Log #18—San Francisco to Santa Barbara

Departing San Francisco

Wednesday October 6, 1999

Jenny, our new crew member, arrived at 0900, after dropping off her car, picking up some items for us at the grocery store, stopping off at the bakery for fresh rolls and scones, making a 20 minute trip on BART, and then walking fifteen minutes to the marina. As the three of us rolled out of bed, we immediately took a liking to her. Fresh scones in hand, I forced the crew into the main salon to review safety and emergency procedures before we got underway.

We reviewed VHF radio procedures, electrical systems, guidelines for standing watch, the Colregs (rules of the road for high seas and connecting waterways), radar, GPS equipment, and computer navigation. After that we scrutinized safety procedures, emergency procedures, and man-overboard procedures. Finally, we examined how to abandon ship (don't get into the life raft unless you're stepping up-e.g. the boat sinks underneath you). By the time I took a breath it was almost 1100. The crew was off in a corner plotting mutiny, and we hadn't even left the dock. To avoid personal harm, I suggested we get underway. We departed Pier 39 at 1122.

First, we had to take on fuel. At the fueling dock we met Allison Lehman, who asked us to say 'hi' to Greg and Cindy Robinson in Seattle. Greg and Cindy purchased their HR42, Angel, about a year and a half ago. Allison, who owns the fuel dock, but also makes her living as a boat broker, ended up selling Greg and Cindy's previous sailboat, a Sabre.

After fueling, we motored north and set sail in 20+ knots of wind, tacking our way underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and out of San Francisco Bay. As we sailed underneath the bridge I thought about my friends Reed and Marge Kathrein, and wondered when I'd see them again.

In my previous log, I can't believe that I neglected to mention the evening I spent with Reed, Marge, and their sons Jonathon, Michael, and Eric. They invited me to spend the night at their home in San Rafael, north of San Francisco. Reed and I have known each other since high school days when we played in a rock & roll band called Stowaway. Back then, as drummer, Reed wore a leopard vest and bear claws. He Still wears the leopard vest and bear claws, but the outfit doesn't work as well in the courtroom as it did, back then, on 16-year old girls. Then, the 16-year old girls ran away screaming. Now, the courtroom staff just watches in mild curiosity.

In case you haven't heard of Stowaway, we played dances and proms throughout the Chicago area, and once had the distinction of being rated within the top five bands in Illinois. We had other distinctions as well, including playing on the same stage with The American Breed (who composed, Bend Me Shape Me). And yes, on another occasion we actually tuned the lead guitarist for The Bubble Puppy, mildly famous for their one hit wonder, Hot Smoke and Sassafras.

Since then Reed and I both moved west, into respectability and high tech-I into software marketing, and Reed into class action suits against high tech companies. So far, we've managed to stay out of the same courtroom.

You may recall hearing news in August of '98 about a teenager who was attacked by a shark near the Golden Gate Bridge. That was Reed's and Marge's oldest son, Jonathon. Jonathon recovered from the ordeal, although he still is working through it with a lot of physical therapy. The shark encounter, however, did earn him an appearance on a German television show last December. He was one of the "people of 1998."

As the Golden Gate Bridge disappeared on the horizon, I thought maybe I should have stayed for a while in San Francisco. We could have resurrected the Stowaway. And I think I'd look OK in bearskin. But the high seas called.

Passage: San Francisco to Santa Barbara

Thursday October 7th through Friday October 8th

It required about two days to sail from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. With four crew aboard-Dave Mumper, Chris Thomerson, Jenny Marstaller, and me-the passage went smoothly. We tacked 60 miles offshore, and then 60 miles back, past Point Conception. Snippets from the log include: "no one out here" and "making great time," occasionally interspersed with "heavy swells."

As we approached land, vessel traffic increased. Our attempt to contact the occasional fishing vessel via radio met with a similar fate as our attempts in Alaska: no response. There appears to be a universal unwritten code among fishermen: don't talk to strangers.

One night a fishing boat appeared on radar four miles out, and on an intercept course. During the next hour, as we closed to within less than a mile of each other, we tried to hail them three or four times. Each time we requested that they respond and recognize our position. Each time our request was met with silence. Apparently they assume that no one would ever run into them. No one ever plans on having an accident, either.

Santa Barbara

We tied off to guest moorage at the Santa Barbara Marina at 1512 on Friday 10/8. While registering in the harbormaster's office, my friend Ed Vaughan walked in. Ed and I met at anchor over a year ago at Prideaux Haven in Desolation Sound Marine Park, British Columbia, where he taught me how to anchor. (Another story.)

Ed sailed south from Victoria B.C. to Santa Barbara earlier this fall in his 40 foot Standfast, Mas Allegra. Hearing praises about Santa Barbara in Ed's e-mail for the past 6-10 weeks mandated a look-see stop in Andanté's itinerary. Located 90-minutes north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara--an affluent, artistic, college town--is nestled in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. With mountains and sea, sophistication and culture, Santa Barbara strikes me as a very livable place-one I could possibly call home at some point in the future.


The Marina at Santa Barbara


The first thing I need to tell my northern friends about Santa Barbara is how the weather changed after we passed Point Conception. The polypropylene went back into the locker, exchanged for shorts and T-shirts. (Even after the sun went down.)

To celebrate our arrival in Santa Barbara, the five of us (Andanté crew + Ed) dined out on the town Friday evening. Later, we attended the late showing of a recent film, American Beauty. The main character, a hard working, nose-to-the-grindstone husband and father, is propelled into a mid-life crisis as a result of his attraction to his teenage daughter's girlfriend. The crisis forces him to reevaluate his life--defined exclusively by society's expectations and roles-and rebuild another, based on his own internal values. Other characters react, guided by their own combination of external expectations and internal values. The film prompted hours of interesting discussion-not that any of us, in our 40s and 50s, could relate to mid-life crises, societal expectations, or internal values. Any connections with the characters' plights were purely coincidental.

Saturday October 9th

We awoke Saturday morning to blue skies and warm sun, and then helped Dave move his stuff to a taxi. Our slow and meandering schedule had taken a toll on Dave's calendar. Although he wanted to stay, he was also trying to build a new house in Gig Harbor Washington. Demands from the new house pulled him north.

We returned to Andanté just as Ed stopped by a few minutes later. An immediate discussion ensued about American Beauty, which lasted until about 1:00. Exhausted by several hours of intellectual banter, we headed toward the beach for a few more hours of sun and water-novel to those of us used to seeing mushrooms sprouting in our front lawn.

Up Next

Log #19—Santa Cruz and the Channel Islands

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