Zensekai (zen's world under sail)

The sailing adventures of s/v Zen and crew

Sunday, August 27, 2006

ASA Coastal Cruising Part I- day 2

Sunday starts like Sat. very overcast, and cooler. We start off as before. Today lesson maps & charts reading, Anchoring, Reefing, Heave-to.

We go over stuff at the dock and everyone sets the reef and releases. We go below and do a little chart work, setting course, judging distance, chart marks icons, etc. Afterward we head out down the channel. Some wind but we need to make time so we motor over to Treasure Island to do anchoring. I was suffering after a while I forgot to bring a wind breaker. I did have two sweatshirt, but it was still cold with the fog blocking the sun. However by the time we got to Treasure Island it had warmed up. Next time I will be more prepared for the weather.

Treasure Island for those who do not know is where
the Coast Guard Station is, it is also where the Bay Bridge
is anchored midway.
It was built from landfill for some year's Worlds Fair. It was also in the not too far past, a fairly large military installation at one point.

We went into a quiet cove, I got to pick the spot and helm the boat for the drop anchor drill. This is where we had a short lunch.
It is a nice spot quiet protected from too much wind and waves. Calm and deep. with a muddy bottom.

Afterward out into the Bay. By now winds had picked up to about 20 knots with waves about 3 ft. white caps. A typical day on the Bay. We practiced heaving-to and just sailing under real winds. The boat has a real funky tiller and rudder feel , like a dead spot in it, so it was somewhat tricky, but not to bad. After a bit of that we headed back to home port.

We can see up close where the new
Bay Bridge is being constructed.
Interesting from this view point

Once we got back to the Estuary Channel entrance we motored, in order to beat a large tanker coming in, so we would to not have to wait while to was manuvered into it's unloading position. There were lots of Tugs in and out of the Channel getting ready for this tanker and other through out the day. The Port of Oakland is a major shipping location so we had to dodge and look out for that all during our exit and entrance to the Estuary.

Some of the House boats in the Channel are amazing. Some have hugh yachts docked next to them. Must be nice to have that kind of money.

Next on the drill list was picking up moorings under power. Piece of cake really, after man over board drills under sail, then back to the dock.

In two week the final two classes. We will be on a 30 Ft sailboat . This time sailing over to a placed called Angel Island which is were once upon a time immigrants to this country were processes. Like Ellis Island but on the West Coast. Now a National park and popular yachting stop for the locals.

ASA Coastal Cruising Part I- day 1

Day 1

Well, finally it is was here. The Coastal Cruising class. I had been looking forward to it for a while now and have been doing some study. So this Sat. past was part one.
We had five guys in class this time. A real mix of folks which was nice. A young brother from Canada, an Asian, a guy from Texas and another gentleman, I'm not sure where he is from but kind of a European accent. I will ask next time. A good bunch of guys.
The teacher was different also this time. Turns out it was someone I met in the last class who was doing an audit or something . Anyway always good to see a familar face. He knew my background, so that was helpful to us both. I told him I was also going for the teaching certificate hopefully later in Sept. So he gave me tips on things to be ready for. Of those things quite a bit had to do with single handing, which I do most of the time and he did rarely.

Sat. morning started out foggy and overcast, typical for this time of year here in the Bay Area. It cleared up later and got warm. We went out on a 27 ft Coronado ( thanks Cap't B) . The same one I had gone on before. It is a so so boat. Comfortable below deck , but rigged really funky, as were the winds for that day.

Most of the day we just sailed and reviewed stuff from the BKB class. So it was nice just to get familar with the boat and remember stuff. The water was fairly crowded. Lots of folks out.
Many sailboats, kayaks, racing dingies, plus the dreaded powerboats. The part that made my day was this. We were out among a large amount of sailing dingies, and kayaks etc. This fool in a powerboat comes flying through, dodging folks and making big wakes. About less than a minute after passing us and rocking the whole area, a police boat pulls his Dumb Arse over and tickets him for acting fool a no wake zone. LOL I was so glad to see that!
Afterward the police get on the loud speaker and say this is a no wake zone, SLOW DOWN! to the other Powerboaters there. hehehahahaha.

