Post 49: Gaining Independence

~Jen~

Per usual, I’ve been a slacker on the blog front.  So, I’m going to combine a couple of boat adventures.

Father’s Day- Sunday, June 21st

Rather than spending money on stuff (aka gifts) this Father’s Day, we decided to spend time on a new experience.

Our trusty crew Brad Johnson joined us once again for a big first– sailing in the Pacific Ocean.  It’s quite fitting as Brad was also around for our first adventure aboard Gone Tomorrow. Although we felt slightly guilty stealing Brad away from his family on Dad’s Day, we couldn’t have been happier to have him along.

Out with the Tide, Motoring Under the Bridge

Don’t get me wrong, I love learning to sail in the San Francisco Bay but seeing the same loop over and over again can get a bit monotonous. We made the decision to get up early to leave with the tide; we motored the heck out of our boat, heading for the Golden Gate Bridge. This way we could spend more time beyond rather than taking hours sailing just to get to this iconic landmark.

Brad Enjoying the Adventure

We motored out all the way to the last channel marker before hoisting our sails.  With 3 foot swells at 15 seconds apart and light winds, we put out our full mainsail removing our double reef.

It. Was. Glorious.

Wing on Wing

Sunshine on our faces, the breeze in our hair, we all fell in love with sailing just a little bit more this past Father’s Day.  We sailed all the way back in under the bridge, before having our asses handed to us in a “welcome home” gesture from the Bay.  Lesson learned, we need to reef prior to heading under the Bridge unless we want to see our toe rail under the water. I mean, what would a day on the Bay be without a teachable moment from Mother Nature? All in all, it was a successful, enjoyable, exciting new adventure; we can’t wait to head back out.  Half Moon Bay is calling our name.

Sailing Back into the Bay
Sailing Back into the Bay

Independence Day- Friday, July 3rd through Sunday, July 5th

Let’s Celebrate


Our buddy Graeme just finished sailing his Cal 25 from Baja to Panama and flew back to the Bay Area on July 3rd.  We figured this was a perfect excuse to gather friends to celebrate his return as well as our country’s independence. We rallied the troops from Pacifica to Reno in order to join our celebratory mission.

It was a fun filled weekend including time playing at the beach, dragging anchor, rowing folks from the boat to shore and back on Chloride, watching fireworks mostly covered by fog, drinking a bit of Wild Turkey, eating ribs, eating chicken, eating fresh guacamole, eating, eating, eating…

We’re on a Boat
The Men of the Galley

It was great to learn that S/V Gone Tomorrow can comfortably sleep 7 as long as those 7 folks don’t mind close quarters, don’t care about showers and really enjoy each other’s company.

The Independent Crew

A special thanks to Graeme for inspiring the weekend as well as to Raine, Devon, Steve, Anne, Sam, Ashley and Greg for joining in the fun. Also, I feel the need to confess a failed Scurvy Cure attempt of the Oh Say Can You Sea. Great name, gross drink. Luckily all escaped without the Scurvy.

Post 47: 24 Hour Adventure

~Jen~

Since our little tribe has returned to S/V Gone Tomorrow (Ruby and me from Yosemite and JD from Orlando), it has been a bit hectic.  JD is working MUCHO; I can’t remember the last time we had 2 whole days to spend together as a family.  Weekend, what??  It’s amazing how rejuvenating a night away from the dock can be, so we decided to take advantage of a 24 hour adventure window.

On Friday, JD got back from work around 7:30 pm.  As it’s so close to the Summer Solstice, the sun isn’t setting until about 8:30.   I had the boat prepped and ready to go; all we had to do was unplug from the dock, throw off the bowlines and head over to Treasure Island.

S/V Shawnigan was expecting our arrival.  We rafted up on their port side and took in the scene that was unfolding around us.  It just so happened that the Summer Sailstice from the Washed Up Yacht Club was going down.  Talk about a party.  This raft up included two boat weddings, tiki torches, a floating dance floor and trampoline as well as a booming sound system.  As our new friend Heather from A Fine Day for Sailing said, “Who needs TV when you can watch this?”   We hung out in Shawnigan’s cozy, covered center cockpit and watched the shenanigans taking place around us.

The Beginning of The Washed Up Yacht Club’s Raft Up

We hopped back on Gone Tomorrow at around midnight while the music was still going strong.  The bass from the music traveled across the water and could be heard clearly inside our boat.  JD and I threw our own impromptu dance party  before climbing into bed in the aft cabin.  The music went strong for several more hours, and my dreams were permeated with random bass lines throughout the night.

