Sailing with Suki

Suki’s Maiden Voyage

We took the boat out today.  Our intention was to motor out to the San Joaquin, put up the sails and cruise around a bit.  What actually happened was we motored out to the San Joaquin, saw white caps on a rising tide with strong winds and we chickened out.

Motoring down Sevenmile Slough in Tayana 37 Ramble On

Rich at the helm of Tayana 37 Ramble On

Last week I mentioned to Rich that we should take the boat out next Thursday (today) since that is the first day after his last day at work (he starts a new job in a couple of weeks).  On Monday the forecast was good; warm with light winds.  On Tuesday the forecast for Thursday was still light winds but kicking up to 15-20 knots in the early afternoon so we decided to go out in the morning and come back before it got hairy.  Last night as we prepped the boat the wind was still and it was swelteringly hot.  We hoisted the main to see what kind of shape it was in and found that the cringle for the first reef on the mainsail was missing, but it was there for the second reef (we also found a lot of mud-dobber nests.)  We are a little bummed about not being able to use the first reef for now, but we’ll get it fixed soon.  All in all the boat was basically ready to go.

Suki on watch on Tayana 37 Ramble On

Making BBQ lunch on Tayana 37 Ramble On

This morning Suki woke us up at her normal time (4:40 is when I get up to get ready for work and we’ve never been able to teach her the difference between a work day and every other day.)  We made coffee, ate some breakfast and cast off the dock lines.  The wind was bl0wing about 8 knots at this point.  As we looked at the white caps on the San Joaquin River from the mouth of Sevenmile Slough we decided to motor to Potato Slough a couple of miles away.  About 40 minutes later we dropped the Rocna Vulcan anchor for the first time in an anchorage called The Bedrooms II with no other boats around.  The anchor set easily on the muddy bottom.  We let out about 70 feet of chain and relaxed in the cockpit to make sure we weren’t going to drag.  We made coffee, I took some photos, then a few hours later we BBQ’d some sausages for lunch.

Putting up the mainsail on Tayana 37 Ramble On
Shortly thereafter, we started getting worried about the wind piping up so we upped anchor and motored back.  The water was pretty rough for the San Joaquin River, but Ramble On plowed right through the little waves.  Suki even came out on deck to check everything out and make sure we were doing it right, then she headed straight back inside to sleep on the kitchen counter.

As we came into Sevenmile Slough the wind didn’t seem to wane at all and the wind was blowing about 15 knots.  It was a strong west wind which means it’s on the nose of our boat until we have to make the turn into the slip.  Our boat is heavy and has a full keel with means it doesn’t turn all that well and if we didn’t get in the slip quickly the wind would push us too far to get into the slip.  To make matters more difficult there’s a big, expensive powerboat parked in the slip next to us and all I could imagine was our bowsprit scraping down the side of their boat as we pulled in.  Rich was at the helm and I was on the side deck.  Rich did a great job turning into the slip, but then let up on the throttle a little too soon and we started to fade backward away from the slip.  Thankfully, I was able to tell him to punch it and we got in on the first try.  But then we weren’t slowing down.  I told him to hit reverse and he said he was, but he didn’t throttle it high enough and we came in a little hot.  When all was said and done, our boat was fine, all our neighbors boats were fine and we didn’t get hurt or fight at all.  The dock at the bow of our boat is a little worse for wear (just a small divot where the bobstay lightly punched the plywood), but nothing to write home about.

To Helm with It
No Rest for the Wicked


  1. I’m very excited for the both of you. Or rather the 3 of you!

    1. Thanks! It was a fun day, a little nerve wracking getting back into the slip, but we did it.

  2. Congrats on getting the boat out of the slip that’s a big step. Take your time get to know how the boat handles (turns,stops how far it coast etc) there will be plenty of time to go out in a blow and break some gear, just take it slow and smart to start and find out what might need fixing before it breaks and gets expensive. again congrats on getting out of the slip it really is a big first step.

    1. Thanks Tom. It’s a little nerve wracking taking your home out on the water in a 20 knot blow. Thankfully we got her back in safely.

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