I just returned from my first sail in the San Francisco Bay with Haunani! I was happy and grateful to be accompanied by Rich Tofte, who is an experienced SF bay sailor. It was so nice to finally meet and sail with Rich after getting to know each other through cyber space over the past six months. A dear childhood friend of mine introduced us via Facebook (prompted by our mutual love of sailing), and we have become fast friends. Rich’s support and expertise have been really helpful on my journey, and today was certainly no exception.
We left the slip around 1pm, and it was a real adventure. Between my new folding prop and the stiff SF breeze, leaving the dock was a big challenge for me. Not only am I not used to maneuvering in wind like this, but my boat does not react the way she used to (and this is only the 3rd time I have taken her off a dock since the new prop was installed). It was not pretty at all, but the good news is I did not hit anything, and I had Rich there to help just in case.
Once we got out of our squirrelly little marina, everything was great. We reefed right off the bat, and stayed that way throughout our sail. The wind was a steady 18-22 knots, and at one point was up to 30. It was very exciting, and Haunani handled it like a champ, as always. Sailing with Rich was seamless; in fact it felt so easy and relaxed, and as though we had sailed together many times. Sailing in the SF bay is a different ball of wax than sailing in Santa Monica Bay, to say the least. There is big wind, current, tides and ferries flying by, not to mention the fog that rolled in so fast at one point that we could hardly see anything in front of us. Through all of it, I kept thinking to myself: “you’re not in Marina Del Rey anymore”. I can see why everyone always says that bay area sailors are so solid. There is a lot afoot to test one’s skills, and it is not leisurely day sailing, that’s for sure.
I had an exhilarating time out there, and despite my debacle of a departure form the dock, I felt pretty solid and comfortable in my new surroundings. Our return to the slip was thankfully uneventful, and with the help of Rich, I tucked Haunani in and washed her off after her big adventure. I am very excited for more San Francisco Bay sailing!