Last weekend I took the Intermediate Coastal Cruising course on a 32' Catalina. This included the on-the-water test, but I still have to pass the written exam. This shouldn't be too difficult though, so soon I will be qualified to charter boats up to 35'. These are much larger than the 26' Santa Cruz sailboats I've been doing day trips on for the past two years. They have a living room area, a galley, a head and can sleep six people! You can go to someplace like the Caribbean or Mexico and charter a boat for about the same amount you would pay for a hotel room, which I plan on doing ASAP.
The course was much fun. Saturday started with heavy rains, but things cleared and we enjoyed 25-30 knot winds until after sundown. Finding a place to anchor for the night was difficult since the heavy Northernly winds made the instructor's preferred location less than ideal. Finally we dropped anchor near the coast of Belvedere right under the 10+ million dollar homes, with our stern facing straight towards the skyline of San Francisco. On Sunday as we sailed near the Golden Gate bridge a family of porpoises followed us for 30 minutes as we surfed six foot swells. I love sailing.
One funny thing that happened was when I was in the school office and I noticed a new Learn to Sail poster they had put up. It had a photo of mine from Flickr on it! I had put it up with a Creative Commons license, so I was mostly pleased to see it used, but when I looked it up later online I noticed that the license I had chosen for it was non-commercial and attribution-required so they totally stole it. Maybe I should have my lawyer offer a discounted charter settlement.
Another thing that happened was that on Saturday morning as I jumped off the boat onto the dock, I dropped my keys into the water. This was a big set, with keys to my house and mailbox, car, motorcycle, safe, six keys for the RV, two client office keys and a couple of keyless entry electronic gizmos. On Monday night I was able to get a big magnet on a rope from the harbor master and I spent some time dropping this magnet into 22' of murky water. I figured my chances were low since there had been strong currents and 50+ hours since I had lost them, but amazingly after twenty minutes I pulled them up! And the electronic transmitter still works even!