CHAPTER 12   

 

JUNIORS

 

RAISING THE DUES

            There was growing momentum within SPYC's management to increase the initiation fee and monthly dues to establish a building fund. Koll developers sent a representative to speak at one of our general meetings to discuss their development plans for the commercial property our building was on. He painted a picture that this land would be the location of a hotel in 2 years. At some point, we would be asked to vacate the premises. Koll was positive about what they saw in us as an organized yacht club and made offers to subsidize space in one of their planned new structures. They stated it would be prestigious to have a yacht club as part of the development.

            This motivated Jeff Eastman and Jerry McDaniel to work on a plan. Jerry set out to develop floor plan options for a new building. Jeff took the floor at one of the general meetings and conducted a brainstorming session. He asked for suggestions for every conceivable feature the members could think of desiring in a new facility ranging from a swimming pool and spa to wheel chair ramps and an elevator. Using that information, he developed a spreadsheet model with feature sets organized in functional groups, estimating the cost of each feature. He passed out copies at another general meeting and asked each member to assign relative priority ratings between 1 and 10 to each feature. With that information, he prepared a presentation consisting of ranges of cost and 4 potential funding models with graphs of how they compared over twenty years.

            About the same time Shearwater, another construction company was making plans for developing the land connected to the south side of Brisbane marina. Jeff met with Shearwater to introduce SPYC. He returned with and played their fund raising video at another general meeting. It discussed a 300-slip marina between Oyster Cove and Brisbane marinas with water front offices and apartment buildings. No matter which scenario was considered, it was clear we were going to need more money. At the current rate, we were doing the best we could do to hold our own. Jeff's analysis showed we were taking in an average of $165.00 per year per member and it was costing about $100.00 per year per member to keep the club operating. This meant we had about $4,000.00 per year left over. This was not enough money when it came to thinking about funding a new building. What their efforts were leading to was an inevitable increase in dues.

            A motion to double the initiation fee and monthly dues would be coming before the general membership for a vote. Though Jeff and Jerry had painted a clear picture of the tenuous situation we were in, there was still whining from some of the charter and earlier members. An article appeared in the Spyglass discussing the pros and cons. Marion Stratton, the section on the pros by Marty Rosenthal, contributed the section on the cons. At the June general meeting, Marion and Alan were both making argument against raising the dues as motioned by Betty Rosenthal. When the vote was finally called for, 23 were for, 10 were against. Due and payable July 1, $240.00 per year.

            A few people did drop out after the increase. Marion suspended his membership and became interested in flying. Dave Mills said he just couldn't afford it. There were others that ended up not paying, mostly inactive members that paid the price to get a membership card for reciprocal privileges with other clubs. At the same time, new people were joining because of the activities. Over the next few months, it became clear the membership total stayed even. What also became clear was that the proceeds from the bar after the races were turning out to be enough money to fund the operation of the club, so all the money from the dues started pouring into a building fund. Over the same period of time, the slumping economy had put Shearwater out of business and Koll's development plans on hold for the next 5 years. SPYC would just keep on going and see what kind of strength we would have the next time a discussion of moving came up.

 

SHAKEDOWN CRUISE

            Not too much had happened since we established the time and place for the next charter. The Windward Islands were supposedly a challenging cruising area. I had the opportunity to join Lewis and Barbara on an Olympic Circle regatta and barbecue. We discussed cruising in lower eastern Caribbean waters with a couple of their instructors. The word passage was used a few times to describe getting from one country to another. Their experience was in February when the winds were stronger. They described 40-knot winds blowing through their anchorage at the Pitons out of Soufrierie on Saint Lucia. We wanted to figure out how to have a shake down cruise for our crew of 10. Chartering with the others had already checked out the rest of the crew, but we were worried about Charley and Jenny Michael. Our only experience boating with them was an afternoon their entire family had gotten seasick on a day sail out of Capitola that was too short to mention.

            So for a shake down cruise, we organized a weekend where the ten of us would get together on two boats. Lewis had been taking some of the more advanced courses offered by Olympic Circle and had just graduated to the level where he could check out their largest boats. He selected the vessel Brie III, a beautiful Saber 34. The arrangements were for David and Marcy to meet us at Brisbane. The others would meet Lewis and Barbara in Berkeley. We would meet and raft up at Clipper Cove late Friday afternoon for a barbecue and take the rest of the weekend as it came. San Francisco Bay in June is a good place to shake down new sailors when the winds can rip and roar.

            I took the afternoon off work that Friday to prepare Moonshot. Dave, Marcy, and Marsha showed up on time and it was a fast pleasant sail to Treasure Island. We secured a choice anchorage well in advance of Brie III leaving the Berkeley marina. This gave us plenty of time to partake in one of Richard's favorite pastimes, watching other boats anchoring techniques. One classic cruiser, a Hans Christian 38, came in between land and us and ran aground on the sand bar. They didn't need to worry about their anchor for a while, but they let it drop anyway.

