Sunday, January 27, 2008


Olivier came by around 1 pm and invited me to join him on an afternoon outing.

When we left port about 2 pm, with southerly winds blowing at a moderate pace, so we Olivier put up full sail on Corto Maltese, his 34' Ericson, before we headed out into the central bay, gybed and headed west on port tack beam reach.

We were sailing through some light rain showers sailing with the light ebb current, and making good headway toward the gate as the winds kept freshening, and we did see a few fellow sailboaters out there, including this Catalina that passed to port, heading back from the gate.

We sailed out the gate between the north tower and midspan and eventually noticed that a waterfall was pouring down the side of the a crag in the Marin Headlands, something we have never before seen. It was undoubtedly produced by the several inches of rain that weve been hit with over the last few days.

We were overcanvassed in the stronger winds outside the gate, so came about and reefed the jib before continuing westward on the southwest breeze with Olivier at the helm and the flag of Brittany [northern region of France] pegged out in the strong breeze.

The rugged Marin Headlands were frosted with low clouds and are starting to green up from all the heavy rains.

We arrived in some heavy swells close ot the shore of the headlands and then tacked to the southeast for a while before tacking to the west again. Winds continued to freshen, so Olivier showed me how he heaves to for an easy approach to reefing the main: jib close hauled and back winded, main eased out. Great to know though even under these conditions, reefing the main is a strenuous exercise.

Affter reefing, we headed back to the west with just the right amount of canvas, and sailing through some wave-topped swells of 8-10 feet in height-- fabulous sailing! But too rugged to pull out the camera with no dodger for protection against spray. We sailed out a mile or two past Pt. Bonita, enjoying immensely being out on the ocean under exciting conditions. It was also great to see several small dolphins following us and making dolphin jumps out of the water around the boat.

Olivier eventually looked at his watch and it read 4 pm, so we had to come about and head back toward the gate on starboard tack, first heading over toward mile rock to make sure to cross in front of an inbound freighter, then falling off to beam reach toward the shore just south of the gate, where we did a chicken gybe and headed parallel to the gate with some clearing skies and a bit of sunset color in the northeast.

In the west, an other storm cell was approaching.

We sailed about half way across the gate and then did another chicken gybe to head for home port, sailing through variable winds and some light rain all the rest of the way to home port. The rain stopped as we approached pier 35 and we doused sail just past pier 35 and then motored into the marina, very happy to have spent four spectacular hours on the bay and the ocean!

Monday, January 21, 2008


Olivier stopped by and invited me to go sailing with him, and I decided to accept rather than taking ANTICIPATION out solo with westerly winds blowing at about 25 knots.

We headed out about 1:15 with single reefed main and small jib, initially heading west bouncing through big wind waves and taking spray, but then falling off to head for the lee of Angel Island, and watched as other sailboats were crossing the bay, like this one...

...and this one.

This beautiful Tartan sailboat was rounding the southeast end of Angel Island as we approached.

A beautiful large Beneteau, that we later saw was named TENACIOUS, passed to port....

... looking great!

Another beautiful dark-hulled sailboat also passed to port, heading for the central bay.

Closer to the shore of the island, a small Santana had its jib shrimping in the water, and none of the crew seemed to be taking any action to retreive it.

As we continues sailing up the lee shore of Angel Island, TENACIOUS was out further from the island, in stronger winds, and was passing us easily.

After several tacks, TENACIOUS was blasting through Raccoon Straits ahead of us.

Because of the strong ebb current, it took us several tacks to sail into Raccoon Straits, and we were enjoying the views of the clouds like these over the Tiburon Headlands.

As we were sailing through the Straits, a trimaran named DEFIANCE was blasting through the straits off to port.

Several boats were lingering in Ayala Cove at Angel Island.

Angel Island was enjoying the late afternoon sunshine.

Another sailboat was also blasting through the straits off ot our port side.

Olivier wanted to divert to take a close look at the 80 foot race boat that had participated in the Corinthian Midwinter Regatta-- and what a beauty SORCERY is, at anchor-- would love to see her under sail.

We had to use the iron genny to motor out of the lee of Belvedere, and then headed straight for the gate on starboard tack close reach, watching this sailboat heading downwind to the north, returning from the gate.

We passed a couple of sailboats just outside Horseshoe Cove.

Winds were moderate in the lee of the headlands, but became blustery as we approached the gate, and after wondering if some windsurfers would be out enjoying the strong winds, we spotted a couple, like this one blasting across the gate as we sailed out.

The bridge and the headlands looked spectacular as always in the late afternoon sunshine.

Outside the gate, another windsurfer was blasting along.

The full moon was brightening in the northeast sky as we motored around pier 35 after dousing sails.

The sun was about to set and creating some beautiful cloud pattern color as we were motoring into the marina in the chilling afternoon air.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


We left port about 1 pm, hoping to be able to sail over to where the Corinthian YC was holding its midwinter regatta with about 150 boats participating.

There was no breeze at all when we left port, and the forecast was not favorable for any breeze to come up, but we hoped the forecast was wrong, as it often is.

Out on the bay, this sailboat was drifting westward with the current, as we were also doing as soon as we arrived in the central bay with just a few puffs of breeze from time to time.

This Catalina was motorsailing eastward against the strong ebb current...

... as was this sailboat...

... and this one. In the background you can see some of the dozens of race boats drifting and hoping for a breeze, but soon the race was called off and the boats motored back to the yacht club to start the partying.

We eventually drifted out the gate just inside the south tower, pointing east with just a light breeze and actually going backwards-- a strange feeling.

MR. MAGOO, a race boat, was motoring back inside the bay, after drifting around outside the gate for some time.

We had drifted about a half-mile outside the gate, when a light southeasterly breeze came up and we were able to sail a bit southward, toward the shore, where we hoped to pick up the earliest flood current.

Over by the shore of the headlands, these two boats were drifting with the current....

... as was this small sailboat, not too far from us.

As the afternoon wore on, the almost-full moon was brightening in the northeastern sky.

Eventually, that small sailboat started motorsailing back toward the gate, using it's small outboard.

Way over by the headlands, this lovely large center-cockpit ketch was motorsailing back toward the gate.

We eventually picked up the flood current, and a light southwesterly wind that enabled us to start making headway back toward the gate, and as we sailed along, we enjoyed the view of the moon brightening, and sometimes framed by the cables of the bridge.

We sailed back into the bay just inside the south tower, our fabulous bridge
taking on sundown color.

Behind us, the sun was going down in a thin layer of cloud over the horizon.

A catamaran was heading for the gate to watch the sundown and sunset.

As we continued sailing to the northeast, a large sailboat earlier seen heading out the gate was now about to cross in front of the setting sun... us a dramatic photo-op.

The sun, dropping behind a thick cloud just over the horizon, gave us a spectacular photo-op!

Eventually, we spotted the last sun rays as we ghosted along.

That large sailboat that crossed the sundown was not sailing eastward closer to the shore of the city-- it seemed to be that yellow-hulled center cockpit cutter-- a Swan, I think-- that we see from time to time out on the bay.

The clouds above the horizon provided the canvas for very nice sunset color.

In the northeast, the almost full moon was shining brightly now-- a spectacular sight, especially when viewed at about 20X magnification.

City lights were brighetening as we ghosted toward home port, eventually turning on the engine and motorsailing to make it home a bit faster to escape the chll evening air, happy that we didn't have to motor all the way home from the gate.