Whilst out doing manuvers, I saw a fellow sailing musician blogger Spindrift on one of his boats, Dog Days heading off for an adventure no doubt. He was too far away and underpower so I did not yell. It was a mental treat to see someone I kind of know.

Back to the lesson... so we sailed around tacking, tacking tacking, not much wind and very on and off. Finally we made it to the area called Jack London Sq, I docked and we had lunch.

After the break we headed back down the channel, doing wing and wing and jibbing (gibbing whatever) docking and taking off. After that we did man over board drills. Having practiced those on my own, I nailed my turn on the first shot, where the teacher took two, heheh. Sweet!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Sailing and the art of Living

Somethings just get me to thinking….

After my sweet wife, The Lady Zen’s impressive and surprisingly insightful comment about sailing and marriage. (she said "I did not say that" when she saw it, but in a way she did that is how I tanslated it so it si close enough ) Then before that son of Zen had asked about dealing with his stepdad and I told him about the Bamboo in the Storm. Taking the theme of the storm he asked how his case would relate to sailing. He asked a big wave is coming at you in the boat, what can you do? I said you cannot take the wave head on. You need to angle your self away from the main power of the wave or you will get most likely over turned or swamped at the least have a very rough ride. Or you can run with the wave, taking the set back and ride it out until you can better position yourself in order to ride over it or let it pass under you. He thought about it and went hmmm.

On another forum about couples someone asked what some advice is for couples, from people who are in are in a relationship or have been... many said Communications. After looking at the word itself Relation-ship(s), my answer taken from Lady Zen’s and was Relationships are sailboats. They need to have their course corrected and sails trimmed often.

So later I’m thinking I’ve correlated the Sailing Art to Zen,Tai Chi, Feng Shui, Kung Fu and now relationships. It is in itself a good metaphor on how to deal with life and its many ebbs and flows of tides, it’s storms and calms, its turbulent events and peaceful sunny days.

Sailing is life; a way of living, like Zen, & Kung Fu. We sail through this life on a sailboat of our own making on the sea of life. We take on crews passengers, they get off or fall off. We go from port to port. The better we blend with The waves, The elements, The flow, The Universe, The Tao the smoother our ride.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Marriage and Sailing

Marriage is like sailing...
You always need to

adjust your course
and trim your sails

...Lady Zen

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Tanjoube Osaka time

Sat. was Lady Zen's birthday if we were in Japan, which would be Sunday, which is today here, but Monday there, since they are a day ahead of us.

I planned a small birthday surprise sushi, saki, pie party. She had no idea and was at first not real pleased when all of a sudden guests, of which we almost never have, showed up! heheh.
Whaaaattt , I'm not ready, look how I'm dressed, my hair... tomorrow is my birthday...It is tomorrow in Nippon...surprise ! After a few moments she was ready by her standards...

We had a excellent selection of sushi, and other little things I prepared.

There was some yellowtail sashimi which I had picked up from the Japanese Market, which was flown in from Japan. It is the Lady Zen's favorite. So after having some of that and a few glasses of Sake she was VERY pleased.

Some VERY nice sake I found. Which was recommend by my Japanese langauge Sensei who runs a Japanese market, and does Kendo. We all enjoyed it. Smooth nice flavor. The flower from Manila only had a couple of glasses, she did not want to have a repeat of the Margaretta incident, when we sailed from Benica...

After dinner some Oshii Key Lime pie. Light very tasty not too sweet. Perfect!!

Then a game of pool. I had Lady Zen , the Osaka Hussler on my team. The other side was the Manila Momma and The Rock Doctor. It was fun, lots of missed shots and wrong balls. Good times.

Finally Vallejo

Once upon a time, well last year in Oct. Lady Zen, son of Zen and I set off for Vallejo, Ca. A small town about 12 NM from our home port. At the time we were heading against the current so I motored. About 1 hour into the trip the motor quit. So I raised the sail turned around and went home.