            While waiting for the Brie III, David decided to give me a birthday present early, which reveled there was recognition that it was my birthday weekend. The nature of the gift was worth exposing the otherwise surprise birthday party. David presented me with a balloon launching kit that was almost complete. There was no cup to hold the balloons in position, just long stretches of rubber tubing and bags of balloons. We filled a bunch of balloons with water and tied the tubing to the backstay and a lifeline. We were set with an arsenal ready.

            The weather turned out to be warm and the Cove was protected from the afternoon winds. We were beginning to receive communications from the Brie III over the VHF, their estimated time of arrival was still 45 minutes away. Marcy and Marsha went below to start working on food preparation. Dave and I started working on blowing up the inflatable dinghy on the Frederick deck. It was the toy dinghy we always kept stored in the lazaret, not the Cindy Too. I commented how amazing it was that we had owned this $79.00 dinghy for over 10 years and it was still going strong when all off a sudden we heard a SSSSSSSS sound. I looked down to see we had sprung a leak in one of its seams. I tried to patch it but this was a serious failure. We gave up on the notion it could be fixed about the same time we saw the Brie III approaching.

            The plan was to wave them to our port side and when they were within 50 yards, we would start blasting them with our ammunition. I prepared myself for the first shot, pulled back the rubber tubing and let go, BLAM. It hit Moonshot's backstay and exploded splashing all over my crew. David handed me another balloon, I cocked and let go. It exploded from the pull of the rubber band, all over us as did the next 3 balloons. Jim was on their bow ready to cast us a line and had the opportunity to laugh at being threatened in vain. What a bummer. We should have used Marsha's bra or a funnel, or something like that to produce a cup for the launcher. We didn't have to worry about polluting the environment with floating rubber balloon remnants, none ever left Moonshot.

            The raft up was easy, we made sure the masts of the two boats were not on line so waves wouldn't cause the spreaders to clash. The two boats rested peacefully on Moonshot's 25# CQR. The crew of the Brie III was all wearing fowl weather gear and life preservers. There were several complaints about Lewis acting like a Captain Bligh issuing strict orders and commands though it seemed like he was already getting the message to mellow out. One's first charter proves to be a building of nervous energy. I experienced it myself at Jost Van Dyke 2 years prior. The dinner plan was to grill off the back of Moonshot and dine on the Brie III. Some of my other memorable birthday gifts were the pocket trout flashlight and Charley and Jenny's puke candy. The pocket trout was a hit all weekend. It was a fish shaped rubber device 4" long and 1" in diameter. When you squeezed its middle, a light came on inside the fish's mouth. Everyone partied until they couldn't any more. Charley and Jenny had survived so far thanks to the Scopolamine patches, they weren't taking any chances. Everyone crashed at some point. This felt like cruising to me, except we couldn't go swimming.

            Boat breakfast, coffee and toasted bagels with your choice of butter, and plain or strawberry cream cheese. We had allocated meals to each couple and ours was the bagel breakfast. Coffee is great in the morning, especially when you wake up in a 2-boat raft up with 10 people. Charley and Jenny were just watching the rest of the crew that had plenty of experience at waking up on a boat with each other. Life could not be better, this crew was getting together. It seemed like everyone had his or her one thing that contributed to the whole thing. Charley and Jenny were suffering from the side effects of the Scopolamine, but soon started going with the flow.

            We were still at anchor as the Brie III began to leave. I was in my bathing suit preparing to raise the anchor out of the Clipper Cove mud. Since we had both boats resting on Moonshot's anchor, it was extremely hard to break it loose. I finally got it free, but it was a sweaty job. I thought maybe an electric windlass someday. Brie III waited for us and watched me clean the anchor off as we motored out of the Cove. Their turn next. Our plan for the day was to sail to Paradise Cay and anchor for lunch, then invade the Loch Lomand yacht club for dinner. John and Joy were planning on meeting us there with Nighthawk. Brie III sailed circles around us on the way to Paradise Cay. The overcast sky gave way to sunshine as we blew past the slot towards Angel Island.

 


Figure 86: Crew of Brie III at Clipper Cove


Figure 87: Crew of Moonshot at Clipper Cove

            We had never been to Paradise Cay, but Richard and Hilarie mentioned it was a good anchorage except it could be rolly. We caught up with Brie III and rafted again, this time on their anchor. It was windy, but sunny as we all piled onto the Brie III for lunch. Moonshot's stereo system was loud enough to provide music by placing the speaker system on top of the dodger. Part of lunch was fresh fruit and while Joanne and I were eating strawberries, Joe Cocker's song "You can keep your hat on" from the soundtrack for the movie "9-1/2 Weeks" was playing. We started talking about the scene in the movie involving strawberries. After listening to our conversation, David wanted to see the movie.

