Saturday, December 5, 2009

A day on the Bay: Saturday November 29th

When the Britannia, with all sails furled, blew sideways upon casting off from the dock-- slapping into the opposite pier, sliding toward the harbor's rock shore-- most sailors would have forgone a day on the Bay in wild winds. But not the Captain and crew of the Britannia. When you're good you're good.
When the anometer pegged at 52 knots, which is 60 miles an hour, which is pretty wildly wild-- waves breaking over the bow, spume racing horizontally off cresting swells, sails as taut as marble sculpture-- the only reaction was, "Yes!" Hardcore is hardcore.

The other boats on the Bay were... docked. But the Britannia handled the conditions like the round-the-world pro she is. Though her main sail did rip. Not badly. Not dangerously. But the truth was revealed that both major sails-- the main and the jib-- were so old they need to be replaced. This discovery was actually a blessing before getting into the middle of the South Pacific. But the replacement cost of $11,000 is not a good discovery. How this unexpected cost will be met is not clear.
But the clarity of the Bay's wind-blown sky and the ringing brass sun postponed economic worries. Beauty will do that. For a day. After sailing downwind, quickly, beneath the Bay Bridge and learning how well the boat sails on a beam reach, it seemed like a good idea to enter an estuary and drop anchor for lunch. The winds slowed. The sun was as warm and inviting as the homemade wine Curt brought. Curt is a friend who has been sailing for 30 years, a helpful voice in extreme conditions: "You guys are doing fine."
By the afternoon, back on the open water, the winds simply stopped (The San Francisco Bay will do that) and the sunset colors began. "Pacific" means peaceful. In fact. The second-in-command (Krister) decided that it was not an option to head back. No one disagreed. As the last magenta/vermillion/indigo radiance faded west, the almost-full moon rose. A silver moon coruscating across wine-dark seas is as close to Heaven as sailors get. Of equivalent wonder was slipping into the slip under full sail, a graceful bit of sailing. All in all.

Written by guest author Richard Leo, seen here at the helm. It was a pleasure to have him aboard last Saturday- Thanks and much love!

No comments:

Post a Comment