Sailing San Francisco Bay
People ask, “How many couples can you take?” Three couples enjoyed unique outdoor fun near Williamsburg by sailing in a light breeze off Yorktown. The York River has never been so serene.
Contrast that with the high winds and waves of San Francisco Bay, where Jim Cockrell and his wife Chris sailed years ago. Today he’s a heart doctor in Washington and she’s a school nurse for 800 pupils.
“We sailed a 30-foot Catalina that was tricked out in Vietnam or somewhere,” Jim said. “It was nothing like this. San Francisco Bay was okay if you went out in the morning. You could sail reasonably well until The Doctor arrived. Around 2 pm the winds piped up to 28 knots for the rest of the day. I have no idea why they called it The Doctor.”
Compared to the York River, I asked about the wicked current. “I watched the tides closely and rode it out under the Golden Gate Bridge eight miles or so into the ocean. Sometimes I went 20 miles offshore, all the way to the Fairline. By then the skyline of San Francisco disappeared. I timed to ride the incoming tide back into the Bay. I think it ran 5 knots or so. If you didn’t get it right, you could be under full sail and wind up spinning your wheels against the tide.”
Not all his guests were that ambitious. “So we would sail in the northern section of the Bay where the winds and current were tamer. I got so I could find just the right air temperature too.”
Jim loved the Let’s Go Sail boat. “This is a sweet hull, very maneuverable. I had a big tiller on that Catalina, so this wheel takes some adjusting. I’m still rusty, but this is a fabulous feeling. I’ll work it, I’m still learning this wonderful Hunter.” The sail was a surprise gift from Chris for their 35th marriage anniversary.
Taking a Cruise Ship
We got to talking about cruise ships. Ed and Pat Lockett live in Ocean City MD and cruise frequently. “I grew up on boats,” Pat said. “Our family lived on the north end of the South River in Annapolis, the Sailing Capital of the World.”
I was surprised to learn there are so many museums and other things to do on an Alaskan cruise.
“You can go on cruisecritic.com to get the dirt on anyplace they go. We went on the lead boat of the TV series ‘Deadliest Catch.’ The star of the show didn’t get any help from Alaskan tourism officials to promote the idea, so he turned to native Indians for their help. You go on the boat and they show you all five crabs that they catch, as well as other details such as the bridge of the boat. It was fascinating.”
As with any vacation experience, our crew went from anticipation to surprise to happiness in short order. It was the friendliest catch.
Kristen Yodis of Smithfield took her dad Ed sailing along the York River on his birthday, and he was dazzled by the experience.
Let’s Go Sailing San Francisco Bay
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