            After lunch it was a race to San Rafael, our handicap was the fact Brie III had to raise anchor. The wind was blowing off shore and we were the leeward boat so we hoisted the main, cast off the lines and we were under sail. The afternoon was warming, and it was a broad reach from Paradise Cay. We were able to sail down the entire channel to the marina. Brie III caught us at the very end. The marina harbormaster had us located on the far end of the marina but shortly after we had docked, two representatives from LLYC approached to greet us. They had heard we were here in a group and wanted to invite us to move our boats to the yacht club's guest dock. A cruise in had canceled at the last minute so they had plenty of space and provisions. Hosting ten adults that blew in from nowhere was something more exciting to do than hang out on a Saturday night with no guests.

            We moved our boats and eventually wandered up to their clubhouse. One of the locals at the bar was a huge guy known as the Crazy Cajun, "world famous" for his Cajun barbecue sauce. We ended up owning several bottles. We enjoyed their club's hospitality for the rest of the afternoon, and then went back to the boats to clean up and change for dinner. After dinner turned into a fairly wild party. The club catered to our every entertainment need and before long we were circle dancing around the dance floor. We were all still dancing when John and Joy joined us, having docked their boat along side ours. They planned on taking off early the next morning, in time to make the start of a race. What they hadn't planned on was the tide being so low that our boats were sitting in the mud at the time they wanted to leave. It was around 6:30 AM when the big splash was heard. Joy had been rocking Nighthawk back and forth trying to free it from the mud. She had been holding the lifeline when the line came loose. She went flying backwards off the dock into the water. They eventually decided there was no way they were gong to make the race so they settled back in to their berth and planned to hang out with us for the rest of the day.

            Gradually, people started to wake up. It turned out Barbara is a runner and had brought her shoes. She got me going so we explored a few miles of the area. When we returned to the dock, we found Lewis involved with a crew of people trying to pump out and raise a sunken powerboat. Some of the crew from our flotilla had already showered, the rest were on their way up to the nearby diner for breakfast. It was Sunday, so once underway, the plan was to sail in close formation back to the city, then split up and make way to our respective homeports. We passed Marcy’s Taboli from boat to boat for lunch while we took pictures of each other under sail.

            It was a straight shot home on a starboard tack for Moonshot though it took a while, we were fighting the current and the hull needed cleaning. It turned out to be another enjoyable weekend. Charley had gotten uptight once, hollering at me to turn off the music. It didn't bother me though, I was asleep. It was John playing music on the other side of Brie III. We ate well thanks to David and Marcy's touch at meal planning and grilling. Lewis did mellow out as Captain. There were no opportunities to catch fish, so Jim's reputation was safe. John and Joy made their first steps towards chilling out and enjoying cruising. They weren't going to join us on the Caribbean cruise because their time and money was tied up next year in crewing on the TransPac race. It looked as if our crew of 10 would work out together, but the charter was still over 10 months away.


Figure 88: Brie III under sail


Figure 89: Moonshot under sail

 

FISHING ON A POWERBOAT

            I was looking forward to my nephew John’s visit for two weeks. He arrived Friday evening, so Saturday morning we went to the marina for a day sail to see how he took to it. We casually went through the basics and even got him used to manning the helm. He did well. We got back to the dock in time to spend the afternoon in the city. As hosts, we wanted to make sure he got a good taste of the area. We visited Pier 39 to see the sea lions on their invaded H dock. We made our way through Fisherman's Wharf and on to the cable cars. After an hour in line and a ride on the cable car, John expressed more interest in the boating scene than the touring scene.

            While we were cleaning Moonshot after another sail on Sunday, Andy Geiser stopped by our boat for a chat. He skippered a 29' powerboat, the Amy May-B. He invited us to go fishing with him the following weekend. This sounded like a great opportunity to see a different side of boating. Marsha and I had wanted to learn more about offshore fishing and John thought it sounded neat so we agreed. We would be leaving at the crack of dawn on Sunday. We stayed on board Moonshot Saturday night so all we would have to do the next morning would be get up, carry a few bags down the dock, climb aboard and go.

