San Francisco Bay, CA

August 1, 2006

We left South Beach Harbor this morning and headed for Angel Island, in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. You can't anchor there but you can use one of their moorings so we pulled into the day dock when we first got there to determine our strategy and where we'd actually go. It was a bit tricky because we had to a. watch our depth as the water was quite shallow in some spots and b. find a spot where we could tie up both bow and stern (a requirement of the anchorage). We tried one spot which ended up being too shallow and then thankfully a boat left so we could moor out in deeper water and with our nose pointed into the wave action which gave us a very restful night's sleep.

August 2, 2006

Woke up this morning, popped our head out of the hatch and were pleasantly suprised with a familiar voice yelling hello from a nearby boat. Geoff, Anne, Krista and Julie from Fantasia (ex Moss Landing) had up anchored from Tiburon after enduring a very unrestful nights sleep wallowing in the cross swell. They figured mooring in Ayala cove had to be an improvement. So we all got together for a great breakfast of scrambled eggs, pancakes and Anne's special blend of tea and caught up on the escapades of their time up the Sacramento river which included an impromptu grounding and a day resting on one's side waiting for the tide to come back in and float them back to a horizontal position. I am not sure I want to emulate them in that exercise. The rest of the day was spent catching a ferry over to Tiburon for a quick restock of groceries. Sadly we forgot to get a picture of where we were moored. It was truly panoramic with the cliff covered in trees 100 yards from our back door.

August 3, 2006

Roll call this morning was a crisp 6 am as we had to get back across the bay to South Beach Harbor to pick up a friend of ours from Santa Cruz, Jerry, who was coming to join us for a day sail. After we collected him, we did a quick tour of China Basin where the Giant's ball park is, then headed up along the front of the city towards the Golden Gate bridge. By the time we'd made it to Acquatic Park area the wind was blowing so hard (over 30knots) that we decided to pull in and take a break for a few hours). The attempt to moor at one of the mooring balls didn't go well with no where to tie off to and the rope underneath the mooring ball refusing to budge so we ended up achoring and tying the stern to the mooring ball behind us so that we wouldn't swing. This was kind of important since swimmers are continually circumnavigating the entire water park and we were a bit worried about the boat swinging into them. (We since read that you're spose'd to sail in to the anchorage and not use your motor. That would have been an interesting manouver in a 30 knot plus wind and a 15 ton boat sheesh). Anyway, we went ashore for a couple of hours to allow the wind to die down a bit before heading back to South Beach but the usual 5pm wind reduction just didn't happen. If anything the wind howled louder and stronger so we ended up spending the night there, snug and warm inside our boat with the wind generator letting us know it was worth the money we'd invested in it.

Redwood City

August 4, 2006

Up-anchored this morning and headed back to drop Jerry off at South Beach then proceeded down the Bay to Redwood City Harbor where we will hole up for the next few days. The plan is to clear the boat's ex-owner's shed (in Palo Alto) of sails and a few other odds and ends and get them all stowed aboard. The trip down the bay was fairly slow-going as there was little wind at times (can you believe that after last night) but we did manage to sail almost the entire way. This will be our first attempt at what you call mud docking - apparently the water is only 8feet at the dock but the mud is very soft so you sink down into it and it provides a snug berth to hold the boat until the tide comes back in. We will see how it goes.

August 5, 2006

Eight feet of water be blowed! We woke up at 3am this morning to find ourselves leaning 10 degrees and the boat 1 1/2 feet out of the water. Michelle had visions of Fantasia on her side until we worked out that it was exactly low tide and wouldn't be going any lower that night. Turns out the water at the dock is only 7 feet if you are generous with the measurement and full of rock as there is an old boat ramp causeway sitting right under the boat. Since it was a zero tide last night this is not going to cut it for the next few days which will all be negative tides. So Robin has devised a devious plan - he dinghied a stern anchor out 150 feet into the channel and then we motored out from the dock and dropped a bow anchor and kept ourselves tied to the dock with long ropes. His plan is to winch himself back to the dock each morning then out onto the anchors each evening so we can be in deeper water for the negative tides which will hit during the early morning hours over the next few days. Sounds like a plan. We are getting used to being very wary in shallow waters.

After grabbing a few more hours sleep following the 3am excitement, we picked up a U-Haul truck and headed to the shed in Palo Alto to collect the rest of our sail inventory. I have no idea how we are going to store another 11 sails on the boat, not to mention a swim ladder, 2 awnings, 2 wheels for the dinghy, and 2 boxes of the heaviest padeyes I've ever seen - apparently they were off coffee grinders back when the boat used to race. The next few days are going to be very busy with identifying, checking labelling and storing sails no doubt.

