Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Michael and Corinna, his J-boat racing friend, joined us around noon for our afternoon outing.

When we headed out of port, the winds were blowing hard already, as they had pretty much all night and all morning, probably around 20 knots with probability of getting stronger. That funny looking barge/boat down in the lower left of the photo was just outside the marina entrance doing something that we couldn't figure out-- it had been around between the marina seawall and pier 35 all day. It blocked us from raising the main until we passed her and were further north, where we raised single-reefed main.

We headed out into the bay and then came about and headed down the cityfront, sailing main only while the crew ate their lunch, and passing the huge Norwegian Cruise Line ship tied up at pier 35.

Winds were highly variable as we sailed down the cityfront, some quiet areas, some very gusty areas, and the city was enjoying the brilliant sunshine of the early afternoon.

We sailed under the A-B span of the Bay Bridge and continued on to the southeast until the crew was about finished with lunch, then came about and headed north, pulling out a small bit of jib for balance, and eventually blasting across the central bay in strong winds, watching as this large tall ship headed our way from the east side of Angel Island.

I took this video clip of this magnificent vessel as she approached us, having, as some say: 'a bone in her teeth,' doing perhaps as much as 10 knots downwind-- LOOKING GREAT!

Look at the bow wake she is creating as she shoots past us. This is the tops'l schooner, the LYNX. She is visiting California from out east and will be here on the Bay for a few days now and then back for the Master Mariner's Regatta later next month, visiting other ports in the meanwhile. You
can find more details about her at this website:

We had good winds most of the way past Angel Island, a bit softer than the winds during the crossing, and eventually we headed up toward Raccoon Straits, but the wind shifted more into the WNW so we couldn't head directly toward the east mouth of the straits, as clouds drifted over the island and points north.

Eventually this small sailboat out of Raccoon Straits passed in front of us, heading toward Richmond and enjoying a downwind sail.

We had to beat our way through crazy, shifty winds-- changing in direction and velocity-- at one point pulling out the jib to full when we were in a large wind hole, then having to reef it again when we encountered much stronger winds approaching the Island, but finally managing to beat our way into the straits and past Ayala Cove....

...where one lonely sailboat was tied up at the buoy field.

Winds in the straits were crazy, flukey also, and the current there was starting to flood, so it was a challenge to find a good course to stay in the wind such as it was and make progress, while this sailboat just off the marina at the Coninthian YC, was putting out some of her jib in good winds.

She made good progress down the shore of Belevedere as we continued to struggle to leave the straits behind, finally sailing past the northwest point of the island and able to fall off a bit to head down the weather shore.

Winds were strong and a bit gusty at times all the way across the central bay, but we were able to sail downwind and point high enough to sail past the weather side of Alcatraz Island. Fortunately, the flood current was not too strong yet, so we weren't getting set to the east very much.

Southeast of Alcatraz, a container ship was just ghosting eastward, right in out path, so we had to decide whether to try to race around in front of her [as it turned out, we probably could have done that], or head up and go behind her, which was the safer course in case she sped up in the meanwhile. While we were passing astern of the ship, her props were churning up the water, but then stopped, and a tug that steamed past us came about and was cozying up to the stern of the ship-- something we had never witnessed before. Don't know whether the tug was planning to push the ship or not????

The flags on the end of pier 39 were pegged out in the 20-25 knot breeze as we passed, and the wind seemed still to be freshening.

We sailed past the cruise ship still docked at pier 35, pulling in the jib, and then turning into the wind in the lee of the ship to douse the main, motoring against the flood current as we doused and tied up the main, then motoring around the cruise ship while tying on fenders, bucking the now much stronger winds and the current both until we could turn the corner around pier 35 to head for the marina entrance. Even at the entrance to the marina there was a strong wind blowing, requiring us to maintain a healthy speed as we motored in-- very unusual conditions. When we turned into our fairway, winds were strong at the east end there also, and I was glad we didn't have to dock in such winds, but where things were more calm in the lee of the pier.

We were out there for over four hours, enjoying the fresh air and breezes, and battling the crazier than usual winds in some areas of our course. Our 16th outing of the month was an enjoyable one-- I was glad that the winds were not as vicious and crazy as they had been a week ago the previous saturday.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Reid joined us for the first time on ANTICIPATION [thanks to].

We left port about 2pm, raising single reefed main and putting out double reefed jib before heaing out into the bay and sailing to the west-- the flags on the end of pier 39 flapping in a breeze of about 20 knots.

The race boat ENERGY was heading downwind, passing in front of us, and looking good!

Over in the northeast, some distance away, a lovely schooner was also sailing westward on the strong breeze.

As we began to approach Alcatraz, we spotted a kitesurfer heading for the cityfront just south of the island-- very unusual to see kite surfers this far east on the bay.

After approaching Alcatraz, we tacked toward the lee of pier 45, and after passing the east pier 39 marina seawall, we tacked to the west again, soon being fairly close to this center cockpit cutter-rigged sailboat-- one that we have seen on the bay before and wondered why anyone would want to sail with such an enclosed cockpit and not feel the great breeze on your body.