            The important part about fishing, first and foremost, is you have to have your hook in the water where the fish are. Since they swim around, it helps to have knowledge and information. Once underway, Andy tuned into channel 12 periodically to check in with the local fishermen trying to get tips on where the fish were. We were looking first for Salmon and striper bass, then rockfish if we weren't lucky trolling. Andy also checked in on channel 16 with specific boats he knew would be out that day. Other techniques he employed for gaining information on fish whereabouts were watching for birds feeding on bait fish, swarming bait fish on or near the water's surface, and blips that resembled schools of bait fish on the fish finder's screen. The fish finder was also capable of locating possible target fish. A marvelous tool. Marsha became fascinated with the fish finder and spent much of the day assuming the duty of fish finder watch person. Another useful electronic tool is the Loran because when you do find fish, you can store your location in a way point and troll the spot again. You can also use the Loran to communicate fish locations with friends.

            Amy May-B had all these tools as well as a large open aft cockpit that was roomy enough for bringing in the big ones. It had 8 rod holders so each of us could be working two. The reels were full of 30# test line and the rods were stiff except for the last 12”, which were very flexible. The flexibility was designed to avoid jerky motion while a Salmon was on your hook. It is illegal in California to use a barbed hook to catch Salmon, so we were breaking the barbs off hooks on the lures. Once on the hook, constant tension needed to be in the line to be able to reel the fish in. For the same reason, a special technique for getting the fish into the net is required. When someone is reeling in a keeper, another person gets the net ready by positioning themselves behind the fishermen. The netter puts the net overboard into the water so the person reeling can position the fish over the submerged net while never releasing tension on the line. At the precise moment when the fish is clearly over the net, the netter raises it to bring the fish in being careful not to knock the Salmon off the hook. The rule about not using barbed hooks not only makes for a more sporting experience but it makes it east to return fish that aren't big enough without much damage. You can literally shake the fish off your hook if you see it's not at least the minimum 20" long.

            Once we were past the Golden Gate Bridge traveling north through the Bonita Channel, I broke out the bagels for breakfast as we started getting the fishing gear ready. The reports coming in from Andy's friends were not very encouraging. We were using 2# lead balls on the same type of rigs Jim and I had experimented with on Monterey Bay. Andy liked to spray the lead balls with WD-40, claiming fish are attracted to the smell. He kept a large bowl of lead balls handy and gave them all a generous squirt. The plan was to try a variety of artificial lures as well as frozen anchovies and fish at a variety of depths while trolling at a speed of 2 knots. We would measure depths by counting the yards of line we let out yard by yard by an approximated arm's length pull from the reel, 10, 15, 20 yards deep to see what would work.

            We got several strikes in our attempts to kill Salmon. It's quite distinctive when one is on your line. The noise the pole makes leaves no doubt you've hooked a fish. We reeled a couple of shakers to the boat, one of which we brought on board to examine. It was a few inches short but at least we witnessed the complete demonstration on how to bring them in. Though it was under the size limit, it looked like an absolute feast for 4. Andy let him go after a few brief moments of admiration. A couple more strikes that managed to shake themselves off our hooks was enough action to keep things interesting as we made our way out to the congregation of fishing boats. There were no encouraging signs that the big fish were anywhere to be found. We had carefully watched every boat all the way from the channel to see if they were having success and according to Andy, this wasn't turning out to be a Salmon fishing day. Eventually, he decided to switch gears to rockfish.

            We set our course for the reef off Duxbury Point. The fish finder would play a more important role in our quest for rockfish than it had for Salmon. With the right blips on the fish finder screen, it was almost guaranteed that we would be eating cod for dinner. Marsha's fish thing started coming out in full force. She was soaking up all the details on why the fish finder was so important for rock fishing. First of all, you have to fish for rockfish over rocks. Flat or slightly ascending or descending bottom surfaces didn't reflect a rocky bottom. Andy pointed out the reef in the distance and as we got closer, we started to see peaks and valleys on the display. This indicated we were over rocks. The next things important to see were several small blips in a valley. This was predictably, rockfish hanging out.

            As we made our approach to the prime rock fishing spot, we got busy changing the lures. There were special rockfish rigs that consisted of a 5' leader with a clip on the end for attaching an 8 ounce weight to bounce off the rocky bottom. There were 5 hooks spaced evenly on the leader and a loop on the other end for attaching the leader to your fishing line. Some of the rigs had hooks only, others had artificial lures. We attached chunks of anchovy to the hooks for bait. Once we were over a spot that looked likely on the fish finder, we fed the lines overboard. The technique was to gradually bounce the weight on the bottom with a gentle motion and wait for the action.

            The action came in fast and furious spurts, until we drifted away from the rocky area. Because of the 5-hook system, it wasn't unusual for someone to reel in 2 or 3 fish at a time. There is no size restriction, just our judgment call on if it was worth cleaning. The fish we were bringing in were all good sized, and ugly. Andy convinced us in spite of their looks, they were great eating. Marsha caught her token one fish, and then was content to go back to her station at the fish finder. John, Andy and I were all having good strikes. When Marsha told us the finder's display was saying we were out of the rocks, Andy would power the boat back. On one strike, I landed a fish that fought more that the others. It got the line caught on the rocks. Andy had us bring the rest of the lines in, then backed the boat up. That freed the line so I was about to reel in a 23" Ling Cod. They have many teeth.

