Sailing Mango

Marina Del Rey

Marina Del Rey, MDR, is huge (in a Bernie voice no less!). How huge is it? There are over 5,200 slips, It is the largest marina in the USA, they publish their own traffic separation scheme, and it was 1.5 nautical miles from our slip to the breakwall. Yow.

We spent four nights in MDR, and saw about 1/23 rd of it. We visited with family, old friends and new friends. We went grocery shopping and friend visiting via dinghy, which was fun. Our first stop was at the Pacific Mariners Yacht Club. There was already a boat there that knew us, but after a good head scratching, we didn't know them, always a bad feeling. It turns out they are part of the Baja Ha Ha rally we joined, and are part of the kid boat sub group, so they only knew us via email. Phew!

The approach to the PMYC was down a large waterway, and I had counted the club was on the seventh little waterway off to our left. After the first couple little waterways went by, I mentioned to Kristen how narrow they were. "Hope the PMYC waterway is bigger than these!", I said. As number seven approached, it was clear their waterway was no larger than the rest. We could see people at the end at the PMYC waving to us, encouraging us to come in.

Me: "Kristen, call the harbor master again, this is crazy."
Kristen: "Wha...??"
Me: "We can't go down there. It's suicide. It's one-way boat suicide."
Kristen: "Yep. But look, they are waiving us in. And smiling."
Me: "Oh Jeez...."

I smiled at the five or so people clearly waving us in, and gave them a big wave, much like you might wave to high school classmates that you haven't seen for 25 years at your first reunion. You look happy to see everyone, you wave and smile, but flashing back to your high school years, maybe you aren't so happy to see them after all.

So I continued past, pulled a 270 and headed into the little waterway towards all the smiles. I took Mango in slowly, oh so slowly. The slip for us was clearly small, with absolutely no room to turn the boat around if we needed to abort. But as we got close, lines where thrown to eager hands, and half a dozen people guided Mango into her slip, until she got stuck. The slip was too narrow, and we jammed betwee the finger piers.

The conversation I partially overheard Kristen having with the harbor master on the phone forty five minutes earlier came back to me, and now made more sense.

Kristen: "Correct, our beam is 13 feet, 10 inches."
Kristen: (pause) "Yes, 13 feet, 10 inches."

Oh well, we tied off partially in, partially out, and called it a party.

Half an hour later another boat came in, and they got a 10 foot wide slip, while their boat was at least as wide as ours. But the PMYC people were happy, super helpful and kind, and the boaters were all fine, fine. In fact, one woman asked if we wanted her to walk our dogs. Yes please!

We stayed for three nights.

Last night we moved over to the Del Rey Yacht Club, where Kristen's college friend is a member. The two yacht clubs appear on the surface to be quite different, but I was struck by how very similar the people were. Kind, curious, friendly, helpful, and clearly interested in making sure we had everything we needed.

Today we were going to leave in the morning, but were waylayed two hours by an alternator belt change. One frigging belt, two hours. Back home, I could have started mowing the lawn, broken the mower, fixed the mower, finished the lawn, and then had a beer in two hours.

Tonight we arrived just as the sun was setting in the Los Angeles / Longbeach harbor, and anchored just outside of a marina. It is interesting to me that the harbor has a Bernie huge breakwall that protects the entire area, and then there are little mini break walls around marinas and some other structures.

Tomorrow we are off early and we will head down to Dana Point, where we are meeting my sister and her family for four days. It should be fun!

Yes, a cute little helicopter.

This aluminum ketch is Beowolf, a semi-famous boat designed by Steve and Linda Dashew. Fast and highly practical.

Alternator belt dust.