BLOG #6 – May 26, 2021
It's been less than 3 weeks since my last post and a lot has happened. Another trip to Pyramid Lake for some training including practicing deploying my sea anchor. This is a critical piece of equipment for a solo rower. In less than favorable weather conditions, I will need to deploy my sea anchor to ensure I minimize how far backwards I am blown by the weather! In the 2020 race, several teams took the more Northern and direct route from the Canary Islands to Antigua, but then spent many days sitting on their sea anchor. Costing them valuable time. I can only pray I won’t have a similar experience.
Then it was back to the SF Bay for another training weekend. However the wind wasn’t co-operating. I had wanted to row out on Friday and do an overnight row to Angel Island again but Friday was a small craft warning on the SF Bay. So settled for rows on Saturday and Sunday. Left Loch Lomond Marina Saturday morning half hour after sunrise. Rowed down to Angel Island. Conditions were “interesting” as I was rowing with the Ebb current but getting hit with 10-12 knot WSW wind. I think I qualified for entry into the Reno Rodeo this summer. 😊
Hung out at Angel Island until current went slack and then headed back to Loch Lomond. But one of the challenges of leaving a dock as a solo rower is that you have to push off from dock, get oars in their oar locks, spin the boat 180 degrees, and then tighten the oar locks so you can begin to row. But if you do all of that without paying attention to how much the wind is pushing you, you can find yourself embarrassingly crashing into the Angel Island Ferry dock in front of all the tourists and other boaters. While at the same time crushing your finger between the oar being crushed against the ferry dock and your boat hull. 😊
My friends at Safe Harbor Loch Lomond graciously allowed me to leave the boat in one of their slips overnight. This was a huge accommodation as it meant I didn’t need to take the rudder in and out of the boat nor worry about where to park the boat overnight. After a great evening party for friends relocating to Portugal, I launched again on Sunday morning shortly after sunrise.
I knew it was going to be rough going as the wind vanes on the yachts in the marina were howling. Once I got past the Loch Lomond channel markers, my fears proved to be true. I was rowing with a 3.5 knot ebb but I was only able to manage 1.1 to 1.3 knots rowing as hard as I could. And that doesn’t recognize how hard it was to row in a “straight” line. I should have been cruising at over 4 knots with the Ebb. But the wind was pushing that hard. After over an hour of fighting the conditions, I flipped around and headed back to the marina. When I did so, rowing against a 3.5 knot ebb, my speed actually increased to 2.5 knots!!!
Decided this wasn’t my day – or at least not much to be gained from continuing to fight the conditions. This decision was largely in part due to the fact we were hosting our first Meet the Boat Happy Hour that afternoon.
The crew from Safe Harbor Loch Lomond had graciously reserved a spot on the waterfront for us to host our first gathering of Okizu staff & board members, sponsors and friends. We were able to display the boat on the trailer and bring the row to life to our supporters. After almost 18 months of Covid, it was a surreal experience to have a gathering of friends! And while everyone enjoyed seeing the boat in person, the kids really loved climbing onboard and thinking about the row!!! Thank-you to all who joined us. So awesome to have everyone there!
I would be remiss if I ended this blog without acknowledging the staff at Safe Harbor Loch Lomond Marina for their ongoing support of my row. As mentioned above, they supported my row with an overnight slip but also helped us host our first Meet the Boat Happy Hour. But their support goes even further behind the scenes. Christine was kind enough to give me a 2021 Northern California Tidelog. This is going to be an invaluable tool in helping me prepare for my training rows over this summer. A very thoughtful gift that I will definitely use. Thank you Safe Harbor Loch Lomond staff for your support!