El Niño kindly took Sunday off and gave the Potter Yachters a weather window for their first sail of the year. Three P-19s and two P-14s were launched from Estuary Park into an uncrowded Estuary and light winds. Scattered clouds overhead and more serious formations on the horizon added to the scenery but didn't drop any rain on us. The winds were around 5 knots. Jerry and Maurice in Sunshine and the Costas in Happy Camper had arrived first and headed for the Bay. Dory Taylor, with Jerry's P-14, Breezy, had picked up a crew named Victor (his first sail) at the launch ramp. I arrived late with Manatee, just in time to see a green P-19 motoring out. I rigged and launched Manatee and sailed from the ramp at noon.
Heading up the Estuary, I soon spotted Breezy at a dock where Dory had stopped to make some adjustments. Manatee and Breezy joined up and cruised on toward the bay (no tacking this day; it was a reach both ways), past the cargo loaders, until we met Jerry and Maurice on the way back in, followed by the Costas in Happy Camper. The new green P-19 motored past us, its tanbark sails furled. Dory and I came about and joined up with Sunshine and Happy Camper, and the four boats more or less returned together. Impatience and calls of nature eventually caused each skipper to fire up his outboard as the breeze decreased. With more rain forecast for Sunday evening, we prudently made an early return to the ramp.
Our first group sail of 1998 was a gentle one and a welcome escape from the rains and winds of the past few weeks.