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Thread: Muddy Water

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    331

    Default Muddy Water

    Heard a rumor last night some of out best sailors did some low water sailing yesterday. Any stories to share or are they still up the river without a paddle?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    2,391

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    That is a mean rumour and total fake news. Plus we had sandwiches and lemon bread so we didnít suffer. We also have a newfound appreciation for people in motorboats w zoom zoom engines.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    331

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    The infamous Marker #7 I presume. Is the lemon bread part of your NorCal Emergancy Equipment?

  4. #4
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    Sep 2007
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    Our first stop for lemon bread was indeed next to #7, supposedly in the channel. Lemon bread stop #2 was a few feet shy of the Brazos Drawbridge, supposedly mid-channel, almost within view of our destination. It was wine country sailing at its best.
    .
    Last edited by BobJ; 05-12-2018 at 07:20 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Arnold, CA
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    449

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    I went up that way a few weeks ago. I don't think that channel is entirely where it is supposed to be.
    Carefully watching the depth sounder kept me busy ziggin and zaggin.
    Met a guy who lives in one of those neat houses right on the river.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2013
    Location
    Montara, CA
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    733

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    Jackie's famous lemon bread....??!!!

  7. #7
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    Sep 2007
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    Now even more famous.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2010
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    A sailing friend, let’s call him SF#1, mentioned that he planned to take his boat up to the Napa River Marina for a bottom job. Never having sailed up that way, I asked to come along. “Sure”, said this sailing friend. Then I asked to bring along another sailing friend, let’s call him SF#2, and SF#1 said, “sure”. So there we were, motoring out of Richmond Marina with a really big, beautiful outboard on a lovely day last Friday morning. La la la, isn’t this nice?

    The sun was shining, the San Pablo Bay was shimmering, there were just enough things to look at, like that delivery boat towing a little pontoon plane. The kind of plane that you want next to your boat when you need ice from Pirates Lair. Yeah.

    We entered Mare Island Strait and shared stories about struggling against the ebb tide at the end of Vallejo races. Ha ha ha. What did we care today? We were in the flood. We called ahead to a very pleasant bridge tender, who opened the bridge for us and waved down from where he hung over the rail as we motored through. Only six more miles or so to the target marina, at 38.21, -122.31.

    Just past the bridge, as we turned back to watch it close behind us, our outboard stopped running. No big noise, no line tangled ‘round the prop, the engine just went from sounding wonderful to quiet. Sounded like it ran out of gas. Huh? Yes, that’s what happened.

    SF#1 said, “Last time I motored up here that’s all the gas I needed. Guess I used my smaller motor last time.”

    No problem. We’re on a sailboat! The wind is directly behind us, so we raise the main, then the spinnaker. As soon as the spinnaker is up the wind clocks around to port. We notice that the ebb is pushing us back toward the bridge, so SF#1 runs up and throws the anchor over. We sit and drink water, eat the Raley’s sandwiches that SF#2 brought along. Thanks, SF#2!

    Time to reconnoiter. Turn around, ride the ebb back through the bridge and get gas at Vallejo Marina? Nah. We’re sailors. How hard can it be to sail upriver? Plus, look! There’s wind up ahead. And here it comes, right on our nose. Huh. Well, we know how to tack. How hard can it be to get up a (long, winding, increasingly narrow) river? This is an adventure!

    So that’s what we did for the next four hours. And when the wind grew to 20+ knots? We tacked and heeled waaaay over and then tacked again. And yes, we did, briefly go aground at the infamous Marker #7, but that was nothing compared to what lay ahead. After lemon bread we rocked right out of there and kept going. Because that’s what you do when you’re a sailor, right?

    When we got closer to the Marina there were houses and docks to port. Tied up to the docks were boats. There were motorboats, houseboats, multi hulls and monohulls. SF#2 was at the helm while his crew scrambled back and forth sheeting in, grinding, and breathing hard. We tacked at least forty times. Fifty times. Two hundred times, maybe. After awhile it seemed like SF#2 got bored, so in the biggest wind he would wait to call “ready about” until we were mere inches from the boats on the docks. Apparently he did this so he could confirm the type, name and length of each potential target, er vessel. When I gasped he said that getting close was necessary in order to not “lose way”, which is a specious excuse if you ask me. Then again, it wasn’t my boat. Neither was it his.

    Either way, we were doing fine, slowly, making one last push toward the Brazos RR Drawbridge when we noticed a fishing boat anchored on the eastern edge of the river, in the shade of the bridge. Three fellas were leaning back in their comfie leather seats, feet up, cold drinks in hand, their fishing poles trailing in the ebb. Watching us, waiting to see whether we would make it through the narrow span.

    And we tried. Really we did. There we were, tacking to starboard in 45 feet of water, in big wind, when we just stopped. Hard. That mud reached out and grabbed our sweet little boat and held it fast. The edge goes from 45 to 0 feet of water on the port side just before the bridge. Put this in your chart plotter for future reference: 38.2089, -122.3072. Yeah, there.

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    So the captain did what smart captains do: He ran up to the bow and threw that anchor overboard again. His crew lowered the main and we all wrestled it into some sort of order, then we sat down, drank lots of water and had more lemon bread. And chocolate. Sustenance is a sugar high.

    We didn’t have a raft and none of us carries Boat US towing insurance, so we considered our choices carefully. Then I called Commodore Herrigel. It was my idea.

    SF#1 and SF#2 were willing to wait for the flood, but SF#1 mentioned that Rick Elkins had come to visit him at this marina once years ago, so maybe he had a place nearby? I didn’t have Rick’s phone number, but I did have the Commodore’s number, so I called it.

    The Commodore was sympathetic. Remember this when your mast falls down between here and Kauai. He listens well and sympathetically. That doesn’t mean he will get on a boat and come get you. It didn’t mean he was going to get on a boat and come get us, either. It was getting dark and he was probably going to watch King Lear or something. But he was very nice, and he called Rick Elkins for us. Rick was very sympathetic, too, but he lives very very far away and he wasn’t going to get on a boat to come get us, either. So, we were resigned to waiting for the flood, but it had been nice to talk to someone in the outside world for a few minutes. Just in case the alligators got us.

    Meanwhile, we sat there and watched the fishermen, who were watching us. Laughing at us, I’m sure, but not being obvious about it. Thankfully. We were hot and sweaty and the chocolate was all gone. We were resigned to waiting for the flood, watching for alligators. Or pythons.

    After awhile, when it became apparent that they weren’t catching any sturgeon over on the other side of the river anyway, the three fishermen motored over and asked if we needed help. Well, no, not really. But since you insist, thank you, that would be very much appreciated. Could they tow us into the marina? Sure they would, and so, after using much power to pull first our anchor and then our boat out of the mud, they towed us the short distance into the marina.

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    So thank goodness for the Salty Bitch and her skipper, who seemed to really know how to handle her. One of his companions said it was the first time he had been on the Napa, the first time he had fished for sturgeon. Now he has another story to tell, as do I. And this is the end of it.
    Last edited by Philpott; 05-14-2018 at 11:46 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    83

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    Hey Jackie,
    You're stories are so much fun to read. Even if I didn't know anything about sailing (which I've been accused of), I would still like reading your stuff.

    DolfinBill

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Saratoga
    Posts
    164

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philpott View Post
    So thank goodness for the Salty Bitch and her skipper, who seemed to really know how to handle her. One of his companions said it was the first time he had been on the Napa, the first time he had fished for sturgeon. Now he has another story to tell, as do I. And this is the end of it.
    You can't make this stuff up.

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