Posts Tagged With: santana 22

Anchoring, Book Seeding, and Near Disaster.

I’m not gonna lie or try to candy coat this last weekend. It was part wonderfully successful and part near disaster. I think it’s important though, in this case to discuss and focus on the near disaster portion of our trip. I’m not really going to make excuses for the incidents either so my only hope is to explain what went on while we were out giving books away to the kids at all of the amazing events that were occurring over the weekend in San Francisco.

Over the weekend we anchored in Aquatic Park with two other very small boats. We arrived very early in the morning and we tied ourselves together and dropped and set our Bruce anchor. We used at least 75 feet of solid heavy chain which we measured for the first 70 feet by taking the chain from the bow of the boat to the stern on a 35 foot boat. As a precaution and because I was nervous about the wind and current that day I put out quite a bit more chain after that (nearly 25 feet). We had decided on at least 75 foot length because the depth of the water at Aquatic Park is only 15 feet at mean low (someone correct me if I’m wrong). That would mean we had at least a 5 to 1 ratio at high tide and should have been enough. As a safety precaution, one of the smaller boats dropped one of their smaller anchors, although admittedly, this probably wouldn’t have saved us too much, instead intended to slow down any problems.

Everything seemed fine and we made breakfast and hung out for a couple of hours with no problems. We’ve dropped anchor at Aquatic Park twice before without any incident. Once, we stayed on a smaller boat and once we stayed on two bigger boats so we really didn’t expect much to happen this day. In fact, we had a discussion about how many boats showed up at Aquatic Park throughout the day and how little chain they were putting out. Some boats didn’t even bother to set their anchors! I watched as more than one boat simply dropped an anchor straight down, stopped at the first sign of slack, and then left their boats immediately without checking anything. Because of all of this, I was sure we had more than enough down to hold us firm and be safe. Apparently, I might have been wrong.

Book Seeding
So, this is what we came out to do. We had about 150 children’s books to give away throughout all the day’s festivities in San Francisco. In case you don’t know, there were a very large number of events going on and we wanted to get books into the hands of kids as much as we could. In fact, one of the things we did while we made breakfast and made sure our anchors were holding was to label our books. When this was all done, we had an amazing day giving out books to kids at the America’s Cup event and the Hardly Strictly Music Festival. At least this part of the trip was a huge success! Our joy was short lived…

The Near Disaster
When we were walking over the hill from the America’s Cup racing to the park we realized to our horror that we weren’t at all in the same place as we left! Our boat was much further than where we had left it and we ran as fast as we could to get back to our boats to see what was happening. Of course, we were much too late to do anything about it except hear about it from the other boats who had witnessed the incident and the efforts by the National Park Service to correct it. We could only go by what they said to us (much of which I can’t print, and rightly so) but we heard some pretty horrifying stories.

It seems like everything was said about the incident. We were told the boat was on one side of the park near Balclutha, to being told we were drifting to the other side towards the sea wall, to being told our anchor was dragging, to being told someone had knocked us loose, to being told we put out too little chain, and other people having the opinion that we put out too much chain and didn’t drag but swung wide!

What has been most interesting is the differing number of opinions. So many have been in favor of one or something completely opposite. In fact, there were so many that I was originally going to write a post about all of the different opinions about the speculated scenarios and what might and might not have happened. But if there is one thing I’ve learned while sailing it’s that everyone has an opinion and they’re entitled to them so I’ll just listen and learn from them all. I’m all ears. Really though, I think the most important thing is this…

Apologies and gratitude
No matter what happened, we’d like to say a big thank you to NPS and of course apologize to all the other boats in the marina who would be full in their rights to call us any number of names and even apologize to some of them who very rightly have called us names for giving them a scare. In fact, I can’t approve some of the comments on this blog for the language used (we flew a Story Sailboat flag so everyone knew who the trouble was coming from). There were other boaters who helped us in a couple of different ways to sort out what happened so we can avoid any mistakes later and I’d like to thank you as well. There have also been people who, when we told them story, related the time they had an anchor drag. While that makes us feel better, it still can’t make up for the scare we must have given the fine sailing community. We learned a lot on this trip and don’t plan on making these mistakes again. Sailing is a good way to stay humble.

