Anchoring at China Camp

Rusty at Sunset

We’ve caught a lot of flack recently from family and friends who are concerned our blog seems to indicate that our boat is falling apart.  This concern is understandable from most, but old salts know that time spent on a boat can be measured in repairs.  The combination of the sun’s constant UV bombardment and the sea’s corrosive salinity are enough to break everything but our fiberglass hull down to their most basic elements. Therefore, the true measure of a boatowner isn’t how long he can keep all his systems up and running, but how he gets by when these systems inevitably fail.  This is the reason Alex and I like to focus on overcoming failures: it makes us feel awesome.

Nevertheless, to please the masses I won’t focus on our trip out to nowhere 2 weeks ago in which we faced annoying currents, cold winds, and sheared through another set of prop coupling bolts (a problem which we’ve since diagnosed, fixed, and prevented in the future), and will instead talk about last weekend’s pleasantly sunny trip to San Pablo Bay in which nothing went wrong and we ate a lot of really good hot food.

Out here on the west coast, craigslist is THE place to check if you want any second hand supplies, so I’ve got an RSS feed out for all sorts of old sailing gear (though the list of required kit is getting smaller and smaller).  Late last week we found a post that seemed to have our entire wish list up for sale.  The dude lives in Sonoma and a trip to San Pablo Bay was on our to-do list, so we packed the fridge full of food and beer and left the marina early Saturday afternoon.

Our spinnaker had been sitting in the V-berth unused since we bought the boat, so we figured we should probably air it out.  If you’re not sure what a spinnaker is, think of it as a really really big kite you tie to the boat to help go downwind faster, and faster we certainly went.  The spinnaker, staysail, and main were up, and we were soon surfing down swells at 8 knots.

Heading downwind at nearly the speed of the breeze, the apparent wind decreases to almost nothing, increasing the apparent temperature as well as apparent bread, cheese and wine consumption.

In no time at all, we had passed under the Richmond bridge and were setting our anchor just offshore at China Camp.  A call to the Craigslist contact let us know that not only was he already at the beach with our new gear, he was watching us inflate our dinghy via binoculars.  One very self conscious row to shore later, and we were checking out a bunch of reasonably priced gear.

After much deliberation and some incredible haggling on Alex’s part (thanks Tunisia) we walked away with a new fiberglass LPG tank, an EPIRB, jacklines, a pelican case, a 7′ drogue, and 150′ of nylon rode. (In the spirit of this upbeat posting, if these words mean nothing to you, just know that they’re all very nice safe pieces of equipment).  Sunset at China Camp
The rest of the night was spent watching a sunset which outlasted the entirety of Tom Waits’ album “Alice”, eating two different kinds of gnocci, and playing instruments till the wee hours.  Though we could have slept all 6 in the cabin if we needed to, Alex and Omar decided to sleep out in the cockpit.  It was reassuring to hear that the two tallest among us fit comfortably and slept well.

The next morning, we ate newly invented “Zoo Sandwiches”: English Muffins stacked with bacon, avocado, tomato, poached eggs, cheese, and asparagus.  Dave Green and Other Alex needed to get back to the city, so we tested our 5′ 3″ draft and motored down the 7′ deep channel to Loch Lomond where we could drop them off near a bus stop.  Bay weather is so bizarre; Loch Lomond is only a few hours sail from San Francisco, yet the weather there forced us all to change into shorts, walk around barefoot, and strip off layers.
Goat Cheese Guacamole
The sail back to the city started hot and calm, and we were in no rush, so we whipped up some goat cheese guacamole topped with boat-grown alfalfa sprouts and soaked in the sun.  The first 15 miles took 4-5 hours, but we picked up speed in the end and finished the last 7 miles in under an hour.

All in all, this was the most enjoyable trip we’ve made aboard Saltbreaker, and it was more similar to what we expect the trip will be like: hot weather, anchoring in beautiful places, eating well, and enjoying life.  A repeat is planned for the weekend of the 4th when we’ll bring the wooden Dark Star along and barge up at the anchorage, so keep an eye out for more pleasant postings in a few weeks.

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2 Responses to Anchoring at China Camp

  1. Wally says:

    Keep the videos coming, those are really cool. Still would like to see a video tour of the boat, no matter how messy you think it is.

  2. Mollie says:

    A pelican case! For, like, catching and storing pelicans? I want one!

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