Sunset Series Race showing SpinnakersDelta at SunsetPower Boatsail to top of mastMetridium on starboard tack.  Port Bow.winch grindingChildren with life jacketsSan Mateo Bridge with sailboatsSYC Cruise-Out to CPYCSan Mateo Bridge with Sunset and SailboatSailing past Farallons with spinnakerMetridium on port tack.  Looking at Starboard bowRaft up at PetalumaFishing at the Delta

General Cruising Information

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Purpose

Cruise-outs allow us to visit other yacht clubs and Bay Area destinations, encourage members to use their boats each month, and encourage us to participate in various fun activities.  Activities may include hiking, biking, camping, golf, baseball, jazz, swimming and spa visits. Cruise-outs allow us to support each other in navigation, planning and resolving any boat maintenance or safety issues.  And cruise-outs are a great way for members and prospective members to get to know each other and their boats and to socialize.

Power-Outs are similar to cruise-outs, but organized by the Power Fleet captain and don’t often stay overnight.  Power-Outs always welcome sailboats too.

Travel

We travel to our destinations typically on Saturday mornings and often return on Sunday afternoon, except for Delta, Blue Water and other three-day weekend cruise-outs.  Some people prefer to buddy boats where they prearrange to leave with and stay near to another boat, preferably a boat of similar speed with more knowledge of the destination.  Buddy boating is especially encouraged in the ocean or in fog for boats without radar.  The fleet typically stays in loose radio contact on a designated working channel, often 68, 69 or 71.  Never hesitate to ask for anyone for assistance should any issues come up underway (aground, engine problems, navigation questions, etc.).  Check weather forecast for wind and waves, rain, and fog.  For crew prone to seasickness, ginger tablets or snacks, pressure bracelets, or electronic bracelets may help, though few get seasick in the Bay.  Dinghies are only needed a few destinations, such as Aquatic Park, Angel Island, Delta, Drakes Bay and Half Moon Bay.

Remember that the responsibility for a safe trip remains primarily with each captain and crew, especially as the experience, abilities and seaworthiness of each boat and crew are different.  The cruise-leader and other members will be glad to give advice, but each boat must make their own decision on each trip regarding the safety and comfort of the crew.  Sometimes it’s best not to leave the dock, even if it means staying an extra day, traveling by land, or going back for the boat later.

Accommodations

Cruise-outs go to marinas, yacht clubs, moorings and anchor-outs.  When visiting an unfamiliar harbor, find a map of the marina and locate your slip before arriving.  If unsure, make a first pass to locate your slip and determine where to setup fenders and dock lines.

Yacht clubs are a frequent and fun destination.  Almost all clubs are eager to welcome our members, especially if arranged ahead of time.  Try to patronize their bar or dining room, and be especially friendly to their staff and members.

Raft-ups are where we anchor or dock and side-tie several boats together.  Raft-ups are not a good idea if wind or waves are expected, as no one will get much sleep as the boats bump together.  When approaching a raft-up, setup fenders high on the proper side and prepare dock lines to toss as you approach slowly, accounting for wind and current.  Unlike docking where the goal is to stop right next to the dock, when approaching a boat to raft-up, try to stop your boat next to and about six feet away from the other boat, then toss bow and stern lines.  Sailboats should offset their spreaders for safety.  The cruise-leader or experienced cruisers will suggest what bow and/or stern anchors are needed for the raft-up, often set by dinghy after the boats raft-together.

Some destinations require anchoring, such as Aquatic Park, Westpoint Slough, Drakes Bay, China Camp and Half Moon Bay.  If you’re unsure about anchoring, other members will be glad to offer advice and assistance.

When visiting Angel Island, a very long line (200 ft) to reach a mooring ball and back is very useful, as is someone in a dinghy or a “happy hooker”.

Blacktoppers are members who drive to cruise-out destinations.  Some may pre-arrange to stay overnight on members’ boats.  Blacktopping is more difficult for the Delta as we stay on an island, but it can be arranged.

Utilities can be more challenging when on cruise-outs.  Water is often available if docked, but you may need to bring your own drinking water safe hose.  Trash cans or dumpsters are often available, except at Drakes Bay, Half Moon Bay, and the Delta.  Shore power can be a challenge as you may need 30A to 50A adapters of various flavors, or even a 100 ft 12 ga extension cord.  In the spring and winter, you may want a small electric ceramic heater or electric blanket overnight.  Don’t use anything unsafe for inside heating or that generates carbon monoxide.

