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Surviving the Storm

‘Diver Dave’ Gissendaner rescues a 30-footer whose anchor dragged off Strawberry Point. “The pounding waves helped us pull her off,” he reports.

© 2009 Tim Sell

As all of us in Northern California know, we got pounded by what was a combination of a very early winter storm and the remnants of a Japanese typhoon. The results were record one-day amounts of rain for October, winds to 67 knots, and seas outside the Gate to 14 feet.

Other casualties weren’t so lucky.

© 2009 Tim Sell

According to Dave Gissendaner, owner of Dave’s Diving in Sausalito, at least four boats broke free of their moorings in Richardson Bay yesterday. "The county puts us on stand-by the day before a storm hits," said ‘Diver Dave’. "We go out at the height of the storm and rescue what we can safely." Dave, with help from local diver Tim Sell, pulled one boat off the rocks at Strawberry Point, but were unable to free the other three boats. Dave reports that either his company will be hired to salvage the boats, or the county will destroy them.

This wooden Ingrid 38 is rumored to be the first ever built. Dave says it’s unlikely that she’ll escape the Corps of Engineers’ bulldozer.

© 2009 Tim Sell

We hope nobody was offshore headed to San Diego for the start of the October 26 Baja Ha-Ha. Fortunately, according to, the weather off the coast of California looks much better for the next week.

But we’d like to know if your boat sustained any damage in yesterday’s fierce winds. Did anyone’s roller furling headsails come loose? Did a dockline snap?  In other words, were there any October lessons learned for the upcoming winter storms? Email Richard with your stories.

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As Tropical Storm Patricia dwindles to a measly remnant low, the effects of last month’s Hurricane Jimena are still being felt in many places along Baja.
Currently cruising the South Pacific aboard Moonduster with his ladyfriend Neria, Alameda-based cruiser Wayne Meretsky reports from the Kingdom of Tonga: "The big deal at Ha’apai this week — and probably for the month and year, if you don’t count the tsunami and the ferry sinking — is an influx of palangi (foreigners) here, who have arrived in a quest to clean the beaches of Tonga.