The Story Sailboat had an amazing shakedown three day cruise aboard our Santana 22 named Sailboat Jerry. The wind was perfect almost everyday for some kind of sailing. Our route took us all over the South Bay, into San Francisco Bay and back down to Redwood City. We saw just about all of the sights that we wanted to see, ate amazing food, and met wonderful people, and the boat couldn’t have performed better. With all of these experiences, I’ve been trying to figure out which story to tell. After I thought about it for a while, I decided I wanted to the story of the completely inaccurate wind forecasts we got on Monday morning.
While we sailed from Angel Island, around Alcatraz, and into Pier 39, we experienced some fantastic winds that were just enough for us to fly our 120 jib, and not reef our main. Our rail just kissed the waterline a handful of times and the boat screamed through the water. We got into Pier 39 just in time for the wind to really pick up and I’d venture to guess that throughout the evening the wind had gusts up to 40ish knots and the small boat was rocking pretty hard all night with an average wind speed of over 20-25 knots. The problem didn’t arise until the morning when we were getting ready to leave.
When we woke up, we looked at the flags all around Pier 39 and they were sticking straight out. Using the Beaufort Wind Scale, we were pretty nervous about taking such a small boat out in this much wind. So, I wanted t see if it would die down throughout the day and checked the Wind Forcasts on Sailflow for the bay area. Unfortunately, the forecasts weren’t great.
It was indicated that 30 knot winds with higher gusts would be screaming through the south bay for most of our trip. I’ve sailed in those conditions on a run many times in my Coronado 27 and it can get pretty scary. Especially since this was a boat that was new to me and Jo hadn’t had that experience yet. We decided to wait it out a bit.Finally, around noon, when the sky cleared a bit, we thought we’d risk the run since we had to get home anyway. We left the dock pretty nervous using only a reefed mainsail and our motor. When we got into the south bay where the biggest winds were expected, we found almost no wind at all! In fact, we had to motor the WHOLE WAY HOME!! We even shook out the reef and put up the jib going wing on wing on the run back to Redwood City. Oh well, I guess you can’t always predict the weather.