I’ve got some sort of fluish like thing. Massive headache, nausea and throwing up.
Why is this worth mentioning on a boat/sailing blog?
Because I am so relieved that I’m still sick.
Tuesday was my birthday, so my boyfriend took me to Forbes Island (www.forbesisland.com) for dinner, as I’ve wanted to go for years, even thought it is considered something of a tourist trap perched as it is at the end of Pier 39. I loved it. From the instant you step foot on the kitschy tiki bar deck with palm trees, pirate figurine and real lighthouse, you can feel the entire structure gently rocking in the waves. We had dinner downstairs, which is actually underwater, and I was able to watch fish swim past a porthole as we dined and the chandelier swayed continuously overhead. And I felt awful.
I started to panic. Was I getting seasick for the first time in my life? What a dreadful birthday present that would be. Maybe it was just an ulcer, I thought hopefully.
Luckily, two days later I still feel like crap, so I can confirm that I was not actually seasick. Phew.
No photos to share (I couldn’t find my camera in the sidepocket of my backpack grrr.) but here’s a late report from Sunday at the last day of the America’s Cup pre-series in SF for August, which I went and watched live from shore.
Fantastic sunny day, which is really rare for that part of the bay in August. Mostly, fog never quite gets pushed out the gate, but it did that day. Nice winds, not too heavy, although when I later watched a second time on tv, they kept talking about how choppy the winds were making the water. I have to say, that was a millpond for this area!
Crowds were big but the races were so short it didn’t really matter. From shore, it was basically impossible to tell what was going on. The real high point for us was that Michael Johnson (we didn’t know it was him at the time) fell off Oracle 4 right off shore from us! We got to watch the safety boat go pick him up – it only took them about 30 seconds to get to him, so no biggie.
It was super exciting to see the boats racing, but honestly, I went home and watched again on tv so I could see all the nuts and bolts.
And today we have China, France and Italy, under a cloudy sky.
On a sidenote, I would like to register a complaint. How can Team Artemis not be a women’s team?
My daily commute takes me bicycling along the San Francisco Embarcadero, where over the past week I’ve watched tents setting up on Pier 32 for upcoming America’s Cup Trials. This morning, I got to see this:
which wasn’t in the water yet.
I anticipate a pleasurable few weeks of watching these babies tip over repeatedly in the heavy winds of the bay!
I haven’t sailed much this summer – a combination of not feeling great and having a garden going insane with items that need to be canned on weekends – but I finally got the Indian Summer out for a spin yesterday. She was very happy to get off the dock and show that she isn’t one of those boats. You know, like her neighbor, who hasn’t been registered since 2001, and whose windows were recently stolen and no one even noticed.
The IS was happy to be sailing, but apparently mad at me for my recent neglect. Either that, or I had her over-reefed in anticipation of 20 knot winds that never materialized. Generally, she can sail quite close to the wind, but not yesterday. Our tacks were big swooping S’s and we spent more time being pushed sideways than I thought possible. I should have returned to dock and let the reef out a bit (I was alone and tacking up the Oakland Estuary, so couldn’t do it while sailing as on a Coronado, the reef is achieved by rolling the boom), but I kept thinking I’d be glad I kept the reef in later.
Wrong. I had a heart stopping moment when the wind died down as I approached the shore and was preparing to tack. With my limited sail area, I couldn’t get enough headway and found myself drifting towards docks. My options appeared to be either to t-bone a very expensive looking boat, hit the Alameda sheriff’s boat, or manage to scull the IS’s prow into the 5 ft of dock sticking between them. Chanting “hit the dock hit the dock hit the dock” I took the option that would not involve any other boats, and the IS nosed gently into the dock (she didn’t even get a scrape), without hitting either expensive boat or sheriff’s boat, which gave me the 30 seconds necessary to start the motor and back her out.
Why is it that every time you start to feel good about your skill at something, life comes along and bitch-slaps you back into reality?
The Indian Summer made it out for a blustery fun Summer Sailstice a few weeks ago on June 23. My stellar crew of Amy and Tony were along for the ride and took great photos as well as the video I already posted. The video was a demo the coast guard was doing, it looked like of a water rescue, as they came down really close to the water in the middle of the channel in front of Encinal Yacht Club, driving sailboats off to the edges, then dropped someone into the water and took off. Exciting to watch, but we had big plans, to head out to the bay and then back for libations at Jack London Square.
My poor roller furler didn’t hold up so well this time around – it worked for a bit, but then we noticed it was sagging quite a bit. The head cringle had come detached so the whole sail started to slide down. We furled it up (so easy!) and continued to sail, but I didn’t like the beating it was still taking as the head wouldn’t furl, so I went forward and dropped the whole thing, which was easy enough. Back to the drawing board for the roller furler system.
