I have a Catalina 30 sailboat. I refer to it as the Toyota Corolla of sailboats. There's a million of them out there, not super fast, not super slow, but a good dependable, coastal cruiser. I knew about Catalina's for awhile. It was a mass produced (as much as sailboats can be mass produced) boat, not a lot of character and of course it was not a bluewater cruiser. Not a boat that could take me across the Pacific to Tahiti. I was sort of like the guy who buys a Land Rover with shiny chrome headlight protectors and a on the off-chance that he might, one day, decide to make use of that and take his luxury vehicle to the savannah. Yeah right.
Anyway, after passing by the marina on my standard bike ride for about a month, I finally stopped into the brokerage office to take a look at this boat. The boat was in pretty good condition, and I was surprised to find out that it was a 1984 model, it seemed much newer. Arranged of a test cruise and it handled well. After a survey and some negotiating I was the proud owner of "Hana-Ho"
The little diesel inboard engine (only 11 hp!) really struggles against some of the stronger currents and winds in the bay. Unlike newer boats of this size with their 30 hp diesels, the engine won't save my bacon if I get into trouble. On the plus-side I think it has made me a better sailor since I donít' really have a choice, but to sail rather than use the engine.
Regardless we try and get out on the boat when we can, though boat time competes with hiking, surfing and city stuff. It's handled well, no huge breakdowns, though there is a constant list of things to do.
A recent story in Latitude 38 describes a trip out the Gate on a Catalina 30. Skip down to the letter entitled "OUR FIRST DOUBLEHANDED FARALLONES RACE".
The other boat...
My first boat is a Wauqiuez Centurion 32 named "Spartina". I bought her in Rhode Island had her trucked to Ohio, along Lake Erie. The plan was to fix her up a bit and sail along the lake while I worked on a contract in Medina, OH. The project fell through and soon enough I was traveling again, with little time to sail, and less time to do needed repairs. When it was evident that I would be staying in California for awhile I tried to have the boat trucked out here. But the quotes I got from shipping companies were very high due in part to the very high cost of diesel (about $3 a gallon at the time) So I held off waiting for prices to get lower...that plan has clearly not been a success.
So I pay a few hundred bucks a year for dry storage up around Lake Erie, with the though that one day I'll be able to get the boat out here. Aside from sentimental value it would make a great San Francisco boat. Narrow beam, somewhat heavy displacement, deep keel, strong construction. Definitely needs some work, especially now that it hasn't been in the water for a couple years.
One of my goals is to do the Singlehanded Transpac Race to Hawaii, so I think this boat would be the perfect match. In fact it was built in France, sailed to Bermuda, then sailed to England and the to Florida, so it's got open water credentials.
Maybe I should start saving cooking oil, turn it into a couple hundred gallons of bio-diesel and get a discount on the trucking costs...
The sailboat is berthed at the Berkeley Marina G-Dock. Here's the Google map. One thing to note is that if you are coming from San Francisco and heading North on I-80, the University Ave. exit ramp will not take you (Westbound) to the marina. If you get off on that exit you have to drive (Eastbound) up to the first intersection and then turnaround to head West on University Ave., across the overpass, and then into the Marina. That's a perfectly acceptable way to go. Alternatively you can exit at Powell St. in Emeryville and take the I-80 access road to the marina as Google suggests.
What do we do while on-board?
You can do as much or as little as you'd like. Believe it or not, sailing a boat is usually pretty easy. If you'd like to steer we can show you how. There's plenty of opportunity for using the ropes and winches. Or you can kick back under the dodger or lie out at the bow and just enjoy the day.
Also, unless we have a particular destination in mind, we can increase/decrease the amount of 'stuff' to do on board, and adjust the ride to be faster and more eventful or a little slower and more relaxed. Of course the weather has a big hand in this too, but there are some options.
Things to bring:
Layers. Even more so than is usually recommended for the Bay Area. In general you don't have to worry so much about getting wet, though you might catch the occasional spray from a wave.
Even if it's a nice, sunny day, the wind can cool things down quite a bit. On the flip side, the wind might die down and then it can be quite warm sitting out on the water and not moving very much.
-windbreaker or jacket
-sweatshirt or other heavier/long sleeve shirt
-short sleeve shirt
-jeans or shorts are fine. I usually wear shorts and then a pair of nylon windpants over them
The deck of the boat is white and shoes with dark soles tend to create scuff marks. If you have shoes with light soles, or non-marking dark soles bring those. If you have to choose between open-toed shoes like sandals or a dark sole, choose the dark sole (or bring them both). Better not to have your toes freeze off than a few marks.
Definitely bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Even on a cloudy day you tend to get a lot of sun when you are out on the water.
Food and Drink
Bring what you like, definitely a bottle of water or other drink to stay hydrated. There is a cooler on board if you wish to bring beer, soda, etc. Don't forget to grab a bag of ice too.
The boat has a small galley (kitchen). A table and settee and a few small berths (beds) are also below. We don't generally fill the water tanks so you should bring your own water.
There is a working marine toilet (aka the head) on-board. It looks like a normal, yet quite compact toilet, but does require flipping some levers and pumping. Also the plumbing is extremely delicate. Nothing ruins a trip faster than a clogged toilet. There are instructions in the head that tell you exactly how it works. There's also the motion of the boat to consider. It can be a bit tricky. Needless to say it is preferable to use the restrooms at the dock before and after the trip, but if you are in need, there is on on-board option.
Seasickness varies amongst people and sea conditions. The first thing to know is that it is never a big deal to turn the boat around and go back to the dock if someone is feeling nauseated. You can tough it out for awhile, but rarely will the seasickness go away so if you are still feeling pretty bad after 45 minutes to an hour, it won't get better.
Obvious things like staying out super late the night before, being hungover, a greasy Denny's breakfast, and the like will make the situation worse.
As a side note the waves in the bay are quite different than the open ocean outside the gate. The waves are smaller, but more frequent, versus the big long swells of the ocean. So if you have been woozy on the open ocean you still might consider going out on the Bay. On the flip side, being on a sailboat is different than a powerboat in that we intentionally lean (heel) on an angle, and that seems to affect some people negatively. Finally, a lot of people are fine, until they go down to the cabin. Something about being inside while the boat moves tends to through people off. So if you feel susceptible to sea-sickness it's ok to ask someone else to get you a beer from down below.
As for remedies you should check the Internet or use what's worked for you in the past. There are over the counter things like Dramamine and Bonine. Ginger is reputed to work ok. There are bands and acupressure bracelets, etc.