Sunday, June 26, 2011

Friends, sailing and music

Pat showing our guests the sites on San Francisco Bay.

Gary and Jeri just south of the Bay Bridge.

Jeri hauling on the staysail sheet, trimming the sail.

Alameda, Ca -- Pat and I looked hard last week at all the chores we needed to tackle after a hard winter, and immediately left the cabin and headed for San Francisco Bay to go sailing.
It wasn't difficult to talk our friends Gary and Jeri into joining us.
They arrived at our marina on Wednesday afternoon, just in time to watch the Beer Can Race Series from the upper deck at the Oakland Yacht Club.
We got very lucky and ran into an expert on racing -- he got there too late to join a crew -- and he explained the complexities of the races to us. I can't remember it all, but I know there were four different races, numerous types of boats, and a shotgun or horn going off every few minutes.
The wind was light but that made the race into a slow motion dance. We didn't know or care who won, but it was a pretty event followed by a good meal with friends.
Thursday morning we were up at the crack of dawn (about 9 a.m.) after proving four adults actually can sleep on our boat, ate muffin's Gary had cooked, and left the dock in time to catch the outgoing tide. (I always wanted to be able to say that. It sounds so darned nautical.)

We showed them the usual sights, like the port of Oakland cranes loading containers, and a very pretty schooner taking tourists along the cityfront;

And more unusual sites, like the workers building the new Bay Bridge high above the water, Japanese Navy ship tied up at the city docks, and an amphibious "Duck" that takes tourist into McCovey Cove at the baseball stadium.

And a special treat appeared as we approached Alcatraz. One of the Oracle catamarans built for races leading up to the America's Cup was practicing. You might remember the catamaran from the evening news. Two days earlier the twin to this boat flipped over, throwing the skipper through the wing (they have wings, not sails) and dumping everybody into the chilly bay on national television. Undaunted, the crew was back and we watched her fly along for quite awhile, moving at least four times faster than we were, and appearing to outrun her chase boat.

And we wrapped up a perfect day at Quinn's Lighthouse Restaurant for an evening of Chanty music in the pub, one of the best shows on the waterfront. I knew it was going to be good when the very first song was "Eddystone Light," a tune I learned 30 years ago, and then the rest of the set was all familiar from our visit to Mystic Seaport a few years ago.
A birthday party at the next table made it festive for everyone in the room.
Skip Henderson and the Starboard Watch entertain every Thursday at Quinn's
Jeri and Gary feeling mellow.

Sanders (after a pint) and Pat (after a dinner) also feeling mellow.