Thank goodness it isn′t raining, as there is a giant hole in our upper deck. The flying bridge had a few mushy spots when we bought the boat back in 2004. Sweetie had repaired a couple of them himself, however, this particular job proved larger than his skill set.
Our good neighbor, Mrs. Harper, has been having work done on her CHB 34, La Tortuga, by a very capable marine craftsman named Jose. His waiting list is a long one so we were lucky to piggyback ourselves onto Mrs. Harper′s scheduled visits. While the primer coat is drying on La Tortuga, Jose comes over and removes a bit more of our flying bridge. As we are only across the dock, this arrangement works out very well for Jose. We were hoping it was only the deck material needing replacement, but Jose has discovered that a few of the support beams have dry rot. At least this particular job won′t keep me in the slip although getting up the ladder is a bit more challenging.
Boats seem to require a fair amount of upkeep, just like a house according to my home-owning friends. It probably only seems like more because: 1. boat stuff is so much more expensive; 2. boats are not nearly as large as a house so the maintenance is amortized over a much smaller square footage and; 3. boat maintenance usually requires a certain amount of painful body contortion.
Good news to report, the great steering test will take place this week. After having both of the steering boxes rebuilt and new fluid added to the system, we are anticipating being able to move forward and in a straight line. There is absolutely nothing that a little time and a lot of money cannot fix. Thanks for a little help from my friends at Fathom Marine.
Speaking of maintenance, neighbor, Dean, took his family out for a short boating excursion recently. Fellowship hadn′t even reached Hunter′s Point before Dean smelled smoke. Smoke is never a happy thing on a boat. Closer inspection revealed the switch for the generator had been left in the “on” position causing it to have a tizzy fit. The wires behind the panel had melted and further inspection revealed the solenoid in the engine room had also fried. No one keeps his or her boat in better shape than Dean does so this just proves to me that anything can happen to anyone, any time. One more thing, I bet it will be a long while before daughter-in-law Ashleigh goes boating again.
Apparently, it′s not just old boats that break, which also makes me feel better. Mechanical failures keep my marine mechanic friends, Isaac and Big John Zapantis, in business, so you see there is a silver lining to every cloud. My little rain cloud is their silver lining. You are welcome.
Later, we are out of the slip! Hallelujah! The steering has been tested and is working fine. The big hole on the flying bridge is no hindrance to our travel except that we need to be very careful not to step in the hole or fall down while transiting the ladder. Years and years ago when we were still on the sailboat in Brisbane Marina, I was sitting in the cockpit one sunny morning when I heard a duck quacking to beat the band. She was sitting on the cap rail of a derelict boat that was across the fairway from us named, appropriately, Broken Woman. Poor Mrs. Duck was obviously distressed about something so when she didn′t stop her quack racket after a couple of hours, I took a walk over to see what was agitating her. As I got near, I could hear frantic peeping coming from inside the boat. We had never seen anyone on board Broken Woman so I didn′t feel too guilty when I leaned over the combing to see what was making all that noise. The companionway door had been missing for years and I could see directly into the cabin where seven ducklings were trying to make their way up the stairs to be with their frantic mother. Thinking I could help and knowing it was wrong to do so, I stepped into the cockpit to take a closer look. Mrs. Duck was very vocal in her fear that I was going to do harm to her flock. I assured her I was only there to help and so I stepped inside the cabin to capture and release the ducklings into the care of their mummy. As my big foot left the last step and landed on the interior floorboards, they gave way in a rotten splash and the next thing I knew, I was standing in the bilge with blood running down my legs. In spite of the accident, I was able to round up the ducklings and deliver them to their anxious mother. I then went to the harbormaster and confessed my sin. He told me not to worry about any damage as the owner was unavailable and boat was going up for auction soon. This story had a positive ending but could have turned out much different.