This year after replacing the bad parts of the eletrical system the motor was running good. After several trips with it I had some peace.

So this year:
Son of Zen and I set off on a two day adventure. Whilst the Lady Zen had to work. So it was a father/ son trip.

I planned on giving him some sailing lessons along the way.

We set off on a ebbing tide under blue skys. It was forecast was to be good weather. We had a fair wind blowing and were headed on a close haul.

Upon checking my GPS, I was somewhat concerned about how much time we were making. Even though I thought we were doing good the GPS said our ETA was 8:30. I did not think that was right, as my trip to Marin co took 5 hours and it was now only 10:30am. Marin Co is much farther than Vallejo, more than twice the distance. My only explainaion was I had just picked the location of the waypoint by a map and guessing. So I figured it was off.

We sailed an hour, and still feeling somewhat uneasy I motored sailed the next hour or so down to the turn off for Vallejo/Mair(sp) Island. Wind was still steady , so we sailed into the entrance and the wind died. We did have pleanty of time now, as I could see in the distance the bridge that marked the Marina entrance.

Only thing I was concerned about here was that I was in the path of the ferries that come through. So after a bit I fired up the engine and more motored sailing, The wind picked up some afterward but came in gusts. 30 min or so later we turned into the marina. The trip took about 2.5 -3 hrs not really pushing. So we could have made it in about 4 or so if the wind conditions were with us.

After docking with no problems,
I headed up to the office to check in. Son of Zen was left on watch. The office staff was nice. It was only 20.00 for the night and with my newly renewed USBoating membership I got a discount of 5.00 , nice! 4 trips to some place like that and my membership is paid for. They need to expand their market area.

The marina here in Vallejo has two resturants, one is a place that has napkins in the wine glasses and silverware the other is a blue jeans kind of place.

We went for the Jeans Venue, the Sardine Can. Both had water views. The Can place had less espensive stuff I could eat. They had breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also turns out they had Jazz on Sundays throughout Oct. Something to keep in mind.

So after getting a little more organized and a short stroll around we had lunch. Whist heading back I grab a few shots of the sad boat.

It had been sitting in it's slip for some 8 months. I found out later, the owner who had taken great care of the boat before he got sick, passed away. The Boat developed a major leak and could not be saved even running two pumps. I was told perhaps on the the planks came loose, it was a wooden hull.

Afterward we sent off on the bikes to do a little exploring.

We rode the walkway to the end , turned around and came back to the other. I thinking that seems like there should be more looking at the path, figured out to follow the smaller walkway.

This took us down the far side of the marina and under the hwyway. Which lead to open space and a dirt trail, along the marsh and waterway.

Nice. We rode along that for another mile or so, before coming to the end. Mental note to self come back at sunset.

We head back to the boat. and break out a game of Japanese GO. A first time for both of us. slowly figureing things it was somewhat fun.

We will need to get more lessons before it really makes sense but, it was entertaining.

Now it is getting late, sun is going down. I leave the boy to play with his
Sony something and I grab my camera and walk back on the trail. I planned on getting a few marsh sunset shots.

I leave as the sun is setting. Faster than I planned but still enough time.

Now back to s/v, some reading then turning in. It was a good day.

The next day, Friday was overcast in the morning and a little cool. I figured it waould clear up later. I knew how long the return trip was so had no worries about whne to leave. I did knew that it would be low tide when we got back, but I figured I would have enough draft to make it ot a could stop in Benicia and have dinner while the tide did it's turn around. I figured on playing by ear. My only real concern was the "Zen Trouble Warning Sense" was going off. It did not feel like it was about the marina but more about the trip home. I was uneasy...

With this in mind I figured on not taking any unnessary chances. I had thought about not getting gas, but went ahead and did it anyway. Slowly coming up to the fueling station, making sure I turned the fan on after fill, which was only two 2.7 gal. That was nice. I had been out several times and the motor sail here only used a bit. I did add about 1 gal before leaving Martinez.

