Mike, a new sailing mate [thanks to sfsailing.com] joined us at 1 pm for our afternoon outing.
We headed out of port with a moderate westerly wind blowing-- a shift from the northwesterly wind that was blowing all morning. We raised full main and headed out toward the bay, pulling out the jib to full.
As we headed west on the southwest breeze with the flood current pushing us northward, we saw that we had some company out there, like this sailboat off starboard, also heading west.....
....and this Catalina heading east.
After sailing out the west for a ways, we tacked back toward the lee of pier 45, noticing that the flags on the end of pier 39 were fluttering moderately in the nice full canvas breeze.
After approaching pier 45, we tacked to the west again with Mike enjoying his time at the helm and the city receding behind us enjoying the brilliant sunshine.
We sailed past the south side of Alcatraz, which was also enjoying the clear air and brilliant sunshine, with the southern cliffs of the island being more and more whitewashed with bird guana.
As we sailed to the west with the breeze freshening, this lovely sailboat was crossing the bay behind us and looking great!
As we sailed along to the west, we spotted the ALMA heading westward closer to the shore of the city, and tacked over to rendezvous with her.
After passing astern of the ALMA, we tacked to follow her, and this lovely Islander that we later learned was named SEA VILLA passed astern of us, heading across the bay and looking good!
As we were pulling even with ALMA, we took this video of her sailing along with the charter schooner GASLIGHT out of Sausalito approaching from the west.
The GASLIGHT tacked to follow the ALMA to the west, with another sailboat further to the north also heading in the same direction.
Behind us, the trimaran DEFIANCE was blasting across the bay with full main and staysail flying. Note the other schooner in the distance heading east.
We were well-past the ALMA and the GASLIGHT, heading for Sausalito, after easing out the sails to sail on beam reach because the winds had freshened up to well over 10 knots and we would have been overpowered on a close reach course, while behind us the ALMA and the GASLIGHT were tacking to head back across the bay.
As we blasted toward Sausalito, this lovely sailboat passed in front of us, heading south and looking good!
As we approached the Sausalito lee shore, we arrived in lighter winds and reefed the main before heading back down the shoreline toward the gate-- Sausalito clearly was enjoying the nice mid-afternoon sunshine.
We also reefed the jib as we were sailing along in the light breeze in that area, and then continued southeasterly, eventually encountering that same Islander SEA VILLA, now heading for Horseshoe Cove and crossing in front of us....
...then sailing away, looking good!
As we sailed across the bay with freshening winds, but softer than the earlier ones that encouraged our reefing action, we noted that DEFIANCE was now shooting the gate.
As we sailed across the gate, and were being pushed eastward by the flood current, we spotted a smoke flare on the water near the GGB-- usually indicating a suicide jumper-- and the Coast Guard helicopter, and some CG boats doing a search pattern to locate the body. We turned on the VHF radio and heard a Coast Guard confirmation of a 'person in the water'-- the way they announce a jumper.
We sailed all the way across the bay, and watching as this lovely sailboat headed for the gate on starboard tack-- also looking pretty good, though the top of her jib was shuddering a bit and so not perfectly trimmed.
She later tacked toward the gate on starboard tack.
We sailed to a point about a quarter mile from shore and then tacked toward the gate, enjoying our view of the GGB as we approached the gate where a softer breeze had us just ghosting against the flood current.
Another lovely, dark-hulled sailboat was passing Horseshoe Cove and Fort Baker behind the cove, and looking good!
That lovely Cal sailboat spotted earlier, was making her final tack to shoot the gate just inside the south tower as we approached the gate near midspan.
That dark-hulled sailboat, flying full canvas and fighting less current near the north tower, beat us out the gate and was sailing along the shore of the Marin Headlands where rocky cliffs rise steeply from the water between the gate and Kirby Cove.
As we sailed out the gate, the trimaran DEFIANCE was heading back inside....
... and Mike was at the helm and happy to be shooting the gate for the first time.
Since we had light winds outside the gate, we shook the reef out of the main and then came about and headed back toward the gate, pulling the jib out to full for max downwind power-- so now we were really looking good out there also!
As we ghosted toward home port in the light winds near the gate, we spotted this sailboat closer to the shore beating toward the gate in stronger winds.
Eventually the breeze freshened when we were about a half mile inside the gate, and we spotted this nice looking small sailboat heading toward the west, but not looking very good with so many wrinkles in the luff of her jib in addition to poor jib trim.
Once the wind freshened, we were blasting toward home port with some flood current assist, and eventually we spotted this nice race boat heading our way and looking good! But we didn't spot the whale that was reported to be southeast of Alcatraz and heading west.
That race boat, named SPECIAL EDITION, fell off to head after us and we were hailed by John, who has sailed with us a few times. He said they were out practicing for the ocean race on Saturday, and we told him about the whale report.
We sailed past the pier 39 marina and then furled the jib before heading back toward Alcatraz, sailing main only and hoping to spot the whale, but seeing no sign of it. So we eventually came about again and headed back, sailing into the lee of pier 35 to douse the main, and prepare for landing before motoring around the pier and into the marina. We were filled with the great pleasure of spending 4 wonderful hours on our lovely bay!