Enjoying our Saturday Morning

The morning brought a relaxing pace of coffee drinking and chatting.  It is so nice to find such a wonderful sailing community here in the Bay Area.  Each person we have met has their own story to tell and interesting tidbits of knowledge to share with our little tribe.  Since we are learning by doing, I appreciate the fine folks that have a deep understanding of sailing and are willing to share their insights without judgement.

Having Fun with Bjork the Canoe

Eventually the time came to pull up the anchor and head out for a few hours of sailing.

S/V Shawnigan heads to Sausalito

Once we left Clipper Cove, we realized how hard the wind was blowing.  There were little white caps across the bay, and when I checked the weather forecast I figured out that there was a small craft advisory.  I have to admit that I felt a little “bleh” as we beat into the wind.  It was a great lesson to truly learn the difference in how it feels to sail into the wind versus to sail downwind.  As soon we turned the boat around to head back towards the marina, everything felt a wee bit calmer and a whole lot more manageable.  My “bleh” feeling turned into a pretty darn big grin as I steered us home with gusts up to 35 knots.

Hang on!  Dressed for Success in my PJ’s.

JD and I have decided it’s time to step it up on the learning front.  We feel like we are managing just fine, but it’s time to gain some more knowledge.  We chatted about how to do this while sailing back to the harbor as we don’t quite have the cash flow to throw down on sailing lessons at the moment.  Instead we are going to start by reading nightly the plethora of sailing books we have on board, bit by bit, one chapter at a time. We’ll either learn something or help ourselves fall asleep easier.

Time will tell.  Man overboard drills, here we come.

Post 43: Ditto

~Jen~

I love the way JD writes; he depicted our Petaluma adventure so well.  All I need to say for my two cents is “ditto.”

Rather than writing more words, I am adding a quick video recap and some pictures to our Petaluma story.  You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  I used Magisto on my iPhone to do all of my video editing.  It’s pretty rad; you just pick ten pics, ten videos, choose a theme, add some music, and voila…

Enjoy.

And now for the photos…

Heading Out of the Emeryville Channel in the Early Morning
Heading Towards the Berkeley Pier– Our Meeting Place
S/V Shawnigan & S/V Sierra– Right on Time!
Enjoying the View of the Petaluma River
The 101 Bridge in South Petaluma
Draw Bridge in the Distance
Our friend’s office overlooks the drawbridge. Thanks for the amazing welcome and the picture, Ashley!
Entering the Petaluma Turning Basin
Sweet Success and a Nice Sunset to Boot.
Exploring Petaluma by Bike.
JD & Ruby Get Down at the Car Show
And We’re Off! Petaluma, Thanks for a Great Time!
Sailing in San Pablo Bay with S/V Shawnigan & S/V Sierra.
Heading Our Separate Ways– Ruby “Watches” as Our Buddies Head in a Different Direction.

Post 35: Out of the Gate

~Jen~

Yes, yippee, yoweeee!  Happy 2015 to us, finally.  The new prop is on, and we made it out for our inaugural sail of the year.  We brought along our friends Rachel and Khriss from Bindlestiff Tours to witness our monumental (for us) first sail under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Ruby showing Rachel how to have "one hand for the boat."
Ruby showing Rachel how to have “one hand for the boat.”

Our first stop was Angel Island, where we had a nice BBQ.  Next up, we headed through Raccoon Straights toward the Mighty Golden Gate.  Luckily the winds weren’t too crazy, and the tides were just right.

It's official!  We are on the other side of the GG Bridge.
It’s official! We are on the other side of the GG Bridge.
Big grins all around.
Big grins all around.

JD had the honor of sailing us out under the bridge.  Although you can’t tell in the photos, there were some decent sized (to us) waves… and Ruby slept through it all tucked up in the v-berth.

As we were sailing out towards the Pacific Ocean, I couldn’t help but think about San Francisco’s colorful history and the infamous Shanghai Kelly.  Can you imagine sitting down for a drink on the SF waterfront only to wake up on a ship headed to China?  Me thinks not.  Lucky for his crew, JD made a u-turn and we headed back the way we came from.

Jen Under Bridge
Jen heading back towards San Francisco.

I brought us back in under the bridge.  It was a fine first experience.  We definitely didn’t do everything perfectly, but it was a great learning experience.  I mean, wow, those currents are crazy, the wind is ever-changing, container ships are HUGE and the 5 foot waves probably seemed bigger than they should.

