Captain Sweetie, bless his pea-picking little heart, decided he wanted to make lasagna. When we married almost 40 years ago he cooked three things; hash brown potatoes, grilled cheese sandwiches and lasagna. His repertoire has not expanded at all over the years. He does not cook often so when he brought home all the makings for one of his signature dishes I was surprised. Our galley is small so any large scale production is usually done in stages. My talented spouse declared that he was making his own sauce from scratch instead of using a commercially bottled Ragu. Creating his own sauce increased the labor but the results were worth both the effort and the additional mess.
Let me share one of Sweetie’s lasagna baking secrets with you; do not boil the noodles before you build the lasagna. They can go into the pan uncooked and the sauce will soften them as the lasagna bakes in the oven. It is much easier to spread the ricotta on the uncooked noodles!
I have joined the Women’s Propeller Club. I’m not quite sure what the group does other than get together for drinks and lunch once a month, but they are a fun group so I will hitch my little wagon and go along for the ride.
May is a glorious month to be on the water. The temperatures in the Delta are heating up which pulls cool air in from the Pacific which in turn causes the Bay breeze to freshen. It seems to me that the racing sailors would embrace this time of year but perhaps the 25 plus knot wind is hard on expensive equipment.
Speaking of sailboat racing, my friend Russell Breed wants me to remind you about The 10th Annual West Point Regatta which is scheduled for June 30, so please mark your calendars. Even if you are not a splash and crash sailboat racing person, there is a great party at the finish line in Redwood City. Go to www.westpointregatta.com for entry forms, fabulous photos of years past and a lot more useful information.
I have been scraping, sanding and painting with more paint on me than on the surface. Mary Buckman always says a beautiful paint job is 99% prep work and 1% applying the paint. She never mentioned the horrific job of clean up required after sanding. I was up to my ankles in scurf!
For some silly reason I believed that if we painted it would be a one-time deal rather than having to varnish every few years. We went a little crazy painting out the wood trim on the window frames, doors, rub rails and decks. Now, 13 years have passed and all the painting we did in the beginning needs to be addressed. Not to mention that I am older and even more creaky than 13 years ago. Baby steps.
I am beginning my summer project with the companionway doors and the cockpit. Much of the work is overhead sanding. Unfortunately, I am unable to hold a sander above my head for very long without facing dire physical consequences. Again, those baby steps. Just a little sanding every day should get the job done eventually. Luckily, it is raining today and everyone knows you should not sand in the rain, right? So instead I’m writing, listening to french bistro music and watching the rain on the water. Ever so much more pleasant than sanding! For a special treat a harbor seal just popped up behind the boat! A delightful day.
We are in the process of making our summer boating plans. A week or two or even three on the water is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. We try to plan our trips according to the tides if we are headed upriver or even just up Bay. Running with the current saves a bundle on fuel and shortens the ride significantly, especially if the intended destination is more than a few hours away. Plus, there is the added thrill of reading the GPS “over the bottom” speed, which is significantly faster than the actual “through the water” speed. Yesterday our old tub was doing a sprightly 10.5 knots over the bottom with the help of lickity-split ebb. Thanks to a lovely and well deserved weather window, we are once again anchored in Clipper Cove.
The new Bay Bridge seems to be much noisier than the old span. Traffic noise is much louder in the Cove now and the anchorage is not nearly as idyllic as in the past.
I like this old trawler boat. When conditions get snotty we are high and dry on the flying bridge or, if it is a Biblically bad storm, snug inside the cabin. The wide flared bow, although noisy at anchor, throws water to the side instead of up, keeping the decks dry. Only once has salt water reached the dodger windows on the flying bridge and that was because Sweetie squirted at me with the wash down hose to get my attention. High and Dry is a good thing!
I’m not quite sure where we are headed for our vacation but I do know it will involve swimming, where ever that may be. Marin Yacht Club has a pool, so does Encinal YC but then there is the entire Delta and the deliciously cool water that is so refreshing on a hot, summer day. I have a few decisions to make before they are made for me.
I haven’t been swimming in the Napa River since I was a kid. Anybody know if the river is still clean enough to swim in? To me, there is nothing quite as invigorating as swimming in “real” water. By that I mean chlorine free and not contained in a pool, water park or tank. Real, living water that supports life, such as a river, lake or ocean has a different feel somehow. Anyway, I just adore it!
Last fall we had to cancel our trip to Napa due to the fires. As the old saying goes, timing is everything. An overnight stop at the Vallejo Yacht Club on the way up river, if we decide to head that way, is in order too. Those good folks in Vallejo put the capital H in Hospitality!
There are so many wonderful places to visit around the Bay that the hardest part is deciding. Benicia is a colorful destination. In addition to great restaurants and shops within easy walking distance from the marina, there is a thriving arts community. If you are a student of local history you will know that Benicia was once the Capitol of California and the old State Capitol Building is open for tours.