We slowly motor out of the marina, I grab a shot of this baby sitting at the dock, Named the The Wood witch
and raise the sails right away.
I reefed the jib, which turned out to be a good choice.
The wind had picked up quite abit, and we had strong gusts.
So heading out under sails only we made good time on a close reach all the way out of the channel. A ferry passed us, I keep a good watch on him the whole time of his aporach and passing.

Once out of the channel we bore off to a broad reach and were off to Martinez again. We had a fairly strong wind, which was good and we were going against the tide. Even so we made good time. I could have run with the wind, but not having my boom brake installed yet, I did not want to chance it. Although at one point a did do the wing and wing thing, for a short time, before the wind caught the main and shot it across the cockpit. I was expecting it so it was not a big deal, since I was ready... remember the "Zensense"...

Misfourtune and a Le$$en
After traveling a bit more we are fairly close to home. I can go to Benica or keep on heading home as we are making good time and still a couple of hours before low tide, which was at 2.5 ft for the day, so that gave me some 7 ft of space to float.
We are on a starboard beam reach heading toward the shore line. I see a powerboat coming.
Now, I know not ALL powerboater are "bendejos" ( if you speak Spanish you know what that means , if you do not, take a guess) I was onced helped unground by a powerboater and asked if I needed help by another, so I know there are some a nice folks. But there is something about those big powerboaters once they are under way they think the water belongs to them.

So I am under sail I watch this guy, there is NOONE on my port or anywhere around us. If it was me I and saw a sail boat heading across my bow I would barehead off and pass him to his stren and come around on the port side, easy move. NO this butthead, times it so he come cross my bow by several yrds and leaves this big monster wake!!. We make like a toy boat and go up and down! whilst I send him major bad vibs ! The second side of the wake hits, just as a major gust does. we are flying around, I hear a noise up front and caught something fall. Funny how many thought you can have in a second. I firs tthougth something had broke on the rooler jib, no, it was the anchor breaking free of it's mount and falling into the water. I think , Oh CRAP!!
So I am epecting to come to a fast stop any moment as I did not know how deep the water was there, and we were near to the shore. I think, ok, quick, drop the sails, I turn into the wind, just as anothe r strong gust hits. I am fighting to control things and expect ting the anchor pull. Then another quick thoght, ok, Maybe I do not have enough chain to reach the bottom but it could still catch on somthing underwater. I need to stop ASAP. Finally get control and stop, stopp the sails, and look forward. No chain , nothing, everything was gone. It was not fastend to anyting so when the anchor dropped it took everthing with it to the bottom. GRRrrrrr
The lesson here was, keep the anchor attached but some type of safety line.

Now at this point there is a steady strong wind and the current is strong against us. I'm pissed at the Rude Ass Boater and his wake and the lost of my anchor. So rather than deal with maybe going around in the marina, fighting the tide under sail and with Benica closer but the place I wanted to go was close until dinner time. I figure i'll just head in to home port, since we have time. I open the jib full and fire up the motor. We peacefully head into home base, with plenty of time and water to space.

All in all a good trip, even with the anchor loss. It could have been worse. I think, well once again the "ZenSense" was right. But the Force was with us, we made it safely back which is the most important thing. The Vallejo passage was made.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

You never know

It started like any other day, except I got to sleep-in. I took care of some internet stuff and headed out to breakfast. I had planned on going to a Mexican buffet for a champange brunch on my post-Tanjobe day. I walked over to the resturant and NO Champange brunch, it was finito. :-(
Ok so I thought, hmm Korean spicy tofu with veggies... I got to the corner and changed my mind and thought naw, let's do Indian Buffet. It has been awhile. So now it is almost lunch time anyway. It was a good choice, even now four hours later I'm still full. I'm glad I walked.

After the trek back to the condo I hear some piano sounds upon entering the grounds. I track it to the club house. There are a couple of folks in there Jamming. Hmmmm , I thought, I'll go check this out.

