Reported by Ralf Morgan
We held our Fest this year in Benicia. It is about a 3-4 hour sail from the main bay. The Fest was held on September 10, 11 & 12. We all sailed up on Friday afternoon. Well, actually it was in the middle of a heat wave, so we motored about 1/3 of the way; then those of us with kites set them and sailed the rest of the way. Only one boat without a spinnaker sailed the rest of the way. Nancy Rogers is over 80 and one heck of a helms person. There was no way she was turning the motor on! Benicia is a cute little town on the way up to the Delta Area. There are tons of restaurants and shops close to the marina. It is about the only slightly rural place that we can actually sail to; very unlike the great cruising areas the east coast is blessed with. One of its greatest virtues is that it is about 10-15 degrees warmer than the main bay, so you get to take off the foul weather gear and sail in t-shirts and shorts for a change. While that may sound normal to northeasterners, for us it is a rare treat! We had a brief gathering on the dock and then all went out to dinner. We ended up with 8 boats that sailed up and three other boats were represented by car. Most of stayed at a local B&B
On Saturday morning I gave a talk similar to the one I gave at the Pearson Open House. I made it a bit more technical for our group and left out the spinnaker and the fleet stuff. It lasted two hours; everyone really seemed to get into it. Michael & Patti Land (Lizbeth #359) supplied Lox & bagels and chocolate zucchini bread. If you haven’t had Patti’s Chocolate Almond Zucchini bread (code name CZAB) you haven’t lived. Then most of us went out sailing up towards the Moth Ball fleet and paid our respects to the old battle ships like the Iowa, Liberty ships and various specialty ships that have all given their service to our country. There wasn’t much wind until the very end, so a few boats stayed out to play in the 8-12 knot warm (85-90 degree) breeze. It was delightful and we were able to practice some of the stuff we had talked about in the morning. Nancy Rogers & Mike Tomlinson joined me on Ditzy while Deb went shopping. Nancy didn’t want to quit, but eventually hunger prevailed. That night we had a fabulous dinner at the Benicia Yacht club.
On Sunday morning, after breakfast (9:30 leaving the dock) all of us headed out to catch the big ebb and the 18-20 knot breeze that had come up over night. It was a rollicking ride out the Carquinez Straits into San Pablo Bay. There was large chop from the wind opposing the current; the GPS was happily reading out about 7-8 knots true VMG across the bottom. (on pretty much of a square beat!) As we got about half way home the wind let up to about 10-15 and the tide gradually changed to a flood so the water flattened out and we were back to t-shirts and shorts, this time in the main bay, which never happens, except in late fall.