Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sailing in SF, and another trip on our horizon!

We had a great day sailing on Saturday. Here's Mike at the helm of the Chat de Mer, near Angel Island. The weather was typical for summer in the San Francisco Bay; partly overcast, partly sunny, with a nice strong breeze. It was Mike's and my first time sailing the catamaran and, although the sails are harder to put up and bring down than on our old boat, Mirage (because they are so much bigger), she handles beautifully. I got a chance at the helm myself with Leo intructing me through a number of tacks as we headed toward the Golden Gate bridge. The feel of this boat is certainly different than the Mirage, but we're getting the hang of it. Leo said I did well.
Here is a photo of the Chat de Mer in the Richmond harbor. Next time we go out I'll get some pictures of the roomy inside. For now here are a few more pictures of some of the outside amenities:
Here is the netting that many catamarans have in the front, stretched between the two hulls. It's a popular place to hang out and watch the water below, especially when there are dolphins playing in the waves under the boat.
This is for you, Mom! It's the dinghy, attached to the aft end of the boat, and it's a big dinghy. Not like the little one Mike and I had aboard the Mirage, that had to be inflated with a footpump and rowed with oars, this one is large, permanently "inflated," can be automatically lowered into the water at a moment's notice, and has a nice big engine. Easy escape in case the boat sinks!
A nice feature of catamarans is the swim step on the aft end of each hull. The bottom step is right at the water line and then there is that silver ladder that can be lowered into the water for very easy reboarding.

We used to have a time of it trying to get back into the Mirage after a swim. We had to either climb the rope ladder (very difficult and awkward) or climb into our dinghy and then into the boat. I used to worry incessantly about Mike going overboard, becoming exhausted in the cold water, and me being unable to pull him back into the boat. I'd probably have to tie a rope to him and tow him to shore!
Here's a view of Alcatraz. It looks empty because very few visitors come to this side of the island; they are all on the other side where the boats dock.
A small sailboat, the "Missy B," heeled over in the strong afternoon wind. These sailors are in full foul-weather gear, a good indication of the both the day's temperature, and the possibility of water splashing aboard.
The city of San Francisco.
It was obviously a great day for fishing. Look at all the party boats! The seagulls follow the fishing vessels waiting for the filleting of the day's catch to begin. They then swoop and dive on the scraps that are thrown overboard. The Golden Gate bridge is in the background.
More fishing boats. Look at all the fishermen lining the sides. The waves are from the high-speed ferry that just went by.
Leo, at the helm, and Gordon. There were five of us aboard; Leo, Mike, me, Gordon, and Jerry. It was a great day! Our next trip is scheduled for the first weekend in August, when we will take an overnight trip to Half Moon Bay.

These day and weekend trips are preparation for the Big Trip to come: the Baja Ha-Ha!! Yes, Mike and I are going again this year, this time as crew for Leo on the Chat de Mer! We are very excited. Leo will be adding one or two more people as crew; we don't know yet who they will be.

I'm also happy to report that the same couple who house- and petsat for us last year have agreed to return this year! We're tickled to have Richard and Mary coming back; our cats already know them so the adjustment should be easy for them, and I will have a little less separation-anxiety (at least we hope so). Richard and Mary enjoyed living in Benicia, so are also looking forward to the two months here this fall. Our dates of travel will be October 15 through December 15.

And, of course, I'll be taking my laptop so I can blog along the way!


Lisa Uskali said...

That looks so fun! I want to come up so you guys can take ME sailing!!!

Latte' Dah said...

Wooooo.... although I'm a powerboater, sailing is fun and that net is like heaven when you sittin out there. Alcatraz does look empty. My trip to San Fran was the funnest ever! Alcatraz and Pier 39
The Seals are precious. :)
Nice entry. I love pictures and you described it all so well.