Ship’s Log: April 2-3 — Horseshoe Cove

April 3, 2011

“Miles, what was your favorite part of today?”

“Anchoring out. Don’t you think it’s everyone’s favorite part? I bet everyone in the world loves anchoring out.”


We almost didn’t anchor here. The Cruising Guide to San Francisco Bay, had more caveats than usual for this anchorage— Don’t even attempt if it’s foggy; you might get sucked right out the gate as you approach; the Coast Guard won’t take nicely to your presence on their side of the anchorage; etc.. After calling ahead (another recommendation from the guide) we were told that we were more than welcome to anchor, but there was a lot of surge, a few other people had called that day, and there was a pile of flotsam tied to a mooring out in the middle of the harbor that they were worried might work itself loose. But sure, come on down.

We briefly considered overnighting at Aquatic Park, but after some hemming an hawing we ended up turning back to Horseshoe Cove. We dropped the main outside the Golden Gate and then motored back in. We were treated to some lively dolphins playing around our stern, which came at just the right moment to soothe some freaking out kids. Unfortunately our schedule had been such that we didn’t even leave Emeryville until 3pm and our arrival at the anchorage at around 6pm didn’t work well for our family.

Once in the harbor we were faced with finding an adequate spot. It was quite obvious that we would not be welcome on the Western side of the cove (where the Coast Guard station is) and the flotsam wreathed mooring did indeed make for quite the obstruction. We took several spiraling circuits, sounding all the way, before settling on a spot pretty much smack in the middle of the harbor. We had enough scope to comfortably avoid the breakwater to the SW, the center of the main channel just to the west, and the flotsam heap to the east.

We quickly made the boat fast for the night and went below to cook up our dinner of TJs tofu burgers and tater tots (my favorite)… and broccoli. We all enjoyed the sunset together and got the kids to sleep as soon as possible. Vick and I remarked several times at how ideal this anchorage seemed. Promising not to post about it (recalling our gaffe with Paradise Cove back in Feb. After an incredibly restful night sleep I am pleased to report that Horseshoe Cove was everything that we hoped Paradise Cove would be.

Sunday morning got off to a great start. Before I was finished drinking my coffee, Ruby was lobbying for a row in the dingy. “You can just sit there dad, I’ll do all the work.” It was my own personal siren song. Moments later I had forgotten my coffee (and my breakfast) and was assembling and inflating the dingy.

It turns out we didn’t make it back to Convivia until 1pm. The intervening hours were spent exploring the Bay Area Children’s Discovery Museum. This is one of the very best children’s museums I’ve ever been too (and I’ve seen a few). Perhaps the best quality of the sprawling campus was that it emphasized the outdoors. Fort Baker is renowned for being a shelter from the pervasive fog that blankets the Golden Gate. I was impressed that the designers of the museum incorporated geographic strengths into the experience.

Exhausted and foot worn from the wee excursion, we returned to Convivia (with me at the oars). After a quick lunch the kids went down for naps and Victoria and I prepared to get under way. We decided to sail home (at a deep broad reach) on just the genoa. This turned out to be a fantastic idea. With just the one sail we made a steady 5.7-6 knots and didn’t have to fuss with wing on wing. We left the harbor at 3pm and were back in our slip (pump out and all) by 5.

We broke with tradition (Picante normally follows sailing) and had pork tenderloin and home-made steak fries with sautéed chard with shallots and garlic for dinner. The kids went to bed dreaming about their favorite things. Ruby of the camping trip she’s hoping I will take her on, and Miles of nights at anchor.


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