Not so Fast

Posted: March 12, 2013 by bcbuzzards in Surf/Sail
Tags: , , ,

Departing familiar territory


It was known from the day that Ralph got his boat that it was going to be used as an escape pod. A vehicle to transport body,mind, and spirit into personally uncharted realms. An instrument to purge some of life’s venom from ones system. To that end we decided that the only way we would ever leave was to put a date on the calendar and go.

It doesn’t get much more simple, throw the boards into the boat head out the Golden Gate and turn left. That is all we had to do. We both had 4 weeks off work and unlimited psych to get some real sailing experience under our belts. We had done some local trips like a sail out and around the Farallon Islands and a sail up the coast to surf for the day but neither of us had all that much sailing experience. Certainly no long passages or seemingly endless nights spent on watch in foul weather. What we lacked in experience we certainly made up for in optimism and naivety. What could possibly go wrong?


I was able to show up a couple of days early to tie up a few loose end projects on the boat. Upon arrival I learned the mast step (where the mast attaches to the boat) had basically disintegrated over the past 35 years. Therefore the mast was out of the boat. In classic boat maintenance fashion when you do something you do it right. So we stripped the paint, repainted, rewired, added a new wind gauge, and rebuilt the winches. It turns out all these things take time, apparently much more than we thought it would. Additionally shipping delays for roller furler parts were not readily available and the boat yard was closed when they arrived, so more delays ensued. This was in addition to the projects that we had planned to complete before departure.

Amigos del mar

Amigos del mar

We had two dauntingly full pages of projects that needed attention. Some were quick, some were immense multi day clusters. Crossing anything off the list was cause for celebration. But alas there was no time to celebrate for there were dozens of other projects to work on.

At this point, over a week past our original departure date, all we were hoping for was to depart the morning after the yard dropped the mast back in. On a Monday morning with a heavy rain falling, the boat yard was finally ready to reinstall our mast. As they began to raise the mast the crane ran out of fuel. Yet another delay. Once the mast was finally reinstalled we put on the new sail and… it didn’t fit.  After nine very full days and very little sleep we were both at wit’s end and wanted nothing more than to leave. Thankfully a quick call to Pineapple Sails put our frustration back in check. They would be able to trim the sail for us today. Ralph leapt into action getting the sail to Pineapple and I started packing the boat. Darkness fell and with it Ralph returned triumphant with the sail. We spent the rest of the night mired in pre departure minutia.

Master and Commander

Master and Commander. Ralph at the helm.

The long-awaited day had finally arrived! After a few hours of sleep we woke to clean smelling post storm conditions.  With a huge breakfast in the belly and goodbyes said and were able to cast off. The relief to have finally left was overwhelming. The rejoicing was short-lived for there were still many small projects to complete. Twenty minutes after departure from Berkeley Marina Ralph was at the helm and I was back in the bilge wiring a pump, but it didn’t matter, we were on the way.


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