Steve's Tolman Project 72nd page...

October 3rd, 2005

Golden Gate Adventure

Eleanor approves of the boat ride. Check out the new flag and mount my father-in-law, Bob Gulick gave as a boat warming gift!

Packed up the Jumbo on Sunday, gathered up the girls and made our way to the Vallejo launch ramp. We got a late start and didn't actually get on the water until well after noon. We were late because there's horse feeding chores on Sunday morning, we have a 2 1/2 year old, and my better half gathered enough food, drink and assorted stuff to keep us supplied for the next three years. Gotta make that check list. Backed the boat in and because the tide was somewhere in between low and high we had no issues with the water being too low at the ramp. If it's a normal or minus low tide it can be a big issue launching or retrieving here since it's been years and years since they last dredged. At low tide the mud flats on either side of the ramp are exposed and you end up with about a foot of water to launch in. No fun.

My current technique for launching the boat is to get everything ready before backing to the ramp. This includes putting the fenders on the correct side of the boat, attaching the mooring lines to the cleats, making sure the plug is in the transom, the deck plates are in place, scupper plugs in, motor raised, antenna up, transom strap off etc. Back up to the ramp and put most of the trailer in the water. Only a couple feet of the bow hangs over the dry portion of the ramp. Release the winch line at the bow, the back up the final few feet and tap the brake. The boat slides off the trailer and my first mate, who has the mooring lines in hand, ties up the boat to the dock. Meanwhile, I'm parking the truck. Easy, painless, and my feet stay dry.

Eleanor is screaming bloody murder by the time I get down to the dock. A bystander explains that she did not want to give up her mooring line to Mommy. Lovely. We climb on board, lower the engine, and start it up. After about five minutes of warm up (per factory directions) we back out into the channel. First mate removes fenders and brings the mooring lines in. I immediately head to the south where the Napa, Sacramento and San Pablo Bay meet. On the way I point out a Sea Lion (aka furbag) to the girls. Much excitement. And we motor on into San Pablo Bay were there's a slight breeze and a small chop. We can easily make 30 mph and do so until I find a buoy with sleeping Sea Lion. More excitement for the girls. We pass one more with multiple sea lions and the girls are happy.

I'd not really had any destination in mind as we launched and decided while underway that we'd head over to the Bed and Bath that sits on a rock just before the San Rafael Bridge. It has it's own light house and is all happy looking there. Wind is picking up a tad bit and it's getting a little more choppy. We slow down to about 27 mph and continue on towards San Francisco. I think that perhaps we'll go to the Golden Gate and see how it is. Perhaps go under the bridge for a look see.

We cruise under the San Rafael Bridge, and then head over to the calmer water of California City. There are a few folks trolling for Salmon and some sailboats. Several ferries are underway, but it's not so crowded. As we go around the corner at Cal City and Angel Island I see a couple of boats coming back from fishing out the Gate. I wonder aloud if they had much luck. Was supposed to be rather bumpy on the ocean today and figure they must be diehards. We continue to the Gate where it's becoming choppier and choppier. This is the typical afternoon pattern and the sailboats are out in full force enjoying the wind. We head to the Gate and right before we start to go under it's obviously rough as snot out there. There's a good swell coming in and combined with the fast current and two foot chop I'm thinking that it's time to turn around. At the same time Rebecca comes forward, takes one look and says something to the effect of No Way Jose. I want to turn around but have better sense then to turn my side to the approaching waves and instead wait for a gap where I can safely do a one eighty. We do it and the Jumbo handles the resulting following sea perfectly. We happily (I was happy, but Rebecca was visibly nervous.) make our way back into the bay. Rebecca wants to head to Alcatraz and I do so, mindful that the two foot chop is getting bigger. We get to the south side of Alcatraz, and it is just plain snotty there. We actually have a bit of ocean swell reaching this far, and the current is hauling fanny and we're surrounded by a good three foot, white capped chop. Eleanor had an enormous smile on her face and Rebecca is none too happy. I'm just pleased as punch how the Jumbo is handling all of this. I look back and Rebecca says there's a huge wave coming behind us. Just a swell, and the Jumbo just keeps moving forward and has no tendency to broach.

We make our way to the east side of the island and the water calms down quite a bit. Then we head straight to the San Rafael Bridge. It's bumpy as hell and the wind is coming from our port side which is affecting the trim. I finally get the girls to shift sides and the boat settles down. Once we're back to the Cal City area, it gets really rough. We now have a four foot chop and I turn the boat to head into it. I zig zag our way uphill, then downhill trying to keep us comfortable. We slow down to 10 miles an hour at times. Finally we get to the entrance to San Pablo Bay and it calms down a bit. Once we head out into San Pablo it gets rough again. We were able to speed back up to about 16-17 mph though. We slogged it back to the launch ramp and then had the challenge of docking in a brisk wind. Somehow we did it with no damage to the boat, and minimal fussing.

In hindsight I regret taking the girls out into the bay so late in the day since it got pretty snotty. But I will say that I never thought we were in any danger, and the Jumbo handled it all just fine and dandy. Eleanor is a trooper and Rebecca is more conservative in her boating requirements. I respect both.

We put on about 56 miles on the Jumbo, and according to Navman fuel meter we got about 4.8 mpg. This was combined with the last trip. I've not yet filled up the tank so I can't say for sure it it's accurate or not.

Life is good!

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