Delays and Headwinds (Day 2)

We imagined sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge with the sun shining and a light breeze. Things often don’t go as planned.

April 30, 2014
Ocean Research Project, Golden Gate
Sakura, a Harbor 29, heads out the Golden Gate. Matt Rutherford

Sometimes it feels like you’ll never leave the dock. Every day you think the day after tomorrow we will leave. Than something happens, and the next day and you realize you aren’t going anywhere. Then again building a boat takes time and building a boat in 24 days is lightning fast. We scrambled to get Sakura, the Harbor 29, from WD Schock’s factory south of LA to the boat show in Oakland. Even as the boat was being loaded on the truck we were installing the rudder. The original plan was to sail to Japan on April 13th after the Strictly Sail Pacific boat show but there was still a huge amount of work to be done.

Alexander (the owner of WD Schock) came up after the boat show with a couple guys and we worked away from sunrise to sunset. We were all completely filthy, covered in resin and 5200. It was a madhouse, day in and day out. Building a boat is quite different than doing a major refit, mostly because you have to do a lot of rework. We spent the last three days fixing other people’s screw ups.

As word got out more and more people stopped by the boat. Some of them were just curious about the Trans-Pacific marine plastics expedition, and some brought their tools. Someone would show up and say “you need some help” and we would put them to work. A big thanks to Alfonso, Randy and Laurence for all your help! A local guy named Lorenzo who owns a pizza shop and a medical facility came over with a pizza, a Keg of good beer, and medical supplies for our first aid kit. Although being delayed was beyond frustrating, it felt very nice to have people you have never met wanting to help, out of the kindness of their heart.


California has had a drought this spring so it’s only fitting that the day it finally rains is the day we leave. Not just rain but a small low pressure system, meaning winds. Nikki and I pulled away from the dock and were shadowed buy 45 foot sailboat skippered by Mike (the new owner of Scanmar) along with Alexander, Laurence and Alfonso. They followed Sakura in the rain to the Golden Gate Bridge, took a few pictures of our departure and turned back. Not long after, the squalls hit.

We imagined sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge with the sun shining and a light breeze. Things often don’t go as planned. We worked our way out to sea with 30 knot squalls and sideways rain pelting us in the face making it hard to keep our eyes open. The waves are large in the channel and we were taking green walls of water over the boat, completely soaking me and Nicole. We knew the weather was going to be bad before we left the dock but we were too far delayed to let some rain and wind stop us.

The first night it blew around 30 knots right on the nose with more sideways rain. It was actually kind of perfect if you think about it. We needed to do a shakedown cruise for the boat but didn’t have time. We were still close enough to land that if anything bad happened we could turn around easily. If anything was going to break it would have done so, beating into the wind and waves the first night. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been out to sea on a small boat in a breeze, I didn’t sleep much that night but I was having a good time.


The wind backed down by noon the next day but the headwinds are still here. It looks like we will be beating into the wind for a few more days. I really look forward to getting into the trade winds and seeing what Sakura can do!

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