Crusing area: Antioch
and Pittsburg (CA)
Distance: 16.0 nm
Time: 8 hours
Cruise to Meet the Niņa
A group of sailing historians got together
in 1986, forming the Columbus Foundation. Their goal was to
produce historically correct reproductions of the three vessels
which Christopher Columbus used for his encounter with the new
world. With the research involved, and the 500th anniversary
fast approaching, they came to the realization that only one
replica could be built. They chose the Niņa. There
is a lot more information at http://www.thenina.com.
Niņa came to visit Antioch California on 9/11/02 (the one-year
anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington). We
used the opportunity as a history lesson for my niece, Lindsay,
whose picture is seen above. For other pictures, scroll
By the way, Lindsay also learned to sail, or
at least had her first lesson.
Back to Sailing
The crew of offline (for this
trip). In addition to Lindsay, we were also joined by my
Dad, and Johnny Trimmer (a close family friend).
Winds were 5-10 kts. We were close
hauled at this point, but as you can see, there is not much heel
on the boat.
We had intended to meet the Niņa as she
arrived, and sail in flotilla to escort her in. I called
ahead and got the sailing schedule, but the captain must have
changed his mind after it was posted. When we got to the
Antioch Marina, she was already tied alongside.
The white "Sails" (middle-right)
are a sculpture on the jetty of the Antioch marina. It is a
very striking feature along the waterfront, and makes it very
easy to identify Antioch from the water. There is also a small
park with benches, for the shore-bound to rest, dreaming of
Our friend, Johnny Trimmer, is a very
experienced sailor. He has taken his 30' Hunter
(Serendipity) to Mexico twice, and Alaska once. As this was
one of our first trips with guests aboard, and because of my
limited experience sailing at this point, everyone felt more
comfortable having Johnny along.
For most of the trip, I let Johnny man the
helm, or at least watch over Lindsay as she took her turns at the
Johnny's tee-shirt says, "Old sailors
never die, they just get a little dingy."
Rounding out the crew was my father,
Clay. He and I have had some good times aboard offline,
and I look forward to many more trips with him on the water.
About two months after this picture was
taken, he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition, and
underwent a six-way heart bypass. I'm happy to report, more
than a year later, he is in excellent health for the 72-year-old
man he is.
Lindsay was a very good helmsman, but she
occasionally just watched the water go by. Here, she is trying
to be the first to see the sea lions we'd been hearing for several
minutes. At this point, I don't remember if she was first,
but I'll give her the credit in any case.
Isn't that what a good uncle is supposed to
The sea lions love to bask on the
"NY" bouy. This preferred channel marker marks
where commercial shipping must choose between the Sacramento River
(to Sacramento), or New York Slough (which connects to the San
Joaquin River and leads to Stockton).
New York Point was so named because a group
of developers originally wanted to call the town New York,
CA. The idea didn't fly, but they did name it Pittsburg,
CA. Even though the city name changed, New York Point
remains the legacy to one group's attempt at becoming the
On the way back, we got a closer look at the
Niņa. Compared to the voyages undertaken on this vessel, it
is very small. I can't imagine 80-100 people living and
working aboard a ship this small.
The building in the background is Humphrey's,
one of the better restaurants in Antioch. Casual to dressy,
you may find people dressed to the nines along side boaters
crusing in for dinner. If you're in the area, Humphrey's is
worth a stop. Free tie-up on the public dock (which is where
the Niņa is tied up). There's a bit of history about the
name, "Humphrey's," so be sure to check out the site.
After making a circumnavigation of Browns and
Winter Islands, we turned for the downwind run home. Lindsay
stayed at the helm for most of the downwind run, and performed
several flawless gybes, with Johnny's help. With Johnny on
the helm, I was free to work the sails. It turned out to be
a good combination for this day. Everyone had a good time.
In the background you can see our last view
of the Niņa and Humphrey's as we left them in our wake.
Copyright 2004 Mark Galbraith. All
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