            We reeled in a couple dozen codfish before calling it a day, and then took our time getting back to Brisbane exploring the ocean coast and city front. Andy was having fun showing a Michigan youngster the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco. All of us had a great time. When we arrived home, I was able to apply the filleting technique the Fish Killer had taught me in the Sea of Cortez. We fried the fish in batter and served them with red vinegar, English style. Nothing like a fish dinner after your catch. Andy had given us much useful knowledge that day.

 


Figure 90: Tasty cod fish

 

OUT OF GAS

            Things were happening in Tom and Kelly Wagen's lives. I hadn't spoken with him for some time when he called to let me know he was moving his family to Texas. Kelly's father was ill and they would be moving close to him to help out. We discussed getting together again and agreed on a weekend. The plan was to meet at Clipper Cove and anchor rafted together for the night. Marsha and I got an early start, just after noon for the 2 hour sail to the cove. We arrived in time to get one of the better anchoring spots. Tom planned on meeting us around 2:30. We had come to understand this meant somewhere between 3:30 and 4:00. So we got anchored securely and kicked back to relax, enjoy the sun and watch the anchoring style of incoming vessels. One was the Nonsuch named Hobbs. They dropped their anchor and proceeded to let out about 250' of chain, way more that they needed for this cove. They let out so much chain that they ended up too close to another boat. They then brought all the chain and anchor back on board and proceeded to repeat the experience dropping their hook another 100' closer to shore. Once they got set, they brought a large color TV from their cabin and set it up on the companionway cover. It was a good laugh.

            Eventually we heard a hail for Moonshot on channel 16. It was Tom, they had gotten a late start but were out of the channel in San Pablo Bay, doing about 55 MPH. He would call us back when he got close to Clipper Cove. We continued to get increasingly comfortable in our well-chosen spot for the next half hour. When I responded to the next hail for Moonshot, Tom commented that he was near and needed some help. I looked about for his boat but couldn't see it. I stated he could find the cove by spotting the large gray navy boat with the numbers 6894 its side. The cove was just past that. He commented back, "That's not what I mean, we're at the north end of Treasure Island and we've run out of gas." Bummer!

            We had to go help them. It was rough getting uncomfortable when we thought we were set for the night. Now we had to raise the anchor and go on a rescue mission. I guess that's part of boating, but gee, aren't you supposed to check your fuel gauge. We got underway and it wasn't long before Marsha spotted what looked like Bay Dreamer, adrift. We circled a couple of times until we could toss them a line and slowly towed them with our 8 HP YSM8G engine back to Clipper Cove. We didn't know where there was a fuel dock near by, Tom thought he might get lucky on Treasure Island so we made way for the guest dock at the Navy's marina.

            Tom and I walked up to the Treasure Island yacht club to ask about fuel. There was no commercial pump on the island, but a gentleman at the club informed us the marina had a few five gallon cans of fuel stashed somewhere. The men running the marina were dressed in camouflage fatigues. Tom explained the situation to one of them. His first reaction was sorry, but we don't have a fuel dock. Tom brought up the fact that he was out of gas here and what about the 5-gallon cans the man at the yacht club described. The young man hesitated for a moment, then shrugged his shoulders, raised his hands and said, "What the heck, what are they going to do, fire me?" We walked out to one of the storage sheds where there were 10 cans of gas stored. He loaned us one. Five gallons would be enough to get Bay Dreamer to a fuel dock elsewhere, but being a sailboat owner I didn't know where the fuel docks were in the city.

            Fortunately, our anchor spot hadn't been taken. Enough boats had come in after us that the other incoming boats didn't think there was enough room where we had been. We recognized all the boats around the spot and knew there was room so we anchored Moonshot in our original spot. Then Tom and I went looking for fuel on Bay Dreamer. We searched the city front but found nothing open. We ended up docking in Gas House Cove and making several trips to a gas station nearby. It would be dark soon so we went back to Clipper Cove to end this hassle. Even though we had a late start, dinner turned out great as usual on the "Moonshot Bar and Grill". Tom and Kelly had to get an early start the next day to find more gas for the trip home so we said farewell, then took out time sailing home.

