PASSIN' THROUGH F
all is one of our favorites times of year in the Bay Area. Not only do the biting summer winds start to mellow, but cruisers from the Pacific Northwest — and sometimes beyond — pass under our iconic Bridge before continuing south. They come in all shapes and sizes of boats, all economic backgrounds, and all experience levels. Some are old salts, while others were newbies when they left. Of course, by the time they reach San Francisco Bay, they've endured the Oregon/Washington coastline and could now be classified as old salts themselves. Some are heading to Mexico for the season, others are on their way around the world. We normally encourage readers to seek out these salty sailors when they see them in their marinas, but fate conspired to postpone the publication of this article until long after even the stragglers had passed through. We interviewed the six crews profiled here in late September/ early October, and — with the possible exception of one boat — all have moved on long ago, with some having just completed the 19th annual Baja Ha-Ha (see page 76 for that story). But while their experiences might have expanded considerably since we met them, each has a unique story we think is still worth telling.
crew we talked to but they were far and so. "I had my townhouse in Vancouver away the most enthusiastic. Their having that was decorated just as I wanted," suffered a knockdown during a southerly notes Janet. "I thought that's what my life was going to look like." But then Jim asked her to go cruising with him, and she said yes. "We often ask each other what we were thinking, and we both have the same answer," says Janet, a wry smile turning up the corners of her mouth. "We were both thinking of me standing on the dock with a very small kit bag and a very big smile!" The following months were spent clearing out the townhouse and prepping Haulback for extended cruising — including the addition of refrigeration and a watermaker (that sound you just heard was "This isn't a flag, it's a trophy," say Mike and Nancy of the collective gasp of disbelief from 'Defiant's tattered Canadian Maple Leaf. gale off the Oregon coast, we wondered if Jim's many Bay Area sailing friends). Of they were second-guessing their cruising course, as Janet cleared out the detritus plans. "No way," they both cried. In fact, of her life — "I got rid of all my pretty they couldn't stop smiling while recountthings," she moaned — Jim made concesing their adventure. sions of his own, such as finding some Where the Kellams had seen decent place other than the silverware drawer northwesterlies for their nonstop trip to to store his toothbrush, toothpaste and the Bay, Mike and Nancy had southerlies comb. "What?!" he exon the nose the whole way for their nonclaimed when we burst stop hop. "We were between Cape Blanco out laughing at Janet's and Cape Mendocino, and I was on watch revelation. "It made when it happened," recalls Mike. "Both perfect sense — it was spreaders were in the water, and so was close to the mirror and I." Thankfully he was tethered to the boat. e met up first the sink!" "I remember thinking, 'Oh no, there's wawith our old singleAs for their future ter getting into my foul weather gear!'" hander friend Jim Kelplans, they're minimal When Mike went to check on Nancy, lam, a retired crane and very flexible. "We're who was unhurt in the knockdown, he operator in the BC just going to keep gowas wearing a gigantic grin. "He kept saylogging industry. Jim ing round and round ing, 'That was so cool," Nancy laughs. "I has sailed in three till we get dizzy and fall was like, 'You're fucking nuts!'" SurprisSinglehanded Transoff," laughs Jim. "We ingly, they sustained little damage — a Pacs on his Spencer don't have an end date. lost winch handle, boat hook and BBQ 35 Haulback — solo We're going to Mexico cover, and a torn dodger. circumnavigating after this winter [they just This from a couple with admittedly the second — and he's completed the Ha-Ha] no offshore experience. Mike has been told us on a number and then we'll cross sailing for years, but only in protected of occasions that he'd the Pacific." They plan waters. When he met Nancy five years never sail with someto visit Australia and ago, they'd go out for mini cruises in the one else. But, happily, Indonesia and spend a summer, but nothing long-term. "If you he changed his mind year in Tasmania, but count up all the time I've been sailing when he met his new they insist they're not off and on over the five years I've known bride Janet, a retired on a schedule. As Jim Mike," says Nancy, "it'd add up to about business owner. They notes, when you're cireight months, if that. That gale was the married in March — on Janet and Jim Kellam on 'Haulback'. cumnavigating, "Your first time I've been in anything over 25 the spring equinox — and set off from schedule becomes cyclone season." knots of wind." Vancouver, BC, in August on an extended The couple — who retired, sold everycruise that may take them around the thing and moved aboard the day before world. ust down the dock from the Kelleaving BC — joined Haulback during Their having such a well-prepared lams in Alameda were their friends from the Ha-Ha with plans to spend a year in boat, one might be fooled into thinking Vancouver Mike Northup and Nancy the Kellams didn't have all that much to Kettles on the C&C 115 Defiant. Mike do before casting off the docklines. Not and Nancy were the least experienced
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• December, 2012
The December 2012 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.