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Oct 8: Sailing trials in San Francisco bay

Again we delayed our departure; we just hadn't had enough experience sailing together as a team, and it didn't seem to make sense to leave without testing ourselves and the boat in heavy weather. Luckily San Francisco Bay is the ideal location for heavy-weather sailing!

We slept in a bit, motored over to the fuel dock, and topped off our diesel. We also pumped out, filled our water tanks, and filled Purpeat's gas tank. I stayed on the boat, doing these tasks serially, while Mike and Sara went for one last provisioning run, and Sean ran some errands at West Marine and the local fishing shop.

Everything was going fine, I stalled in a fantastic manner, but the fuel dock guys were wise to our game. They started cracking jokes about charging us slip fees, and all the joking went away when a huge motorboat came in. These guys take on $500-$1000 worth of fuel, so when the motorboat owner mentioned how he liked the side we were tied to, our welcome stay ended.

Sara and Mike were just dropping off groceries when they kicked me off the dock. I tried to call them back, but they had both just walked away. Oh well. I pulled in the dock lines and motored out by myself. I docked perfectly with a concrete commercial pier - of course there was no one there to appreciate my skillz!

After everyone negotiated the marina dock maze and found the boat, we did just a few small boat projects before pushing off. Sean finished the solar panel mechanical mounts, while Mike and I attacked the windlass gypsy pin. Sara organized the boat and managed us as only Sara can.

After an hour of work, we were ready. We pushed off and motored out. We had a great day of sailing in 20kt winds and 3-4ft chop. We practiced everything from tacking and jibing to reefing and calming the boat down. Unfortunately because there was so much traffic out, we didn't have time to take any pictures!

As the afternoon continued, we decided to moor in Swimmer's Cove right off Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco. We had a great sail into the cove, dodging tankers and other boats, and tied up to a mooring ball next to a boat from Vancouver. We had totally forgotten it was Canadian Thanksgiving!

Fetching the dinghy chain


Ghiradelli square

Swimmer's Cove is a sweet little protected area where people really do swim - even in winter! There are about 10 mooring balls, and I have no idea why they're not always taken. A sandy beach lines the cove, and the maritime museam (unfortunately closed) and Ghiridelli Square are also right there.

Launching Purpeat



We hauled Purpeat off the foredeck and lowered him into the water, jumped in, and paddled to shore for a relaxing night out. We all needed it. It was our first experience with little Purpeat, and she totally took care of us. We didn't bother with the outboard motor, we just paddled back/forth. It worked out great.

Wanderlust looking wonderful


The landing party hauling Purpeat

Our first stop was to take some pictures of Wanderlust - our first from off the boat - the Golden Gate, and the fog rolling in. What a gorgeous day.

Fog rolling over the gates


Wanderlust hanging out

Next was a short walk to the Buena Vista, where everyone else had Irish Coffee's. I can't stand coffee, so I had to make do with a Bombay Sapphire G&T. Yummy.

Sean at the Buena Vista


Will and Sara loving it up

After the sunset, we walked around, found a great restaurant, and Mike treated us all to dinner. What a great way to start a sailing trip!

Mike the pirate - arr!


Dinner carnage

Next was Ghiridelli's for some well-deserved dessert. Chocolate double-fudge brownie sundae. Mmmmrrm.

Anxiously waiting...


...for dessert

Back to the beach, back into the dinghy, and back to Wanderlust. Tomorrow would find us leaving SF bay! It was hard to sleep I was so excited.

Launching Purpeat from the beach


Sean paddling

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