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The Story Sailboat is Just… Library and Literacy Advocacy?

One of my friends asked me why we were giving books out in places Like Pier 39 or more affluent places in San Francisco. In case anyone has any of the same questions, let me explain.

We are really, really small. No, I mean SMALL! Our current boat is just 22 feet and we can only take about 300 books at a time at the maximum to advocate for libraries. We are also really busy. While I’m captain of the Story Sailboat, I’m also a full library Branch Manager of a library and while Joey is crew and education specialist, she is also a full time PHD student. Because of all of this, we have to choose a focus. For now, while we are growing and working towards some other goals, our goal is simply to advocate for libraries and literacy.

That means, that right now, we are just an Advocacy Campaign. Our goal isn’t to teach people to read (at this point), it’s to remind people that libraries and literacy are one of the most important components of a free and fair democracy. We want people to know about what kinds of things a library does to promote literacy in a community. We want to remind our communities that the library is there to serve them, to teach them, to help create literate communities. I probably don’t need to explain how important libraries are to most of you reading this blog so I’ll stop there.

We also want to go where the money and voters are. We want to focus our advocacy on people who might not have visited a library recently. We want to convince the people who might have the money to buy all the books and literacy materials they need from Amazon that libraries and literacy are important and go hand in hand in a community. We are excited about getting those people re-engaged in their libraries and to understand all of the benefits that would be lost with the loss of libraries.

If you’d like to help us out in anyway, feel free to contact us on our Facebook Page or following either (or both) of us on our twitter pages. We are always looking for crew and book seeders, book donations, and of course… Money.

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Labor Day Sail

Ok, I know it’s really late to be writing about this, but so much has been going on that I didn’t get the chance to post earlier (more on that later). Over the Labor Day weekend, I took out a couple of my friends to help me crew the Story Sailboat to give out a bunch of books at Pier 39 in San Francisco. In fact, this was one of the better book seeding experiences yet as we got a great response from everyone who found the books.

In case you don’t know the geography of the San Francisco Bay, let me describe the route to you a little bit. We sailed from the Story Sailboat’s home port of Redwood City. Redwood City is pretty far south in the lower part of the bay and it takes about 8 hours of motoring to get to San Francisco because the wind comes from the North. Typically when we do a project we leave on Friday night and just sail to a place called Coyote Point about three hours north. In the morning we motor the rest of the way to San Francisco and Pier 39.

Once we got to San Francisco we started labeling books with our stickers and labels and packed up a couple of bags. This time, we had a whole bunch of children’s books that had been donated and not many adult books but it turned out to work in our favor. As we walked around Pier 39 and placed the books on the benches and different places we watched as parents sat down with their kids and just started reading to them! It was really amazing to watch this serendipitous parent/child storytime occurring amidst the commotion of a touristy area like Pier 39. Needless to say we had a lot of fun watching people interact with the books. This is why we do this.

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The Story Sailboat in the News!

In case you’re wondering what we’ve been up to since we’ve been so quiet lately, let me fill you in. Basically, Joey and I have been working every weekend and that has seriously cut in to our sailing time. But otherwise its been a whole bunch of great news!

Library Journal
A couple of weeks ago I received a call from Library Journal about our Story Sailboat IndgieGoGo campaign that so many of you contributed too. The two of you who are not librarians who read this blog should know that Library Journal is a publication directed to librarians about all library related news. They interviewed me about the project and what we wanted to do and how we were going to do it and then a couple of days later they had a post about it on their blog. Well, yesterday Hillary Westgate sent me a tweet with a picture of a page in the magazine we were very surprised to see that we made it to the print issue too!

The Boat
Besides that good news, we’re also excited because the boat is really looking great and is almost set up to safely single-hand. The roller furling is working great, I’m installing a lazy jack, and running all the lines to the cockpit of the boat. That means that I can sail it on my own around the bay when I can’t find crew. This is going to be great over Labor Day weekend because it’s a three day and three night sail and strangely enough, not a lot of people want to stay on that small boat with me for that long so it looks like I’m on my own.

But of course, I’m always looking for crew to help me out and you can come sailing with me.