 

FOURTH ANNUAL MYSTERY CRUISE

            We always looked forward to September and October as the best time of the year for boating. You could rely on warm weather and fair winds. This year was no exception. After an exciting September of fun activities, we were now looking at several more ahead in October. Rapidly approaching was the annual Mystery Cruise. Jeff did his usual good job of creating a new naughty navigational puzzle. We did well this year, figuring out the destination correctly and made our way to Richardson Bay. I'm not sure if it was coincidental that Jeff had us crossing San Francisco Bay during the Blue Angels air show, but the timing couldn't have been better to see the air show from the best seats in the house. Marsha and I had never seen the annual event, so we enjoyed it immensely, watching the professional pilots perform their aeronautical acrobatics. The Coast Guard had cleared the central portion of the bay. We were riding along the outskirts. We could see a wall of sails on the other side of the bay in front of Angel Island all the way to the Sausalito side of the Golden Gate Bridge. When the show was over, boats dispersed in every direction and we were able to sail to our destination.

            The puzzle was tricky enough that we got to listen to other boaters trying to get hints on the radio. Boats were mistakenly hanging out in various parts of the bay waiting for signs of other SPYC burgees to appear. Jeff added a new twist this year, in that we would be anchoring overnight instead of invading someone else's yacht club. It would be a pot luck dinner aboard a central raft up. Moonshot was anchored in plenty of time to enjoy the afternoon sun while we waited for the rest of the fleet. Eventually, enough hints were leaked over channel 68 for the rest of the boats to join us. We ended up with Del Cielo in the center as the main party boat with Moonshot and Good Turn rafted on either side. The other vessels anchoring around the raft up were the Geri Glen with the Gollihurs and the Flynns, Hopee with Keith and Marie Layton, Lovely Lady with Ann and Jerry Kadoch and Poquito with the Rosenthals. We had brought our inflatable dinghy and Jeff's outboard motor was handy so we combined the two and took turns being the dinghy taxi for people that didn't have their own. The transom of Good Turn served well as the dinghy dock. Everyone brought plenty of food and drink so we had all the ingredients for a good party.

            This was the first time we met Keith and Marie, but we had met Hopee just weeks prior at the boat show in Alameda. We remembered liking it after touring the Golden Wave 42. Its asking price had been $104,000.00, so we hadn't bothered getting too excited about it. They purchased it during the boat show. We had also gotten excited about a Cal 39 sloop named Moondancer II. We spent almost two hours going over every square inch with a fine-toothed comb. Marsha started having reservations about the design though. Her main objectives were no place to store pots and pans in the galley, and an uncertain feeling about how the transom design would work in a following sea. Still Moondancer II was a clean boat. The only things that stuck out in my mind were the bent bow roller and crack in the wooden toe rail where it butted against the bow roller, apparently where it had taken a good whack, and the fact the engine wouldn't start. They were asking $65,000 for that boat, which has us thinking hard.

            As the party gained momentum, I remember loading Ann Kadoch and Jerry into the dinghy for a ride back to Lovely Lady. As we were about to cast off, Jayne come out onto the foredeck of Del Cielo and informed us the Jeff had gotten out his guitar and they were going to perform the song they had written while cruising in Mexico, "Mothers Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Sailors". She strongly urged them not to leave just yet. Ann said why not and everyone turned around and got back on Good Turn.

            A few weeks prior after dinner at a cruise out to the Oakland yacht club, Jeff, Jayne, Larry, Mary Anne, Marsha and I escaped from the group for an after dark sail on Del Cielo in the Alameda Channel. It was a perfect full moon evening and we were singing songs sailing up and down the channel. After that, one of the songs had stuck in my head and it had Jayne's voice. Soon after that I heard it on the radio but didn't catch its name so I called Jayne. I mentioned I heard her voice in my memory of it. She remembered the song, "Southern Cross"' by Crosby, Stills, and Nash's on their "Daylight Again" album. As Jeff and Jayne began to play and sing, it became clear that this may have been a bit late in the evening to pull out the instruments, we already had too much to drink, but folks went along with them. They went into their rendition of Southern Cross an Jayne started singing to me. Oh well, no harm done, everyone was having great fun. The evening ended shortly afterwards, everyone made their way to their respective berths. The next morning, the boats that weren't part of the raft up all had breakfast on their own and left early. The three of us decided not to rush and have a potluck breakfast with the leftovers. It was a warm sunny morning. We had a feast with the food, perfect before an October sail home.

 

SECOND DRAKES BAY CRUISE

            Even after the turn of events last, the cruising crew was anxiously awaiting our 2nd Drakes Bay attempt. Once again, we were planning on cramming 6 people onto Moonshot for a 3-day weekend on the ocean with visions of a freshly caught crab feast and dinghy rides to shore to explore the Point Reys Park. Our plan was the same as last year. Jim and Joanne would cruse up to South Beach marina with us on Friday night. Lewis and Barbara would meet up with us early Saturday morning. The only one with strong apprehensions about the trip was Marsha, which also meant Joanne was apprehensive. Her faith in the crew was gated by Marsha's instincts.

