Our tag trip on D’Uphoria went beautifully. We were lucky to have scored three more willing crew members, all CPM graduates, who were also a wonderful combination of competent, funny and reliable, as well as great cooks, each and every one of them. They gave us all the tips from past experience, like making sure we had food for our visits with the Instructor (Sam), to knowing how to manually handle the main when sailing off anchor (Randy), to having the strength of an ox (Helmut). We couldn’t have done it without them.
Rick and I agreed, in concert with the Instructor, that I would Skipper Friday night and Saturday while Rick navigated, and Rick would skipper Sunday while I navigated. We chose that arrangement because Rick had already been tuning up his navigation skills to prepare to navigate for my ill-fated March tag, while I hadn’t prepped that part of it so much, but I had prepared a heck of a lot of the Skipper paperwork (pre-cruise briefing, watch schedules, packing list, CPM Notes, etc.) for my tag that I could amend easily enough for this trip. So it was just less work if we stuck to those roles for the start, and then swapped after the hard work of Friday night and Saturday were done. But to be honest, there was also a small part of me that thought that once everyone got accustomed to Rick’s easy confidence and gentle manner as Skipper, I’d come across like a female dog, if you know what I mean, so I wanted to go first! Being a woman who wants to do more than galley work is a challenge in the predominantly men’s world of sailing, and it is hard to temper my drive with the knowledge that sometimes I can come across a little too strong.
As it turned out, our plan worked out perfectly, just by chance. I got my docking maneuvers out the way as Skipper on Friday night, which was a big weight off my shoulders. We motor-sailed most of the way to Half Moon Bay because the winds weren’t cooperating with the direction or with enough energy to help us much. Rick’s charts and log were flawless, and were examined with nearly malicious scrutiny by all of the students on the Tag boat in search of error, of which there were none. While he was explaining his charts on the Tag boat, I pulled out my surprise arsenal of dolmas and Greek feta, much to the delight of the Instructor and Tag crew. I abdicated my role to Rick as Skipper after arriving at Half Moon Bay saturday night, and we all enjoyed a lovely dinner out at Mezza Luna after a refreshing shower.
Sunday’s return trip took us through some challenging winds and seas, and I was glad that Rick was the Skipper when some hard choices about sail trim had to be made. We left HMB in the fog, and motor-sailed for quite some time, but then the wind picked up, and we demonstrated some COBs for the instructor. We then tried sailing for a while, but the wind took us almost directly west, which was not going to get us north up to the Bay, so we began to motor-sail again. Then we went from motor-sailing on the main alone, in nearly calm seas and minimal wind, to getting our cockpit swamped by a rogue wave, to deploying the jib so that we could heave to, then heaving-to, reefing the main and affixing the preventer, and then sailing downwind to the Gate in up to 22 knot winds.
Sam at the helm
Randy watching for ship traffic