Thursday, October 9, 2014

Leg 1 Complete - In San Francisco!!

Well, we successfully made it to San Francisco!!

Gary entertaining himself while underway
The passage from Crescent City was happily uneventful.  This gave Gary time to do boat chores, like sorting our miscellaneous nuts and bolts container (he was sooo happy).  This part of the trip included passing the dreaded and feared "Cape Mendocino", which can be quite nasty in any kind of wind and seas.  As you can see from the pictures, it was a millpond when we went past.
Coming up on Cape Mendicino at dusk

The first night out of Crescent City was clear and full of stars - the second night, not so much.  We got stuck in the notorious California coast fog for the last 36 hours of the trip.  We had pea soup visibility and so had to rely on our trusty radar to see us through.  We both got very good at picking 'targets' (and there were a lot of them) out of the sea clutter on the screen.

Our view for the last 36 hours
Aagghhh!  Which dot is a boat!!!
High fashion on the high seas
With the fog came frigid, temperatures and damp conditions.  We haven't been that cold in a long time - and this is California??  We both would have frozen to death without our trusty survival suits.  The cold was absolutely bone chilling, especially at night.

Matching outfits - how sweet
The highlight of the trip, of course, was passing under the Golden Gate bridge.  The fog started to clear just as we got within sight of it.  Although this may be hard for landlubbers to understand, passing under the bridge is a big deal for a sailor.  It is the culmination of years of dreaming, hard work and preparation.  If you can make it down the Washington, Oregon and California coast, the belief is that you can make it anywhere in the world on your sailboat.

We enjoyed our "bridge moment" to the fullest. Quite an accomplishment for people who really only got into sailing in 2009 (at least on Karina's part)!!

Third time under the Golden Gate for Gary...
...but, a 'first' for Karina
A major milestone for us as a sailing couple
Going under the bridge

On the other side!!

Overall it was a pretty good passage and much easier than expected. I guess that is what preparation does for you!  We can certainly credit the Bluewater Cruising Association with helping us in that regard.

It was great to meet other Cruisers in Port Angeles and Neah Bay before we left, and it definitely made the 'big left turn' from Neah Bay less scary to look back and see our friends Dave and Rose on s/v Aussie Rules right behind us.

Of course the trip didn't go completely smoothly as we had that little rig issue on the first night, but we dealt with it calmly and rationally.  Our watch schedule worked pretty well - we did 4 hours on, 4 hours off.  While Gary found it hard to entertain himself for this long (I was fine), it was invaluable to have that many hours of sleep in a row.  It kept the grumpiness level at a minimum, and kept us both pretty alert.  We both did really well on the sea sickness front, as well.  I was sick for the first few hours, but then managed to get over it by dinner time on the first day.  Gary felt better than usual as well.  My biggest worry was that I would be incapacitated by sea sickness, so it was definitely a relief to know that we were both capable, functioning crew members!

We are currently in Sausilito.  We anchored out for the first two nights in the very rolly, shallow anchorage at the south end of town.  It is a good thing we had just come in from off-shore and were used to being bounced around for hours on end or else we would have been sea sick for sure in the anchorage!  We met up with fellow Blue Water Cruising Association members (and friends) Dean and Lynn of s/v Solastra, and Gord and Mags of s/v Kanilela, both of whom made their way down the coast as first time passage-makers earlier this month.  It was great to catch up, talk about our respective trips and compare what broke on board.  Believe it or not, we didn't have the most 'expensive' trip down.  But, we all made it here safe and sound, and all feel well 'salted'.
Motoring into Sausilito

View from our anchorage in Sausilito, CA
Today we are having our furler and forestay replaced by one of the local riggers.  Not a cheap solution to our little rigging problem, but it will ensure we don't have an issue with the forestay in the future.  We will likely stay in the boatyard tonight (no rolly anchorage - yippee!!) and will then head up to the Napa river to Vallejo tomorrow to meet my parents, who are driving down the coast to deliver Charlotte to us.  Unfortunately it is "Fleet Week" over the weekend and so Sausilito is booked solid with all the Navy activities that go along with it.  We'll hide out in Vallejo with the folks for the weekend and will hopefully do some car trips to Napa and Sonoma from there.  We may come back to Sausilito next week after the all the hoopla has calmed down.

So, believe it or not we made it to San Francisco and are now looking forward to the next leg of the trip down to San Diego.  Stay tuned!

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