The Final Hand-Off

 A crew of seven sailed with Cups to her new home.

A crew of seven sailed with Cups to her new home.

David took the helm as we sprung off the dock at the King Harbor Yacht Club. We followed the markers out of the deep channel heading into the Pacific. Sea lions barked as we passed. A pod of dolphins escorted us on our way. We sailors delighted in these good luck signs from Neptune.

 Sea lions and dolphins escorted us out of the harbor.

Sea lions and dolphins escorted us out of the harbor.

Once Cups was on her course, we participated in a serious tradition. David gave a tot of rum to Neptune thanking him for protecting Nine of Cups and crew throughout the years and advising Neptune that a new captain and crew would be paying him respects in the future. Murray followed with another tot, clearly choked up with emotion over this momentous occasion as he spoke words of supplication to Neptune to protect and keep safe this fine vessel and her crew in the years to come. And then Murray took the helm.

The day was overcast as we plied the Pacific’s gray waters to Cabrillo, but spirits were high in our crew of seven. White caps dotted the bay as more of Neptune’s creatures came to greet us … whales and seals and dolphins galore. We passed beautiful Point Vicente Light and rounded the headland to Los Angeles Harbor.

 Point Vicente Light

Point Vicente Light

We spotted the Los Angeles Harbor Light aka Angel’s Gate Light and headed towards the breakwater that would lead us into the harbor.

 Angel's Gate ... entering Los Angeles Harbor

Angel's Gate ... entering Los Angeles Harbor

Our five hour motor-sail ended happily as Murray guided Cups gently against the dock for her incoming marina inspection. She passed with flying colors and now, for Murray, the final test … docking Cups in her new slip. David and I stood on the aft deck watching in anticipation. Murray was visibly nervous, but in control all the way as he guided Cups expertly into slip C40. It couldn’t have been done more beautifully. Friends had gathered on the dock to welcome Cups and catch her lines. Wow! And it was at this moment … not when the money was exchanged … that David and I acknowledged Nine of Cups now belonged to Murray and Carol and not us. I asked David if he was feeling regret over our decision. “No, I’m not. Are you?” “Me, neither.” We were feeling fine as we stepped onto the finger pier, hoisted our champagne cups and toasted Cups and her new crew.

 Murray & Carol take the helm.

Murray & Carol take the helm.

We spent one more day finishing up some small tasks aboard Cups. A 3,000 mile road trip loosened connections and wires, but the master electrician ferreted out the problems and got all the systems working. We’d left the dinghy at King Harbor and went back to collect it, then launched it at the public ramp in Cabrillo. David had the outboard going in no time and we enjoyed a short dink ride across the harbor back to Cups.

 Launching the dinghy

Launching the dinghy

And now? Now, we need to leave Nine of Cups to her new master. We have things to do, places to go and new adventures to begin and we’re ready for it all.