Walking the Docks at the Embarcadero

Boats are the oldest form of manufactured transportation - predating shoes, even. They can be anything from in innertube to the largest moving structures on the face of the earth There's a boat design for every purpose ever dreamed of, and some of humanity's brightest minds have pondered them. I like to walk the docks and marvel in the ingenuity of my fellow man.

The Sail In Cafe is my new breakfast hangout - nice people, excellent food, very reasonable prices. Plus, it's right by the bay, so you can watch the commercial boats going in and out.

The docks at the Embarcadero have covered gear storage lockers, and the barn swallows love 'em. They are pretty well acclimated to people.

At the end of the first pier is that yellow Folksboat. I always stop by to see if there is a For Sale sign on it, but there never is. There is gear and crab pots on it, like someone uses it fairly often, but it has yards of weeds growing off its bottom. They must use it as a hotel room.

Now there is that black boat next to it - and that's a boat that can capture my imagination. There's lots of woodwork on it - seemingly burnt black by the sun. Someone loves it - that new Honda 9.9 and new octagonal mast for her gaff rig weren't cheap.

Here's a commercial salmon trawler for sale, a true work of functional art. There once was a time a man could feed his family, working a boat like that..

Here's the info. Good luck!

That thing looks like a spider to me. I've never seen the appeal of multihulls, but they are supposed to be fast and this one sure looks roomy.

Someone loves this boat. It's clean and has pretty art on it but the mast is not stepped, meaning she's not ready to sail. Where is the mast? It'd have to be 24ft long, at least, and that's not something you toss into a locker.

Maybe Cover Girl is on her way to becoming this: A sailboat converted completely over to motor. Uncle Stan always said the most pitiable thing in the world is a sailor with a schedule to keep.

Here's a boat that was probably loved once, but no longer. She languishes, her rigging exposed unto tatters, her tags expired by more than a decade. This is a dream in decay, slowly falling to peices, waiting to be remembered.

Here's a very practical sailboat: No woodwork, no places for water to catch and form stagnant pools, just all fiberglass, gelcoat, and chrome. She's very similar in shape and size to the Unloved, above, but somebody takes care of her.

Here's someone who has taken a realistic approach to sailing in Oregon. The permanent bimini is probably more for rain protection than sun.

This boat is the Raggedy Ann to that last boat's Barbie, she'll keep her stains and show her wear and every patch will have a story for her owner to tell. You could spend your life and fortune maintaining a boat like this, and not begrudge a bit of it.

She's parked right next to the Rowena, which looks like a sister ship: Same ketch design, similar size and shape, maybe even owned by the same people. They'll make a heck of a sight, sailing over the horizon together.