One of the best things about having a passion is sharing it. And for me, there is nothing like sharing the experience of gliding across the water, sun on your face and wind at your back.
The only problem is sometimes you don’t have a boat and sometimes you have a boat but no crew. A cool new app solves the problem; Kroocial (crew + social) is making sailing accessible to everyone.
The app is nicely designed and easy to use. I quickly completed a profile including a photo and short sailing bio and then was ready to sail. By clicking the “Looking for a Ride” icon I saw all the current crew openings. There were both day sails and racing options. Some had costs, others not; Kroocial allows skippers to offset trip expenses through voluntary donations. I opted for a Sunday sail from Richmond, CA.
I met our skipper and other crew members at Tradewinds Sailing School Clubhouse. Introductions were made and then we headed over to the Jeanneau 43 the skipper had chartered. We stowed our items, had a little safety talk and then were on our way.
I enjoyed getting to know both the boat and fellow crew as we tacked through Point Potrero Reach out into the bay.
Aboard there was a mix sailing skill levels and professions; we had two marketing executives, a medical doctor, an investment banker, a teacher and an engineer. Different ages and backgrounds were represented, all with a common love of the sea.
It was a beautiful, sunny day, the kind you dream about on cold, wintery ones, and I couldn’t imagine any place I’d rather be.
We decided to break for lunch at Angel Island’s Ayala Cove. Once there, we found the low tide made the docks too shallow for our 43 and the mooring buoys were taken so we headed over to the cove near Quarry Point to drop anchor. Soon there was another boat nearby; it turned out to be skippered by a friend of our skipper. We rafted up.
Both boats fired up grills and our festive lunch began. We started with a little bubbly I’d brought, the Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee. As the name suggests it’s an elegant sparkler; I loved its creaminess and the pear and ginger notes with just a hint of cinnamon. It was a great way to toast the day.
We enjoyed a selection of cheese while the meats were cooking. Everyone had been instructed to bring something to share and we had quite a selection: beef and vegetable kabobs, marinated chicken and steaks, gourmet sausages…
While lunch cracked on the grill I got to know my fellow crew members better; everyone was so interesting. It turned out one, the MD aboard, had a secret talent – opera singing! With a little encouragement she indulged us and sang a beautiful aria from La Boheme, Mi Chiamano Mi Mi.
If you happen to be new to sailing, know now what I’ve learned over the years, sailors are some of the coolest people on earth.
Gazing past the grill out to sailboats and Bay Bridge in the distance, the skipper leaned over, smiled and said, “It doesn’t get much better than this.” I agree, it doesn’t.
Enjoying the smorgasbord of grilled items tapas style, we took turns boat hopping. The feel was convivial and fun, I was definitely getting the social in Kroocial. I like how the whole experience is social – when signing up on the app you digitally meet your skipper and the other crew and then once on the sail it’s taken to another level.
The wind started to pick up and we knew it was time. We bid our new friends farewell with a challenge, a race around Angel Island and back to the harbor. We tacked well and rode the wind around the island, through Raccoon Straits and back to the marina, putting our boat away before the other one got in.
I loved the leisure sail but it was fun to add a little competitive element too. Some sailors say the definition of a race is two boats sailing the same direction.
The sun was setting up for a perfect sunset as we walked the dock back to the club house. We were enjoying the moment but also making plans for our next sail. I think Kroocial is on to something.