Cruising Log: The beginning of our new life
We have a backlog of cruising log posts that we are finally getting around to posting on our blog, so bare with us as we travel back in time a little to April of 2022 when we departed San Francisco Bay as full time cruisers, leaving the comforts of marina life in our wake. This is just the beginning, we've got tons more content coming your way!
Hurry Up and Wait.. Still haven’t left the Bay
Fri Apr 01, 2022
Well, this morning we woke up at 6am with intentions of heading out the Gate to make it to Drake’s Bay, just 30 miles north of us. Instead, upon checking all the weather forecasts and NOAA buoys, we determined it wasn’t proper conditions to start our big voyage.
So, instead we hung out in one of our favorite spots on the Bay, Horseshoe Bay. We spent the day enjoying the warmth of the sun in our wind protected cockpit, baking our favorite sourdough crackers, relentlessly checking the weather forecasts hoping the nasty Northerlies offshore would magically dissipate so we could start this long awaited adventure.
We both found ourselves feeling antsy to get going, having to remind ourselves it’s ok to slow down - we are cruisers now, and nothing happens in a rush. So, each time we felt the city life rushy-ness creeping over us, we shifted our attention to a different task. This strategy made us quite productive and helped us not feel down about sitting here, waiting.
It’s still a weird feeling for us, something we will be getting used to with this change of pace. I cut Jack’s hair (which was long overdo), made a delicious Portuguese Kale Soup which is one of many recipes our friend Amanda shared w/us as our farewell gift, we wrote up a Patreon post about the resources and strategy we are learning and implementing for our weather planning/forecasting and Jack even spliced a new anchor bridle line for Gemini.
Hurry up and wait, it’s the name of the game when you go from cruising prep to cruising life!
And We’re Out the Gate!
Sat Apr 02 2022
We got up at dawn and left the gate at slack tide. Didn’t look back and turned right. The forecast wasn’t the prettiest, but we wanted to get to Drakes Bay so we’d be 5 hours north. Calm 10-15 knots of breeze for most of the trip with 5 foot waves at 8 seconds or so. Winds picked up to the low 20’s by time we got to the anchorage and it blew all night. Don’t know what it is about Drakes Bay, but it’s the third time now we’ve been to Drakes Bay when it was blowing non-stop.
Calculations and adjustments
Sun Apr 03 2022
We hoisted anchor at midnight after putting in our deepest third reef and battening down the hatches. By our calculations, if we could make a 5 knot average we’d make a small weather window at Cape Mendocino. As we left Drakes Bay, the winds stayed in the 25-28 range. It was dark so we couldn’t see the sea state but it was large. Once past the Western point of Drakes Bay and heading towards our Bodega Bay waypoint, Gemini was jumping waves so we slowed down on the RPMs and stayed off the wind just enough for sail trim.
Slow going… 10’ seas at 8 seconds or so was steep and every wave nearly stopped us. Every so often, we would hit a wave just right to get a bucket full of spray, which thankfully our new dodger rain panels did a great job of protecting us from. This passage would’ve been a different story (much more miserable) if we didn’t have such a protected cockpit and well-built boat. As the sun rose, I (Jack) could now see the waves and I don’t know what’s better but it hits different when you see them coming. Our average was way down to 3.2 knots and we’re just burning fuel and making very little headway. At daybreak, we decided to crack off to starboard and head for Bodega Bay to wait out the weather. Obeservations: Our weather window would have closed by the time we got to Mendocino, we wouldn’t have had the fuel at the rate we’re going and most importantly, we’re cruising now so no need to push the limits. Gemini and crew did very well, Fathom being the MVP of this passage for keeping our laps warm on night watch and not puking down below! We have gotten a slip at Spud Point Marina for a couple nights to see what the weather does. Hoping we can continue North soon!
10 days in Bodega Bay
Wed Apr 13 2022
Well, we really trust our Mantus Anchor. After leaving the transient slip after two days, we anchored at the end of the Bodega Channel since we realized the weather wasn’t going to allow us to get offshore. The winds howled and howled everyday all day, we saw 41 knots and it averaged in the thirty’s consistently.
Even sitting at anchor, we were worn out by it. Fathom got seasick from being down below and cooped up. The cold, cold breeze from the north kept us cooped up inside. The long term forecast is surprisingly accurate and we have been waiting for this window. We've had pretty low morale but have managed to complete little projects here and there to pass the time. We ate most of our delicious Berkeley Bowl provisions which were supposed to last us the whole way up the coast. We understand why the locals call it Blowdega!
Yesterday we had light enough winds to take the dinghy to shore and walk to the small grocery for fresh produce. One of our Patrons, Tim, lives close by and picked us up for a little coastal drive to keep our spirits up. Seeing the angry Pacific made us glad to be waiting it out. In the evening, we watched Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Bird’s” as it was based in Bodega Bay. Very suspenseful and ahead of its time for sure!
Anyway, forecast is looking good for tomorrow with a potential Southerly we could use to actually sail up the coast, what a novel idea!
12, 12 & 20
Thu Apr 14 2022
We left Blowdega at dawn. We were incredibly excited to get a move on once agai and the magical sunrise gave us a good feeling about the day. The wind was light in the morning, so we motor-sailed w/our main up for 12 hours to Point Arena. The Southerly we’ve been waiting on clocked around and the had an absolute blast sailing down wind for 12 hours. Gemini was built for this - bone in her mouth the entire time, surfing down each wave. It rained the duration of the evening but our canvas kept us dry at our watch seats in the cockpit. Blowing 20 knots consistently from the South is exactly what the crew and vessel wanted. Cape Mendocino at dawn!