Sausalito, Pier 39, Angel Island, Jack London Square and Clipper Cove are destinations close to our home base and all offer excellent berthing, dining and entertainment attractions. However, because we cruise on a budget our on-shore diversions are limited.
Also, because we live so close to SFO and Highway 101, I will choose some place quiet for my personal vacation. At home, in Oyster Cove, I don’t need an alarm clock because the 06:00 United flight to Los Angeles awakens me from a sound slumber every single morning. How do you turn off the alarm when it is 1,000 feet overhead and traveling at 600 MPH? Oh no, I won’t miss that at all when we are on vacation.
I’m seriously thinking the Delta might be my destination this year. It has been a few years since we visited up that way. I love the bird sounds and the crickets and amorous bullfrogs declaring their lascivious intentions. Also, there are so many parts of the Delta we still have to discover. It’s been more than 25 years since we have explored the waters around Railroad Slough. Most of our Delta time has been spent on the San Joaquin side. The entire Sacramento River remains open to exploration and adventure, and according to ex-neighbor Dean, the place where the American River meets the Sacramento near the I-5 Bridge is a wonderful anchorage with clear water for swimming.
We are being stalked by Canadian Geese. My Sweetie has a weakness for their beady, black eyes and keeps generic oat cereal in the cockpit to supplement their wild diet. The same pairs of geese have been coming for several years and we even recognize a few of the individual birds. Sweetie has named one of the large male geese “Hisser,” because he does. Thankfully, it is all talk and no action, Hisser is actually a very polite fellow. There has been a new couple coming around this spring that he has named the “Louden’s,” because they are. I have never heard a goose make such a racket! Trumpeting and honking, it is almost like living next to Ralph and Alice Cramden, if any of you are old enough to remember The Honeymooner’s. The female goose is as loud as her husband and never stands for any sassy backtalk. Unfortunately, the Louden’s are on the same schedule as the 6:00 a.m. United flight, so any hope of sleeping in is dashed daily in a cacophonous din. Yes, I believe I will put “quiet” up at the top of my vacation destination list.
By the way, the payoff to putting up with the noisy geese is when they parade a new family of chicks past the stern of the boat for us to admire. Geese are intelligent birds, loyal to their spouses and excellent parents.
There has been a changing of the guard here in Oyster Cove. Beloved Harbormaster Tim Christopher is taking an early retirement and is going to try his hand at ranching. Tim has been a wonderful addition to our little community here, but I do understand the allure of not playing into the daily game of traffic snarls and the headaches that go along with working every single bloody day for a living. I wish Tim a long and happy retirement; he certainly deserves it for putting up with this rambunctious bunch of pirates.
Taking over for retiring Harbormaster Tim is a young fellow named Jason who is a neighbor here in Oyster Cove. Jason and Tim are about the same size and shape so the transition will be an easy one, at least visually.
West Point Harbor in Redwood City is still under attack from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Although owner and developer Mark Sanders applied for and received every necessary permit from the State, County and City prior to construction of his dream project, the BCDC has taken exception to the state of the art marina and want it closed immediately, going so far as to order a Cease and Desist Order (CDO). Interestingly, both West Point Harbor and the BCDC have similar mission statements - to preserve the environment while providing access to the Bay.
Friends of West Point Harbor were on hand for a hearing held on March 15, 2018 before the full Commission. Thirty members of the public spoke out in favor of West Point Harbor. Members of RBOC and PICYA have spoken in favor of West Point Harbor and yet the BCDC persist in the pursuit of phantom permit violations, including a $30,000 fine for berthing Redwood City Police and Fire boats, presumably because the harbor’s original permit was for recreational use only. The Commission voted unanimously to return the flawed CDO back to the enforcement committee from whence it came. So things remain in limbo and the battle rages on.
Oh, woe is me! My chiming clock is in for repair and I miss it sorely. I broke the mainspring of our Chelsea Ships clock while I was winding it a few weeks ago. If you have ever lived with a chiming clock you will understand how the bells modulate time even when you aren’t in “striking” distance, if you will pardon the pun. The clock has conditioned me to think in Ships Bell Time. Four bells, for example, has several meanings; time to get up, time for dinner and time to start thinking about going to bed. Unfortunately, my clock pooped out right around the time change for Daylight Savings so I have been doubly confused about the time, especially without the audio crutch from the bells. And then, there was the price of the repair! I asked myself, might it be less expensive to simply replace the clock? I looked into it and the answer to that question is unequivocally NO! What I found curled my hair. Times have changed and so have the prices of ships clocks. We paid between $350 and $400 for this clock when we first bought this boat in 2004. The same clock today sells for $1,200. Yikes! I’m going to bite the bullet and pay the $325 for the repair, but 6 weeks in the shop? Really?
That’s all I can think of to tell you except be safe and have fun on the water! Questions, comments or contributions can be sent to me at kim@yachtsman magazine.com H