There’s something you should know about me. As a native Chicagoan, I was raised with the understanding that any posted speed limit was a mere (laughable) suggestion. It is understood that you go at least 20 over if you want to maintain pace with the rest of the cars on the freeway and if you wanted to avoid pissing off everyone else around you. My lead foot is only rivaled by my mother’s. I don’t usually admit this in public, but I did the ride along option at the Richard Petty Experience one year. For those of you not familiar with this brand of entertainment, that means that I sat shotgun in a stock car while a professional (not famous) driver zoom-zoomed me around the track. The guys working said they could see my smile around the entire track. While watching NASCAR will never be a pastime of mine, I will jump at any opportunity to get back in those cars. The point here is that I was young and impressionable on that oval black top and I developed a need for speed in a non-amphetamine sort of way.
And that’s why I insisted on purchasing a racing boat. (This is sarcasm and a bad joke that is likely lost on most of you not because you’re not smart, but because you’re in fact smart enough to not buy a boat. But I’m sticking with it because I’m stubborn, so just do me a solid and pretend like you thought it was funny.)
Okay so Westsails are not known for their speed. But they have a cult following none the less. Westsailors don’t drink any special kool-aid, but we do think our shit doesn’t stink (also not true because holding tanks mask no odors). About a month after arriving in the Bay Area, we brought the boat to Richmond to meet up with some fellow Westsail owners at the annual rendezvous. It was a wild and crazy time. Mostly because the wind was quite stiff when we were docking. Let’s just say that it was a good thing we were the first to arrive and we had the whole dock to use as a landing strip. It was so crazy, the police even got involved. I wish it was because they thought I was drunk driving and they were going to write me up for a BUI. But really, it’s because I said hi and started interrogating them about their boat. I may not have seen the inside of a squad car (despite my best efforts), but I did get a tour of their boat which has something like 800 horsepower worth of diesel engines on board. So, slightly faster than us, unless the mizzen stays’l is up, right Cody??
Later that night, I thought we were about to get robbed and I was ready to call up our new cop friends. I had heard stories that even though Richmond Marina is very nice, the surrounding neighborhood can be… how do I say this… less than enticing? So, when I heard some weird noises in the middle of the night, I thought, “SHIT! They’ve spotted Zubie and they’re trying to steal her! I don’t blame them ‘cause she’s cute as hell, but I can’t let that happen! Do I poke my head out? Do I jump out of the companion way with the mega flashlight and try to stun them? Will my cellphone record any good video with this terrible lighting?”
I laid in bed for a minute as the thoughts raced through my head until the Chicago in me couldn’t take it anymore. I jumped up onto the bed, popped open the hatch and was ready to defend my boats. Of all the things that I expected to see, a giant red trimaran being pushed around by a dinghy (theirs, not ours) was not on the list. Before I could stop myself I half shouted, “Do you need some help?” As if a boat worth that much money doesn’t have enough well trained crew to manage. Don’t worry. They had it all figured out.
They were even nice enough to trade boat tours with us in the following days. Everyone was extremely nice and they couldn’t help but be impressed with Small World, I mean look at her… obviously a racing boat. Their boat holds multiple records and was in fact preparing to pursue another one while in Richmond. Guo was trying to break the record from San Francisco to Shanghai… while sailing solo. I don’t understand the physics of it all, but this boat sails faster than the wind. As I mentioned in a previous post, Guo was unfortunately lost at sea during his attempt to break the record. It was an honor to meet Guo and his team. We wish his friends, family, and crew the best.
On the last day of the rendezvous the Westsails went for a nice little sail. And since any time more than one boat is on the same body of water it qualifies as a race, we had a nice little race. Despite a short bout of rain, it turned into a gorgeous day. Good wind, warm sun, and great company, and no seasickness. It was damn near perfect. If only the propeller shaft hadn’t come out of the transmission coupler as we were docking at the end of the day…
That’s right. As I was steering the boat directly at the dock, I lost the ability to spin the propeller in any direction. Apparently, this is a thing that can happen semi frequently so for the rest of you boaters, be sure to check on that regularly. Luckily, Craig had heard about this happening to other boats (who actually lost their propeller and propeller shaft, leaving a hole in the boat to take on water), and thus had taken precautionary measures. Even though with our rudder we wouldn’t have lost the prop and the prop shaft, it could’ve done some serious damage to the rudder if it had been spinning when it disengaged. In the end, a $5 hose clamp that Craig had added to the shaft acted as a stopper that kept the whole thing from being way worse than it was. Craig fixed the whole thing while I was out of town and assures me that it was relatively easy once the right tools were acquired (thanks Caleb!). But let’s just say that it is really lucky that it happened at the dock rather than in the middle of the ocean during our big passage.