Bananas will no longer be allowed onboard…

We recruited five unsuspecting crew for this epic down wind race from Richmond to Stockton.  The full crew list for this epic down wind race consists of Aaron, Calvin, Eugene, Janelle, Keith, Mark and Robert.  The Delta Ditch race starts in Richmond then run through the northern part of San Francisco bay, passing the Brother’s Island to San Pablo Bay, through the narrow, twisting channels of Carquinez Straits to Suisun Bay, passed the mothball fleet then snake through the meandering San Jauquin River to Stockton.  We had conceived this race as a fun (and fast) way to tour the Delta for some of the naive, wide-eyed crew that have not been “up the river without a paddle” and to take advantage of the long downwind run to imagine what it’s like to dawdle in the Delta. This was designed to be one part race, one part tour and one part adventure – our plan is to race the Delta Ditch Run then turn around and motor sail back all night back to Coyote Point Harbor.  The key to the success of this (ad)venture is to time our itinerary to transit the Carquinez Straits at optimal current going up the river as well as back down to SF bay. So plans were made to cast off at 07:00 sharp to make it to the starting line at 10:00.  Weather forecast for the weekend was a bit conflicted.  NWS predicted strong Northerly winds at 8-15 knots and hot weather (90°+) for the weekend.  However, the TV forecasters were predicting mild winds from the east and cautioned on record high temperatures. In either case, it’s really ideal sailing condition albeit a bit unusual wind direction for the Delta Ditch.

Bright and early at 06:30 on the fateful Saturday morning of the Delta Ditch, the crew of S/V Mist assembled at the Coyote Point Yacht Club dock with provisions for the weekend for the 10th Annual Delta Ditch Run of 2010.  As we put away the provisions, we noticed that someone had brought a bunch of bananas onboard.  After several denials, we found the culprit and teased the crew member about being ignorant on the sailing superstition that bananas onboard brings bad luck to the boat.  The crew member took the ribbing in stride and attempted to eat as many bananas as possible before departure, but after ingesting two bananas in quick succession, he left the remaining bananas in the galley for later consumption.

We pulled out of the dock and immediately noted the low tide marker at the harbor master’s dock to be  -1.5 feet – not a good sign, but we’ve managed to get out of the harbor before…  Sure enough, as we motored out to the main basin, we started to drag bottom.  As we headed out to the harbor entrance, the depth sounder showed less than three feet below our hull and then, we were firmly stuck at the harbor entrance.   We order all the crew to sit to starboard to heel the boat, but no avail, then we hoisted the main to get the morning breeze to put further pressure to heel the boat to pass the shoaling that had developed gradually at the mouth of the harbor – all to no avail.  So when the going gets tough, the tough gets going:  we call on the heavy weights to get us out of our dilemma: we put Keith on a bo’sun’s chair and cranked up the spinnaker pole to 90° starboard and with the rest of the crew putting their weight on the starboard rail and the main sail drawing from the morning breeze…

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The Great Vallejo Race, May 1, 2010


The Great Vallejo Race aboard TakeOff

The Great Vallejo Race aboard TakeOff

May 1, 2010 – Based on Julie’s request, Joan rounded up a pick up crew consisting of Trevor (Bowman), Caxton (mast), Julie (pit), Calvin & Keith (jib and spinnaker trim), and Shannon, Joan and I (alternating on main sheet and helm).  We met at the Alameda Marina at 0900 sharp and loaded up her Laser 28 with coolers filled with her famous bloody mary’s and margarita and half a dozen bottles of wine and champagne.  Add to this liquid cargo, and add the bags of food she had provisioned, you’d think we were provisioning for a trip to Hawaii, not Vallejo.  We started the motor and headed out the Oakland estuary with bloody mary’s on one hand and spring rolls on the other for breakfast.  We arrived at the starting area near the Berkeley circle about an hour before the race and hoisted the sails to get the crew settled and get used to the light wind conditions.

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preparing for the trip to farrallon island…