I can’t wait to get out there and give it another go.

A special thanks to Rachel and Khriss for not only trusting us with their lives but also for photographing the experience.  Cheers guys!

Post 33: Out With the Old

~Jen~

New job, new schedule and an old, broken prop…  We were heading out for our first sail since moving back to the Bay.  We were in the channel when –clung, klug, shudder, shudder– part of the prop broke off.  What to do?  Call for a tow (yes), throw up the jib (yes), head back into the marina under sail power (yes)?  We ended up sailing into our slip (yes!) and canceling the tow. Thus the first sail in 2015 is yet to be realized.  Bit of a bummer? Most definitely.

We might not be out sailing at the moment due to all of the above, but we are still having fun with our land locked adventures.

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The new job is going well, a new family Google calendar has been created to help with our schedule and our new prop has been ordered. Hopefully the water based adventures aren’t too far off!

Post 32: Family Road Trippin’ (part dos)

~Jen~

Here’s me playing a bit of catch up…  while living in Las Vegas over the past summer, we took a road trip back to SF to spend a bit of time on the Bay.  It was so amazing, I want to make sure to record a bit of it on the blog (even if I’m 6 months late).  If interested in the full story, check out Post 30.

PART DOS: THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY

Do you know that feeling of arriving home after an extended time away?  You have a big grin and a relaxed, radiating feeling throughout.  That was JD and I as we drove through Emeryville and down the road leading to our marina with a sweeping view of the Bay Bridge, the SF skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge.  I can’t complain about having such an iconic view to welcome us back to s/v Gone Tomorrow.

Yeeehaw!

After some quick checks and a bit of loving, our sailboat was ready to go. A few friends hopped on board, and we headed out to explore the Bay.  A few firsts:

  • Checking out Pier 1 1/2 near the Ferry Building
  • Successful overnight anchoring at Paradise Cove
  • Docking in Tiburon for a quick beverage at Sam’s Anchor Cafe

In an effort to be brief, I won’t go on and on about the firsts… but I do want to remember how nerve wracking it can be to do something for the first time.  Will that nervous feeling ever go away when it comes to finding a place we’ve never been to from the water?  Land marks just don’t seem so obvious from the boat looking towards land.  Looking forward to having more experience under our belt!

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On the boat again.
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Leah & JD successfully dropping the anchor.
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Sunset dinner and drinks while on the hook.
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Ruby on a mission. Checking out the town of Tiburon.

Sweet success!  I can’t wait to get out and do more overnight trips around the Bay… before making our way under the Golden Gate to explore some of the CA coast.

Post 25: Happy Birthday, Daddy-O

~Jen~

Today JD rang in the final year of his third decade. There are so many new adventures to be had, and there is so much on the horizon.

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I feel slightly guilty for holding out for so long, but here goes:

WE ARE MOVING TO LAS VEGAS FOR THE SUMMER.

Wait, what? What about the boat? The Bay? The awesome boat family we just met and spent the day with? What about learning to sail? And maybe most importantly, why move to the middle of the desert in the middle of the summer?

The Boat:
The boat is now a part of out lives and still fits into this current plan, albeit in a different, more round about way than originally planned. We are moving Gone Tomorrow from Loch Lomond in San Rafael to Emery Cove in Emeryville. There are several reasons for this:
*We won’t have to worry about high/low tide in order to exit/enter the new marina. Yay!
*We can take public transportation straight from SFO to Emery Cove. No fuss, no muss.
*Honestly, Marin is just not our scene. I kind of feel like we are in “Stepford Wives” territory surrounded by a sea of Mercedes, BMW’s, Land Rovers and Teslas. We measure our successes a bit differently.

The Bay:
Well, it will still be here when we get back, and we promise to visit at least once over the summer season.

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Awesome Boat Family:
Isn’t funny how you always connect with folks right before you leave? At least I have found that to be the case in my life. Luckily, said awesome boat family will still be in the Bay Area when we return, and they just so happen to live in our new neighborhood. And even so, we are planning on having a couple of adventures with them prior to our departure… Hopefully an Angel Island raft up night and a camping trip at Point Reyes NS. Fingers crossed.

Learning to Sail:
Well, in a strange turn of events, I am going to trade the San Francisco Bay for Lake Mead. Sailing lessons are sailing lessons right? It’s ok, go ahead and chuckle. I know that I am. We also are setting up a private lesson with some highly certified boat captain dude to come spend the day with us (sans Ruby) on Gone Tomorrow during our mid summer SF Visit. Anchoring tips? Bring it on!

