Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Anne's reflections on the passage to San Francisco

 It was a quick passage, even with the overnight stop in Crescent City...with good reason. That notorious NW wind that follows the coast was instead right on our nose most of the way – very disappointing for a sailing voyage. So we motored when necessary and sailed whenever feasible, day or night, but then would be off course (of course!) and didn't want to linger too long to lose our fair weather window. It got a little wild, first in choppy Juan de Fuca, then a couple of nights later with wind speed 30+ knts / 8' seas. The forecast at that point changed to hazardous seas...did that mean only for small fishing boats or were we included? We chose to move closer inland and then on to nearby Crescent City marina to top off the fuel. Darn! We had felt secure and had wanted to experience 6-7 continuous nights offshore but moving inland seemed like a wise option.

I found night watches a little eery at times, with no stars or moonlight. Throw in some fog and, with no reference points, it felt like we were flying way too fast over the water...with just the sound of the waves swishing past. Thankfully, radar and AIS nearby provide reassurance...but I really wanted to SEE. It's difficult to judge the distance of lights at night otherwise. Gregg and Lance were always very calm on their watches and I gained some good experience by watching them.

The sun came out as we caught the first glimpse of the Golden Gate bridge so we raised the spinnaker and went with the wind for several hours before passing under the bridge. Broad grins on everyones' faces reflected the fun of the moment and was a highlight of our week.

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