Coastal Cruising in a 19' Sail [...]
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Owner: John Jordan

Coastal Cruising in a 19' Sailboat - Of "High Seas", Chickens and Potatoes


Location: San Joaquin River
Latitude: 0.00000000
Longitude: 0.00000000
Published: 8 Jun 2022

Jonah had planned a 10 day cruising trip from Santa Cruz up into the SF bay and on to the San Joaquin River. However, in the fullness of time, circumstances will modify those plans somewhat.

---Leg 1: And so Jonah puts to sea once again bound for the Half Moon Bay and destinations beyond.The marine forecast was for southerly winds and she has chosen her departure to suit.The fogs in but there's wind enough to fill her new code zero sail. This red colored light air canvas transforms her cruising speed in anything below a moderate breeze.Today she is running "wing on wing" with her twin head sails.The sea state is easy without much swell and with minimal wind waves.Sheets are eye-sliced to a soft shackle for a light and low-profile connection at the clew.The trusty auto-tiller lets the solo skipper take a break.We will end up sailing three quarters of the way, to HMB.The wind has picked up a bit now and we're sailing a broad reach on the mainsail and code zero.

---Leg 2: Clipper Cove; the hanging gardens of babylon!Is this the infamous evergreen container ship that blocked the suez canal?Here's the good little ship making her way across the San Pablo Bay

---Leg 4:We're going though a narrow channel known as the Carquinez Strait; a stretch of water where wind and tide can make for tough going, if taken at the wrong time.So we make a late start in order to catch the flood tide.Slack water at the Carquinez bridge is around 11:15 AM; get there too early and the tide will be against us.Along the bank of the strait lies the California and Hawaiian Sugar Company.The antioch marina on the southern bank of the San Jaoquin River. Our home for the night.distance, downwind, catch flood tide, amount sailedUp to Antioch, a distance of some 120 miles since we left Santa Cruz, we motored for a little over 2 hours... the rest was entirely wind powered. Not bad for a little sailboat like Jonah.

---Leg 5:From Antioch, we sailed up to the apex of our voyage; a place called Potato Slough.We stay overnight and are greeted in the morning by peace and tranquility

---Leg 6:The wind was forecast to blow today, potentially making the anchorage a bit uncomfortable. Well that was my excuse for leaving, at least. I had intended to take a rest day with no sailing, but the forecast put me off the idea.Despite dark and dire warnings of wind over tide effects in these waters, Jonah lays course for a return to Mare island, taking full advantage of the ebb tide.Blissfully, we arrived at our destination for the night undamaged by the experience.

---Leg 7:Here we are motoring against wind over tide, again. But Jonah is a tough little boat and she can handle it!We made excellent time out to the gate only to arrive early; meaning before the ebb had fully slacked. Here, there be monsters.The sea state under the bridge was fine, but outside, in the open ocean, near the notorious area known as the 'potato patch', things were a little more churned up. Potato patch so named for...Evidently, there was some residual wind over tide effects which produced some of the most confused seas I have ever witnessed.This was no time to be wielding a camera, and so unfortunately I did not get much video of the malestrom.We're rounding into Pillar Point harbor now. Beware the reefs!This tugboat, although not a victim of the reefs, nonetheless was sunk in the shallow waters of the Pillar Point anchorage.An ignominious end to its long career.

---Leg 8:Well Jonah's skipper could really do with a rest day, having been on the move for 7 days straight now.However, the forecast presents a bit of a quandry; tomorrow the winds are favorable, if a little strong. However, the next day they go light, which would mean another day of motoring.What is a sailboat skipper to do?A murky 5:30 AM departure to leaden skies and minimal winds, was hardly a surprise. However, what was to transpire later in the day was an altogether different story.Neptune was to toy with our good ship today. As the winds rose and accelerated around Pigoen Point, Jonah hits 10.4 kts on the GPS, surfing down the face of the waves. It's too much fun, and too exhilarating... and I forget that the better part of valor is discretion.