20 days of Pacific or rather, Just Go!

Just… Go! I can see no reason not to just go… So on the 17th of October in the year of 2006 we just went. The boat, the sailing vessel Sapien (a 1989 Gulf 32-pilothouse sloop), and her crew of dedicated ocean explorers, James Lane and Dena Hankins, left the left coast of the continental United States for the second leg of their global circumnavigation: San Francisco, California to Hilo, Hawaii. It’s not that this thing, this just going thing hasn’t been done thousands of times before (maybe even tens of thousands) but for this crew of two it had never been done. Yet I mean. Even after the first leg of our on-going journey was completed in 2002 (Seattle to San Francisco) our best friends and acquaintances still gave us that blank but concerned “Land-Lubber” stare saying: “You’re doing what?” “Sailing around the world. Hawaii next then we’ll see how that goes…” “Why?” “…” Silence, then, “Because we have to, it’s the thing that we do.” “How?” “Now that, that’s a good question!” The body… In my oh so humble opinion, the first step to a successful oceanic passage is being prepared within your own body. By that I mean physically, psychologically, and intellectually ready to take on the immense stresses that a trans-Pacific crossing entails. I’m telling you, this is a complete lifestyle that is not easy but for people that truly want it, it is do-able. When my life partner, Dena, and I set sail on the first leg of our Global Circumnavigation, we had to let go of some very hard to shake addictions. The first one being the “all important” automobile. That’s right, you gotta shake that car if you’re going to travel by sail and in doing so you’re taking that first step to[…]

Read more

So we wrote a letter…

to the editor of Latitude 38 and the people of the San Francisco Bay Area sailing community. Here’s how it went: Ahoy! We’re sailing off into the sunset. We arrived here in the Bay Area a little more than 4 years ago on a journey that we knew would take us around the world in no great hurry. As a matter of fact, 15 years is what we originally thought. Now we think that sounds a little fast. We started in Seattle, WA, on 9/9/99 in a 50 foot Wm. Garden Seawolf ketch appropriately named the Sovereign Nation. He was a lovely old wooden sailboat that laughed at us while trying to sink while we sailed up into B.C. and all the way down the coast. We learned a lot about sailing and sailors from that boat and from 48 North. In Eureka, CA, our sovereign nation was hit by a 42 foot Magnum. The owner was headed north to dodge the California luxury tax. He was close to the deadline and tried to warp off a lee pier into a wind that had the entire Eureka fishing fleet staying put that day. He plowed into us with the throttle full on, tearing our taftrail, mizzen boom, and dinghy davits off. The best part is that he tried to get away – just leave pieces of our boat hanging off and floating in the water – but a marina worker saw the whole thing and shamed him into stopping! We had to sail our boat with a jerry-rigged mizzen and towing our 1924 Herreschoff lapstrake dory in 40 foot seas around Cape Mendecino. (Yes, we should have stood off farther – we can take that much credit for the mess that we got ourselves into.) We lost that dory and[…]

Read more

Or Rather, the story…

At the beginning of his book “The Long Way” Moitessier says that it’s bad luck for a sailor to get underway for an adventure on a Friday… So in my own tradition of not heeding the words of insane, sea-shocked, salty old hippies on Friday the morning of July 14 at 0400h our little engine-free Folkboat regatta departed from the Jack London Aquatic Center in the Oakland Estuary on an adventure that none of the 5 men involved will ever forget. Fête Nationale, Bastille Day! Our supposed goal for this adventure was a little spot at the very end of NOAA Nautical Chart #18652 by the name of Decker Island. The Isle of Decker as it came to be called aboard Tulla was somewhat of a myth to the crew of the S.V. Dazzler. A myth because none of her crew had ever been up the Delta before in any kind of vessel much less a motor-free Folkboat. The sailing vessel Dazzler, is a beautiful Navy Blue fiberglass Folkboat built by volunteers in the Lake Merrit Classic Boat Club in the last decade of the 20th century, She is truly a sturdy vessel. At 25 feet Her crew is at maximum capacity with two adults, Co- Captains, Javier and Rodney and one newby Chris, (Javier’s son) the latter fellow being age 12 and never having been on an adventure of this sort. Chris is a skater and has a deep seated penchant for disaster that he’s smart enough to live through, though I’m sure he’ll have many scars to loudly show off in adventures to come. The other vessel in our two ship regatta was the “Gem of the Estuary Fleet” the S.V. Tulla, a Norwegian Folkboat of the most classic of style. The S.V. Tulla was built by Brent[…]

Read more