This sailboat passed to starboard, heading downwind and looking good!

PRIVATEER was heading home and looking good!

The wind kept freshening and soon it was blowing about 25 knots, and I was tired of fighting it after being out on the bay for a long time the day before, so we fell off the wind to sail toward Raccoon Straits, and also watching this gorgeous schooner heading across the bay on starboard tack and looking GREAT!

We had strong winds until we were about half-way up the weather shore of Angel Island, passing ANTIDOTE as she sailed southeastward past the island.

Off to port, a Ranger 26 was passing us and looking really bad, with major wrinkles in the luff of her jib and sailing with too much canvas so that the rail and the foot of the jib are in the water.

As we continued sailing toward the west mouth of Raccoon Straits, this smaller sailboat passed to starboard looking good with a large crew aboard. Wonder how they fared when they arrived in the much stronger winds further south.

A kayak with two people paddling also passed to starboard.

Off to port, this sailboat was heading southward and looking real good!

Ahead of us, these two sailboats were tacking through the straits and passing the Corinthian Yacht Club.

When we arrived in the west mouth of the straits, we found ourselves in an area with very light breeze, so we were ghosting along, as was this lovely Catalina-- looking good in her ghosting state.

Down in the northeast end of the straits, a number of sailboats were attempting to make progress to the southwest in light winds and with flood current resisting them.

This Islander was attempting to ghost out of the wind hole...

... as was this Catalina...

... and this Valiant.

This lovely Beneteau was ghosting toward the mouth of the straits with some flood current assist.

Further to the south, Charisma, a small Santana was making some good headway in a good breeze.

Behind us, a lovely sailboat was heading down the straits-- she seemed like she was a Hans Christian boat, but could be wrong about that.

A beautiful yawl named GOLANI was making headway up the straits before encountering the wind hole that slowed her down.

We eventually managed to sail out of the wind hole and got into some good winds just south of the mouth of Richardson Bay, and were then making some good headway to the west, along with GOLANI, who was looking GREAT! with a happy crew aboard.

Off to starboard a couple of small sailboats were in Richardson Bay-- one of them trying to sail eastward in the light breeze.

Mt. Tam was towering over Richardson Bay, and looking splendid!

With some judicious tacking, we managed to stay in the breeze and make headway toward the shore of Sausalito, watching this Cal 34 heading south along the shore.

We tacked to the southeast after approaching Sausalito, and soon arrived in a large windhole which kept us prisoner for a half hour or so before we managed to sail/drift out of the hole and pick up a good breeze. The breeze was still strong in the central bay, and we were over-canvassed with full jib and reefed main, so we had to fall off and reef the jib down to a small size before continuing on toward home port.

Initially, we sailed too far off the wind and had to head up to try to sail past the weather side buoy west of Alcatraz, but the flood current added to our slide slip in the strong wind made it impossible to clear the buoy, so we had to tack back to the west for a bit before tacking again to the east, managing this time to clear the buoy and continue on toward home port.

As we sailed toward home, this ketch flying jibs and mizzen sails was stuggling to tack and get sails trimmed and seemed to be in a bit of trouble getting off the wind and picking up speed.

She eventually tacked back to the west again, making a beautiful picture with Alcatraz in the background enjoying the strong late afternoon sunshine.

We sailed past the cruise ship still tied up at pier 35, pulling in the reefed jib and then coming into the wind to drop the main sail. After tying up the main, we began motoring toward home port around pier 35, readying the boat for landing as we motored along. We motored into port and landed fine, having enjoyed a few hours on the bay, even if the winds were a bit too strong for comfort.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Michael and Vincent joined us about noon for our afternoon's attempt at a three bridge kiss, and we headed out about 12:30.

Flags on land were quite limp, but a moderate breeze was already blowing on the bay, so after exiting the marina, we raised full main and pulled out full jib and headed west on the southwest breeze.

We immediately noticed that quite a few boats were already out on the bay, like this Catalina heading downwind....

...and this one heading upwind behind us.

We sailed to the west for a while and then tacked into the lee of pier 45 to give the people on pier 39 a photo op, than tacked away to the west again-- the city behind us enjoying the brilliant warm sunshine.

The wind now started to freshen dramatically and we were soon overpowered with full canvas, so came about and fell off to dead downwind to reef the jib, and then came about and headed west again, watching this lovely schooner heading east and closer to the SF shore.

Behind us, this lovely cutter-rigged, center-cockpit sailboat was crossing the bay and looking good!

PRIVATEER was also crossing the bay behind us, heading for home port.

Way way behind us, we spotted the charter sloop RUBY heading westward.

As we continued to blast westward, we spotted this race boat re-entering the bay under beautiful spinnaker.

We fell off a bit to give right of way to the very large sailboat heading across the bay on starboard tack and looking GREAT!

The Golden Gate Bridge was standing proudly above the sun-sparkled waters of the bay as we continued sailing toward Yellow Bluff.

