A long holiday weekend with gorgeous weather in San Francisco—it would have been an absolute crime to leave Helios tied to the dock this last Sunday. I also had a small, personal milestone to celebrate: this September marks the first time in 25 years that I'm not going back to school right now. Awesomely scary. And an awesomely awesome reason to sail.
To honor the occasion, we decided to invite some teacher friends and a school buddy along for the ride. Allow me to introduce them, and provide some brief commentary as to their impeccable fashion choices:
We did our usual tour of the Bay--from Alameda, through Raccoon Straits, and back again. The fog burned off before we left the dock at 11 am. The wind built gradually over the course of the afternoon. In view of the Golden Gate Bridge, we had gusts up to about 20 knots, so we had some fun playing with the running rigging and putting in the first reef. I've been focusing on building my steering endurance, so I was at the helm for the first leg of the trip.
In the Straits, we were treated to a few marine sightings. Harbor dolphin and a crew of sea lion were all enjoying lunch in and around the shores of Tiburon. As we rounded Angel Island, we spent some time bobbing in circles as we were caught in its lee (lunch time!). When we emerged, Dominic exchanged the jib for our staysail as the wind picked up. He then took the helm so I could relax for the trip home.
As the sun slanted toward evening, the sailing gods treated us to a few more spectacular vistas, and one particular historic highlight.
The USS Potomac is one of the few presidential yachts in US history. She served President FD Roosevelt from 1936 until his death at the end of World War II. The aft smoke stack is fake; it is an elevator in disguise to accommodate his wheelchair. The Potomac was later owned by Elvis Presley. She was used to smuggle drugs in the 1980s and eventually sank in the Bay, being recently resurrected and restored as an historical artifact. Pretty cool lady on the block if you ask me. (And here's another sweet historic San Francisco Bay artifact, if you're into that sort of thing).
A final shout out to D-Mac, who juggled our camera and his ginger beer to take many of the pictures on this page.