Future Plans
We are pretty excited about the potential of expanding this project into a full fledge non-profit kind of thing. Part of that is more marketing of what we do in order to get the social capital we need to ensure we can continue. So, next week and the following weekend we have a lot of publicity events planned just in time for the America’s Cup. If you’re going to be in SF for the cup events and at the Golden Gate Yacht Club, we’ll see you there.

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A Weekend of Work

The Story Sailboat has been trapped in the slip for the last two weeks for some repairs. It wasn’t anything too major, just some things that I thought needed to get done. It’s going to come out better on the other side. As you know, we were able to buy our new Jib and roller furling thanks to your help and we’ll be buying the new Mainsail soon! But, because it’s a boat there’s still a hundred little things that need to be done.

New mast support
One of the things that has been driving me crazy since I bought this boat about a year ago is the support that was under mast. Whoever had it before installed a kind of metal pole under the mast that blocked the easy access to the v-berth. The problem with that, is that the v-berth can be used for a bunch of stuff and I couldn’t get into it. Already we store the extra sails in there and it would be great to also be able to sleep in that area on the longer trips, or at least store more supplies up there to keep us going. So, last weekend I recruited some folks who helped me remove that post and install a better support system that allowed us to get into the v-berth easily.

Some of the crew!

Moving the Roller Furling Lines
When I originally installed the lines for the roller furling, I placed the blocks to far forward and when I was single-handing the boat I could never reach them. We took those blocks and line and moved them further aft and now I can single hand the boat much better. I won’t have to rely on finding crew for every campaign I try to do.

A Compass
The boat hasn’t had a compass on it this whole time. Not having a compass is typically fine because I can see just about everything I need to in the bay to keep up my point of reference when navigating. The problem is that I’m always worried about getting fogged in and lost because I can’t see anything. With a compass I can basically navigate blind.

New lines
Another problem has been that the lines were getting old and worn and while they probably wouldn’t have failed anytime soon, its best to replace them before they do. So, we spent the weekend replacing the Mainsheet, the Boom Vang Line, the docklines, and we’re about to replace the halyards. I’m excited about everything running so smoothly through the blocks.

At the end of the weekend of working on the boat in the perfect weather with good friends and cold beers, I have to say that the boat is looking fantastic and it’s almost like sailing a whole new vehicle! Now I all I need are more folks to crew it. Who wants in?!

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A Night Well Spent and You Can Too

Last night I went to the story sailboat to fix up our new lines for the new roller furling. The problem with the lines is that they didn’t have the whipping at the end. Basically, this means that the lines come undone and fray and unravel. Of course, because they’re brand new I didn’t want that to happen. Plus, it was a gorgeous night for sitting around and puttering about the boat. If you want to know how to whip the bitter end of the lines on your boat, there is a great video that shows you how to do it here-

The best thing about owning a boat though, is that after all that is done you can just go out and play. Because it was a perfectly cool summer night I decided to single hand the boat out into the channel for a little while. Once I got out there, the view was perfect for the sunset and the wind was just enough to move me with just a little bit of speed. It was extremely relaxing and wonderful. I really love this life.

Now here is the part where you can come in and enjoy it too! If anyone wants to crew the Story Sailboat for a day or two, we’d love to hear from you. We typically sail to Coyote Point on Friday night from Redwood City at around 6:30pm and have drinks at the Yacht Club when we get there. On Saturday, it’s a trip up to SF, Berkeley, or Alameda. We get into the marina at around 2 or 3pm and then we start delivering the books. We drop them off everywhere we find a space and you can help with that part too. On Sunday, if we have time we drop off some more books in the morning. Then, around 9ish in the morning we start an almost always beautiful sail downwind to Redwood City. You can jump on for any leg of the journey! If you’re interested in joining us for this, you can like our Facebook Page and let me know. I’d love to take you sailing.

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Our First Real Book Seeding Sail and a Librarian Meetup

Since we reached our goal we got excited and ordered our new Jib Sail and our roller furling. Of course, we couldn’t wait to use it and really get this project started so we took off for the weekend on a two night and three day cruise out to Berkeley Marina for our first extended book seeding project. Here is the whole story that you made possible with your funding!

