A Return to Drakes Bay

October 10, 2019

Drakes Bay
Anchor down 1300 local, 2200 gmt

Days at Sea: 306
Days Since Departure: 375
Total Miles: 38,978

Slowly the gale releases its grip. Overnight and as I sleep the wind comes down; the sea relaxes. By dawn Mo makes 5 knots under jib alone on a gentle undulation I can barely perceive from my bunk.

I raise the main at sunup, but the wind continues to fall away until by mid morning the sails hang limply; the sea is glass. We are under power the last miles for Drakes Bay.

“I’m sorry, Monte,” I say. “It would have been nice to sail in.”

“These things cannot be helped, Senior. You must finish the knot before the strain comes back on the line.”

Then purple ranges rise above the sea to the NE; then that bold projection, fawn-colored Point Reyes; now the water is emerald and fouled with tangles of kelp.

Hours ago we left behind the last albatross; to take his place there are pelicans, cormorants, grebes and other birds of the shore. Porpoises race along the bow and further on, the misty blow of whales and the glimmering black of their backs.

Then the rounding of the green buoy; then the pale cliffs of Nova Albion and the hills of gray autumn grasses and the familiar whiff of grazing cows. Mo eases in. Next to the abandoned fish plant, the anchor rolls down into soft mud.

We are in home waters for the first time in a year. One step remains between us and completion of the Figure 8…to sail under the golden span and return to the embrace of San Francisco Bay.

40 Comments on “A Return to Drakes Bay

    • Wow oh wow!! So excited for you and I know your family is anxious to see you too! Congratulations on a wonderful journey and thank you for taking us along too!

  1. AMEN!!!! Absolutely marvelous!!!! Well Done, Bravo, and CONGRATULATIONS. Sleep well tonight Randall, MO, and Monte!!! I say to you “YOU DID IT!!!!!!” And we all were able to be there right along. Thank you for the journey. You made it come alive for so many!!!!!

  2. Congratulations Randall! Soon I will go into Windy Tracker withdrawal….lol.

    • Congratulations. It was a privilege to sail along with you virtually. Just recently found out about this journey, but hooked already. Greetings from a couch captain from Holland

  3. Wow WOW WOW! Can’t believe it’s over. It even seems sudden!
    Congratulations my friend. Sleep well!
    I bet you and Jo will be on the phone a lot until Saturday when you sail under the bridge. In fact, I would be surprised if she shows up at Drake’s Bay! Are you sure you don’t have a secret reunion planned?! Will you be taking the dingy in or is she going to have to swim??
    Big ALOHA,

  4. Wot we gonna do without you? Mom will be flailing around her American Press, sighing about “winds”, and “waves”, and “temps”, and “lat and long”, and something about leashes! But she cried: “Bravo” as she does when we hounds perform well, so that means it’s all good. Welcome home, Sailor, and Honorary Greyt (just like me! well, except for the sailing stuff).

  5. Wow, CONGRATULATIONS! What an epic adventure and feat of human endurance, courage, skill and so much more! Thanks for allowing us to tag along, it has been a massive privilege and Randall, there is a great children’s book waiting to be written staring Monte!

  6. My wife and I have been reading your post every day. If it was a work day on our boat, we would stop as soon as one of discovered there was a new post. So enjoyed your writing style and your story. Thank you so much. I hope there is a book deal in the works or in the future. Congratulations on completing this huge adventure. We were going to come out and ride in with you but alas didn’t finish our boat work in time.

  7. It has been a privedge to be a virtual sailor with you on this amazing adventure. Congratulations and happy homecoming!!

  8. So glad you’re back! Congratulations on your accomplishments!! This particular entry is lovely to read. Thanks for letting us share your journeys.

  9. So happy for you and Joanna! You inspire me, my friend. Congratulations!!!

  10. True grit is what you have, Randall, and truly grateful is what we are for having had the privilege to experience your incredible voyage almost first hand. Thank you!

