After nearly a solid week of delays, we’re finally back in the water; removing the head intake thru-hull proved to be harder than we had expected, painting the boot stripe turned out to be a two day affair, and cleaning up and inspecting the shaft log was dirtier and more difficult that we had imagined. Working on the boat 8 hours a day for 2 weeks paid off though, and last Thursday she was lowered into the water with only a slight leak in the packing gland, which was quickly and easily fixed.
By the time Alex showed up after work to move her out of the boat yard, the tide was lower than optimal. After strapping our bikes to the deck we motored off, our sense of pride growing stronger the further we moved from the pier. That is, until we realized the dock was still 30 feet away and we weren’t making any progress. We weren’t even a full boat length into our first trip and we had run aground.
The boat yard manager, Rick, has an accent which sounds to my ears like it could equally well be total sarcasm or brutal honesty. Amongst other things, when I asked what type of paint he thought our bottom was coated with previously, he took his time, picked at the side a bit, said “It appears to be some sort of blue paint” and walked away. When he found me painting the bottom of the boat black, he shook his head. “Dude… aren’t you going into the Pacific? Oh man… black. Whales love black, man. Whales sink black boats all the time.” Don’t worry folks (read: Mom) upon further research, it seems that whales don’t discriminate, we’re no more likely to be attacked by a whale than the next guy in a red boat.
So when Rick told me to floor the engine if we hit a mud patch coming out of the yard, I was conflicted. After backing up to gain some momentum, we pushed our way out into open water. What a hilarious first minute.
The milestone of having our long sought after boat in our possession back in the water warrented the opening of a box of 2003 merlot we found stashed in storage by the previous owner… or maybe the owner before that. Sharing a plastic cup and pretending to like it, we raised some sail and fought the current past the ball park and downtown San Francisco in the dark.
The next hurdle in owning a boat is finding a place to keep it, so under cover of darkness we tied up at a marina (which will remain nameless) and squated overnight in an empty slip. Very early the next morning, we snuck out before anyone could notice and tied up at a legitimate guest berth at the San Francisco Marina.
Friday night Alex and I couldn’t resist the temptation to sleep on the boat for the first time, and Saturday morning we brewed some coffee and climbed out the hatch to a perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge. A gathering of friends arrived around noon, and we packed 8 people onto the boat for her official maiden voyage (no mud banks this time). The winds were fantastic, and we cruised around the bay, hiding in the wind shadow near Sausalito to cut up some cheese and bread before witnessing a mock naval battle between two tallships, fake cannon fire and all.
I suppose it’s possible that we’ll become disenchanted with the novelty, but as it stands I’ve spent the past 3 nights on the boat, going on a midnight stroll to the nearby Palace of Fine Arts, falling asleep to foghorns, and waking up to 70 degree weather in San Francisco.
If there’s a better way to do San Francisco, I’d like to see it.