The trip reality … day one
We got started about 1 hour later than planned. I guess this is normal and reasonable. Winds were light no need to even try to sail. We motored out of the estuary and found some winds in the bay but not a lot. We con’t to motor sail to the Bay Bridge. Once on the other side winds started to pickup, which is the norm.
I grew a bit nervous as the winds continued to build. I still did not have a sense about how the ZenCat handled stronger conditions and there is always that specter in the shadows of capsizing, and what are the conditions to bring that on. So I sailed with my hand ready on the main sheet when the larger blow starts.
As we got out more on to the bay and the winds increased I thought, hmmm should I reef? Right afterwards I thought of the old saying; reef when you first think about it. So I did, and it was a good thing. We got to practice reefing under sail. It was not hard. Although getting out of stall or irons as not easy, as getting the reef in.
Winds continued to build, lots of white caps at this point and chop.
The jib was rolled down to 80%, the main had one reef in it and we traveled along pretty comfortable even under these harsher conditions, with the right sail combinations and setting. I started to relax as we made headway past Alcatraz and I was getting a feel for the stability of the ZenCAT.
I was having a hard time going to a close haul. Which meant I was having a hard time getting to where I wanted to go which was upwind. Because I could not go to a close haul only a close reach my approach had to be worked different. I needed to go almost directly into the wind. I do not know if I would have sailed upwind better if the boat was lighter… If I had the centerboards all the way down… if I had more sail up. After struggling for what seemed like way too long to be so near to port against the wind, blowing about 16 knots with gust at 20 and now also against the tide I fired up the motor to make it into port and past the lee rocks and breaking waves. Not really something a die hard sailor would do, but I was more concerned about getting safely into port rather than following some code.
I have a sense of how sailors feel heading into port after a hard sail. There was relief turning into port. That feeling was however short lives as the winds continued to increase and did not let up even after we turned into the small marina. On top of that I saw only a couple of open slips, which looked to small for the CAT and no end ties. There was one open slip which could fit my boat, it did have that lived in look about it. I figured to stop long enough to find out where I could go. The slip was facing the wind and with my windage area it was a challenge to get in an tied down.
Once we got in I went to check in with the harbor master and do a quick tour of the place.
The guy in charge was nice a bit buzzed from some adult beverage, but he was cool. He also did not charge me like the guy said he was going to, that I contacted via email. So that was nice, saved me 25.00.
We got a slip assignment docked and took a short tour of the YC. It was old and unimpressive. It did however serve it’s purpose. Not a place I would hangout, however the price was right to join and take care of our needs.
We spent the rest of the evening hanging out on the boat, eating etc.