After A bit of chatting with them I am invited to sit-in and Jam. Thanks but no, I've stuff to do...
I head up the my place and change my mind. I do not have all my gear with me here but enough to make some music. I head back down and spend the next 1.5 hrs jamming with the folks. Ahh felt good. Like taking a sailing on a breezy day on a calm sea. They are looking for a Bass & Harmonica player for the group they are starting, interestingly enough I do both. I get somewhat bored playing just Blues, but it is a chance to play again. So I say, cool see ya next week. Seems like the musican guy I met in Benica kind of blew me off. Too bad I was hopeing to get to Jam with him some. He is into a different kind of music. So if this lil band will work in with my sailing time sweet! I have had the jones to play. Maybe I'll start a new blog on the Poolside Blues Band. Cool name I just made it up.

Playing music is like sailing it gets in your blood and you get that spiritual high by connecting with the force. Instead of channeling the feeling of the elements wind and water through your body, you are channeling a different energy. Instead of moving a boat with that force you are changing it into sounds. I read a book by a musican/doctor who sailed to Hawaii and took his Harpsicord with him to play onboard. When I make my passage I'll take my flutes and Shamisen. Hmmm, just got a great idea of going to someplace one day and dropping anchor and just playing out on the water. Maybe up in the Delta.
Didn't I do a good job of bring this post into the relm of sailing heheheh

You never know what the day will bring.

Art, Flags Fish and Sails

Tanjobe to Obon
opposites yet the same
We ride the tides of life.


Kore wa watashino tanjobe imashita.
Omedeto Gozaimashita Fuusan!


First an Art show in the park

Some local talent was there showing and painting

Some were nice, Some were still being created.

Then some flag play...

Fish -N- lines

Finally the sail...

How sweet it is...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Tanjobe Omedeto Fuusan おたんじょべおめでと


If I was in Japan today.
I could hear, Otanjobe omedeto !
Cakee tabete ka?

yeah, I'm bored again at work...I rather be sailing it is a perfect day for it.

Perhaps tomorrow...

Thursday, August 10, 2006


My certificate finally came.

Acually I was surprised to get the certificate. I thought I was just getting a seal/sticker for my log book.

Anywho, finally after getting lost somewhere in the process, and a couple of emails to the folks handling things my ASA keelboat Certification finally showed up yesterday. Yeah I'm pleased.

The next level is Coastal Cruising of which I'm already signed up . Class starts end of this month. After that there is a teachers training class for Basic Keelboats. I am hopeing to take that end of Sept. here in Oakland. However...I may need to take it in Nov. down in Southern Ca if we have the s/v Zen crew from Japan visiting which we are hopeing to happen.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Water no water

So ends training week seminar this year. Thankfully it was not too hot.
The 4 schools out of the 7 that came for the banquet stayed in town for the seminar.
Campbell Ca, Walnut Creek Ca, Concord, Ca (mine), Boston Mass.,

Friday night after training session dinner, time to relax.
Lady Zen & son of Zen came to visit.
Home baked bread, chicken, fried rice, tofu &
salad was prepared.

Then cake for dessert.

It says Chuk Kai Tai Chi Praying Mantis

Sat. @ Sasulito Marine Swap meet.
Not as big as I hoped, but still nice. I picked up a couple of items.
I got a good price on some cockpit
matting & a boom brake.
I missed getting a fully enclosed cockpit enclosure by
a few hours. Sucks!

A home built world traveler.
Circumnavigated for 4 years with a couple with two kids.
A big Cat. It looked very stable
This belongs to the Lady Writer and her family I spoke of earlier.
I happend across her while there. She was very welcoming.

A little bit of everything on the water outside Sasulito

A great day to be out just sailing around.

S.F. Bay sailing day, a view from Sasulito. The "city in the background.

A race is on...

View of the Bay Bridge, & The tower

More Racing ...
The dome is the Presideo.
Home of the World Fare
some year which I forget, maybe
1940 or 20. Hmm I'll look it up along with the spelling
for you anal types :-)

So there was water for the weekend
but we did not get on it.
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