August 9, 2006

Well we have finally finished the mammoth task of getting the sails done. The sails required more than two days to sort and then a few hours to stow. Pretty much 4 days of tiring work. The yacht harbour possessed some large lawn areas so we were able to sequentially unfold all the sails, inspect them, then refold into the smallest space for stowage. Having been to numerous yacht harbours already, this is the only one where we could have conveniently done this job so it was well worth the trip to SF Bay and all the way down to Redwood City to get it done. We were able to stow everything in the forpeak and still had room for the folding bikes, fenders, spare ropes etc. Tomorrow we leave for Sausalito. Of course it was windy almost every day when we had to inspect, wash and fold the sails, then hot and steamy during stowage. The largest sails are heavy (approx. 100 lbs) and still awkward even when folded. When loaded them onto the deck and lowered into the forcastle using a winch and halyard. We even managed to stow them in an order that hopefully allows retrieval of the ones we will most likely need first. The final sail inventory is:

From our experience on the Bay we now go out with the Staysail and fully-reefed Main. If the winds are light we roll out #3 Jib and maybe unreef the Main. When the winds rise to over 20 knots we roll up the Jib and fully-reef the Main. The boat still does up to 7 knots close-hauled in 25 knots of wind with the Staysail / reefed Main but heel is reduced to a comfortable 15 degrees and almost never goes over 20 degrees. That is the way we like it - comfortable and conservative as suited to short-handed sailing. We still have to try just the Staysail alone for winds over 35 knots but of course its best to avoid such conditions. In addition to the above we also have in our inventory the following:

Drifter - a light 150% headsail used for light winds. Ex-owner reported using it little as as he preferred to motor in light winds upwind and use a spinnaker downwind. We will probably use it since we don't expect to be in a hurry and the learning curve has not encompassed spinnakers yet. /p>

Three spinnakers: 1/2 oz., 1.5 oz., and 2.2 oz. The 2.2 oz is in a sock. All look in good order except for minor restitching or over-stitching of previous small patches. Plus one torn spinnaker (5 foot tear plus about 100 feet of restitching leach etc) of about 2 oz weight. In the end we decided to stow it and maybe repair sometime - we can always use it for practice runs in learning how to handle a spinnaker without the added worry of ripping a good sail if you stuff up.

The ex-owner reported commonly poling out the jibs using the boat's large spinnaker poles as whisker poles for downwind sailing. He always used three ropes to firmly position the pole before attaching a sail - topping lift, foreguy and afterguy. We expect to do that too and then get round to flying a spinnaker only when we are very familiar with poled-out jibs. Since there are two slides on the roller foil, and two spinnaker poles, there is also the possibility of poling out two jibs on either side of the boat with a total size much greater than a spinnaker - have to investigate whether this is practical. One criticism of Pacific cruisers that we have read is that often they go with adequate storm sails, meet no storms, and require light weather sails that they left at home. With the drifter, poled-out jibs, and spinnaker possibilities it seems we are well supplied.

Finally, the last two items in our inventory are some extra storm sails:

That's a total of 14 1/2 sails. Should be enough!

We were invited to the Yacht Club after their Wednesday afternoon races today and treated to dinner. We met some great people, and were presented with two coffee mugs, with the clubs pennant logo on them, in honor of the fact that we'd technically be leaving for around the world from this spot in Redwood City. From here on out it's all South. What a wonderful welcome to a couple of wayward aussies who don't really even know how to sail at this point.

August 10, 2006

Of course we had another minor drama just after undocking early in this morning. We were negotiating the entrance channel to Redwood City Port when we noticed the tachometer dropped close to zero indicating a problem with the motor's alternator. So we quickly anchored to the side of the narrow channel and found the bolt connecting the alternator to the engine had sheared. Fortunately we had a bolt long enough amongst the spares to do a temporary repair (Robin did not want to run the engine without the alternator - too many challenges in the Bay to risk flat batteries as well). There was still an intermittent fault with the alternator somewhere, almost certainly a corroded connection, that plagued us all day, one of those kind of intermittent faults that are the worst to identify. And that makes three faults with the alternator so far - Sigh! That apparently is part of the joys of cruising.

