Date: Sunday July 15, 2005 (10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, 6.5 hrs on the water.)
Event: Scheduled Potter Yachter outing: Richmond to Loch Lomond
W/ I sailed as crew with Dick Herman on his Com-Pac Sun Cat 17, Muddy Duck.
P-15s: Ron Bell, Don Person, Steve Potter. P-19s: Mike Swartz (with Bruce Hood as crew,) Dave White, Carl Sundholm.
Winds: 8-12 knots outbound to Loch Lomond. 3-6 knots to dead calm on the return passage to Richmond.
Weather: High morning fog, burning off close to 10:30 AM to sunny skies for the rest of the day

Course for the day, Richmond Marina to Loch Lomond (Marin County)Sometime in early June, I had spoke with Potter Yachters' Commodore Dick Herman about his 17' Com-Pac Sun Cat. I have been looking at these as a possible move-up vessel and had a few questions and hope of catching a ride some time in the future. Today's sail was to be the fulfillment of my wish.

I arrived at the Richmond Marina lot at about 8:15 AM to find Ron Bell nearly finished setting up his P-15, Least Tern. Ron was engaged in conversation with Mike Swartz who had arrived yesterday and spent the night aboard his P-19, Burgundy Splash. Over the next hour we were joined by Don Person, Carl Sundholm, Harry Gordon and lastly Dave White who had also spent the night at the marina with Mike and Dick Herman.

With all boats rigged and in the water, we were off and away just after 10:00 AM into a foggy overcast. The temperature was warm enough for shirt-sleeves in spite of the lack of sunshine. Most motor-sailed the first mile or two out from the marina into the Richmond channel where we found winds in the 12-15 knot range blowing from the east. This made for a very nice start to our day, sailing neatly down the channel and into the open bay. Sailing with Dick Herman on his "Muddy Duck" (PHOTO: Don Person)

Once in the bay, beyond the end of the jetty, we had a strong flood-tide to contend with; probably in the neighborhood of 6 knots. Most chose to go with the tide, which took them on a course north of Red Rock Island, and under the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. I talked Dick Herman into pointing a little higher on the current which allowed us enough margin to carry past the south of Red Rock. The only other to choose this course was Harry Gordon. With mid-bay apparent winds blowing from the South-east, our decision to go south of Red Rock put the wind at our back all the way into Loch Lomond Marina.Dick Herman taking "Muddy Duck" into the Channel at Loch Lomond (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Dick and I were last to arrive at the guest dock where Dick neatly maneuvered Muddy Duck into the only open space available, just slightly wider the boat, between Burgundy Splash and Wee Boat. With only inches to spare, and display of expert seamanship, Dick neatly guided Muddy Duck into the space, and wedged fenders between is and our neighbors in the remaining void.Potter Yachters at rest, Loch Lomond Marina (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

On the dock we met Vince & his wife Linda, who had driven their new P-19 up from the factory at Inglewood only yesterday. They offered guided tours to all who were interested. Lunch in the sun on the deck of Bobby's Fo'c'sle Cafe was met with varying reviews. Most ordered the Potter Yachter mainstay of Fish & Chips; not all were satisfied, reporting that the quality did not live up to that experienced on previous visits. Any shortcomings of the menu were certainly overcome by the good lunchtime conversation with Potter Yachter friends.Lunch at Bobby's Fo'c'sle Cafe, Loch Lomond Marina (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Following lunch we put out again into winds, pushing 15 knots. Blowing from the west off the Marin hills,  these conditions made for a good initial run out the channel. But this didn't last long. Two to three miles out, a bit beyond East Marin Island, we ran into a number of anomalies not often found on the bay. The individual troubles encountered depended upon the course chosen by the Skipper. First the wind died; this problem seemed to be encountered by all who were spread out over a mile or so distance. Lunch at Bobby's Fo'c'sle Cafe, Loch Lomond Marina (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)Dick and I, followed by Harry Gordon, chose a southerly course intended to take us south of Red Rock once more. We motored a short distance to find wind again. Again under sail we encountered very shifty winds. We'd sail on a reach for a couple of hundred yards only to find ourselves sailing dead into the wind as it shifted. We'd change course only to have the cycle repeat itself again, and again, and again.

Still North of the San Rafael Bridge, after much frustration with wind conditions, and recognizing the late hour, Skipper Dick opted to Me at the helm of Dick Herman's "Muddy Duck" (PHOTO: Don Person)motor the remaining half-dozen miles back to the ramp. To our amazement, once back in the Richmond channel in side the relative protection of the jetty, we found winds blowing nicely across the starboard stern-quarter of Muddy Duck. So it was back under sail for a delightful run home. After haul-out, and we compared notes with others, I learned from those choosing the northern route that conditions varied for them as well. In common, all (with the exception of Mike Swartz and crew Bruce Hood) had resorted to auxiliary power for their bay crossing out of frustration.

In spite of the strange conditions encountered in the afternoon, it was a wonderful day of sailing; warm enough to not require a coat or wind breaker, and cool enough that we were not looking for protection from the sun. Sail doesn't get much better than this.