Muddling Towards Golden Gate Page 3

They say you never forget the first time. For me, cruising offshore began back in 1976 onboard Azulo, a 20-year-old, 31-foot Mariner ketch. Three friends—Dave, Karl, and Allen—and I set out to follow the path of 19th-century writer Richard Henry Dana, up the California coast. A motley crew of four young sailors off sailing the high seas!I kept a journal during that first cruise,
Author:
Publish date:

I’m still not sure just what the light was. It wasn’t a flashing navigational light. It could have been a buoy, or another boat. Or could it have been something on the shore? If it was, we surely were dangerously close to going aground on that rocky coast.

mark_petrie_3

With the course change we were now headed due south—exactly the wrong direction. Eventually the fog burned off in the morning sun and we got ourselves back on course, but it was a pretty hairy way to start the day—a day that ended with us anchored for the night at a beautiful and serene spot called Half Moon Bay, where we repaired the rigging.

Not long after leaving Half Moon Bay, we spotted one of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. I think it was Allan who saw it first. His face just beamed; he was really excited. Our arrival at San Francisco Bay was, it seemed to us, nothing short of spectacular. Karl proclaimed that sailing into San Francisco is the grandest way to arrive, and the rest of us heartily agreed.

Our little blue-and-white boat, on a deep blue ocean and under a cloudless blue sky, was the only vessel around. We entered the waters of the bay as if we owned it, sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge with sails full and proud. The surrounding green hillsides were beautiful, and we could smell the land. All four of us, I think, viewed the bridge as a sort of finish line for our northward passage. Despite our foibles and outright blunders along the way, we had arrived.

“My first foray into ocean cruising has barely whet my appetite,” I wrote. “My clothes are still wet, and dreams of sailing to Hawaii are already forming.”

Mike Petrie has since crossed the Pacific, cruised the Hawaiian Islands, and is a member of the Ocean Cruising Club. He sails Autumn Breeze, a Catalina 27, out of Dana Point Harbor, California.

Related

albintoilet

Gear: Albin Pump Marine Toilet

Head Start Is there room for a new marine toilet? Albin Pump Marine thinks so, having just introduced its line of Swedish-built heads—ranging from compact to full-size models—to the American market. The toilets feature vitreous porcelain bowls and either wooden or thermoplastic ...read more

07n_45R2699

Multihull Sailor: Classic Cats

If you’re looking for a decent sub-40ft cruising cat, you have few choices when it comes to new-boat offerings. It is a well-known fact that the multihull market has taken off in a way very few could have predicted. Despite Hurricane Irma’s recent destruction of a large part of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Thanks a bunch  This scene is very calm and seamanlike. No frantic rope throwing or shouting. As he passes the line to the gent on the dock, the crew on the boat says, quietly and clearly, “Would you ...read more

mcarthy-and-mouse

Experience: McCarthy and the Mouse

Sitting at the helm in a light breeze, my arms crusted with a fine rime of salt, my skin so dry I’d lost my fingerprints, I heard a clatter and a curse from below. There were only three of us a thousand miles from shore and only one on watch at a time. Usually, the off watch lay ...read more

2018-giftGuide

2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Brass Yacht Lamp Does someone on your gift list spend the whole winter missing the warm days on the water? Let them bring a little bit of nautical atmosphere home with this new lamp from Weems & Plath. The glass enclosure means the flame cannot be blown out even by ...read more

image001

Opinion: On Not Giving Up Sailing

E.B. White was 64 when he wrote his now-famous essay “The Sea and the Wind That Blows,” which begins as a romantic paean to sailing and then drifts, as if spun around by a pessimistic eddy of thought, into a reflection on selling his boat. Does an aging sailor quit while he’s ...read more

1812-JeanneaueNewsVideo

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 410

Designed by Marc Lombard, the Sun Odyssey 410 shares much in common with her older siblings including of course, the walk-around deck. Other features that set the 410 apart from other models being introduced this year include the 410’s “negative bow” shape allowing for a longer ...read more