On Saturday of this week, I am scheduled to cruise on the press boat for the Ninth Annual West Point Regatta, a race that begins at Treasure Island and ends in Redwood City. Saturday is also the day of the Bay View Boat Club′s Plastic Classic Race, a major fundraiser for our club.
If I had my druthers, I would go to the Bay View early on Saturday morning, help in the galley, clean up around the club and then disappear before the crowds arrive. Here is why; I sweat, and not just a little lady-like glow but great sweaty buckets that soak my hair and clothing. Sweat drips off my nose, chin and ears and runs down the front of my blouse. My shirts are always soaking wet. Even my arms sweat. This horribly embarrassing condition began when I was undergoing chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer way back in 2001. The miserable, dripping sweatiness has been my constant companion ever since. Being in a group of people who I don′t know only intensifies my condition, as does any consumption of alcohol. Friends know about my little “embarrassment” and forgive my drippy faults. Strangers, on the other hand, back away when I offer a sweaty palm in greeting and a hug is absolutely out of the question.
Oh Boo-Hoo, poor me, right? So many people are much worse off and at least I survived the damned cancer and still remain vertical. However, I do tend avoid large public gatherings whenever possible. So, if you see a big, sweaty old woman, stop by and say hello. Just don′t get within splashing distance.
It′s Thursday and we anchored where we do not have wifi or phone service. It′s lovely not being connected to the outside world for a few days, however, I am waiting for directions from the nice people at Sequoia Yacht Club to tell me when and where to meet my press associates for the West Point Regatta. Note to self; don′t forget camera, notebook, pen and bath towel.
My instructions from the West Point Regatta organizers arrived in plenty of time instructing me to meet at South Beach Marina at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday. I was given the option of catching a ride from Redwood City to San Francisco to eliminate the nightmare of trying to park along the Embarcadero on a weekend. Sometimes car shuffling is easier than car parking.
The morning was sparkling and ideal for a sailboat race. I met up with Shannon Amerman at Sequoia Yacht Club. It was Shannon who had done such a stellar job of arranging all these little details. Soon we were joined by fellow journalist, Timmy from Latitude 38 magazine and with his arrival, we were on our way to the city. Shannon and his partner, I believe his name was Troy, were racing on a sprightly little sloop named Boudicca. I was glad to have a boat in the race to root for.
After parking in the reserved lot at South Beach Yacht Club, Shannon walked us down to the end of A-dock where Light Waves, the elegant Navigator 61 serving as the press boat for the day, was berthed. If given a choice between racing and cruising, I will choose cruising every single time. Racing is way too much work! And, besides, skippers notoriously yell.
Light Waves, owned by Sequoia Yacht Club members Glenn and Cheryl Algie, is a palace of a vessel. Rocky, their resident boat cat came to greet the new faces as soon as he saw that food was being served.
The itinerary for the press boat was a long one. Beginning at the starting line at 11:30 a.m., we were to follow the sailing fleet down bay to the finish line in Redwood City with stops along the way for optimum photographic composition. The race course began on the north end of Treasure Island, and then the fleet was to head up wind to Alcatraz, around Alcatraz before heading south for the long, downwind run to South Bay.
Racing-schmacing [sic], bring on the muffins! Rocky and I were on the same page.
Also on board were Sequoia Yacht Club members Winston and Carole Bumpus who supplied excellent refreshments and non-stop entertainment. Carole is a published author and journalist while Winston has more energy than 12 people put together do. He is currently Commodore of the Pacific Inter-Club Yacht Association in addition to wearing many other nautical hats. His passion and enthusiasm is infectious and his tremendous energy enviable but I bet he sleeps well at night. Saint Carole, the Mellow and Gracious, has her hands full with that one.
The Navigator 61 was an ideal venue for the press boat. There was room for everybody, plenty of open deck space and luxurious interior comfort for those long spells between shots. The fore deck provided comfortable seating and was easy to access.
