On Tuesday morning Erden Eruc paddled out under the Golden Gate Bridge and paddled westwards. Next stop, if all goes according to plan, is Australia.
I was at Erden’s launch party the previous Thursday, and had hoped to be at the launch itself. I turned up in Tiburon on Saturday night, the scheduled departure time, but the weather had other ideas and the start was postponed to Monday.
I have to confess that my eagerness to see Erden’s departure was not purely because I wanted to wish him luck. I also wanted to see how he reconciled the many competing factors that determine the best time to leave.
1. Tide: a strong ebb tide gives up to 5 knots of extra speed, but the water can get brutally rough where the ebb from the Bay meets the coastal current. So it may be safer to leave on a neap (weak) tide rather than a spring (strong) tide, or at slack water rather than full ebb.
2. Wind: there is almost no chance of getting an offshore wind, although in the middle of the night there may be a slight offshore breeze as the land cools.
3. Visibility: but of course, in the middle of the night, I am less likely to see if I’m about to be run down by a big container ship, and they can’t see me.
4. Media: nor is the middle of the night a very media-friendly hour.
5. Moon: it would be nice to leave under a full moon to light my first few nights, but this is when the tides are at their strongest. See point 1.
Erden left from the Corinthian Yacht Club, on the north shore of San Francisco Bay, at 7pm on a slack tide. He rowed to Horseshoe Cove, where he stayed for the night, and then paddled out under the Golden Gate Bridge the following morning.
I can’t find any update as to how he is getting on. There is no recent news on his website. If anybody can advise….
Meanwhile, I am assembling my own team of advisers – weather gurus and tidal experts. Hopefully they will come to a unanimous decision on the best time for me to go, and the best place for me to leave from, which is another issue in its own right.
[photo: me with Erden at his launch party last week]