Here is the route that I have plotted to get a sense of the distance we have to sail next Sunday. The weather forecast from NWS as of Wednesday: > .FRI…N WINDS 25 TO 35 KT…DECREASING TO 20 TO 30 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 9 TO 11 FT. > .SAT…E WINDS 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT. MIXED SWELL NW 6 TO 8 FT AND S 2 TO 3 FT. > .SUN…W WINDS 10 KT. WIND WAVES 2 FT OR LESS. MIXED SWELL NW 5 TO 7 FT AND S 2 TO 3 FT. > …..SAN FRANCISCO BAR/FOURFATHOM BANK FORECAST….. > IN THE DEEP WATER CHANNEL AND ACROSS THE BAR…MIXED SWELL OF NW 4 TO 8 FEET AND SW 2 TO 3 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF 10 SECONDS TODAY AND TONIGHT. SEAS UP TO 10 FEET DURING MAXIMUM EBB CURRENT OF 1.9 KNOTS AT 4:20 PM THIS AFTERNOON AND 2.6 KT AT 4:22 AM THURSDAY MORNING. <a href=”http://shipslog.sightinc.com/?pp_album=1&pp_image=Farrallon_route092406_1_01.png” title=”Overall route to Farrallon Island and back” target=”_top”><img src=”http://shipslog.sightinc.com/wp-content/wp-photopress/thumb_Farrallon_route092406_1_01.png” width=”500″ height=”200″ alt=”Overall route to Farrallon Island and back” class=”centered” /></a> <a href=”http://shipslog.sightinc.com/?pp_album=1&pp_image=Farrallon_route092406_2_01.png” title=”Around Farrallon Island…” target=”_top”><img src=”http://shipslog.sightinc.com/wp-content/wp-photopress/thumb_Farrallon_route092406_2_01.png” width=”500″ height=”355″ alt=”Around Farrallon Island…” class=”centered” /></a> <a href=”http://shipslog.sightinc.com/?pp_album=1&pp_image=Farrallon_route092406_3_01.png” title=”Going out and coming in to the Gate” target=”_top”><img src=”http://shipslog.sightinc.com/wp-content/wp-photopress/thumb_Farrallon_route092406_3_01.png” width=”500″ height=”264″ alt=”Going out and coming in to the Gate” class=”centered” /></a> Here’s the tidal information… more to come… >24 September 2006 – 25 September 2006 >San Francisco Bay Entrance (Golden Gate), California Current 37.8167° N, 122.4833° W >2006-09-24  00:05 PDT   3.13 knots  Max Flood >2006-09-24  03:15 PDT  -0.01 knots  Slack, Ebb Begins >2006-09-24  05:51 PDT  -3.10 knots  Max Ebb >2006-09-24  06:59 PDT   Sunrise ><b>2006-09-24  09:04 PDT   Moonrise >2006-09-24  09:17 PDT   0.01 knots  Slack, Flood Begins</b> >2006-09-24  12:07 PDT   2.73 knots  Max Flood >2006-09-24  15:02 PDT  -0.00 knots  Slack, Ebb Begins >2006-09-24  18:06 PDT  -3.92 knots  Max Ebb ><b>2006-09-24  19:03 PDT   Sunset</b> >2006-09-24  19:57 PDT   Moonset >2006-09-24  21:46 PDT   0.00 knots  Slack, Flood Begins >2006-09-25  00:42 PDT   3.05 knots  Max Flood >2006-09-25  03:57 PDT  -0.00 knots  Slack, Ebb Begins >2006-09-25  06:29 PDT  -2.75 knots  Max Ebb >2006-09-25  07:00 PDT   Sunrise ><b>2006-09-25  09:42 PDT   0.00 knots  Slack, Flood Begins >2006-09-25  10:05 PDT   Moonrise >2006-09-25  12:38 PDT   2.47 knots  Max Flood >2006-09-25  15:26 PDT  -0.00 knots  Slack, Ebb Begins</b> >2006-09-25  18:44 PDT  -3.98 knots  Max Ebb >2006-09-25  19:02 PDT   Sunset >2006-09-25  20:23 PDT   Moonset >2006-09-25  22:24 PDT   0.00 knots  Slack, Flood Begins POINT ARENA TO PIGEON POINT TO 20 NM- POINT ARENA TO PIGEON POINT 20 TO 60 NM OFFSHORE- 855 PM PDT SUN SEP 17 2006 > .TONIGHT…NW WINDS 10 TO 20 KT WITH BRIEF PERIODS OF 20 TO 30 KT WINDS THIS EVENING. WIND WAVES 3 TO 6 FT. MIXED SWELL NW 3 TO 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS AND S 2 FT AT 15 SECONDS. > .MON…NW WINDS 5 TO 15 KT…INCREASING TO 10 TO 20 KT WITH LOCALLY HIGHER GUSTS TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 5 FT. MIXED SWELL NW 3 TO 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS AND S 2 FT AT 15 SECONDS. > .MON NIGHT…NW WINDS 10 TO 20 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 5 FT. MIXED SWELL NW 3 TO 5 FT AT 9 SECONDS AND S 2 FT AT 17 SECONDS. PATCHY FOG AFTER MIDNIGHT. > .TUE…NW WINDS 10 TO 20 KT…INCREASING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 6 FT. MIXED SWELL NW 3 TO 6 FT AND S 3 FT. PATCHY FOG. > .TUE NIGHT…NW WINDS 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 3 TO 6 FT. MIXED SWELL NW 3 TO 6 FT AND S 3 FT. PATCHY FOG. > .WED…NW WINDS 5 TO 15 KT…INCREASING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 6 FT. MIXED SWELL NW 5 TO 8 FT AND S 3 FT. PATCHY FOG. > .THU AND FRI…NW WINDS 5 TO 15 KT…INCREASING TO 15 TO 25 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 6 FT. MIXED SWELL NW 6 TO 8 FT AND S 3 FT. …..SAN FRANCISCO BAR/FOURFATHOM BANK FORECAST….. IN THE DEEP WATER CHANNEL AND ACROSS THE BAR…NORTHWEST SWELL OF 3 FEET WITH A PERIOD OF 9 SECONDS. SEAS UP TO 5 FEET DURING MAXIMUM EBB CURRENT OF 2.6 KNOTS AT 2:28 AM MONDAY MORNING AND 1.4 KNOTS AT 3:33 PM MONDAY AFTERNOON.