The Delta Doo Dah Deux kicked off Friday afternoon at a great potluck-cum-skippers’ meeting hosted by Tradewinds Sailing Club and Marina Bay Yacht Harbor. Held on Tradewinds’ sheltered patio, Doo Dah’ers had one last chance to see just what they’d be missing — or, rather, not missing — for the next week: biting winds and gray skies.
Walking the docks at Marina Bay the next morning, we saw more than one sailor decked out in full foulie gear — but they wouldn’t need it for very long. Almost as soon as the fleet sailed under the Richmond Bridge, the gray gave way to sun and 15 knots out of the south, making for a fantastic broad reach up San Pablo Bay. "I want to thank you for a beautiful sail," gushed one Doo Dah’er. While we’d like to say we special ordered the perfect conditions, we can’t take all the credit.
Thanks to a strong flood that lasted all day, boats reached their destinations quickly, some breaking off for Benicia or Glen Cove Marina, while others took advantage of their speed to make it closer to Pittsburg Marina, site of the Welcome to the Delta party. Those who didn’t head directly to Pittsburg were treated to some tricky navigating due to a speed-waterskiing competition on New York Slough, but everyone eventually made it in time for the party.
Co-hosted by Pittsburg Marina and Delta Discovery Cruises, the party was held on and around the latter’s cruise boat Island Serenade, and featured all the fixin’s from Dad’s BBQ and the Mike Osborn Band playing some kickin’ blues and rock. On top of all the socializing and dancing, a second round of prize-giving — the first was at the Kickoff Party — gave folks even more reason to celebrate thanks to generous donations from Little Venice Yacht Club, Owl Harbor Marina, Glen Cove Marina and Trinitas Cellars.
As this story was being written, the entire Doo Dah fleet was performing a mass exodus from Pittsburg Marina, bound for Boyd’s Harbor on Bethel Island, where Peter Yates is standing by to host a beach party. The morning net reported today’s high should be 90° with west winds around 12 knots.
Try not to turn green.
Around 8 a.m. Friday morning, the Oregon State Police received a report of a beached sailboat in Newport. According to the OSP, a 77-year-old retired physician from Bellevue, WA was singlehanding his 38-ft liveaboard sailboat down the coast and, after going below to sleep, his boat ran up on the beach. The sailor was taken to an area hospital to be treated for hypothermia. Salvage operations were scheduled to start today.
Thanks to unusually light winds, the top three spots in last weekend’s 81-mile Santa Barbara to King Harbor (Redondo Beach) Race — our favorite in Southern California — were Class A Ultra Lights. The top spot went to Akela, the R/P 77 sailed by Doug Baker, who for so many years campaigned the Magnitudes. He bested fellow Long Beach YC member Bob Lane — who happily told us he recently got married for a fourth time, to a woman in China he met online — aboard the Andrews 63 Medicine Man by about half an hour, and Jorge Ripstein of the Acapulco YC on the TP 52 Patches by 40 minutes.
The race started with promise, as there was an unusually good wind for the getaway from Santa Barbara. But the skies never cleared, so the wind never built to more than about 10 knots, which is why Akela didn’t cross the finish line until nearly 10:30 pm., about five hours off the record.
Indeed, the most interesting action was in the water. First, a few miles off the east end of Anacapa, when we sailed by a ‘dead in the water’ whale. Based on his behavior, we speculated that he’d been hit by a ship. We’re told that a number of whales have been hit by ships in the Santa Barbara Channel, so the shipping lane has been moved in an attempt to prevent further such collisions.
For us, the best part of the race was in the dark near Pt. Dume when the dolphins came to play. Thanks to a decent amount of bioluminensence, they looked like torpedos about to hit Profligate broadside. The new offshore crew loved it. As has been the case along the West Coast all year, it was unusually cool. And the ocean temperature was even worse — a nasty, cojones-shrinking, nipple-perking 59°. About the only thing that loves cold water is the kelp off Catalina, which grows up to a foot a day in cold water and dies whenever it gets over 72. We don’t think the water has ever been 72 in Southern California, which must be why there is so much kelp down there.
Much of our South Pacific coverage lately has been dedicated to French Polynesia, where newly arrived westbound cruisers get their first introduction to life in the tropics below the equator. But where do they go to next?
Some head to the Cook Islands, and others, like the McGeorge family, head to the Samoan Islands. As reported here earlier, Kirk, Kath and their son Stuart (aka Aye) survived a massive tsunami there aboard their Hylas 47 Gallivanter, then found jobs and lingered. Here’s a snapshot of what they’ve been up to since:
"After eight months in American Samoa we happily departed Pago Pago and romped 345 miles SSW to Vava’u, Tonga in 52 hours of broad-reach sailing. Beautiful!
"Tonga was very nice. We spent nearly two months and anchored at 20 spots around the Vava’u group. We re-connected with lots of old friends and made some new ones, caught a bucket of squid and ate lots of fresh fish, roasted several pigs under coconut trees, went cave diving and even got up close and real personal with a humpback whale. Tonga is a fine cruising destination, indeed.
"We departed Tonga three weeks ago and threaded our way through the reef-infested islands of Fiji’s Lau group of islands and arrived in Lautoka on the western side of Viti Levu 561 miles, six fish and 99 hours after departing from Tonga. We concluded that none of the charted navigational aids (lights) are functioning in Fiji, so night passages were just a tad stressful. Total cost of checking into Fiji was a mere $40 USD and included cruising permit for all the western island groups. It’s very beautiful here and the topography reminds me of Southern California without any of the buildings, smog or traffic congestion."
You can read more from Kirk and Kath in the September edition of Latitude 38. In the meantime, the August edition hit the streets on Friday — check it out!