I know nothing about sailboat racing. Too bad Mark Reid was still in Bermuda for the America′s Cup races. He would have been in his element with the other celebrated sailboat racing journalists who were on board. In fact, they all commented on Mark′s knowledge and expertise on the subject. Shannon had actually caught a last minute deal at the Moorings in Bermuda and flew in to experience the America′s Cup first hand. The conversation all the way into the city was all about “The Race.” Me? I was more than happy just to be asked along for a boat ride.
There were 73 boats entered in the race so the start and finish lines were, as you can imagine, a bit congested. The start times of the various classes were staggered at 5-minute intervals, not quite enough to keep the classes spread apart at the starting line. It was a mad rush for position as each group jockeyed to have enough speed for a good blast off, but not so much, so that the boat crosses the line, God forbid, early. It was fun for me to watch the little F-18 multi-hulls screaming along at break-neck speed under barely-controlled spinnakers, the skippers in wet suits. More multi-hulls, ultra lights, sloops, cutters and everything in between were on the race course and many of them flying beautiful spinnaker sails. Please don′t ask me the difference between a “Blooper” and a “Kite” or a “Radial Head” from a “Tri”, but by golly, they are beautiful to see on the water! As Light Waves rested comfortably near the San Mateo Bridge waiting for the fleet to arrive, it looked as though we were being followed by a colorful variety of bubble-gum bubbles floating across the water. If you are a sci-fi fan maybe you remember a British show from the sixties called “The Prisoner?” No, oh well.
Kudos to the crew of two, Glenn and Cheryl Algie, for their excellent boat handling skills. Maneuvering a boat of this size can be arduous but Glenn and Cheryl were experts at the task. As the couple was docking Light Waves in Redwood City, I was on the bridge with Glenn while Cheryl was down below on the deck. I watched the couple expertly side tie their magnificent 61-foot vessel into a 75-foot space between two boats. Glenn used bow and stern thrusters as Cheryl called out distances from the dock. Their expert handling of the Navigator 61 was a thing of beauty to behold!
I didn′t stay for the famous “Island Time” party at Sequoia Yacht Club. Mai Tai′s are the “drinks de la maison” and that particular concoction always gets me in a pickle. Besides, I was sweaty, pooped and quickly running out of “charm.”
West Point Marina, Treasure Island Yacht Club and Sequoia Yacht Club sponsored the Ninth Annual West Point Regatta. Thanks to those good people for keeping the sport of sailboat racing alive for future generations! I loved being a part of such a distinguished and knowledgeable group of boaters. Thank you!
The first place finishers in thirteen race classes were: Tom Haverstock, Circlesea; Jim Borger, Neja; Joel Turmel, Firefly; Alex Huang, L20; Larry Mayne, Iseult; Alan Hebert, Wildcat of Loch Awe; Cathy Moyer, Boudicca; Jens Jensen, Snowy Owl; Doug Bailey, Akula; Peter Cook, For Pete′s Sake; Nicolas Popp, Invictus; William Cook, Wings; and Charles Froeb, Kaos.
One of the wonderful things about living so near the water is the wildlife that is part of our environment. The prehistoric-looking pelicans are in now, as are the elegant diving terns. Mrs. Harper watched a young cormorant tackle a fish that was far too large for him to swallow, but, by golly, he managed to choke the ample meal down eventually. Mrs. Harper was so impressed with his effort that she took his photo. The exhausted cormorant was too busy drying his wings and digesting his hard-won dinner to be bothered by the photo session.
As I am getting ready to put this column to bed, I wanted to relate Dean′s latest little disaster with you. He was making a final check of his work in the engine room. He leaned across one of the exhaust hoses to access the dripless packing gland. He was very surprised when the exhaust fitting let go and a 5-inch gusher of salt water came rushing into the bilge. It was a mad scramble for a while but eventually the beast tamed. And so it goes.
That wraps me up for another month. Go boating, be safe and I′ll catch you up next month with our latest adventures! Until then, if you have questions, comments or contributions please feel free to contact me at email@example.com. H