SF Trip – Day 4

Today was the day. It started easily and normally enough… Granola, tea, conversation. Being concerned that I’d forget something, I put everything I wanted to take in one spot. When on a sailboat you don’t just pull over and run into the store to pick up Kleenex. My cousin, however, did his usual last minute, full of self-doubt, indecision driven dither. Fortunately, I anticipated this, and we were out the door only five minutes later than we’d agreed on. We got to the boat in perfect time, including making a stop at the drug store.

On board it was the two of us, the Cap’t and his delightful wife. The Cap’t immediately handed the boat over to me as we motored out of the marina, so he could bring in bumpers and coil up tie down lines. The bay, at first, was windy enough to sail under the jib, letting us turn off the motor. Before long the main sail was up and we were heading quickly toward the Golden Gate with the outgoing tide.

This boat is tricked out. The Cap’t had a fob around his neck that turned out to be a remote control for the navigational system on the boat. He can adjust coarse by 1 and 10 degrees at the push of a button. The rigging is set up so that when we came about, working against the tide to get back, he had complete control of the boom, unlike my childhood sailing experiences when you tacked or came about, the boom went flying and everyone ducked less their heads get clocked.

We entered the cove the Cap’t told me about and hung out to see if it was going to be calm enough, which it turned out to be. I got my parent’s urns about of the sail bag my father made decades ago. Their ashes were in heavy duty plastic bags, zip tied closed. The Cap’t asked if I’d like to mix the ashes together, which I did. He gave me the boat’s salad bowl. These are humble and selfless people. I mixed my mom and dad’s ashes together with my hand while the rope railing was unclipped from across the bow. I situated myself on the step on the bow of the boat, received a command that there would be no sailors overboard, and then while balanced, let my parent’s ashes pour through my hand into the Pacific. I told them I loved and missed them, got a little choked up, and it was done. My cousin poured the equivalent of two double martini’s, complete with olives, into the ocean along side their ashes. Willie Nelson did his part, and we blew bubbles for a while in the cove, and relaxed.

The sail back was against the tide and full of great swells. We saw lots of wildlife: Harbor seals, porpoise, pelicans, gulls, cormorants…. I got to sail the boat a lot. It was grounding, familiar, and fun. Dinner at the yacht club was kinda divine, and we talked about how we’d met. It turns out the Cap’t, his wife and my cousin know common people. Even in a place as large as the Bay Area, it’s a small world.

My cousin and I returned to his place and looked at 600ish picture that I recently scanned from slides and negatives, as well as the pictures he took on the sail with his GoPro camera (pics to follow). It was the best day it possibly could have been. The weather cooperated (everyone thinks this is my mother’s doing). My folks are out at the Farallon’s by now.

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