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!

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