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Randall Reeves Returns

He’s back.

After nine months and 27,000 miles, Randall Reeves and Moli have returned to the Bay Area.

© 2018 Joanna Bloor Figure 8 Voyage

On Monday, Randall Reeves sailed under the Golden Gate, completing a circumnavigation, but not the one he had envisioned when he left San Francisco last October. This is not a homecoming. For Reeves, this is just a pit stop. He plans to sail out the Gate in September to attempt the Figure 8 Voyage again, where he hopes to circumnavigate the Southern Ocean before sailing up the Atlantic, then over the Northwest Passage and back to the Bay.

Reeves arrived in Bay Area waters last weekend. "It is a tradition of mine that after a long cruise home I anchor for the night in Drake’s Bay, before sailing the additional twenty miles south to the Golden Gate Bridge and into that Bay by a city," Reeves wrote on his blog.

Randall Reeves poses with Point Reyes in the background, recreating the selfie Sir Francis Drake took several hundred years ago (just kidding).

© 2018 Randall Reeves Figure 8 Voyage

"My reasons for stopping here usually have to do with softening the blow. Coming in off the sea and being driven home on a six-lane freeway is not a transition to be taken lightly. And too, Joanna [Bloor, Reeves’ wife] often makes the trip out from the city. We have a picnic on the beach and get to know each other again in a quieter world." 

After suffering a few knockdowns and significant damage in the Southern Ocean, Reeves was forced to pull into Tasmania for repairs, where he made the decision to hit the reset button on the Figure 8, calling his first attempt "the longest shakedown cruise in history." After a long and at times excruciatingly slow sail through the bulk of the Pacific and making a quick stop in Hawaii, Reeves got into some heavy conditions immediately off the Northern California coast last week, encountering 30-plus knots and a "short, steep, bullying sea."

A "short, steep, bullying sea" off San Francisco.

© 2018 Randall Reeves Figure 8 Voyage

"And then it happened, the thing so dreamed of. We rounded the sea buoy and turned north into the calm, flat water of Drake’s Bay, in past Chimney Rock and the old lifeboat station where I furled the jib, rigged the anchor and weighed below the familiar sandstone cliffs. The smell of land, of drying grass and warmed earth, of chaparral and pine. After eight months and some 27,000 miles, Mo was home." Reeves said that the wind howled all night last Sunday before he weighed anchor the next day and made for the Bay.

Rodeo Cove from a less-seen perspective. 

© 2018 Randall Reeves Figure 8 Voyage

At around 4 p.m. on Monday, Reeves sailed "Past the ragged and broken red walls surrounding Tennessee Cove and Rodeo Cove. Then we round Point Bonita. Now sun. Wind is light. I angle Mo well over toward Mile Rock to ensure we cross our outbound track emphatically on the westward side of the bridge. I don’t know why this is important; 6 p.m. Under the mighty Golden Gate and on to Cavallo Point, where my sister-in-law, her husband and two children are waiting on a rocky ledge with Joanna, my wife."

Almost there . . .

© 2018 Randall Reeves Figure 8 Voyage

"Here, on October 28, 2017, Mo and I departed for a Figure 8 Voyage around the world. Last-minute chores and well-wishers had interrupted final goodbyes between Joanna and me — a quick hug, then slip the lines. Out of Horseshoe Cove, I raised sail and flicked off the engine. I had left many times before, but this departure put in my chest a tightness, a concentration of loneliness, apprehension. What were the challenges before me? Could I get there and back? Or, would I be the man who, like Santiago, went too far? I turned for one last glimpse of Joanna on the quay. One last wave. But the fog had taken her and the point and the hill. Before I felt quite ready, she was gone."

© 2018 Joanna Bloor Figure 8 Voyage

We hope to have a beer with Randall Reeves in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for a catch-up interview, and news of the Figure 8.2. 

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Pulling the short straw, the Pacific Cup’s big-boat BMW of San Rafael E division is set to start today in the least favorable conditions of this week’s four starting days.