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A Solo Yacht Delivery on Friday the 13th

A Tale of Two Buoys

I brought my Ericson 26, Kestrel, back to Bodega Harbor after two weeks at the boatyard in Richmond. I spent the night at a slip in Sausalito and set the alarm for 0200 and an ebb current. I actually collided with two buoys in the dark. Two! How lucky can I get? I mean collided. Bent the pulpit a bit. They both skidded down the port side of the boat. Neither was lit. There’s the whole Bay and the f…… ocean, and I hit two buoys within an hour and a half. One: a yellow can (Coast Guard?), between the Sausalito Channel marker and the Golden Gate. Nice place to put an unlit floating hunk of metal.

Coast Guard buoy off Sausalito
The “yellow” (actually white with lots of rust) Coast Guard buoy off Sausalito’s shoreline just south of downtown, as seen on a bright summer afternoon. USCG vessels sometimes moor to it.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Then two: N4 Red. “Unlit,” says the chart. It’s opposite Centissima Reef. I took Bonita Buoy to port and then put Duxbury in the GPS. Then “BOOM!” in the dark. Again. “Two,” I said out loud. “Two.” Ha, ha. I didn’t know then what was waiting for me on the other side of Point Reyes.

The moon and a bright ‘star’ that must be Jupiter.
© 2020 Steve Sarsfield

Wind and Waves

The wind may have hit some 20s in the gusts; it stayed in the high teens. Going straight with the waves was fast and difficult, off the quarter. There was lots of rocking. Bodega was due north. I jibed to put a little east in to get some relief near the Point Reyes beach. I was hoping for some shorter fetch in Bodega Bay, but no such luck. I jibed again past the Tomales Point bell buoy. I couldn’t see much in the fog, so I put ‘BOD ENT’ in my GPS. There were short periods of 2- to 3-ft waves. Every so often a couple of them would set together, and what seemed like two 6-footers, close together with a deep hole between them. My GPS course was beam to seas, so I’d head up in the easy swell and bear away when the big ones hit.

red sky sunrise
Sunrise. “Red sky at morning, sailor take warning.”
© 2020 Steve Sarsfield

The NDBC Bodega Buoy reports for 1240 to 1540: Wind waves, 4.9-ft, 5.3 seconds, SSW, very steep. They aren’t lying. I may have worn out a bushing in my rudder post.

Steve at the helm
Coffee, cookies, safety tether, bungee on the tiller, ominous skies.
© 2020 Steve Sarsfield

I can hardly type; the desk keeps rocking. Oh, more photos? Are you kidding? One hand on the tiller, the other grasping the closest stanchion till it hurt. Good old boat!

Point Reyes
Point Reyes. Dark in Bodega Bay.
© 2020 Steve Sarsfield

Notes from Kestrel’s Log for Friday, November 13, 2020

0230 cast off from Sausalito
0315 under the bridge
0345 Bonita Buoy
0550 Duxbury, flat water, SW breeze, boat speed 5+ knots, single reef and 4-hp outboard.
0900 Point Reyes, more wind, more waves, boat speed 6-8 knots, reefed main, no jib, no outboard.
1315 Bodega Harbor, gusts, rain.

Oh, and my car had electric problems on the way home.


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