I woke up early to leave Drake’s Bay – and found it covered in thick fog. Awesome. Actually it was awesome as I got to use my new foghorn for the first time! AND this time there was no Emma around to give me disapproving looks, the perfect combo!

I sent Russell and Kelsey up to the bow to look out for pots and logs, completely forgetting that it was probably real chuffin’ loud up there in front of the horn. Oops. A short detour to get ear protection later and they were back at the front

HOOOOOOONK

This fog lasted until right before San Fran, when the wind kicked in and the fog cleared, meaning we could sail wing on wing under the golden gate bridge, a must for any sailor! I got to play it cool, having done it before but Kelsey and Russell were stoked, which was really fun. Didn’t stop me taking a self satisfied selfie though

We did wing on wing using the staysail and genny, which was very easy to deal with (not having to worry about the boom) but got us completely licked by Maquinna Pt, who used their main and genny. At least it let me take some nice photos of them though so I could play it off as ‘we went slow on purpose to take good photos of you’ (they definitely didn’t fall for it and Holley razzed me about it for quite some time)

 

Once under the bridge the wind went from nice and middling 1o knots to 25 in an instant, which was uh, pretty fun as my furler decided to jam. Once we got it all under control, we headed in to Aquatic Park, which had very strong currents and contrary winds so that made anchoring a fun little game. Eventually we got all sorted and Russell and Kelsey headed into shore while I kept an eye out for dragging, as I didn’t really trust the hook set (the current was strong enough it was carrying us forward against 20 knots of wind!)

Eventually I felt secure enough that me and the Maquinna Pt crew (Geoff, Holley and Cass) all went to town, where we drank in one of the only bars still open (a sports bar) and then I had the greasiest slice of pizza ever. Here is me watching the grease drip slowly off

We then went to a random bar, met back up with Kesley and Russell, all got bought a drink and then nearly got in a fight

All in all a pretty successful night out as no one got robbed or beaten up.

The next day Kelsey and Russell left – I was officially sailing solo. Gulp. Film photo of Kelsey and Russell leaving by Cass

I spent the next few days not really doing much of interest, mostly just hanging out and doing boat chores and to be honest was kind of glad when the weather improved enough we could leave.

It was just a short day hop to the next stop, Half Moon Bay, which gave me a chance to actually sail Sooner solo, something I’d never actually done before (I’d gone to the previous years thanksgiving, but that was motoring the whole way). Leaving San Fran was a bit of a faff, with my autopilot noticing I was on my own and with impeccable timing deciding to be a right arse and boats everywhere (although I did overhear the tidbit from a passing tourboat that sealions bite over 20 people a year in San Fran – what).¬†There was also a swimming race, because getting up at 5am and swimming in the 14c bay water is a great way to spend your weekend. No word on if you got a time credit if you got bitten by a sealion or not.

ANYWAY, once out the Bay, the wind filled in real nice and I actually got some solo sailing in! I even flew both the staysail and the genny at once! This had the great side effect of meaning I was actually faster than Maquinna Pt (henceforth known as Quinn) and got to slowly overhaul them from behind while giving them my best smug look. I actually pulled alongside around 40 ft away which was fun, as the wind shadow meant I slowed down to their pace and we had a fun time yelling at each other for a while while Geoff got a sweet pic of me lookin’ real casual. Somehow the only discernible feature is my receding hairline but I’ll take it!

It actually felt really good to sail solo, although it was a lot of work, way more than I remember soloing Gudge being. Maybe because I haven’t dialled everything in yet?

Eventually we got to Half Moon Bay, where we’d spend the next week. My other friend, Phil with his girlfriend Ally on their boat, Sliver, were on their way down the coast and should catch us both up there!

 

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