10/22/11 to 10/23/11: At anchor overnight in Richardson Bay, and motorsailing to Alameda


SF Waterfront from Richardson Bay, just opposite our slip in Sausalito Yacht Harbor

We worked all day Saturday on Cool Change in the slip, Rick installing a 12-volt adaptor in the v-berth, and Cindy varnishing the brightwork, but we managed to motor out just before sunset.  There were no more mooring balls available at Sausalito Yacht Club, so we searched around Richardson Bay for a clear spot to anchor.  We anchored just on the boundary of the 5 to 6 foot depth sounding; our draft is 4’11” but the low tide was .66 above the depth sounding; if the sounding was correct, we had 9 inches to spare before going aground!  We fortunately stayed afloat all night.  Once anchored, we shared some wine and cheese on the forward deck while soaking up the incredible view of the City at night.   It was a beautiful, clear night with only light breezes recommending the need for a sweater.  It occurred to us as we watched ourselves swing around the anchor that maybe there was an “anchor alarm” app for the i-phone.  Sure enough, $7.99 later, we had set the newly-acquired anchor alarm on Cindy’s i-phone to notify us if our anchor slipped during the night.  Rick BBQ’d steaks and Cindy made a salad and steamed asparagus, and then we tucked in for the night.

Richardson Bay Sunrise, opposite our slip

Early the next morning, Rick couldn’t wait to see the sunrise, so he got up early and snapped some pictures.  This one includes the silhouette of one of our dockmate’s boats,  also anchored out for the night.

We planned on sailing over to Alameda on Sunday, but the wind was less than 5 knots after we pulled up our anchor and attempted to deploy our sails in the late morning, so we motor-sailed over to the entrance to the Alameda estuary instead.  It was a 3.82 max current ebb tide during the middle of our journey, slowing our trip into the bay by an average of about 2 knots down from our typical motoring speed of 5 knots.  It took us more than 2 hours to motor-sail the 7.5 miles or so to the estuary entrance from Richardson Bay.  That is good to know, because we plan on heading over that way in April for the big sailboat show at Jack London Square.  The show has tons of seminars over four days on subjects that are all important to us: everything from selecting navigation equipment to staying fit while cruising.  We still didn’t get into the estuary this day – not enough time – so we’ll have to come back another day, just so that we can see ahead of time, where we will be renting a guest slip, where we can tie up the dinghy, etc.  Here is our track for Sunday.

To Alameda 10/23/11; start time: 11:22 a.m.; End time: 3:35 p.m.; distance 15.5 NM; Average speed: 3.7 knots; Max speed: 8.0 knots; Wind N 3-13 knots; 77F, clear blue skies:

The return trip was much faster because we had the tide with us, but still not much wind.  An interesting current phenomenon occurred just north of the Bay Bridge, approaching between the “E” span and Yerba Buena Island.  All the other boats were going that way so we thought we’d follow, but they were much closer to the shore than we felt comfortable.  However, where we were, the currents were very confused, but strong, pushing towards shore.  Our track was much improved as soon as we moved into the shallower water closer to shore.  Otherwise, the trip was peaceful and beautiful.  We had invited Rick’s sister to join us sailing this weekend, but other plans got in the way – too bad – October boating in the bay is a great time to bring guests aboard – sunny skies and light winds.  Another day in paradise.  We made it back to the dock in time to leisurely clean the boat inside and out, shower, and get on the road early enough to be home and rested for the start of the work week.

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