Cass’ Marina sailing sChool & Charters 46 Years of Service to Sailors on the San Francisco Bay
U.s. sailing Certified sailing school Basic Keelboat Learn to sail a basic 22 - 27’ sailboat with a ballasted keel and tiller steering Basic Cruising Learn to sail 30’ - 35’ cruising sailboats with auxiliary power Bareboat Cruising Learn to sail 35-45’ sloop-rigged cruising keelboats with wheel steering and inboard diesel power for extended multi-day trips Coastal Navigation A classroom course to prepare sailors for more difficult sailing destinations and coastal passages Celestial Navigation A course teaching students how to use a sextant to calculate a sailboat’s position based on the sun, planets and stars If you sign up a friend for lessons, we’ll give you 20% off your next bareboat rental. New classes beginning all the time.
1702 Bridgeway at Napa in Sausalito Page 50 •
• July, 2007
LETTERS '89 to '96, and first learned about sailing and cruising. It was in '91 that I met Al and Beth Leggitt aboard their Perry 42 Sunflower. At the time I had no idea that people lived on sailboats, let alone sailed around the world on them. I think it was they who told me I could learn more about this unique lifestyle by reading a magazine called Latitude 38. I immediately subscribed. It took me a few years, however, to get up to speed. I finally started my circumnavigation in '96 with the Darwin/Ambon Race — which I'd read about in Latitude. In fact, it was Latitude's mention of Jim and Sue Corenman's Schumacher 50 Heart of Gold and their cruising friends that got me excited about starting my trip from there. I tried to create a yacht partnership with some friends from Guam, and looked all over the Pacific for a 'proper' cruising boat, but eventually the partners bailed. That meant I was left with too little money to buy the 40-footer that I thought I needed. So instead of buying a yacht, I hitchhiked on boats from Darwin to Cyprus, taking a year and 11 rides to get there. Each of those rides was an invaluable experience, but two were really special. The first was three months as crew on Stormvogel, which, under her original South African owner, played a role in one of the most exciting finishes in TransPac history, and which was the boat Nicole Kidman ended up singlehanding in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm. I was relegated to the owner's suite on that yacht! The second invaluable experience was an Indian Ocean crossing and Red Sea transit aboard the Halcyon 27 Violetta, on which I learned to navigate by sextant. We had a GPS, but only used it once, off the coast of India when we couldn't get a sight for days. The other major lesson that I got from the Violetta trip is that I didn't need — or want — a 40-footer! When I got to Cyprus, I found the C&C 34 Sarah all but abandoned and rotting from 10 years on the hard in Larnaca. Over the course of a year, I rebuilt all Sarah's systems, incorporating what I'd seen work best on the 11 yachts that I'd sailed on. In addition, I reconfigured the boat for singlehanded sailing. I also got a lot of advice, of course, and mostly good, from the many cruisers who called in on Larnaca during my refit. Although Sarah has performed well for me, I would not recommend a C&C 34 for world cruising. She saved my butt many times, and she's a far better sailor than I am, but she's tender and light, and I believe that her design and construction are better suited to temperate latitudes and near-shore work. I don't push her. Once I got caught in a terrible mistral 12 hours out of Bonafacio headed for Menorca, and I could only keep Sarah pointed dead downwind for fear of a broach — which I was certain would be the end of the boat and us. I'd never seen waves so big and moving so fast. We were being blown back onto the coast of Sardinia, and couldn't make the course that would get us past the southern tip. I'm sure you know that the west coast of Sardinia is essentially a continuous cliff line, so I had but two deadly choices — heave to and wait for the big one to roll us, or run with it and smash into the cliffs. I was so sure that it was the end for us that I actually apologized to my crew, who is my best friend, for having put him in such a treacherous situation. I had no liferaft, no SSB, no EPIRB — and almost no hope. The Italian Pilot said that no ports on the west coast of Sardinia were safe for entry during a big mistral, so that settled it, we were done. All through the night Sarah surfed down the giant waves, and we got pooped several times. Each time the overly large cockpit filled with water, and each time I thought it would sink us. But no, Sarah sailed flawlessly
The July 2007 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.