Sail Outs

Every other Friday, weather permitting, we have a sail out to a destination for lunch.  This was supposed to be a way for me to meet other sailor friends and have some fun.  The people available on Friday’s are retired, and in the Bay Area retired means 80 years old.  OK, nothing wrong with that, except I don’t have able crew and am responsible for them in what was 30 knot winds yesterday.

Our day started out with one guy coming really late.  We waited, then ended up condensing the boats because all of my “crew” was late.  While we determining which boat to take out, we got a call saying my crew was all there.  The one guy, who usually just naps below, was with his girlfriend who brought her dog.  He came, she took the dog for a walk and then decided she didn’t want to leave the dog in the car so she left him with a 50 pound backpack he couldn’t carry and she took off.  We left over an hour later than our start time.

That’s how the day started and it really didn’t get better (besides the sailing part).  The one boat going out told me to put my com radio on 71 frequency for docking.  How we arrange docking is according to able crew, whoever has able crew is the one who docks first then helps the rest.  Without double checking, I asked someone to put it on 71 to communicate with the other boats.  That particular boat had a build up in their exhaust and the engine overheated, they never made it.  I would have known that if it wasn’t for the fact that my radio stations on the stereo were tuned into 710, I was wondering why my music was off?  The com radio was still on 16.

The comedy of errors continued, we sailed out fine with a good wind but when we got to Angel Island I called the other boat and they were docked ready to help.  Because of the late comers, we were coming into a 2 knot current moving the boat sideways.  I asked what side to dock, he said starboard, we had the lines set up.  As I pulled into the 50′ slip he was waving me off yelling to go around?  I was going to dock anyway, he just kept waving at me like something was wrong with the dock.  Not trusting my instinct because he seemed frantic about it, I went around to the downwind, shorter dock.

Several things about this pissed me off after we docked, especially once I found out he waved me away from the 50′  upwind dock to come around to the shallow end to a 30′ dock.  There was NO WAY I would have been able to dock with my crew, no one could get off the boat.  My boat was too long, we all had to sit down and go sideways to reach the dock.    When we came back from our picnic, people had a really hard time getting back on with one woman almost falling off.

The other thing that mad me mad was I suggested we go to Sausalito to Fish, which is an easy protected docking.  Angel Island’s docks are broken, the current was fast and I knew it.  I was told that there were complaints about Fish, we couldn’t go.  Alright, I love Angel Island it’s just not easy to dock there with no crew.  And someone complained???  I hope they were forced to Uber home, the only thing I could think of was they had to pay for their own drinks – usually we split the bill and I have to pay $50 for my half of a sandwich.  Did I forget to mention everyone was tipsy when we got back on??

The third boat didn’t make it with the engine problems.  We took off just fine, the currents were at slack.  My sail plan for high winds when I’m out there is to motor up to the West side of Angel Island, take out the jib to head downwind.  I did just that, it was gusting to 30 but we had a comfortable ride.  Since it’s going across the incoming tide it took some muscle to keep on course.  To get to my marina I have to make sure I’m between the Berkeley pier and Treasure Island.  One woman kept asking to take the helm, she said she had pretty much sailed around the world.  When she took the helm on the way out she kept aiming towards the Richmond bridge, not Angel Island.  I figured if she was such a master sailor, she would at least know where to aim?  With those winds I just couldn’t take the chance of her not getting us through those points.  She took the helm while I was starting the motor (I usually put it in auto) and immediately started into an accidental jibe.  I took over before that happened.

More excitement docking, really I should have just self docked.  I rigged it for the easiest possible docking, just put the loop on the cleat on the boat.  The person I designated to do that tried to get off before we were even at the dock, he had the line in his hand then fell.   In the meantime, the master sailor had the stern line and brought it it so tight the bow went the opposite direction meaning when the guy got back up the boat was too far away for him to put the loop on it.  I told her to push the stern out so the bow would come around, then I looked up to see 3 people had gone up to the bow to “help.”  We got it, it just looked like a shitty docking by me when it was too many cooks in the kitchen.

Everyone pretty much ran off my boat with their stuff to the other boat for the party while I hosed down and cleaned up myself, it was then I noticed my music was tuned into 710 and we never heard the calls of the third boat.  Really, I was so exhausted I just wanted to cry.  How we got in without anyone getting hurt or falling off was a miracle!!

I looked at my Garmin watch stress day…a 70!!  If I must admit, docking is one of my forte’s and that Angel Island docking in the 50′ upwind slip would have been a breeze.  Why he waved me away (or why we couldn’t have gone to Fish) is beyond me.  I found out later that night that when he docked he totally missed the slip and someone ran down the dock to help him come in.  That’s easy to do with the currents we wouldn’t have had to deal with if that couple wouldn’t have made us late.

I’ve been doing this for about a year, I consider it volunteer.  On an individual level, I actually like the people.  They might not like me after yesterday, where F-bombs were flying while I docked.  I just don’t know if I can do it anymore?  Really, yesterday was a test of everything and I’m responsible for everyone.  I totally get that when I’m that age, I’d love it if someone sailed me out to lunch.  When I took my 82 year old mom to Sam’s she absolutely loved it.  My son was with me though, making it a very easy sail.

Going out with people who assume your husband bought you a boat and they’re going to teach you how to sail it is a whole other dangerous scenario.  Going to rest today, that was hard.  I’ll have to make some sailing friends close to my age that can either crew on these Fridays or we can go to Fish 🙂

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