of 4th grade students to boating. For many of those kids this is their first experience on the water. The International Dragon Boat races and other community events such as the V15 Nationals, the annual Golden Bear Regatta and the Cal Sailing team will all be affected by the reduction of the current footprint of the cove.
Real Estate speculators, lead by Darius Anderson, propose demolishing the existing small boat marina and expanding the site to exclusively accommodate boats between 40- and 80-feet. The marina currently occupies only 7% of the cove. The new, improved, developer’s dream will cover 32% of the cove leaving very little for us poor folk to use.
The plan is opposed by the Sierra Club, San Francisco Bay Keeper, the U.S. Sailing Association and the San Francisco Unified School District. For more information on this please visit saveclippercove.org
On a positive note, earlier in the spring over 350 community members gathered at the Emeryville Marina to celebrate the 2nd Annual Emeryville Day on the Bay, a free, family-friendly event co-presented by Safe Harbor Marinas and the City of Emeryville. Yachtsman publisher Ty Mellott attended and shares this report of the event.
The community turned out between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to partake of free boat rides provided by the Emeryville Fishing Fleet, fabulous food booths from the Public Market and wanna-be athlete’s participated in the shortest triathlon ever. There was face painting for the kids, photo booths, and a bouncy castle not to mention the beer garden featuring local brews and benefiting the non-profit Blue Water Foundation. Live music kept the scene hopping and complimented the paddle board demos, vendor booths and plein air painting demonstrations.
Demonstrations by the City of Emeryville Fire Department and complimentary Vessel Safety Checks were provided by the USCG Auxiliary. Michelle Shadows, General Manager of Emeryville Marina said, “We were thrilled by the participation and turn out for this year’s event, and we’re so happy to see residents and family enjoying our beautiful waterfront and all the boating, water sport and recreational opportunities it has to offer!”
Emeryville Marina is located on the east side of San Francisco Bay with direct access to the greatest sailing in the world, 400 recreational slips and an easy-to-access commercial fuel dock. For more information call 510/654.3716 for upcoming events or slip availability.
Docktown in Redwood City is officially dead and gone, RIP. The long fight by the residents there enriched the lawyers and left many homeless. Here in South San Francisco, work has finally begun on the “Tear Up Oyster Point” project. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we are hunkered down and enjoying the spectacular opportunities that life on the water affords.
That is all I can think of to tell you about this month. If you have questions, comments or contributions please contact me at email@example.com. Until next month I hope your summer is filled with time spent on the water and the pleasure of making beautiful new memories! H