The first night of our sail is usually the most uneventful. That was not the case this time! We left Redwood City Marina at about 6:30 and we were really excited to get our sails up and cruise to Coyote Point Yacht Club where we get a free overnight berth about 2-3 hours away. Unfortunately the wind was around 20 knots (Nautical Miles per hour) with gusts up to 30 and it was coming directly from CPYC. Not only that, but the waves were huge. The boat went up some large waves and crashed down in the trough spraying us with water driven by the high winds. By the time we bashed our little boat all the way there under power of outboard engine we were drenched in salt water and ready for some hot food and a drink at the club.

Our three leg course to Berkeley and back

The next morning after drying out what we could we started the sail to Berkeley. But this time, instead of huge wind and waves, there was neither. We had to motor almost the entire way to the Bay Bridge and we were disgusted that we didn’t get to use our new Jib yet. But that was ok because it gave us the time to sticker all the books for the books seeding. Luckily, once we hit the bridge the wind picked up and we were able to put out our sail. It worked perfectly! The boat cruised along a hull speed (around 6 knots) and we sailed around some of the barges that blocked the way to Berkeley Marina. We thought it was going to be an easy sail in, but we were wrong.

If you aren’t familiar with the Bay Area, there is an old dilapidated Ferry Wharf that jets out from Berkeley about two miles and is seriously dangerous. I thought we made out far enough to go around, but once we rounded the last barge we realized that we had about 100 yards to go to get around it and the wind was not coming from a direction to help us out. In fact, just as we rounded the last barge we were about a half a mile away from running directly into the wharf and the wind suddenly jumped to MUCH MUCH more than our full sails could handle. This is where that roller furling comes in.

The waves grew and the wind picked up and we were able to safely take in the jib with the roller furling with just a few mishaps with only about 50 yards to spare before we ran into the wharf. We kicked in the motor just in time and bashed directly into the wind to make it around by just a couple yards. Our hearts were definitely racing and we made it past the wharf watching the waves crashing against it knowing we would have been tangled in the old cement pier if we were still using our old non-furling jib system. Thank you all for basically saving our lives with the indiegogo donations!

We made it into Berkeley at around 2:30 and we were exhausted so after checking in with the harbor master we made some sandwiches and took a quick nap before we began book seeding. When we woke up, I packed our bag with 25ish books and we headed for the laundry to dry out our clothes leaving a trail of books on park benches, tables, and the laundry room waiting area as we did. We were really excited that we actually saw people pick them up, read the stickers and take the books with them!

After we dried our clothes we were out of the books in the bag I had with me so we went back to the boat to refill the bag and head out to the Information Amateurs Social Club meetup at the bowling alley in San Francisco. Along the way we left another 25-30 books in the Bart areas and all along the walk from the Bart Station through the Mission District to the bowling alley and once again we were excited to see people picking them up and reading them. Of course the meetup was great, the bowling alley was amazing, we met some awesome folks, and hung out with a lot of great librarians!

That night we crashed early and slept through the night on the boat completely passed out and exhausted. We got an early start and had one of the best sails I’ve ever had back to Redwood City perfect wind conditions for our boat nearly the entire way. It took us just 5 hours to make it all the way home running with the wind and the waves coming from behind. When this happens the boat actually surfs down the waves and we can speed along very quickly with the sails completely out!

We haven’t planned our next trip but we’re really excited to see where else we can go now with the new sails. Next time though, we are definitely going to bring a whole lot more books, more coffee and caffeinated things and more foul weather gear for when we have to bash into the waves again. Other than that, all we really needed were those new sails to make the trip possible at all. Thanks again for everything!

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We’ve Reached our Goal!

Thanks to everyone who contributed! We’ve reached our goal in just two weeks. You guys are all just too awesome. Thanks to your help, we’ve already bought our Rolling Furling Jib and installed it and we’re taking a three day sail this weekend to drop off books in San Francisco. You can follow that journey on our FB page. We’ll be buying our new main in a couple of weeks.