            Marsha's largest fear was that we would forge ahead come hell or high water and not be wise enough to turn back if the conditions got too rough. This was coupled with her growing beliefs that it was crazy to pack the boat with so many people, and that Moonshot was too tender of a vessel to be comfortable on the ocean. Marsha's apprehensions never let up as the weather forecast was for small craft warnings with building winds and seas of 6-foot waves and 4 foot swells. Everyone else except Joanne was up for going out and at least playing around. We got an early start but the tidal conditions weren't the best and though it was a calm sunny morning, we were making about 1-1/2 knots heading under the Golden Gate, motoring because of no wind.

            We forged ahead at Marsha's protest, which was calming some as we rounded Point Bonita because it was such a gorgeous day. Soon some wind came and we were sailing. That kept up for a while, but then we started observing white water ahead and the wind started to build. Once the afternoon wind was up, we had the sails reefed and we were making 1 knot of headway. It became clear we wouldn't make Drakes Bay for many hours so we finally decided to just test Moonshot in those conditions for a while, then turn back. Marsha was right, but the boat handled well and it was a fun down wind run back in. Jim didn't have too much time for Salmon fishing and even with our newly acquired knowledge on how to catch them, no nibbles. Joanne got sea sick and barfed over the side.

            We pulled into the Golden Gate yacht club docks at the San Francisco marina and got a slip for the night, then took it easy for the rest of the afternoon and developed a back up plan for the rest of the weekend. Our timing getting in and luck getting a slip turned out to be good, because there were many city front races that weekend and many boats from other places were staying in the marina. Soon after we got settled, the race boats started coming in. Many of the boats were tacking into the marina under sail. That was always fun to watch, but would be difficult to navigate through. We realized the Hawk Farm one design fleet was racing when we saw Nighthawk coming in.

            We basked in the afternoon sun and eventually made plans for dinner. Again, we were loaded with food so we decided to cook on board then visit the yacht club afterwards. No one really minded not making it to Drakes Bay. It was becoming a tradition not to. The next morning, the racers were taking off for Sunday's races so we enjoyed watching them from the breakwater. We watched the Hawk Farms and started rooting for John and Joy. Shortly after their start, we witnessed Nighthawk and another one of the Hawkfarm’s masts collide on separate tacks. They were stuck together briefly, but managed to get free with no one hurt. Once the harbor was clear and breakfast behind us, we decided to get some sailing in then head for Angel Island for the evening.

            Marsha got fed up with Lewis wanting to always beat to weather and muck with the sail trim. She started quoting a line from one of William F. Buckley's books. "Gentlemen Don't Beat to Weather!". We eased off to a beam reach for a while then tacked to buzz by the city front on a down wind cruise dodging the racers. The skipper of one boat near us asked if we were racing. After saying no, he kindly asked us to get out of his way, they were and we were fowling their wind. Finally we tacked to make way to Angel Island on a reach, hoping to arrive early enough to find a vacant mooring buoy. We did, so we were set for Sunday night. We planned to hang out and explore the island for the afternoon and next morning before going home on Monday. Things still felt like cruising, even though we hadn't left San Francisco Bay. Cocktails in the afternoon, exploring, dinner, and partying in the evening until everyone crashed.

            Soon after everyone was asleep, we started hearing a banging noise against the hull that woke everyone up. The tide and wind were such that Moonshot was banging up against the mooring buoy. We had to fix this so Lewis and I climbed out to see what we could do. Lewis eyed the situation and claimed it was time for some midnight engineering. After thinking it over, we rigged a tripod with the whisker pole, jib halyard, and spare lines. We poled off the buoy with the lines holding the pole in position and buoy at a safe distance. Eventually everyone got back to sleep.

            The next morning, Barbara and I decided to jog the 5-mile bicycle trail around the island. Jim and Marsha dinghied to shore with us and agreed to hang out so we could get a ride back to the boat. It's a gorgeous run. At one point, there is a breath taking view where you can see from Tiburon all the way around to Berkeley including the entire San Francisco city front. When we returned, we learned we had almost lost the dinghy. I had tied it to a railroad tie that started floating away as the tide came in. Marsha spotted it and ran to its rescue, falling as she climbed down the rocks to the beach. Fortunately she wasn't hurt and rescued the Cindy Too in time. We packed up for the sail home after lunch. We would have to plan the tides better for next year's attempt. Marsha remained skeptical.

 


Figure 91: Midnight engineering

 

BOTTOM PAINT

            It had been two years since our last haul out and bottom paint job. Our diver had been reporting that the last paint job had poor surface preparation and paint was chipping. We had been following pending legislation through articles in Latitude 38. Soon, boat yards were going to have to take painful care to reclaim the bottom paint removed from hulls and haul the waste to toxic dumps. Because of this, it was potentially the last year that boat yards would allow individuals to do their own hull surface preparation. I organized the haul out and my racing crew to help with the work.