We sailed the rest of the day just on main, which was fine as plenty of wind. We got to practice man overboard drills to save Tony’s hat, then went ashore to celebrate a successful rescue. My crew had never been to Heinold’s so we went there and raised a glass to our patron saint, Jack London.
Coast Guard demo in Oakland/Alameda Estuary on Summer Sailstice 2012.
When I was a kid, my Dad always had motorboats – really crappy motor boats with really crappy old motors that he had found abandoned on a breakwater or rescued from the dump or some such. Whenever we went out on the boat, he would take the main motor, plus at least one backup motor so that when the motor died (when, not if), he could swap it out and use the secondary motor to get us home.
This early experience with unreliable motors is one reason I like sailboats. Theoretically, the motor is secondary. With a sailboat, if you have patience, eventually the wind will pick up and you can get back to shore. A motor may get you in and out of the dock, but people sailed for untold millenia without them.
And I admit, I do rely on my motor when docking (although I can dock without it). But when I realized that the motor that came with my boat required a dedicated full time mechanic? I sold it on Craigslist and BOUGHT A BRAND NEW ONE. Which I maintain really well. So well, in fact, that marina workers have asked me how exactly I keep it so clean and pristine.
And you know what, I have never had a problem with my motor. Ever.
You can see where this is going, can’t you.
So, my parents came to town this past weekend and wanted to go for a sail. Friday morning, we go over to the boat and I proudly get it ready and ask Dad if he wants to start the motor (thinking he’ll get a chance to see what a real motor is like). He yanks on the cord. It’s stuck. I check that the choke is pulled out, the gear is in neutral, the fuel lever is in the proper spot, the fuel line is connected. The cord won’t budge.
This has never happened before.
My Dad wound up pulling the case off, removing the spark plug, and carefully pulling the cord before diagnosing it as a hydraulic lock. Luckily, due to his vast experience with broken down outboards, he had it fixed in 10 minutes and we were on our way for a lovely day.
I swear, the damn engine saw him coming and leaked oil… in fear.
The upside is, I now know how to diagnose and fix a hydraulic lock in case it happens again (next time my Dad visits?). One other nice point of this sail was that the roller furling jib assembly worked well. I need to tweak it a bit – need to adjust it to tighten the luff line, but meanwhile it sails nicely. As this uses the roller furler base my Dad sent, it was great that he had a chance to sail with it.
So excited! Tomorrow I get to pick up the rigging for my roller furler!
A while back, my dad sent me the base to a roller furler. It was in the boat that he bought at a yard sale years ago. As he almost never used the boat, and never alone, and didn’t keep it in the water, a roller furler didn’t seem necessary. His boat was 23 feet, while mine is 25, but the furler assembly should be the same for both size boats (ie, small, but not dinghies). It’s definitely old school, but seems solid and I see no reason why it wouldn’t work. I did a lot of homework on-line, looking at how other people have either made their own or adapted similar ones, and came up with a plan to replace the front stay, attaching it at the base via this furler, then adding a simple twisty thing (technical term, yes?) at the top.
What has taken so long to do this is … riggers aren’t open on weekends and I work M-F 9-5. I finally had to take a day off to do lots of stuff (take Pipsqueak to the vet, etc) so had a chance to go see the riggers.
The rigging experience has reinforced my feelings from years ago about a certain Swedish boat works which will not be named, but is in my marina. Snotty, stuck up jerks who don’t want my business. “Friendly” my ass. (Although, to be fair, the people working in the chandlery are generally quite nice, it’s only the more specialty sections that I always have had problems with.)
I want to like this place. They’re conveniently located and they’re a small business. I really want to support local businesses like this. So, I went in to speak to the rigger, thinking that I’d give them another shot as I hadn’t spoken to them since I was looking into having my boat hauled a few years back. I will not be returning. The rigger assumed I had no clue what I was doing, offered no suggestions, and did everything but order me out of the shop.
I went over to the big chain a few blocks away and walked in assuming I’d get kicked out of there as well. Instead, the rigger’s eyes lit up when he saw the furler and he immediately started talking about how to do it. We kicked around a few ideas, and settled on not replacing the forestay, but having the roller furler line attach to the jib halyard, so that it is only taking the load of the sail, not the mast as well, and can be installed or removed without climbing or dropping the mast. Brilliant! He knew exactly what I needed for the top piece (a piece which the other guy had only said that if I could find anything, maybe it would work) instead of the piece that I suggested, and was able to explain why his suggestion was better. Sold!
I’m hopeful that this will all work, as it will make my sailing more comfortable with two sails up.