Sunday, May 25, 2008


Saturday morning began with a thick wet blanket of fog covering the city and the bay. A light drizzle fell from time to time-- very unusual weather for the month of may in San Francisco.

We headed out for an afternoon sail around 3:30 pm, and as we left port, the wind was blowing only about 10 knots or so. Still, anticipating that the wind might freshen dramatically, we raised a single-reefed main, but put out a full jib as we headed out into the bay, sailing toward the gate on the southerly breeze.

This lovely large sailboat was sailing past the end of pier 39 as we sailed along on flood flattened bay waters.

The flags on the end of pier 39 were fluttering moderately in the 10 knot breeze.

This nice Catalina was heading north away from the city.

This smaller sailboat was headed east and passed to starboard.

Behind us, this older wooden boat with a huge main sail and tiny jib was sailing westward on our same course. She may have been earlier participating in the Master Mariners Regatta.

PRIVATEER had motored out of port just ahead of us and she was heading northwest toward Angel Island with quite a few passengers aboard.

The city was enjoying cloudy bright skies as we sailed westward-- the breeze having shifted more into the southwest away from the shore.

Ahead of us, one sailboat was crossing the bay on a southeast heading, while the smaller sailboat was heading toward the gate. The more moderate winds had brought out more sailboats than when the winds are howling in the 25-35 knot range as they have been on most weekends. Nice to see.

Northeast of Alcatraz, we spotted this traditional yawl heading east under full canvas and flying a kite. She may have been in the Master Mariners Regatta also.

As we sailed past the southern shore of Alcatraz, we spotted a huge flock of hundreds of cormorants resting on the bay waters-- most of them far enough away that we weren't scaring them into taking flight.

But a short time later, a motor yacht headed their way and they all took flight at once. Each year there seem to be more and more of these birds on the bay.

This lovely ketch passed to starboard as we sailed past the southern shore of Alcatraz.

A short time later, we spotted that small traditional sailboat sailing toward the cityfront, probably heading for home port.

As we continued sailing westward, this sailboat passed, heading back from the gate.

As the wind kept shifting more westward, we decided to tack toward the cityfront to see if the wind was more southerly there still, and sure enough it was, and that traditional small race boat was now sailing along the shore, heading into the San Francisco marina.

This large sailboat was sailing along near the seawall of Gas House Cove and, with a large crew aboard wearing foulies, I suspected it might be a boar returning from the SPINNAKER CUP race of the previous day-- one that didn't finish the race, but may have ducked into in intermediate port, like Half Moon Bay or Santa Cruz, for the night.

Our old pal, ADVENTURE CAT 2 was heading home after taking her passengers out the gate.

This sailboat, named HEISTAFEW, was heading home from the gate as well.

As we approached a point opposite the St. Francis YC, we spotted these dingy sailors having a good time in the moderate winds on the bay.

Off to starboard, ELISE was heading east, blasting along under her colorful spinnaker.

Meanwhile, off to port, TRANQUILITY was heading east and seemed to have noone at the helm as she passed.

Closer to shore, these two lovely sailboats were heading home after spending some time outside the gate.

This nice looking Beneteau was also heading home-- notice how many photos have been having cormorants show up in them lately. This is a relatively new phenomena.

Over near the shore, just east of Ft. Point, we spotted this 29er, a small and fast high-tech race boat, practicing in the moderate winds, and she eventually actually sailed outside the gate-- not something she would have done in the strong winds and seas that we have been having on most weekends.

Winds shifted more into the west again as we sailed toward Horseshoe Cove, so we again tacked toward the cityfront and eventually made a rendezvous with this man and his Laser dingy racer all alone on the bay and, presumably, enjoying the light winds and his solitude. I wondered if he might be Olivier's friend that we have previously seen out on the bay in his Laser.

We sailed past Blackaller Buoy before tacking to head for the gate.

The nice sailboat, a Beneteau I think, passed to starboard, looking good.

As we approached the gate, we spotted that 29er race boat, heading back inside flying her spinnaker, but not moving very fast in the light breezes at the gate. Note the pelican floating on the water. Hope we see more and more of them as spring merges into summer.

This large cutter-rigged sailboat-- perhaps a motorsailor-- was just returning to the bay as we were heading out the gate.

Ahead of us, this smaller sailboat had already managed to shoot the gate and was heading southward in the light ocean breeze.

We shot the gate about midspan and enjoyed the views of our magnificent bridge and the rugged Marin Headland cliffs just outside the north tower.

Another small sailboat was also outside the gate and enjoying the moderate breezes.

We just sailed out a short ways and then came about and headed back inside, sailing initially to the southeast on the somewhat westerly breeze and hoping that the breeze would shift more southerly as we got closer to shore-- and sure enough it did so we could point directly toward home port. The wind shifted direction and freshened, so we made great time heading for home port while enjoying the views of the city, now in some hazy sunshine.

Looking back, as we often do to check for freighter traffic, we were surprised to see a massive, dark and menacing-looking fog bank over the headlands.

This lovely traditional sailboat, a Folkboat perhaps, was crossing the bay and passed astern of us.

Along the southern shore of Alcatraz, we spotted this boat heading west and barely heeled over, so probably a heavy displacement boat.

This lighter displacement boat was nicely heeled over as she sailed past the southern shore of the island.

Skies were now partly cloudy and the city was basking in sunshien as we approached home port.

The breeze was moderate so we pulled in the jib as we were sailing past the end of pier 39, and then we came into the wind to douse the main after passing the marina-- staying in that area while readying the boat for landing. As we motored toward the marina entrance, we spotted this neighbor sailboat-- a traditional wooden boat that needs some TLC-- heading home with her spinnkaer horribly twisted around her forestay. She may have been participating in the Master Mariners Regatta also.

We motored into the marina and landed and tied up, and then walked down the dock to watch them working on untwisting the spinnaker, and having great difficulty. They borrowed a neighbor's bosun chair and were about to go up the mast to work on undoing the top and untwisting from up there. I left as they were starting to hoint the young man because there was a terrible fuel smell in the area, and I actually spotted a hose sticking out one of the ports on the starboard side of the boat and spewing diesel out of the bilge-- a terrible violation of clean water laws for which they could be heavily fined.

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