            Marsha and I took Moonshot up the Redwood creek on a Sunday, berthing it in Docktown marina. The plan was the following Friday, the South Bay Boat Works would move the boat to their yard and haul it. We would have that weekend to work on it. The yard would apply two coats of bottom paint the following week in time for us to take it back home the next weekend. There was pea soup fog in the south bay the day we took Moonshot to Docktown, the foggiest we had ever seen. We used the autopilot and Loran to get there while watching closely for obstructions such as bridge stanchions. We found one of the entrance channel markers for Redwood Creek, but couldn’t find the second one. Because of the fog was still thick, we decided to test the new Fortress anchor I had given Marsha for Christmas. We sat for two hours having lunch and watching the fog breath. It would start to clear, then get foggier. The fog did clear some, so we decided to plot a series of way points in the Loran to help guide us in.

            We found the first channel marker at the same time a 40' sailboat was rapidly motoring into the channel. We followed them for a while thinking it was likely they were from here and knew the way in. It started looking as if they were moving in the wrong direction so I stopped following them and turned around. We got our bearings with the compass and Loran and made another attempt. This time, a fishing boat passed by on the way in so we followed it for a while. All of a sudden, we made it through the fog bank into clear skies. We saw a small powerboat trying to help the 40' sailboat get free as it was stuck in the mud. We needed to hurry because low tide was approaching and we didn't want to end up in that situation. Once Moonshot was tied up safely, we visited briefly with Jeff and Jayne, knowing Del Cielo had moved to Docktown. We told them our plans and Jeff suggested we look them up next Saturday if they were around.

            I visited the yard mid week to line up the work to be done. Since the Brisbane area has a high electric charge in the water, I needed the best protection I could get. Gil recommended a brand of Interlux as having the highest copper content. Looking at the labels, I discovered the red paint had 7% more copper than the blue, so Moonshot would end up with a different color bottom.

            The work party consisted of the Knapps and the Callans. Our goal was to put one full day into the hull's surface preparation. Gil suggested I didn't need to get all the old paint off. If an area wouldn't scrape off, its adhesion was OK. The crew worked hard. I figured not counting break time for lunch, everyone put in 4 good hours. Twenty-four hours of labor into the hull, hard work, good friends. As we were cleaning up around 5:00 PM, Jeff and Jayne strolled by. We agreed to meet them at the Peninsula yacht club when we were finished. One thing led to another in our conversations and Jeff ended up inviting us to dine on Del Cielo. Lewis and I made a trip to the grocery store for food. Grilled vegetables basted in oil and Balsamic vinegar, Monkfish, and strip steak. We served the dishes plate by plate as finger food while Jayne was teaching the others how to play dominos below in the cabin. It turned out to be a great party and soon everyone forgot how hard they had worked all day. Marsha and I crashed on Moonshot in the boat yard. The paint job went as smooth as clockwork and we were in the water the next weekend. Lewis and I started early taking two cars to Brisbane leaving the van, and then driving back to Docktown to meet the others for the sail back. It was a clear day and we made it back just in time to make the start of OPYC's February race. They were lucky enough to have wind and Moonshot sailed great with her new bottom paint job.

 


Figure 92: Blue crew

           
SPYC GETS REGULAR HOURS

            SPYC had been working hard to keep some regular hours. Larry Dulmage had become the new Commodore and this was his platform for the year. SPYC wasn't big enough financially to have hired help short of an occasional catered dinner. Therefore the only way to keep any kind of regular hours is to have volunteers tend bar. A system for enlisting volunteers was devised from suggestions from acquaintances at other clubs. The goal was to have each member serve one or two nights per year. The Rear Commodore would divide up the membership and appoint a team for each month appointing one person as captain. It became the captain's responsibility to coordinate the rest of the team so someone works the club each Friday and Saturday evening from 7:00 - 11:30, or whenever they felt like closing after 11:30. A list of to do's was prepared so there was enough information ready at hand. The bartender for the night would just need to unlock the club and follow the instructions on the list.

            There were usually random food items in the donated refrigerators. Mary Anne would get inspired from time to time and make pizzas. It was slow going at first, but gradually a group of regulars and consistently random drop-ins became the average evening. A safe was installed in the club with a drop slot to put the cash in at the end of the evening. I was assigned as captain for the month of March. It wasn't a hard sell to get people to sign up for their duty. I had fun being bartender. I brought cassette tapes to play in the donated tape deck. Liar's dice had the tendency to extend closing time by a couple of hours.

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Keys to the Golden Gate, Copyright © 2002 by Steve Sears