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Ryan Finn’s Solo Sail From New York to San Francisco a Success

Ryan Finn on Jzerro
Passing Mile Rocks and heading for the Gate, solo sailor Ryan Finn knows that this adventure is almost over.
© 2022

At 6:04 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, Jzerro and Ryan Finn passed under the Golden Gate Bridge in an amazing display of seamanship, boat design and adventure. But the last miles to the Gate were not easy. In his only downbeat post during the whole trip, he mentioned the frustration. “I was hoping to glide under the Golden Gate Bridge at noon today, and that was a conservative estimate. Well that’s well out of the window now. I’m drifting at 3 knots toward S.F., which is unbearable at this point. 56 miles at 3 knots is far, far away.

“Clearly the Pacific is not done with me, and punishing me for assuming there would be stable wind for the final part of this voyage. Assume nothing. My friends and family are already in S.F. waiting. It hurts to think that I could be out here for another day, but I have to accept that as a possibility. Unfortunately, the only entertainment I have on board is waiting for a weather file to download, so I’m partially at fault for continuing to suckle at that teat of misinformation. I now look at the weather models the way I look at a children’s show, with the costumed host singing and dancing in front of a smiling sun and inflatable trees. Meanwhile, I’m stuck in what feels more like a David Mamet play.”

Jzerro at the Golden Gate Bridge
And it’s done. A fitting finish in squalls and daylight with the bridge finally behind them.
© 2022

We’ve been there too, waiting just outside the Gate, knowing it’s windy just ahead but it’s taking forever. Ryan and Jzerro finally received enough wind to make it on a flood current in daylight. At the Richmond Yacht Club docks, Ryan summed up the journey. “It’s pretty presumptuous for me to think I can sail nonstop from New York to San Francisco in a 36-ft boat, right? By the time I got to Brazil I thought, ‘If I just make it around Cape Horn, that’s all I want.’ Leaving New York in winter was hard as shit. Getting around the Horn was hard. Going up the Pacific Coast is hard. This was a hard trip. Those guys that did this in square-riggers were incredible.” And he did all that singlehanded. Incredible.

Jzerro at sunset
As the sun dipped low behind storm clouds, Ryan warped up Jzerro for the tow into Richmond Yacht Club. The boat is a proa — he didn’t lose an ama somewhere along the way!
© 2022

6 Comments

  1. It was a great honor to greet Ryan at the Richmond YC docks, and amazing to see him and the boat looking so calm and collected, just as if they had only been out for a short trip. This is a huge accomplishment in American solo sailing, and I hope it doesn’t take too long for the world to catch on to just how great a job he’s done here. CONGRATULATIONS Ryan Finn on a job massively well done 🙂

  2. Debbie Huntsman 9 months ago

    Thanks to Greg Carter for being at the dock to welcome Ryan to the West Coast and congratulate him on completing a feat that is almost unimaginable. I hope there was an big welcome party to punctuate the arrival with a joyful exclamation point. Ryan Finn’s progress towards his long-sought goal was sometimes hard to watch, as he crept frustratingly slow, or other times when the seas were surely unkind as he flew at breakneck speed. It was both thrilling and awe inspiring to follow Jzerro. Ryan has confirmed he is a one-of-a-kind sailor.

  3. Rev Dr Malama 9 months ago

    And again and again man will create challenges for an adventurous life or bragging rights…. sailing would almost always be the perfect venue if not for the wind, lack of being the worst! Congratulations on fulfilling a dream.

  4. Brooks Townes 9 months ago

    Immense regard for Ryan, and huge respect for Russell Brown for conjuring & building the boat!

  5. Mitch 9 months ago

    Congratulations to Ryan. Well sailed!

  6. John Glennon RYC 9 months ago

    Fantastic voyage and boat design. Your adventure makes my Pac Cup races look like day sails.

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