Meals

We sometimes eat at restaurants or yacht clubs, but almost always have cocktail hour and potlucks.  It’s a courtesy to bring something to eat and drink to share to a potluck, but don’t bring alcohol into or out of a yacht club.  Popular cocktail hour foods include chips/dip, crackers/cheese, nuts and warm finger foods.  Anything hot is appreciated, especially in winter.  Trader Joe's has lots of good choices, especially if you have a microwave or stove on your boat.  If you’re drinking beer, bring a cold six-pack to share.  If you’re drinking wine, bring a moderately priced favorite to share, but don’t necessarily open it until you drink what others already have open.  Low, smaller, not tippy wine glasses are best, and please, please don’t spill on peoples’ boats.

Etiquette

When visiting a yacht club, it’s customary to fly your Sequoia burgee.  When at a raft-up and crossing over boats, try to go forward and not through the cockpit for the owner’s privacy, and walk softly, especially at night.  Fender covers prevent squeaking all night.

Kids are always welcome at cruise-outs and babysitting may sometimes be arranged.  Kids often choose to plan their own activities and meals.  Kids especially like the Delta.

Be careful with drinking alcohol around boats and water.  Don’t drink much, if at all, when underway.  Watch how much you drink during cruise-outs and look out for others’ safety.  If someone over does it, make sure they get safely back to their boat at end of the evening.  Have a good time, but let’s keep it safe and fun for everyone, and show the kids how we drink responsibly.

When visiting other boats, avoid using their head (toilet), or at least be sure to ask permission and directions.  Heads, holding tanks and procedures for flushing vary from skipper to skipper and boat to boat.  Always go on-shore when possible and convenient.

When visiting places without shore power, like Drakes Bay, the Delta and Half Moon Bay, running generators or engines may be necessary to keep batteries charged.  Be considerate of others regarding noise and exhaust.  During cocktail hour, when others are charging, is often a good time, never at night or early in the morning.

Avoid always hanging out with the same people during cruise-outs or at club events.  See your friends, and then go make new ones.  Be sure new people always feel included.  If you’re visiting a boat for cocktails, after a while, move to another boat and make more friends and hear different stories.  Mix, not cliques.

If you want to stay overnight on someone’s boat at a cruise-out, be sure to arrange it beforehand.  Don’t just show up with your PJs and a pillow and start asking around after dinner.

Be especially careful not to spill or leave a mess when visiting others’ boats.  Sometimes it happens, but let’s be careful.  We want to spend our cruise-outs enjoying and not just cleaning our boats.

Cruise Leader / Assistant

The Cruise-Out Captain is appointed each year by the Rear Commodore.  He or she determines the dates and destinations for the year and recruits cruise-out leaders for each trip.  Tides and currents may effect the scheduling of some destinations.

Cruise-Out leaders take responsibility for one trip and sometimes recruit an assistant.  A cruise-out may require coordinating with other clubs, harbor masters, restaurants, golf courses, ball parks, etc. well in advance to confirm dates and get any tickets or slip reservations.  The leader often writes up cruise notes including a schedule of activities, a VHF channel to monitor, tides/currents and contact information.  Advertising includes the Scope, emails, club bulletin board, website and a sign-up list.  Some destinations require a contract or deposit – see a Commodore for help.

Some destinations require paying for slips, tickets, golf, meals etc. by the club.  Options include paying by club check (see a commodore), club credit card (up to $500, see a commodore again), or personal credit card.  Be sure to submit receipts to the club office for documentation and/or reimbursement.  If members need to be billed, give the club office a clear accounting of who to charge, for what, and how much, often in a spreadsheet.  When the club has to purchase non-refundable items such as baseball, jazz or dinner tickets, members who do not show up or make other arrangements ahead of time will be billed.  Cruise-outs neither make nor lose money for the club.

The cruise leader should do some amount of “den mothering” to see that everyone finds a buddy boat if desired, arrives safely, and feels included in activities.  This is especially true for new cruisers.

Ono Award

And if despite all your best efforts, you do some act of dubious seamanship that causes you great embarrassment, don’t fear.  You may be awarded the prestigious “Ono Flag” (pronounced “oh no!”) to acknowledge your achievement to the club.  You fly the flag until some other deserving member gets it.

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