Kids, Don't Try This At Home!

Hi, and welcome to the adventures of "Triton", a 45' Robertson & Caine Leopard catamaran we purchased in July of 2007, in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. We sailed her back to Emeryville, California, located in the lovely San Francisco East Bay area, worked a few more years, then set off cruising in the fall of 2014. This journal is the story of our ongoing adventure, the folks we've met along the way, and the hardships and joys of that journey. Please read along and let us know what you think!

You can click
here to start from the very beginning of the entire adventure. You can navigate from post to post simply by clicking the NEXT or PREVIOUS phrases at the top or bottom of each page. To find out what we've been fixing, changing, upgrading, click on the Triton Boat Work link under Related Websites. If you want to subscribe to this blog (and get emails letting you know whenever we update it) just click on the icon that says "subscribe to: posts (atom)" at the bottom of each page.

Sunday, October 19, 2014



Away from the dock at last!

We are running out of time. If we hope to make it to San Diego in time to meet our crew, and ultimately start a sailing adventure from which we hope never to return, we must set sail immediately.  Projects that aren't absolutely necessary (like connecting the wiring for the solar panels, or getting the water maker working, or even finishing the refrigerator install) need to be put on hold. They aren't critical to our safety. We can generate power from other sources, carry water in the tanks, and buy ice for the cooler.  It is now or never, so we must cast off our dock lines and head for the open sea.

This is the emotional equivalent of standing at the open door of a plane, ten thousand feet above the earth, the wind buffeting your clothes as much as your confidence, and realizing that you actually need to voluntarily commit to jumping out of a perfectly good air plane.  You have come to the point where all those practice lessons on how to jump, how to deal with your chute not opening, how to land safely, etc., are either going to keep you alive, or prove a complete waste of time and you will die.  So you either jump out into space, or in our case, head for the open sea, or forever remain a wannabe, and eventually die at the dock.

Our new fuel tank, about to be installed.
So we headed for the open sea, by which I mean we motored towards the fuel dock, about 100 yards north of our berth, still safely within the confines of our marina, where we filled the starboard tank (the port tank is installed, but the epoxy barrier coat is still drying and we can't add fuel to it for at least another four days) and topped up as many diesel jugs as we thought necessary.  Once satisfied, we turned towards the fairway and began our journey, only to have the port engine stall. No trip ends smoothly that doesn't include some confusion in the beginning, and it turned out that a fuel valve had been left closed when we put the new tank in place. A quick adjustment and all is well.

We made our way out through the sea wall but soon realized that the tide was running against us, so we headed towards Angel Island, and the very well protected Ayala Cove on its northern side, to wait for slack tide. Going out the gate with four knots running against us is asking for trouble, so we tied up to the shore side dock, finished a few last minute items, and grabbed a few moments rest.

Out wedding party on Ayala Cove, with Triton in the background.
Ayala Cove has been a favourite anchorage of ours, and holds many fond memories for us. We got married on the shores of Angel Island, not one hundred yards from where we sit, and have spent countless afternoons entertaining friends while tied to a mooring ball in the cove.. We will miss it dearly, along with the spectacular view of the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, and the San Francisco waterfront we've come to take for granted.

There are three of us aboard-- myself, AnnMarie, and our neighbor Michael, who is relatively new to sailing. This will be one the longest times he has ever been at sea, and I think he is excited to get out the gate and test his sea legs, but it is late at night, and I'm a bit anxious about going out to sea in the dark, in a boat with so many new and untested systems. Fortunately, the seas were "relatively" calm inside the gate (the real fun didn't start until we got off the coast) as we bid farewell to our home of over twenty-five years. It is hard to describe the feeling of leaving a place you've come to call home, knowing you might never reside there again. Both AnnMarie and I grew up on the East Coast, she in upstate New York, myself in northern New Jersey, but we realize now that we've become as much Bay Area residents as any third generation native.
Michael on deck.

And we'll miss this place. We will always have a soft spot in our hearts for the strange antics of the cooler-than-thou, mocha-swilling, bike-riding hipsters of the city, the geeky, socially-inept code monkeys of the Silicon valley, the less-than-tolerant politically-correct residents of Berkeley, the laid back, unwashed, TTITD-going artists, and the other ten thousand maniacs in our tribe. There will always be interesting places in the world, and all towns have their own charms, but there is no place quite like here.

Writing this now makes me realize just how big a change this is in our lives. We have given up so much of the predictable security we've come to take for granted, and are now on the cusp of a new life without any guarantees of stability, safety, or support, from those friends we've come to love as family. There is comfort in kith and kin, and stepping away from what you know has its own pensive moments, but there is a strange excitement as well, much the same as those last few moments as the roller coaster ponderously grinds to the top of the first hump. Tonight, lying here in our bunk, listening to the fog horn, feeling our catamaran roll with the swell, we hold each other and hope that everything goes well.

Ten Thousand Maniacs in our Tribe.

We will find that out all too soon, once we head out the gate and turn left, but for now, we rest as the waves rock us to sleep. It is a bit cold and damp, but AnnMarie is warm and we snuggle for a few hours before the real journey begins.


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