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45 Knots in Paradise

Latitude Helps Win Zoom Contest

Last week, reader Jeff Berman sent us these images of a recent Zoom gathering he attended. “We had a contest for best background. I won!”

Red foulies with Latitude 38
Last week, Jeff Berman reported on a virtual sail in actual full foulies. His copy of Latitude 38 stayed miraculously dry.
© 2020 Jeff Berman

“I am in my house using movies as background, and wore a sailing jacket for effect and removed it at anchor. I was able to dynamically stitch together my sailing trip. All the videos were taken with my cell phone and are posted on my YouTube channel as Pandemic Video 1 to 8.”

Jeff at anchor
Phew, foulies off, warm and comfy in his favorite anchorage — to which he would return in real life in the next part of this story.
© 2020 Jeff Berman

A Night Sail and Breeze-on Day

This week, Jeff sent us this little tale of actual — not virtual — sailing:

“I took my Tartan 4000 out Friday night to head to Paradise Cove,” writes Jeff Berman. (Paradise Cove is off the east side of the Tiburon Peninsula.) “I saw the fog rolling in from Highway 24. Ugh, a cold, blind ride from Alameda. When I got to the boat I listened to VHF 14, hoping for some visibility reports. None came, so I hailed Vessel Traffic and inquired: None really to report. I decided I would be happier waking up there!”

Jeff got the boat ready, “canvas off and stowed, topped off water and diesel from the day before. I left, and a USCG RIB came into the Estuary, flipped on his blue lights on approach, then off. I guess he was going to find out why I was leaving at 9:30 p.m., but decided against it.

“I proceeded on out, passing Clipper Cove. Now there was dark, cold, and wind building to 25 knots in a half-mile visibility. Now many barges and tugs were crisscrossing the Bay. Two miles to go, and I needed to figure out where all these were going and stay clear. I hailed a couple and made sure all was well with them. Three tugs were going from Richmond to the South Bay, a ship with Caden Foss tied astern, others transiting. Slowly and safely I proceeded.

“Paradise was busy, although no one has AIS. That made me think it would be sort of empty, but it wasn’t. I anchored about three quarters of a mile north of the fishing pier, a half mile past my favorite tucked-in spot. Saturday I was in the gulch under the V from the hills, and the wind never let up. Great mud there — 17 feet of water and 140 feet of chain seemed to work OK.

“It was an OK night sleeping, but I am out of practice. On this boat, Maverick, I have a tablet with Raymarine on Wi-Fi and can leave the radar on, so I can check quickly without getting cold out of bed.

“The wind piped up and stayed up, 10-20 knots, until later in the afternoon. I wasn’t in the mood for a foggy ride home in the dark or staying the night hoping the weather would lie down, so I left. At this time, it was blowing 30-40 knots. But the buoy reports at 6 p.m. said 0 knots at Point Blunt! I had much disbelief.

“I was obviously heaving my anchor in 40 knots when a Delta-style powerboat honked at me as they were slowly motoring along the coastline and not waiting for me. I sailed off on a triple-reefed main. As I was sailing along, a midsize powerboat dragging a kid on a tube circled me like in the Delta!

“The wind died shortly, and in fact was 0 at Blunt, but spotty, from 0 to 10 to 25 to 15 to 0. By Treasure Island, 4-ft wind waves in the Slot tossed the boat with 30 knots on the beam, a ride for sure. The jib needed to come in, ugly fouled roll, balloon at the top, lines overwrapped. !@#@!##! Alone on board but in control.

True wind speed reading 44.6 max.
Damn near 45 knots.
© 2020 Jeff Berman

“I got to the Estuary, and it calmed to 7. I fixed all the lines and rerolled the jib just fine before returning to the slip. My exercise program works!

“Listening to the VHF all day was a hoot. From a vessel in the South Bay: ‘Coast Guard, can you tell me where there is a ramp? I want to get in before the wind comes up. I am on my trolling motor.’

“’26-ft Islander no sails, no engine — they don’t know where they are and I am a 50-ft fishing boat trying to lend assistance, have you a cell phone for them?’

“Another guy in a powerboat calling CG saying he is in the Estuary but might not make it with his gas. CG asks, ‘Have you called Vessel Assist?’ He says, ‘I don’t know how!’

“It was an entertaining 24 hours.”

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