Date: Saturday May 12, 2007
Event: Unscheduled sail on Oakland Estuary. (11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, 2.5 hrs on the water.)
w/ Don Person with his daughter, Marthe (P-15), and Mike Swartz with his son, Russell (P-19)
Winds: 8-10 knots building to 30ish knots with gusts to 35. The highest winds I've seen on the Estuary.
Weather: Clear and windy!.

The best laid plans . . .
I had spent much time over this past week making Lazy Ka ready for an over-night aboard on Lake Berryessa, about an hour north of my home. But Friday evening, while watching the evening news, a second option became available when I learned of the “KFOG Ka-Boom” fireworks presentation at San Francisco's South Beach. Sponsored by a San Francisco FM radio station, this was one of those “how did I ever miss this?” moments . . . it was to be the 14th annual, and I had totally missed the previous thirteen.

So it was that when I laid my head on the pillow for the night, I had not made a final decision as to which way I would go. I would check the forecast for winds in the morning, and let that be the controlling factor. Saturday morning as I checked on winds, I also checked in on the Trailer Sailor bulletin board to find postings from Mike Swartz and Don Person; they would be sailing out of Grand Street, Alameda for South Beach, San Francisco. That was all the persuasion I needed, so Berryessa was put off to another outing a bit later in the season. I’d sail across the bay instead.

Plan for the day
I made Grand Street early, about 8:30 AM, which gave plenty of time to attend a couple of rigging issues that would add a bit to my expected set-up time. Don Person showed up with Marthe a little after 10:00, and Mike Swartz with his son, Russell, a few minutes later. As both worked at getting rigged, we planed the day. Mike had been listening to KFOG-FM on his drive up from Hollister, and had heard an announcement for Ka-Boom; he was thinking of staying for the fireworks as well. OK . . . we have a plan!

Launched and on the water just after 11:00 to take advantage of an outgoing tide, we headed down the Estuary into some pretty gusty winds. Between the whitecaps and the wind-driven chop it was difficult for any of us to make headway. 12:30ish we had managed to get just past Jack London Square; a distance of a little over a mile. I think it was Don who first suggested that we put in for lunch. Considering the winds, that were estimated at 30-35 knots by consensus, there was no opposition to Don's suggestion.

A wonderful and leisurely lunch was enjoyed at the Pasta Pelican on the Alameda side of the Estuary. Excellent food, excellent service, and wonderful company. My only snapshot of the day, taken as we returned to our boats, is intended to document the winds by the flag across the Estuary and the telltale on the starboard shroud of Don's Sarah Anne (CLICK the thumbnail for an enlargement.) Mike, christened the Dean of understatement for the day, kept referring to the winds as "sporty" . . . Sporty-plus, it was! At this point we decided to give up any hope of making it across to the San Francisco waterfront and the evenings festivities.

Back on the water for a little over an hour, we were hauling out and rigging for the road in no time. Our early quitting hour gave us more time to share common interests, but by 5:00 we were pulling out of the lot, and on the road for home.

I needed to make a stop at West Marine to pick up a stern light replacement for Lazy Ka. She had come equipped with a somewhat jury rigged stern light assembly that was broken off when I stepped aboard following lunch--the protruding assembly raised over the dock, and was left attached only by the 12 volt lead. Good fortune was on my side when I managed to find a replacement for under $20.00.