Mexico or bust!

In picking our departure date, Todd and I did what any successful managers would do: we sat down for a meeting, at which we evaluated our target arrival date in San Diego, consulted the charts, and carefully considered the projected travel times for each leg of our trip down the California coast. We thus decided that we would cast off on Tuesday, October 9.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t get the memo. Instead of sun, she sent rain and southerly winds! When he saw the forecast, Todd yelled, “This is NOT going to look good on her performance review!

Which brings me to the first lesson of cruising: throw away your calendar! Your schedule is now based on the force of the wind and the size of the seas.

The forecast for Thursday the 11th was for 5 – 10 kt winds from the NW, and 9 – 11 ft swells. While we would have preferred slightly more wind and lower seas (are you reading this, Mother Nature?), it was a beautiful day and the captain made the call: we’d head to Half Moon Bay! We called our friend Mike, who had planned to join us for the first few legs of our trip. Well, at least he would get in one day of sailing!

We quickly took care of last minute chores: emptying the trash and recycling, topping off the water tanks, and stowing everything away securely. Since our regular diver had not come by to clean our hull over the weekend, we were lucky to get Matt Buster to squeeze us in. Everyone in the marina shared our excitement. At 11am, under sunny skies, our G-Dock friends Jean (who just returned from a circumnavigation) and Eva (just back from Mexico, and kind enough to share many great tips) helped us cast off the lines. We were off!

Though we’ve sailed it so many times, knowing we were leaving made me appreciate how beautiful San Francisco Bay is. I snapped photos of Alcatraz, the San Francisco skyline, and Koiya at her favorite post: on the bowsprit, riding the waves and sighting seals and porposies.

It grew cloudy and cold as we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge, but we were in high spirits. I wanted to break out the champagne that Mike had brought us, but Capn Bligh would not have a drunken crew, so the bubbly stayed in the fridge.

So much for the forecast! The swells rarely hit seven feet, and the winds were light, and came first from the west, then from the east(!), then from the west again. After raising and striking the main and jib twice, we finally settled on motor sailing, with just the jib flying. After a while, we gave up on the jib and just motored. The one good thing about motoring: Koiya could stay up on the bowsprit. Approaching Half Moon Bay, we passed thousands of moon jellyfish, and marine birds such as brown pelicans and surf scoters.

Todd did a masterful job of backing the boat into our slip at the Pillar Point Marina. Mike’s sister-in-law Alita (who lives in Half Moon Bay) met us on the boat and Capn Boozy popped the cork on the champagne! Alita took us to Sam Chowder’s House, where Brian (Mike’s brother) met up with us. Though we’re just 30 miles from “home”, it feels much farther, and we were glad to get such a warm welcome!

See all of the photos from our first passage here:


We’re now cozily tucked in at Half Moon Bay, with a light rain falling. The forecast is good for tomorrow, though, so we’re planning to head to Monterey then!

9 Responses to “Mexico or bust!”

  1. Dave says:

    bon voyage!

  2. Ross says:

    Very cool! I assume you played a celebratory game of CS:S since Mike was with you, yes?

    Can’t wait to see you go to Monterey…

  3. Dave Steer says:

    Congratulations crew of the Sugata. We’re sending good vibes your way!

    –Dave, Melissa and Ella

  4. Rebecca (Kat's mom) Anderson says:

    Watching Sequoia “bounce” around on the bowsprit — you’re made of better stuff than me, Sequoia! Congratulations to all of you from the Andersons as you begin your voyage — we look forward to tracking your adventures!

  5. Katie McCall says:


  6. Chris Pickslay says:

    Wow, congrats! Have a great trip and keep the updates coming!

  7. Hannah says:

    Way to go, guys! We had dinner with Jamie’s dad, mom and Paul last night, and your escapades contributed positively to the evening’s conversation. We had fun contrasting Susan’s newsy and witty journal entries with Todd’s somewhat single-minded engineering documentary. Jamie and Paul were very admiring of the painstaking care Todd has taken in that aspect of preparing for the voyage. We are all grateful that we can take part vicariously through your bulletins!
    Lots of love!

  8. Marcus Anderson ex-Restless says:

    Congratulations guys!
    That was the hardest part, getting out of the bay. It is all a downhill sledride (crabcrusher) from here.
    Please do not hesitate to ask me silly questions about bronze fittings in unexpected places and let me know if you ever get those hatch screens assembled.
    Just don’t leave port on a Friday, okay?
    Marcus, the not superstitious former Bligh of Restless.

  9. May Andersen says:

    Hey!…I Googled for susan anderson, but found your page about Mexico or bust!…and have to say thanks. nice read.