Once we had resolved the alternator issue, we headed back up the bay into would you believe an ungodly headwind directly on the nose (why couldn't we have had this wind on the way down the Bay!) and an unbelieveable current (4.5 knots) flowing against us (this was our stupid fault for not checking). We experimented with tacking using staysail/main plus motor but could only manage 3.5 knots over the ground at 45 degrees to the intended course. On one tack we were actually going slowly backwards relative to the shore. Robin didn't want to push the motor at max revs, if it could be avoided, so he dropped the staysail and tried "tacking" with reefed main just off the wind in the narrow channel. This gave us 3-4 knots almost in the right direction until the wind changed direction and the shore veered sufficiently to do a long tack (as the channel widened) with the staysail back up and no motor, at the same speed. Then the wind died! Out came the #3 Jib and we did 7 knots. Then, 30 minutes later, the wind went back well over 20 knots. In went #3. That's SF Bay and the experience we came to get. So between the sails and the engine we finally made it as far as South Beach Harbor where we were too exhausted to keep going so we decided to see if they had room for us to hole up for the night.

We were so tired by the time we got to South Beach that even docking in the strong winds proved difficult and took us far longer than our normal prompt tie up. However we finally got ourselves tied up and after a short nap went out to a restaurant we'd seen the last time we were over this way and never got a chance to try. It turned out to be supurb between the food and an Irish bar tender who kept us thoroughly entertained, the perfect anecdote to an exhausting day.

August 11, 2006

Arrived back in Sausalito this morning. Again we decided on a 6am departure to avoid the worst of the winds and to meet up with Koog who was arriving at 9am to see us. It was our record trip across the bay. We hit 9 knots with a fully reefed main and staysail and I think it took a whopping 35 minutes to do the main crossing. Amazing amount of wind for that time of day.

Judy came and collected us at midday and took us out for the day giving us a day off the boat, the first we've had in over 6 months. It was kind of strange not being within checking distance of Warrior and you can't help but keep in mind if everything is ok. Has she dragged anchor in this wind.. etc etc.. talk about over-anxious parents. But nevertheless the day was wonderful. We first went back to Judy's place in San Ramon, which is located up in the hills with gorgeous grounds. Here she graced us with a special taste of ginger-flavored rum before whisking us out to dinner at a French Restaurant. The entire day was awesome and we can't thank her enough for utterly spoiling us. We even managed to gain another fan. Our waiter for the evening, Daniel, begged us for our website address so he could live vicariously through our travels. He had owned a boat since the age of 4, and was presently reading a memoir about cruising around the world. Hopefully he'll find a way to live the dream soon himself.

August 13, 2006

Judy gave us the afternoon off on Friday and we took the opportunity to extend the time off. We relaxed for the last few days and finally found a wee bit of time to update the website. We have a busy week ahead of us getting the rest of our todo list done in preparation for leaving the Bay and heading back South. This part of our trip is almost over and while we won't miss the windy cold weather of the Bay it's still an amazing place to sail and not to be missed.

Pillar Point, CA

August 21, 2006

We finally left the bay yesterday morning after a week of chasing our tail. Businesses we thought were in the Bay had shifted to the San Diego area so we have to chase them up when we get down there. Emmy from the Wind Monitor crowd hand delivered some spare parts to our boat on Saturday morning which was the last items we were waiting on in order to leave. We left San Francisco Bay at 6:30am so that we could take advantage of the slack tide to get out of the Bay. It proved to be still a little tricky as the wind kept following the lay of the land on both sides of the entrance so tacking proved almost self-defeating - as you sail across the channel out (with the wind directly against you down the channel) the angle of the wind increasingly veers further against forward progress as you approach either shore. The answer is short tacks in the middle of the channel and wouldn't have been a problem with a crew of three plus. With just two of us, we decided to bring in the jib and motor out very close to the wind. We didn't want to fool around too long and have the flood tide also against us. The lesson learnt from trying to leave Redwood City a few days ago is still very fresh in our minds. So we did a modest 1800 revs with the motor, got briskly (at 4 knots) around Seal Rocks (and the memory of many imbibitions at the Cliff House and Robin's three-month stint at the VA Hospital (1986-7) just up the cliff face) and it was time to sail again on a broadish reach with full jib and main in light winds. Memory says we averaged around 5 knots back to Half Moon Bay (Pillar Point) in the cold and with the ubiquitous fog not far above the mast head. Today is washing day (4 loads ugh!) and tomorrow we set off for our 9 hour sail back to Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz, CA

