Spending a weekend sailing in Santa Cruz with Pacific Sail was an excellent choice. I had taken a course from Pacific Sail in the past, many years ago, so naturally thought of them again when Asya and I started considering different places to sail.
Immediately I was impressed with the boats, I am not sure what I expected other than something in the 30′ range, but the boats had a level of luxury that I simply hadn’t expected. Since most of the boats are probably also used for charters the high level of finish makes sense. There seemed to be an emphasis on teaching new boat owners how to sail their new yacht or to prepare sailors for cursing which is pretty much exactly what we wanted.
The course that we took was the second part in an eight part certification process to become certified to charter sailboats without hiring a captain. We weren’t looking to sit for the exam just yet but we were looking to learn things beyond the points of sail and tachs and jybes. And that is exactly what we got. The time spent on docking and motoring are not skills that we will put to frequent use on a Hobie 14, but definitely worth learning for the future, and very confidence inspiring. On the other hand, the man-overboard drills as well as anchoring are skills that can definitely be put to use.
Interestingly we got to learn navigation in the fog. After a brief description of how to take bearings on known points and the tools used to do so, we got to put our new found knowledge to the test. Upon clearing the mouth of the harbor we marked our location on the chart and using pilotage estimated our position in the future. When it came time to check our new location we ran into the problem of fog. Of course we knew the fog was present before we left the harbor but after a few minutes of motoring none of the “prominent” landmarks were clearly visible since the visibility was roughly 1/2 of a mile. We could hear the fog horn of the near by Santa Cruz Wharf, and after a few minutes the fog allowed us enough visibility to take a bearing off of the wharf as well as the light house at Steamer Lane. Since we were all relativity familiar with the area we all had a rough idea of where we were the entire time we were in the fog but it was a fun experience being able to work with the real weather and the associated limitations.
Being in Santa Cruz it would have been a waste not to take advantage of the good local eateries around the harbor. The Kind Grind is an excellent coffee shop near the mouth of the harbor, Harbor Cafe and Aldo’s are fantastic places for breakfast. At Aldo’s if you have the opportunity to sit outside by all means take it. The deck over looks the harbor opening and one can watch all the comings and goings of the harbor while enjoying your favorite hot breakfast and a cup of coffee. Aldo’s might be one of my reason’s for visiting Santa Cruz.
Sailing for two days was in no way enough to actually get our fill of sailing so after getting back to the east coast I have been trying to expedite getting our boat on the water. The hulls are getting very close to being completed and then comes checking the rigging which shouldn’t take much time other than lubing some of the moving parts and replacing the parts that were removed for the winter.