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

Solo mission on the Lost Coast


At the awkward age of thirteen I went on a weekend trip to Santa Cruz with my dad. It was a typical trip that included play time at the beach, enjoying the rides at the Boardwalk, and stuffing my face with funnel cake. On the way out of town we dropped into an antiques store where I found a fulcrum that would shift my life onto a different path. It stood in a dark corner covered in dust and dirty half melted  sand encrusted wax. It stood tall at 6’1″ and it drew me in with the luminescence of its yellow UV damaged foam. My dad continued to browse while I lurked hard next to my coveted discovery. We left the store empty handed despite my clear desire for the board.

After a week of incessant pestering my dad caved and we made the two hour drive south and he forked over $25 for the board. It was another year before my mom would actually let me take it to the beach. Fifteen years later after surviving a tortuous life being dropped, crushed, operated on, having all the fins snapped off, and being ridden in powder that was not deep enough we parted ways and the board now hangs on the wall of a ski patrol room in Tahoe. That board provided my first real connection with the ocean.


Ready to launch

Ready to launch

At the age of 28 out of the blue I received a call from my uncle with a request for me to swing by for a visit.  After lunch on his 33′ sailboat/ home we walked down the dock until we got to a small wooden sailboat that belonged to a friend of his. I was told that it would go cheaply to a good home, I stated that I had only sailed once and that ended with me clutching to a capsized catamaran. After 20 minutes and multiple failed attempts to right it the Avila Harbor Patrol showed up and helped us right it. He told me to not rush my decision, spend the night on it and give my answer in the morning. As the evening went on my thoughts turned to using the boat as a platform to access waves.

The next day I was the proud and clueless owner of an 80+ year old wooden sail boat that “only needed a coat of paint”. Three brutal months spent in the boatyard  full of scraping, sanding, painting, and extensive repair work I had a boat that was sea worthy. Now I had to learn how to sail. Fortunately my buddy Ralph was a game to get some more water time and we fumbled through the learning process together with only a few near misses. Over the 3 years that I had the boat it became a trusted companion who provided me with shelter and another toy to enjoy the ocean with. I eventually passed the reins of the boat to friend, master craftsman, and boatwright, Benjamin Barnhart. While I am no longer the caretaker, the lessons learned remain and have provided the foundation for to start the sail/surf trip that I’ve dreamed of.

Finally on the water

Finally on the water



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