August 22, 2006

We arrived in Santa Cruz at 3:30 in the afternoon. The day started out mildly frustrating with little wind. Robin refused to turn on the engine so Michelle figured it would be a 12-hour sail and settled in for the duration. However the wind picked up just after we got around Point Ano Nuevo and as the jib wouldn't behave itself in the contrary wind.... (Extensive note added here by Robin who had been quietly insisting for some time that sailing up wind in Warrior is "easy" and that downwind may not be so easy) ... No matter what we did with the jib it flapped as the boat rolled in the following swell. A 60 foot jib can really flap, bending the roller-furler foil momentarily one way or the other and insulting nice people's sensibilities. After trying main/jib both normal on one side of the boat and winged out on opposite sides we decided to roll in the jib and just run with the main. Made no difference to speed and as the wind picked up as we turned into Monterey Bay we averaged around 8 knots with the big main plastered againts the stays and shrouds - any novice can sail this boat, just get a rag up! (The problem is getting it down at the right time. Robin swears we surfed down a wave at 10.2 knots when I went to the toilet which is located at the bow of the boat. Lies all lies! However Robin did subsequently confirm with to-be-trusted Steve that the only way to get the jib to work in such conditions (and surf at 10 knots etc consistently) is to pole out the jib. We have the weighty 20 foot poles and will save them for multi-day sails (plus a lot of practice beforehand, like belaying them whilst stationary). So all in all we made great time and the entire trip only took 8 hours. We are currently anchored back off the wharf and will be here for a couple of days before heading into the harbour and docking so as to install the solar panels and a new inverter.

August 23, 2006

Stopped in at the Santa Cruz Yacht Club tonight to check if they had any free berths (they didn't but they did have discount coupons for the Harbour which is very cool. Yacht Club membership is definitely worth getting.) Anyway while there we were accosted by some people and invited to dinner on Friday night. Their introduction was to leave us a half bottle of red wine (they were on their way out to dinner) which had the 3 Stooges flying on a broomstick as the major feature of the bottle's label. These people have got to be good value.

August 25, 2006

Up-anchored this morning and motored on over to the Santa Cruz Harbour. Our docking is getting smoother by the day. We first had to dock off the Diesel fill-up station then they decided to move us to L-dock which required 2 U-turns in the narrow channel. Not an easy task in a 50-foot boat but Robin executed it to perfection amongst the nonstop traffic of boats leaving and entering the slips.

We headed to the invited dinner at 6:30 and found about 24 people gathered for an amazing feast of Prime Rib and fixings. After shocking the entire crew with the fact that we'd been sailing about 2-months and managed to get to the Bay Area and back in one piece they decided we needed to go sailing on Wednesday night with the regular race crew. I guess they figured they'd better teach us some more tricks before we head off south. They are such a great fun group of people. I can only say we wish we'd met them earlier. They even make their own wine. Now you understand why they're worth knowing! Thanks Walter (once of Aldo's), Jan, Don and Suzy.

August 28, 2006

The weekend was spent slowly organizing / buying stuff using the car (which has been parked at the ex-condo) until Robin, tired and beaten and returning by ridebike from reparking said miserable road transport back at said condo-of-ancient-history just by chance recognised old-Seabright-Brewery-once-upon-a-time-old-stamping-ground-to-the-likes-of-bands-called-Diegos-Umbrella-and-such and stopped for a life-saving ale and of course Rick was there who phoned Rebecca who said she was on her way over to check out the boat. So after showing her around she invited us back to her place for dinner and we spent a very enjoyable evening yapping and listening to music and dancing. And of course the odd glass of red wine was also enjoyed.

Today Robin is installing the new inverter in the main bedroom (readers unfamiliar with cruising jargon should not allow imaginations to get overwrought here). So the boat is completely torn apart. It looks like a hurricane has been through (and of course he has). Tomorrow hopefully the solar panels will be installed. If all goes well we should head out to Monterey on Thursday.

After all the hassle trying to get the EPIRB and SHIP LICENSE done from Australia, the US of A decided they'd just allow Michelle to register here with them. So now she has a new radio license WDD3765 (that would be whisky delta delta 3765 to you boat type people). Now to work out how to use it with the SSB radio and weather fax.

August 29, 2006

Today was D-Day as in we had to go for a Wednesday afternoon beercan race with Don, Suzy and Walter. The event began with getting this 30 foot boat (4 tons)into the water at the dock with a crane that looked like it wouldn't pick up a dingy without falling over. I'm glad we don't need to haul Warrior (15 tons) out of the water after every sail. We had a fantastic time on the water - it was complete chaos a few times with boats within inches of colliding; learned a few new tricks especially with the spinnaker (thanks Suzy); drank beer (of course) and lamented on the fact we hadn't met these frenetic people while living in Santa Cruz. Mayhap we can catch up with them again in Mexico.

Later that night after the sail we ran over to meet Larry at the Crows Nest and Gwen popped by as well. We all enjoyed a few appetizers and said our goodbyes as we'd be leaving in a couple of days for Monterey.