Friday, September 22, 2006

A bit of a problem...

We read somewhere recently about an salty and mature sailing couple who had given up "yelling" for smoother communication. While we were out with my daughter's mother and our friend Sandi in August, we told her about it. Well, today was my birthday dinner with the family , and she gave me a card with her rendition of just what good communication on a boat should be. Considering our steering loss just four days ago, this seemed particularly apropos.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A little adventure on the bay...

Deborah is plainly sad at the helm of Spindrift. Without a wheel, handling a heavy tiller, the reason why is in front of the boat.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

First Annual Vicki Kay All Women's Cruise...

The Princess organized the club’s first “all women’s cruise” as part of the Encinal Yacht Club’s cruising program this year. The turn out was perfect. Thirteen women met at the EYC clubhouse in the morning and, while Caltopia and the flea market were going on, they decided on the course of their day.

Jackie Gordon and her mom Cat took a friend for a shake-down cruise around the estuary in Jackie’s brand new Santana 22. The eleven other gals decided to cruise the entire bay, from Alameda to the Golden Gate Bridge through Raccoon Strait, and back down to Alameda. They split into two teams, one on Kathryn Munn’s Islander 36 Mischief and the other on Gail Lapatina’s Nordic 44 Music. Experienced sailors and novices spent a fun-filled day teaching and learning from each other, and even racing each other back to home port.

On Music at the end of the day, they celebrated with essential navigational tools – champagne, wine, and Bloody Marys – and they agreed to make the cruise a permanent part of the club’s cruising schedule. It will henceforth be called the Vicki Kay All Women’s Cruise, in honor of Vicki who worked as co-cruise leader with Deborah until her life was cut short during the summer.

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Our Encinal Yacht Club hosted the first annual Caltopia this weekend (I was the organizer). There were some twenty Cal boats there from Friday to Sunday – four Cal 40s, six Cal 39-2s and a raft of others from 25 to 36 feet. A lot of Cal boaters who couldn’t bring their boats cruised in by land, so EYC had a full house. Especially so, because Caltopia coincided with the EYC fall flea market on Saturday, which several Cal boaters took advantage of by selling, swapping, and buying stuff at a stall provided to them by the club.

Steve Seal, who worked as a rigger at Jensen Marine’s Costa Mesa plant in the 1960s, and Roger Jones, who was an engineer there in the 1970s, held an informative lunch-time discussion about the history of Cal boats, construction issues, and then answered questions from Cal boaters.

Saturday afternoon three of the Cal 40s held a match regatta with pick-up crews from the rendezvous, going from below the Bay Bridge, round Alcatraz, and down the Alameda Estuary to finish at the club. Jim Quanci’s Green Buffalo took first place. Second went to EYC’s Shaman, skippered by Steve Waterloo, who was closely followed by Rodney Pimintel’s Azure, also from EYC. The Club's Vice Commodore, Tony Shaffer, ran the regatta and gave every finisher the gun.

One thing that stands out among Cal boaters is that they really love their boats. Every boat had seen lots of tender loving care, and every one truly enjoyed visiting every boat, admiring little details of each boat, and exchanging ideas for projects.

During the day, Steve Seal, Roger Jones, and EYC member Tony Kay visited all the boats and judged them in a Caltopia Concours d’Elegance.

Caltopia organizer Jim Williams gave out framed awards to the winners before everyone adjourned for dinner and an evening of jazz music. Prizes (sponsored by EYC’s Bill and Carol Blackburn) included: “most original,” to EYC’s Mike Chambreau for his Cal 34 Impetuous), the “nicest interior” to Duane & Lynn Knize’s Cal 39-2 Marlyn (Emeryville), the “best Cal 40” to EYC’s Rodney Pimintel for Azure), the “best Cal under 38 feet” to J.R. & Brenda Dicks for Banana Wind (Marina Village). The overall “most elegant” as well as the “best Cal 39” went to EYC’s Jim Williams & Deborah Stern for Spindrift (really, the event was not rigged).

The best news is that this great event will happen again next year. Jim has agreed to head up organizing Caltopia 2007 again, with Roger Jones and others helping out. There may be a bit of competition among San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay clubs for hosting! If you know a Cal boater who missed it (or if you missed it), mark September 7-9 on your calendar for next year. And, email me to put yourself on the electronic contact list.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Camping instead of sailing...

I whined a lot during the last couple of weeks, because instead of sailing to Half Moon Bay with our cruising group, we went on our annual camping trip with Deb's old college buddies. This is a really important gathering for Deb, and despite the fact that I whine a lot (so does our friend Hilary, and she and I always bond over that), I've come to really enjoy going because of our wonderful friends.

This year, however, seemed particularly tough, because we went to Hensley Lake, just in the Sierra foothills outside Madera. If you like cattle country and stifling heat (103 on Friday and close to that on Saturday) and you like water skiing, then you'd probably love it. I like the high Sierra atmosphere of pines, running streams, mountain lakes, and cooler weather. Deborah, on the other hand, loved the hot days and warm nights, and the night was dark enough for star gazing and the lake warm enough for comfortable swimming.

Nevertheless, we spent a large portion of the weekend figuring out where we'd been over the previous 20 years and where we'd go next year. It looks like we'll be at a Sierra lake west of Tahoe, which I will like much more. I must remember not to whine so much, or the Princess will not be kind to me.

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