Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Since we couldn't get into the fuel dock at Gas House Cove on Saturday because of the shallow water, we determined to leave port early enough to get over there before the tide became too low, and we headed out about 11:30 am.

A wonderful northerly wind was blowing as we exited the marina, and we were happy about that because it meant we could sail over to the fuel dock on a single tack and arrive there quickly.

As we headed out into the central bay, motoring into the teeth of the wind and the chop due to the fetch all the way to San Pablo Bay, north of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, we set sail and then tacked to head west, passing this lovely Catalina sailing eastward on the sun-sparkling bay waters.

A bit later, another lovely Catalina, a larger one, passed to starboard, looking good....

.. and the crew of GATO GORDO was enjoying the warm sunshine and good winds, sailing on port tack beam reach.

We were soon just outside the Ft. Mason pier and turned on the engine, doused sail and motored into Gas House Cove, only to have the attendant at the fuel dock come out as we approached and holler: "Sorry, we have a malfunction and can't pump any fuel today!" Great! So we head back out into the bay, and put out sail again and head west toward the gate.

Soon LA VIE EN ROSE passed to port, looking good.

The breeze softened as we got closer and closer to the gate, and the ebb current was waxing stronger, so we approached the gate, watching some other sailboats heading out near the north tower, but then tacked and headed back to the northeast to avoid the possiblility of getting trapped outside the gate by the current, or having to motor against the current to get back inside.

Off to port another Catalina was heading east and looking good, making good headway against the ebb current, with Angel Island in the background...

... and a large crew enjoying the sailing conditions.

We were headed over to the race course north of Treasure Island, still not understanding why the St Francis YC race committee wouldn't set the course along the cityfront as they usually do, and we enjoyed the view of sailboats over by sunny Sausalito with Mt. Tam towering above her.

A number of sailboats were also sailing past the shore of Angel Island on this brilliant sunny afternoon.

ADVENTURE CAT 2 was taking advantage of the northerly breeze and, after passing the shore of Alcatraz, she was headed straight for the gate on starboard tack.

Behind us, a sailboat with a tanbark main sail, but flying a white spinnaker was enjoying a downwind sail to the east.

A lovely ketch was sailing past the southern shore of Angel Island as we passed the island and arrived in the choppy waters where the long fetch out of the north was active.

A lovely, large Beneteau was headed for the Bay Bridge as we approached the north end of Treasure Island where we could see the race boats in the distance.

The larger one-design boats has already finished their last downwind leg apparently, since they then disappeared from the course, but we spotted the J105 fleet heading toward the windward mark after what was probably the start of their last race of the day.

The whole fleet was beating against the wind and the chop toward the windward mark and we followed them, but stayed well off the course.

We were still well south of the windward mark as the lead boats in the fleet were rounding the mark...

....and setting spinnakers to fly downwind toward the leeward mark, most of the boats immediately heading downwind on port tack.

The CAL MARITIME boat here set its spinnaker while still on starboard tack and headed away from the fleet for a while, then gybed to head for the leeward mark on port tack, hollering at us to get out of their way and then passing to port, looking great and speeding along.

Later, a well-bunched group of boats in the fleet passed.

A short time later, the leades were rounding the leeward mark to head back upwind to the windward mark again, while other boat approaching the mark were dousing spinnakers and preparing to round the mark

One of the boats in the fleet got into a broaching situation, loss of control of the boat and being pulled into the wind.

The boats looked great as they headed back upwind, and I decided we had enough photos and headed down the east shore of Treasure Island.

About half-way down the shore, I spotted a couple of Lasers out on the choppy waters where usually there is a calm lee shore when the wind is weasterly, like this one whose stern is hidden by a wave.

Eventually, both of the Lasers headed into the cove sailing toward the small TI marina.

A large center-cockpit ketch was anchored on the north end of the cove, and the crew seemed to be tying up the main sail.

As we entered the south bay waters, we were happy to see that both the HAWAIIAN CHIEFTAN and the LADY WASHINGTON-- two tall ships from up in Washington State, were how here for their annual visit to the bay, and here the CHIEFTAN is in the process of setting sail.

We rounded Yerba Buena Island and, as always, enjoyed the view of the lighthouse on the southern point of the island with the lovely Cape Cod style house behind.

The LADY WASHINGTON has motored under the Bay Bridge and was just beginning to set sail as we sailed parallel to the bridge, hoping to catch up the the CHIEFTAN.

A bit later, the LADY WASHINGTON was comeing our way, heading east while setting sails....

...and looking good as she sailed past the shore of YBI with main sail still furled.

The HAWAIIAN CHIEFTAN, flying almost full-canvas-- one square sail still not set-- changed course and headed back eastward, probably to rendezvous with the LADY WASHINGTON and engage her ins a mock sea battle, as is their usual practice to entertain the paid passengers.

We were slightly tempted to head that same way to watch, but decided to continue on our course through the Bay Bridge, hoping to sail all the way to Sausalito to see the large yacht that Olivier said he had seen there on Saturday, and eventually we spotted the race boat JAZZ headed our way under spinnaker.

Off to starboard, this dark hulled sailboat, a Jeanneau, I believe, was headed east and looking good.

Our single starboard tack, close reach took us in front of pier 33, but we then had to tack out to the northeast a bit before tacking to the west again, and then headed toward Sausalito, enjoying the views of the sun-drenched city behind us, and this sailboat probably headed for home port.

Off to starboard, the charter sloop RUBY, flying main only, was ghosting past the lee shore of Alcatraz with a few passengers aboard enjoying the mid-afternoon sunshine.

A bit later, we spotted this large and lovely cutter rigged sailboat blasting eastward under full canvas and looking great!

We eventually spotted ADVENTURE CAT 2 headed home and sailing past Aquatic Park, as we continued heading west and sailing past Alcatraz.

The winds in the north half of the bay were softer and we didn't want to risk getting too far from home port and having to motor home if the wind died, so we came about and headed back to the east toward home port, eventually spotting this small 420 heading southweast.

A bit later, PAGAN BABY blasted past us, looking great!

The city was still enjoying late afternoon sunshine as we approached home port.

We doused sail after passing the marina, and then motored toward the entrance, watching as GO DOG GO, a small Santana with no engine was trying to sail out of marina-- the boat that we towed back into port from opposite the Ferry Building a couple of weeks ago. I hollered to Damien, the skipper, that he was going to have a hard time beating against that northerly breeze, the lumpy seas and the flood current to get out into the bay, and I think he decided to abort and try to make it back to his end tie on C dock-- which would also have been a challenge.

Our 5 hours or so on the bay was a full-pleasure experience, and after landing, we were able to enjoy it again through all the hundreds of photos that we took while out there.

No comments: