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: http://www.privateerlynx.com/index.html
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.