I was on the water all week, either in Tahoe or here in the Bay area. Sailing is taking a boat out and waiting for everything to go wrong, picking and choosing your battles. Our father’s day plan was that I would take my husband out to Angel Island for the night on the moorings then have my son and fiance ferry over. I got a message asking to use my boat as the committee boat, checked the forecast, then changed my plans. It looked like a small craft advisory, making it for a miserable FD weekend. After Fridays sail, I wasn’t up for it.
Because my fuel gauge doesn’t work, what I do is write down the hours and gallons to fuel to determine my GPH (gallons per hour). It’s diesel, my calculations give me around 1 GPH, it’s been quite a few months since I filled up and 17 hours on the meter. I’m planning a trip next weekend where I’ll have to motor quite a few hours, time to make sure it’s full.
Before heading to Berkeley, we hit the fuel dock to fill up. I knew I had a small leak I couldn’t find, but one of the things I did was unscrew the top of the fuel tank to see how hard it would be to replace the floater to get my gauge working again. Well…there’s a dissolved gasket that wasn’t visible when I screwed it back on, so when I fueled up, that’ where the leak was. It was a smelly mess, I still smell like diesel fuel. The leak wasn’t enough to deter me from taking my boat out to anchor for the Cal Cup race.
That was exciting and hectic! It was 30 knot constant winds, with quite a swell out there and a flood tide. There were 6 of us on the committee boat, 6 windsurfers that dropped down to 3 for the last race because it was too windy. With the tide and wind from the same direction, anchoring was pretty easy. There was a problem with my windlass, turned out it was just the circuit breaker which I quickly fixed. The boat held while it slammed up and down on the waves. Compared to those windsurfers out there, it was nothing.
Motor started, the windless brought the anchor up, success!! I just didn’t think I could get the boat back that night, it was too hectic to get out there once let alone go back. Thought I could overnight dock it at BYC (Berkeley Yacht Club), it looked like a tight squeeze with another Pac Cup boat there heading for Hawaii. My friend took the helm, by the time we flipped it around another boat had docked there. I was a little relieved, I’m a pretty good docker and I didn’t think I could pull off a tight squeeze in those winds. On that particular dock it would have been a 30 knot crosswind.
He went to an open slip and we docked, no problem. I shut down the boat and locked it, expecting to come back to possibly spend the night. That never happened, I went back home to sleep it off. On father’s day we asked friends to meet us in Berkeley. The winds were a little calmer, the forecast was similar so my sail plan was going to be to get out of the slot ASAP to head for the city (San Francisco). I had arranged a guest dock for lunch over there. Fully briefing my new crew, went to start the engine…nothing. In my hasty shut down, I forgot to turn off the engine battery.
My friend that docked for me happened to be at BYC and brought me over a shore power cord to re-charge. We waited…nothing. I cancelled the guest dock in SF, then headed to Spengers for a fathers day lunch to wait out the charging. Several hours later, nothing. While the crew partied it up at the dock, my mind was going into troubleshooting gear/panic. Several things occurred to me, I might not be able to move the boat back was one. The other thoughts were us stuck at either Angel Island (the original plan), no engine for the windlass after the race with the whole committee stuck out there overnight getting pummeled by the waves. Not a bad place to be stuck in all reality, close to BYC which has bathrooms and a bar.
Then I looked at the microwave to see it wasn’t on. My shore power line has 2 plugs, most have just one. I might not have been charging the battery the whole time? I rudely excused myself, not sure if anyone would notice because there had been quite a few drinks consumed by that time. I drove back to Emeryville to grab my shore power cord, plugged it in, an hour later the engine started for a killer sunset back to my dock.
I’m constantly learning things about my boat, my limits, plan B, C, D’s. A good thing to know is limits, sadly, a kayaker went out while we were out there for the race and died. We never saw him, those waves must have knocked him over. A massive Catamaran motored out, then turned around to head back in while we were pulling up the anchor. A boat that won’t start in a dock with a bunch of booze isn’t so bad.