Well, today I made lots of new friends. I now have friends in the Coast Guard, friends in the San Francisco Police and especially friends at the St. Francis Yacht Club. I also found out that the waves get really big outside the Golden Gate bridge. But I digress.
Today started out innocently enough. We're literally in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge at Crissy Field, just west of the St. Francis YC. The morning was spent unloading boats, putting them together, fixing them up - it seems like everyone is on a charter boat. For sure, Phil Collins (OK), Steve Leo (CA), Jake Sailer (CA), and I are all on borrowed boats. It was nice to see a good portion of the Northwest contingent here, too - Dave Wilder, Graham McGlashan, Scott Ruggles and Jan Christensen had driven down for the big breeze. Bruce Fields (AR) and Wayne Mooneyham (CA) are here, too.
We were watching the big boat races as we worked on the boats and marvelled as they tacked yards from the shore, avoiding the current as they worked upwind against it. The wind was building - it was blowing a good 15-20 by the time we were ready to go out and play at about 2 PM.
Phil Collins, Wayne Mooheyham and I went out to shake the bugs out. It was certainly windy, but not out of control. Phil and I worked upwind about a mile towards the Golden Gate bridge. I was determined to sail under it, since I had sailed under the Verrazano Narrows bridge earlier this year during the Statue of Liberty Race and wanted to add the Golden Gate to my sailing resume this year.
Phil turned back before we got to the bridge, but I sailed on, underneath the bridge, then turned back and headed downwind. I hadn't gone very far before I stuffed it into the back of a wave, buried the bows back the front crossbars, and did a very slow capsize.
"No problem," I thought, "with this wind, I'll have this thing up in a jiffy." The boat went immediately turtle and stayed there. Nothing I tried could free it from its determination to have the pointy end down. It wasn't too long before I realized that I wasn't drifting down wind. I was being carried upwind - towards the bridge again - by the current. "This is not a good situation," I said to myself as I drifted precariously close to the south bridge pier. As I drifted slowly under the bridge, I thought that this is not how I wanted to see it.
It wasn't too long before a couple of Coast Guard RIB's showed up, followed by another one and a really cool, all black RIB from the San Francisco Police. They were all very nice, but they weren't really prepared to assist me in righting the boat. After some serious negotiation, they called the St. Francis YC who sent their harbor master and a helper out. Those guys were great! Three tries and the boat finally came up. They tailed me back to the beach (I had drifted nearly a mile outside the Golden Gate Bridge).
I had had enough excitement for one day. Tomorrow, the races start at noon - the wind should be up and the excitement starts all over again.
I'm going to work on sealing my mast tomorrow morning.
Last edited by MBounds on Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.