For the past five years or so, I’ve been in sailing and flying clubs that have allowed me to charter for my membership. Last year, I finally bit the bullet and bought my own boat – which was kind of always the goal, just hard to cough up the money for what I wanted in a boat. I finally found one, 15 years old in near perfect shape, then it was priced too high. After 6 mos of waiting it out, I finally put in an offer they accepted. Sure enough, the money I saved on it is the $$ I’ve had to pour in since. I gotta say though, the convenience of just taking off with a moments notice is so worth it!
Yesterday, one of the guys from my flying club asked if I wanted to fly before he checked to see none of the planes were available. I said I needed to go out to the boat, he just got a new drone and there’s a practice area out there. Off we went to fly the drones around, grabbed lunch, then went sailing instead…perfect winds!! We were coming back during a flood, which means the water is moving in from the Golden Gate for high tide, sometimes as fast as 6 knots. When it comes in, it takes you towards the Bay Bridge almost sideways (since I’m going to Emeryville). I gybed once, thinking I cleared Treasure Island, the water just got us right to the breakwall again pretty fast. We had to gybe a few times to get past it.
There are a bunch of abandoned barges/ships on the West side of Treasure Island w/ some rusty moorings out there. The water kept taking us towards the bridge and into those moorings, so I gave up and just motored from there to take the sails down. It’s almost impossible to sail up that current when it’s coming in, the boat can actually go backwards (right into the bridge). I’m super cautious, I prepped my friend for our first gybe WAY before we were near the Treasure Island breakwall so we had some time. Sailing the Bay is really anticipating and preparing before you get into too much trouble. Turns out, I was right that the water was moving that fast.
Sometimes I think the sailing is harder than flying, just because the conditions in the Bay can be so hectic. It’s different every day out there, always something that surprises me. Flying is checking the winds for take off and landing, you can kind of feel the winds in flight, you don’t have to worry about it too much though. Turbulence is the only thing you have to really ride out, it can come out of nowhere or when I’m flying on a really hot day (oh, and mountains of course).
The problem with flying is that my family won’t fly in a small plane, I respect that. It would be one thing if we all traveled together on trips all over, I could justify a plane over a boat. Not like they’re all big sailors either, they’ll come out with me at least. The other thing is how many more flying years do I actually have? It’s easy enough to hop in a plane with my friends in the flying club right now, I’ve noticed when I quit the sailing club I lost my “crew list.” When I chartered, I’d just send out a mass email for crew requesting a certain ability if I knew the wind/water was going to be hectic. I know my boat now, I pre-reef if the winds are over 20 knots so the boat is always in my control and I can be the only one who knows what they’re doing. Still nice to have one other sailor on board.
Here is a youtube of practicing the drones around the Berkeley Marina: Berkeley Marina
Got to practice my pano’s too