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Las Vegas:
What can I say? An unforeseen, incredible opportunity that we just couldn’t turn down fell into our laps. Some friends of ours started a tour company in the LV area, Bindlestiff Tours, and we are going to work with them for the high season. We are returning to the desert, a place near and dear to our hearts for our tight little tribe! Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce… You are calling our name.

Today was a great day. We celebrated a new year for JD and all the possibilities that lay ahead.

Post 24: Boat Porn Indeed

~Jen~

Wowzers. We have now officially attended our first boat show, Strictly Sail Pacific, and I now understand what all the hoopla is about.

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We checked out an assortment of sailboats in different shapes and sizes. Some of these newer models remind me of shopping at Ikea with their modern interiors and funky cabinets, while others have me picking my jaw up off the floor.

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The amount of electronics and gadgets available for cruising is mind blowing, and I understand how people have trouble throwing off the bow lines and leaving the dock. With the endless amount of things available to buy, I can see how it would feel like one could never be prepared enough. I have to admit that our gear wish list continues to grow, but I think we are closing in on a hand held VHF radio from ICOM, the M-36.

Even with all the cool gear here, the best thing by far has been the included seminars such as Inspecting your Rig, Storm Tactics and Heavy Weather Sailing, Marine Diesel Engine Essentials, Women and Cruising and Baja Ha Ha, How to. I’m truly a nerd at heart, and I’ll attend a free info session on sailing essentials any time. Sign me up!

An ongoing discussion throughout the show was the Kaufman Family and the Rebel Heart. With the current negative media frenzy that has surrounded this family’s recent rescue 900 miles off the coast of Baja, it was refreshing to see a supportive network of folks at Strictly Sail Pacific. I loved seeing other families with toddlers in tow eagerly gathering information about the cruising lifestyle. It was nice feeling like I was part of a community of like minded individuals.

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A special thanks to Oakland for hosting this amazing event. You are quickly capturing my heart… A change of scenery may be in order.

Post 21: Angel Island, Revisited

~Jen~

Sunday morning, we rolled out of bed and sailed to Angel Island. It was that easy… No hassle of packing up all out gear (including the massive amount of stuff that comes along with having a toddler) and driving to the boat. Nope, we already had everything we needed. What a great reason to live aboard your boat. It just makes it that much easier to get out on the water.

As per usual, there were stressful moments throughout the day. I’m sure that will be the case for awhile as we are learning by doing. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even know what a monohull boat is supposed to feel like when underway… I’ve only done day sails on a catamaran (and have had a couple of terrifying experiences on small dinghies). So heeling, well that’s different. I mean, I understand that we have a huge keel, and that we aren’t going to flip over (especially in 5 mph winds), but whenever we lean far to one side, I can’t help but have the thought, “What the f*ck!?” I’m gonna work on that one.

So rather than bore you with all of the mundane details, I’m going to highlight the ups and downs of the day.

Heck YES! Moments:

  • I sailed us under the Richmond Bridge.
  • We sailed the entire way once we were out of the channel.
  • Since we were up and at it early, Ayala Cove was near empty when we arrived. No problem finding a place at the dock.
  • I went jogging on an island that we sailed to in the SF Bay (training for China Camp Trail Run 10k on May 24).
  • Amazing family hike to top of Mt. Livermore, the highest point on Angel Island with incredible views of San Francisco, the Bay Bridge and of course the Golden Gate.

The UH-OH! Moments:

  • Deciding whether to go or not due to low lying clouds.
  • Exiting the channel with our 6’7″ keel and the terrifyingly low numbers on the depth finder.
  • A small mishap with docking at Angel Island, with JD and I both on the dock pulling the lines hard and realizing that the boat was still in reverse.
  • Standing on top of Mt. Livermore and watching Karl the Fog pouring in over the GG Bridge, knowing that we don’t have radar (luckily he stayed at bay).
  • Reentering the channel with our 6’7″ keel and the terrifyingly low numbers on the depth finder.

Maybe our depth finder is a little confused as it read less than 3.8 feet at one point. How is that possible with the depth of our keel without getting stuck? Or is the bottom of our channel that silty? Our list of desired fancy gadgets continues to grow, but with our almost run in with the infamous SF fog, a nifty radar is steadily making its way to the top of the list.

So, the major lessons of the day were to trust your instincts, get up and go early, make sure the engine is in neutral, take extra diapers when hiking and to take a step back and enjoy our amazing backyard that is the entire SF Bay.

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