Thursday, October 16, 2014

Work and Play in the Bay Area

Pulling apart the old foil with a 3:1 pulley system (Gary in his element)
Rigger attaching the new forestay
Up the rig
Time flies when you are having fun.  It is hard to believe we've been in the Bay Area for over a week now!  As usual, we've had a busy week.  We started with the most important job - getting our forestay looked at by a Rigger. Gary and I damaged the foil slightly during our emergency repairs in Astoria, and as expected, the Rigger thought this would cause us grief in the future (e.g. not being able to get the sail down when necessary, etc).  In addition to that, he pointed out that while we replaced every other piece of rigging on the boat 2 years ago, our forestay and furler were now the 'weak link' in the system.  I guess that is to be expected with a 30 year old piece of equipment.  So, we bit the bullet and replaced the forestay and furler.  Not in the cruising budget, but what can you do?  The best part is that the new forestay has a different type of fitting from the old one and so it will not come apart again!  

We then headed up the Napa River to the town of Vallejo.  Our plan was to stay at the Municipal marina.  We had called the day before and were told that although they were dredging the area around the guest dock, it would be no problem to put us in one of the slips inside the marina.  Great, we think, and up the river we go.  We called the marina when we arrived and were rather rudely informed that the whole marina was closed to guests because of the dredging!  But we talked to you yesterday and were told no problem, we say.  "Well you didn't talk to me"... blah blah blah.  Anyway, a very firm "no".  We then called the other public marina in town - and guess what?  They are full. So, now what?  My parents are arriving in Vallejo the next day and so we need a place to stay in the area.  
Docked at the Vallejo Yacht Club (Napa River)
Here comes the lovely Vallejo Yacht Club to our rescue!  Even though they have 50 single handed racers coming in the next day, they kindly agree to make room for us.  They offered us wonderful hospitality during our entire stay.  We attended a fantastic dinner at the club on Friday night and met some great people.  Everyone at the club was friendly and went out of their way to help us.  We couldn't have asked for a better stay. Until... the dreaded dredger (that was supposed to be next door at the Municipal marina) showed up to dredge their harbour. Now, we understand that the club has been waiting for this to happen for quite some time, but I don't think they were counting on it happening on a Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning in the middle of one their busiest club events of the season (remember those 50 single handed racers??).  Needless to say it was chaos with boats trying to maneuver around the dredger, guns going off for the sailboat race (gun shy Charlotte loved those...), the noise from the dredging 20 feet from our boat.  Not to mention, they kept having to move us out of the way of the dredger (the harbour is really small).  After the 3rd move we decided we were overstaying our welcome and decided to move on.  Great place to stay though - we highly recommend them for anyone doing this trip in the future.
Here comes the dredger!!
A bit to close for comfort...
Despite the chaos of moving boats etc, we did find time to drive up to Napa and Sonoma for some sightseeing and wine tasting.  We stopped at 3 wineries but only tasted at the last one.  After 6 rather large tastes of some very nice wine, we decided we didn't need to go to any more vineyards.  Gary took a 'shortcut' from the Sonoma valley to the Napa valley and so we got to see some very beautiful countryside (and drive one of those crazy California roads).

Don, Winnie and Karina in Sausalito (San Fran in the background)
The amazing Bay Model
Ecclectic Sausalito
My parents and I (and Charlotte) sailed back to Sausalito the next day while Gary did errands with my parents car. We spent the next day wandering around town, enjoying the eclectic scenery (funky houseboats and mailboxes), as well as viewing the "Bay Model".  The Bay model is just that - a model of the Bay made by the Army Corp of Engineers back in the 1950's so that they could simulate different scenarios like, what would happen to the bay if such and such a bay was completely dredged etc.  It is an impressive sight - it occupies an area equivalent to 3 football fields.  Probably the most impressive thing though was just realizing how many waterways there are in this particular area.  And how shallow the whole area is!  Definitely a good overview.

Funky houseboats on the shore
The Sausalito Cruising Club
Yesterday we moved from the expensive marina to the very welcoming (and free) Sausalito Cruising Club.  They don't have much space on the dock (the club is basically a building on a barge), but we shoe-horned ourselves into a 45 foot space - our friends Rose and Dave on s/v Aussie Rules ended up having to raft to us - thanks!.  Getting in to the club required passing over a small "bar" and can only be entered at high tide.  Despite there supposedly being enough water under the keel, we scraped through the mud for about 20 feet while on our approach to the dock.  As this is the 3rd time we've essentially run aground in the Bay Area (not to mention bottoming out overnight in several marinas), we were pretty relaxed about the whole thing.  Our depth gauge had a hissy fit, but the boat itself just trucked through the mud.  We are definitely going to have to clean the water filter before we continue on down the coast.
Front view - Cruising Club

Docked at the Sausalito Cruising Club
And now we wait.  We are waiting for our dingy to be repaired (hopefully by Monday), and then we will wait for the next weather window to start moving South.  So far the weather isn't looking good...we could be here for a while.  But, we have no where to be and all the time in the world to get there.  And maybe we'll complete a few more boat projects along the way... like our watermaker, for example....

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