Sunday, March 30, 2008


We headed out about 11:30 to watch some of the various sailboat racing events taking place on Saturday. We were aware of the ocean race for J120s and J105s, sponsored by the St. Francis YC, since my sailing mate Michael was crewing on GRACE DANCES, one of the J120 fleet, and we had heard about the double-handed Farallones race, sponsored by BAMA-- the Bay Area Multihull Association-- though the race is not limited to multihulls.

As we entered the central bay after putting out canvas, we headed to the northweast to rendezvous with some of the J105 fleet-- the portion that was taking a course south of Alcatraz. Skies were overcast so the sea surface was gray, and the lighting not great for photography.

They soon outdistanced us, and we tacked over to see what was going on with the small boat regatta just west of Ft. Mason, later learming that this was a High School Champs regatta, sponsored by the St. Francis Y.C.

After watching this regatta for a little while, we headed for the gate and we sailed out between midspan and the south tower as this catamaran was returning to the bay.

We sailed out about half way to Pt. Bonita in growing ocean swells, but the winds were quite light, so we decided to head back inside rather than wait for the returning racers out on the ocean, and watched as this large sailboat headed for us on starboard tack, rising and falling in the swells.

We headed southeast to get as much ebb current relief as we could, and slowly ghosted back toward the gate, gybing several times, and watching behind us as a large cruise ship steamed toward us-- shooting the gate after we had reached the bay ourselves.

We were accompanied by BLACK PEARL as we sailed east along the cityfront.

The High School Champs regatta was still taking place-- they did 9 short course races on Saturday-- and we tacked around to watch for a while.

Later, we began to see some race boats heading for the finish line of the two ocean races, like this trimaran, that seemed to be first to finish the BAMA Farallons race.

Pegasus-- a PEGASUS RACING craft that I have not seen before, seemed to be the second to finish the BAMA race.

We were headed back toward the gate, and passed our old pal, ADVENTURE CAT 2, on the way.

This small race boat was heading east under spinnaker, and we sailed over to ask if they were in the BAMA race, and they saild 'no'-- as I expected, since it was highly unlikely that such a small boat could finish the race that quickly.

A bit later, we encountered THREE SIGMA, a trimaran heading for the finish line.

This race boat with colorful spinnaker was heading into the bay-- doublehanded crew-- not sure if they were finishing the BAMA race or not, but if they were, they were well ahead of all the other small boats.

It seems unlikely that that small monohull could finish before this trimaran, which could easily attain much faster speeds.

A bit later, we spotted the J120 fleet re-entering the bay, the four lead boats all within a few hundred yards of each other after many miles of racing.

MISTER MAGOO was in the lead and sailing beautifully.

GRACE DANCES was in 4th place-- the boat that my friend Michael was crewing on for the race.

After the four J120s passed, we spotted the J105 leaders entering the bay.

TIBURON was one of the lead boats apparently.

SPARTAN passed us, looking good.

These two J105s were in hot competition as they headed for the finish.

One of my sailing mates, John Navas, had called me while we were out to say that had spoken to the french skipper of the French catamaran, GITANA 13, that recently set the record for sailing between NYC and SF, and was told that they were planning to sail out the gate about 17:00, weather permitting, but it was now only about 3:30 pm and there she was, already at the gate and preparing to head out to sail to Japan, trying to set another record. I was hoping we'd be at the gate before she showed up, but alas, we were a half mile or more away and had to settle for this not-so-good telephoto shot.

We were closing on the gate when we spotted some of the BAMA race fleet heading into the bay under colorful spinnakers. We came about to head downwind, douse jib and let the boats pass us by while we took photos.

The skies started to clear now, and eventually, we were in full sunshine, so all the scenery of the bay began to take on a more vivid beautiy as this race boat was entering the bay, headed for the finish line.

What a difference the late afternoon sunshine made on the vivid colors of this gold and black spinnaker....

... and this red, white and blue on, as these boats approached and passed us.

After the last of the BAMA race boats passed us-- at least the last that we could see, though there could have been stragglers still out there-- we headed for home port ourselves, and enjoyed the much more dramatic views of the city now in brilliant late afternoon sunshine.

We doused the jib as we sailed past pier 39, then doused main after passing the marina. We had been out on the bay for over 6 hours, watching all the great racing and taking several hundred photos. It was a spectacular afternoon of sailing!

Friday, March 28, 2008


This morning started with mostly sunny skies and a lovely westerly wind, so it was irresistible to go out for a morning sail.

We left port about 9:30 am with the flags indicating a breeze of about 5-7 knots.

We put out sails just outside the marina and headed out into the central bay, sailing northward at first and then coming about and heading down the cityfront toward the A-B span of the Bay Bridge, while behind us, Mt. Tam was towering over Alcatraz.

In the lee of the city, winds were light and we were mostly ghosting along against the light ebb current, enjoying views of the city's features, like Coit Tower here, basking in the mid-morning sunshine...

...and the financial district towers.

It was 10:45 am as we ghosted past the Ferry Building.

We watched as a small sailboat motored out of the south bay, and then headed into the wind and raised her main sail.

Off to starboard, a motorsailor sailboat motored past.

A Coast Guard helicopter flew quite low overhead.

As we approached the Bay Bridge, we were, as usual, disgusted about the Tour de Merde built next to the west end of the Bay Bridge.

After passing under the A-B span, we headed up and sailed toward the shore of the city, then tacked to the north, passing the new restaurant near the water's edge....

....and the bow and arrow sculpture.

A tug pushing a huge crane-carrying barge steamed past to starboard.

We sailed past the California Hornblower and San Francisco Belle tied up at their docks....

...and the pedestrian pier with a few people on the end of the pier...

..and the San Francisco Spirit and Pilot boats tied up at their piers.

When we entered the central bay, we discovered that the breeze had built
to about 15 knots so we were now blasting along on close reach port tack toward the lee side of Alcatraz, planning to sail past the island and then head back to home port.

Way in the distance, we saw a sailboat heading west, but initially couldn't tell who it was, and then as we started catching up, we saw that she was PRIVATEER, a charter ketch out of pier 39, and we continued chasing her, while this Coast Guard fast boat, blasted past to starboard, heading east.

We were at the mouth of Richardson Bay between Belvedere and Sausalito when we finally caught up to PRIVATEER, having closed a gap of a mile or more from the time we first spotted her.

here is a brief video of the final chase:

Eventually, we both tacked and headed toward home port, and Eric-- the skipper on PRIVATEER-- started raising her mizzen sail to try to match ANTICIPATION's speed.

Her increased canvas did give her greater speed, and Eric kept her on a course closer to the wind as a stronger point of sail, and we ended up a quarter of a mile apart, as we headed home on beam reach starboard tack.

As we headed home, this J105 race boat was headed toward the gate on close reach starboard tack.

This C&C sailboat approached from the north and passed astern, also heading toward the gate and looking good.

A Beneteau passed to port, heading for Sausalito.

As we crossed the bay, sailing just to the west of Alcatraz, the breeze continued to soften down to about 5 knots, perhaps due to the approaching weather system, so 007 was not heavily heeled over as she sailed westward on close reach port tack.

We turned on the engine as we approached pier 39, pulled in the jib after passing the marina and then turned into the wind to douse the main, tie it up and then prepare to land while motoring toward the marina entrance.
It was a great morning sail-- we went further than we planned