  11. That photo of the Spade plow anchor shows you are outsmarting all of us! That bay is almost impossible to set a danforth anchor with all of the kelp and grass. 60 or 70 pounds? I think you could use that to free up a stuck SUV in the desert. Welcome back and sad that the suspenseful epic is coming to a conclusion. We are all going to miss following along, and now we will have to find something new to track. , i.e. NORAD Santa tracker? whereisroadster.com ?

  12. The closing to your wondrous adventure…..it must be so bitter sweet.
    So happy for your safe arrival!

  13. Holy Cow!
    It’s over?
    Now, I have to get a life.
    We always knew you could could do it……no big deal….
    I think we are all feeling a vicarious relief that you have finally accomplished your goal, and gratitude for boldly sharing your experiences.
    Thank you thank you.

  14. Congratuations, Captain. You dreamed it, planned it, endured it, finished it. (I think the latin translation is: dreni, plani, enduri, fini…or something like that.)

  15. ‘Congratulations’ seems to hardly cut it, but that’ll have to do. Wish I could be at the GG on Saturday. Thank you for such an adventure, and welcome back to civilization.

  16. Congratulations to the intrepid skipper, Monte, Moli.

    And a big thank you to the shore team and especially Joanna, for it is her exceptional selflessness that allowed this venture to get off the ground.

    The big question is: what next? What will he do next?
    What adventure could be done next after such an epic voyage? And the trip was made without a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano, no less!

  17. Congratulations! The top of the Figure Eight is closed with the return to Drakes Bay.

    Thanks for two years of blogging on your adventure(s), I will greatly miss the daily sailing candy.

  18. Congratulations! It’s been inspiring to follow along. I’ve really enjoyed your writing. Best of luck with your future adventures. Hope our paths cross one day.

  19. My first selfish thought was, ‘Oh no, no more travelogues.” Sorry. What I should think first is “Congratulations and welcome home.” What you must be feeling as you survey Drakes Bay from Moli’s deck.

    I camped on Marshal Beach the night before I met Ann for the first time. One of our early dates I took Ann up to Marshall. We rowed across to Marshall Beach in a dinghy about the size of a bathtub. I was so excited I forgot life vests, which I realized half way across.

  20. Welcome back nephew!! What a hair raising voyage!! I have been following you every inch of the way!! Congratulations as you come to the final approach of your “Figure 8 Voyage”. We have been rooting and praying for your safe passage and return!! I have enjoyed your adventures as I safely sit in my home. You have kept many of us on the edge of our seats and wanting to know what has happened since your last blog. Thank you for sharing with us all!! Most of all, Praise the Lord, He is safely bringing you home!!

    Thank you “Team Figure 8” for all the assistance provided in making Randall’s voyage a success – my hats off to you all!!

  21. It just seems fitting that you were welcomed back into home waters by birds, porpoises and whales! It has been quite the adventure and we have all enjoyed following along, biting our nails at times and cheering you on at others. So proud of you cousin. You did it!! Now let’s get you home and get this party started!

  22. Congrats Randall, hard work all the way. Perpetual motion now stopped!

  23. Fabulous journey and goal to have followed!!!
    Congratulations Randall 🎉

  24. Welcome back, “Sir Randall”. You have accomplished a feat that will undoubtably be etched in numerous maritime history books. Once again you’ve proven to the world that “Without fear there can be no courage”.
    Hats off to you my friend.

  25. Congratulations, Randall! I’m already having withdrawls — what will I read with my morning coffee??? We can’t wait to welcome you home under the Gate. Many cheers to you & Mo, my friend! Stacy

  26. WOW! You did it, Randall! Congratulations to you and Monte for achieving such a magnificent feat! Thank you so much for taking us along on your adventure through your posts.

  27. So wish we could be with everyone to watch you sail under the GG Bridge tomorrow. What an amazing and adventure-filled journey you undertook! Loved following along with you and will miss the updates and photos. Welcome home!

  28. Congratulations Randall, Moli and Monte! Intrepid ocean travelers, boldly facing the trials of earth’s vast oceans, going beyond the limits of mere mortals, from a minuscule vantage point set on continuous motion, propelled by ever-changing winds, buoyant in spirit as overcast days turn into star filled nights, thank you for gifting all of us with a window seat on your voyage and sharing your dauntless humanity.

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