Though we don't have a complete trip report from anyone, we are lucky to have a good pictorial record of this considerable adventure, and, a fair amount of description in email, which I have collected here. Here's Harry Gordon's short report from March 6, included in a reply to a comment of Larry Costa's:
>O,BTW, It's actually warm outside (in the SF Bay area)! >Left Coast Larry Larry- Just between you and me, it isn't THAT warm. We sailed three P15s for 30 miles on the southern Bay today, arriving back at the Redwood City ramp at sunset, chilled and tired but satisfied that we had accomplished our mission. Jon Hunolt, Dave Kautz and his wife, and I visited the remains of the destroyer Thompson outside Redwood Creek, then ventured far below the Dumbarton bridge to see the old wooden ship, the Estela, stuck in the mud down there. Judging by her appearance, I'm not sure that getting the ship back into deep water is such a good idea, but that is the plan. Dave Kautz planned the trip so we had favorable currents both ways, which more than made up for the headwinds in both directions. I was sure we couldn't go that far on a March day, but we did. Much of the trip was motorsailing, but on the return trip we shut off the stinkpots at the Dumbarton and had great sailing in about 15 knots of wind and light chop all the way back to the ramp. After getting the boats secured, we gathered at Pete's for supper. Larry, I know how much you love The Best Outboard Motor for the World, so you should know that both Jon and I were powered by Seagulls. I must confess that my motor quit several times on the way down, but she restarted easily each time. Apparently she didn't like the old fuel that had been sitting in my storage shed much too long. The 10:1 had probably deteriorated to 5:1 or something. Jon had ample fuel so gave me a couple of cans of fresh gas while we were rafted up at the Estela, and with fresh fuel the Seagull buzzed happily back up to the Dumbarton without missing a beat. (Jon had no problems with his Seagull.) Hope to see you at Tomales Bay next weekend. Sandy and I are thinking of staying in Inverness. Harry Gordon P14 #234, Manatee Mountain View, CA
Harry later said in a message to me that it was pretty cold, but: "Fortunately it didn't rain, the sea was benign, and spray was negligible, but I had new foul weather gear, an old float coat, a change of clothing, towel, and a sleeping bag for contingencies."
The idea for the trip came from a short feature in the San Jose Mercury News concerning the Estela, a large turn of the century sailing vessel mired in the mud south of the Dumbarton Bridge. The newspaper story is unfortunately no longer online, but we have a scanned version of the headline and picture. Here's Harry's email Feb 17 email describing the story:
SF Bay area Potter sailors may be interested in an article in yesterday's _San Jose Mercury_ (Feb. 17). There is a 135 ft wooden sailing ship, the _Estela_ that is stuck in the mud near Guadalupe Slough, 4 miles south of the Dumbarton Bridge. According to the article, the Estela has been stuck there since 1995 (although this is the first I have heard about it.) The ship has changed owners since then. The new owners have succeeded in getting the boat afloat, but the surrounding water is too shallow to allow sailing it back to the channel. With the help of a tug, they hope to get the ship free on April 16, when there will be an especially high tide. The ship will be taken to Redwood City for restoration work. The previous owner said the ship was built in Spain in 1919, but the new owner believes it was built in America in the 1870s. ... Harry Gordon P14 #234, Manatee Mountain View, CA
The idea of visiting the old ship took hold on the WWPotter email list, and plans were made. As it turned out, the route would pass by the wreck of the Thompson, a wrecked US Destroyer rusting away to nothing in the South Bay mud flats.
They left from the Redwood City launch ramp. Jon Hunolt kept a GPS track of the route, and sent us a bunch of annotated pictures of the trip. Harry Gordon took his video camera, and captured some further pictures of the wreck of the Thompson, and more detailed views of the Estela. Dave Kautz has also provided some pictures.
(Note: The above links are to pages with many photos, which will take a bit of time to download.)