If you haven’t donated, there is still a whole lot to do and we could continue to use your help. We can increase the scope of our project and we would love to buy niver advocacy stickers for the books, purchase new books instead of using donations, stay longer in marinas (staying overnight costs money), and of course there always the improvements and maintenance of the boat. If you’d like to see us surpass our goal, we’d love to make more awesome advocacy stuff happen. If you can’t help with money, you can show your support by sharing the project with your friends.

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Amazing Video of the History of Ocean Travel

The above video shows a century’s worth of history. It has been condensed into one easy to watch minute. The video was created by Graduate student Ben Schmidt and it shows an animated map of Spanish, Dutch, and English journeys across the ocean from 1750 to 1850.

The video reveals fantastic amounts of historic information about the travel by ship during America’s colonial days and many of the years years afterwards. Each of the countries have dedicated routes, and naval traffic can be seen changing each month and I find it interested what routes where chosen each month throughout the history of sailing. We still plan many voyages on the dates that were used then.

There is a longer 12 minute video that was created by Schmidt that shows a lot more data a lot more clearly. If you watch closely, the video shows a number of historic events. For example, you can see a definite change in trade in the United States around the Declaration of Independence. Further, you can see the 1796 Battle of Saldanha Bay between the Dutch and the British, and Captain James Cook’s voyage through the South Pacific from 1772 to 1775.

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CA Governor is proposing to eliminate the Department of Boating and Waterways

The Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is critical to the future of boating in California. DBW funds launch ramp construction, loans for marina construction, construction of boating safety centers, boating safety and law enforcement programs, abandoned vessel removal, public outreach programs, and even weed control in boating areas!

If we are going to save DBW, it will take all of us letting the right people know that this is a department worth saving. How can you help? We need you to contact the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #3 on Resources and Transportation BEFORE March 28th, which is when the committee will be hearing this proposal. Here is a link that provides the contact information for the members of the committee.

Use the information below to write a letter or send an email to everyone you might know! You can also use the draft letter at the end of this document, but remember the more personalized the letter the better.

(Use this information for your emails and letters. We have attached a form letter below, but the more personalized the letter the better!)

    * DBW is completely self-funded by boater’s dollars. DBW does not rely on the State General Fund for one penny to pay for the many construction projects, programs, staff or any of its operating expenses. Eliminating the Department WILL NOT help with the State’s financial problems.
    * Boating is an economic powerhouse: Recreational boating contributes approximately $16.5 billion to the gross state product, which represents about 1.2 percent of the State’s economy and generates about $1.6 billion in state and local taxes. There are more than 8,500 recreational boating-related businesses. Recreational boating also creates over 284,000 direct and indirect jobs. DBW’s efforts are dedicated to promoting boating and are critical to ensuring the future economic health of California.
    * DBW is the primary funding source for boating infrastructure construction. Each year DBW provides millions of dollars in the form of grants and loans for private enterprises and public agencies for boating infrastructure projects. Without the availability of these grants and loans, boating infrastructure improvements and repairs will be severely hampered, along with the much-needed jobs these projects create.
    * DBW loans money that is paid back with interest. These loans generate approximately $20 million dollars in revenue each year for the Department through the repayment of principal and interest on these loans. DBW makes money for the State!
    * DBW’s safety programs save lives. Boating accidents are the second-largest type of transportation accident in the nation, exceeded only by automobile accidents, and California ranks second nationally in the number of boating accidents and fatalities. DBW has an aggressive safety outreach program, including direct financial support for law enforcement in high boating counties, that is critical to saving lives on the water.

In short, the Department of Boating and Waterways does an excellent job that has many direct and indirect financial and other benefits to the State, all without the help of the General Fund. To allow this Department to be eliminated will have a serious impact on the economy and the safe enjoyment of boating.



Insert Name/Address

Subject: I Oppose Elimination of the Department of Boating and Waterways!

Dear __________:

I am writing to express my strong opposition to the Governor’s proposal to eliminate the Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW).

The Department builds much of the states boating infrastructure, promotes boating safety, and through its various other programs ensures that the State maintains a vibrant boating environment.

Boating is a very large part of state’s economic activity and keeping DBW in place is critical to ensuring that this import piece of the economy continues to do its part to provide jobs, pay taxes, and an opportunity for families to recreate.

Please keep boating strong by saving the Department of Boating and Waterways!


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