We tacked as we approached Yellow Bluff and sailed southeastward, passing in front of this lovely small Catalina heading toward Horseshoe Cove on port tack.

Way off to port, our old pal ADVENTURE CAT 2 was sailing downwind, heading back to home port.

We saw many large flocks of cormorants during our outing, like this one heading for the gate, further off the water than usual, and against the backdrop of the Marin Headlands.

We eventually tacked toward Horseshoe Cove, sailed past the marina in the cove and then tacked to sail parallel to the gate, watching this race boat returning to the bay under spinnaker.

Winds near the gate were much softer than further inside the bay, so we sailed partway across the gate with the flood current pushing us away, and then tacked to head out the gate, accomapanied by this small sailboat.

We just ducked out the gate between midspan and the north tower, then came about and headed back inside.

We pulled out the jib to full for our downwind sailing, then gybed the main to head northward toward Raccoon Straits, eventually gybing again to head into stronger winds away from the headlands, sailing northeasterly and watching as this lovely cutter-rigged sailboat was crossing the bay toward us.

We passed astern of this lovely ketch headed for Sausalito.

This small sailboat passed to port, looking good!

Eventually, we did a chicken gybe to head toward the west mouth of Raccoon Straits, and a bit later this single-hander passed us to port, looking good with full canvas flying, large jib [a 120 probably] and rail in the water.

As we approached Raccoon Straits, STREKER passed in front of us, heading south with the crew on the rail.

Off ot port, a lone kayaker was heading across the mouth of the straits.

We sailed northwest until we were apporaching the shore of Tiburon and watched as this single-handed race boat passed in front of us before we gybed to head down the straits on starboard tack broad reach.

Several other raceboats were beating westerly up the straits, like GAMMON here.

CALABEA passed us to starboard, looking good.

As we passed Ayala Cove---being on the north side of the straits, we spotted a small sailboat heading up the straits on port tack, and a very large sailboat passing the cove and preparing to tack

Soon this lovely dark-hulled sailboat passed to starboard, looking good!

Off to port, this small race boat passed us heading upwind.

As we reached the east mouth of the straits, we spotted this lovely ketch heading into the straits, flying full canvas and looking GREAT!

Off to port, this smaller sailboat was blasting into the mouth of the straits, also looking GREAT!

As was this sailboat enjoying the good breeze with her rail in the water.

After exiting the straits, we gybed and headed for the Richmond-San Rafael bridge in much softer winds- much of the time just ghosting along, helped by a bit of flood current, and eventually being approached by this sailboat heading southeast.

Eventually, a land breeze out of the east filled in and we were able to ghost under the bridge and then come about and head back south again, eventually becomming bacalmed about a half mile north of the west mouth of Raccoon Straits, along with the lovely ketch.

Since we were becalmed and there was still a slight flood current, we were moving backwards slowly with the current and had to turn on the engine to motor into the breeze again so we could sail into Raccoon Straits again where we spotted this lovely ketch sailing into the straits from the east.

Three nice sailboats were anchored in the cove on the northeast side of the Angel Island.

We sailed toward the shore of Angel Island on a southerly breeze and then headed up to sail to the southwest on a westerly breeze, finally having to tack back to the north with a wind shift into the west again, with Ayala Cove behind us still full of boats at the buoy field, but emptying out at the docks of the small marina.

After sailing across the straits we again tacked to sail to the south and sailed past the marina at the Corinthian Yacht Club where many of the sailboats were bedecked with flags in celebration of the so-called "Opening Day on the Bay" on the following day.

Once we left the west mouth of the straits, we arrived in very shifty and flukey winds and had to tack around to find some consistent breeze, finally heading southeast on a southerly breeze and heading for the lee side of Alcatraz, watching as our old pal, ADVENTURE CAT 2, headed out for her sunset sail.

ADVENTURE CAT was also headed out for a sunset sail... was PRIVATEER, the charter ketch out of pier 39.

The city was enjoying the early evening sunshine as we sailed past Alcatraz on winds that were gradually softening.

Behind us, the sun was beginning to set over the Marin Headlands.

Ahead of us, the Bay Bridge was in partial sun and part shadow of the financial district buildings.

Some sailboats from the single-handed Farallons race were returning to the bay under spinnaker as the sun was setting.

As we continued sailing toward the Bay Bridge, attempting to complete the three bridge kiss, the sun was setting behind the headlands....

...leaving us with a brilliant sunset.

We eventually gave up on sailing to the Bay Bridge as we could see that there was no breeze further south and east, so we headed up to sail toward the shore of the city, then tacked to sail to the west, before finally tacking into the lee of pier 35 to douse the sails and ready the boat for landing.

We then motored around pier 35 and toward the marina entrance, enjoying the brilliant and vivid sunset color over pier 39.

As we motored down the fairway toward our slip, the sunset color in the west still persisted, putting a nice cap on a delightful 7 plus hours on the bay.

After docking and saying goodbye to Michael, we were joined by Olivier for some wine and cheese and crackers and good conversation before all three of us headed over to North Beach for a pizza dinner and more good conversation.