Monday, May 5, 2008


Saturday morning started out with no breeze blowing, then a northeasterly breeze came up and finally switched to a light westerly about 10:30 am. We headed out about 11 am, planning to head north to watch the start and some of the spinnaker run of the Vallejo race.

Flags were showing the very light breeze as we left port.

We raised single-reefed main and put out full jib and headed north, soon being passed by TUTU, a p39 neighbor boat motorsailing northward.

As we ghosted northward in very light winds out of the west, the schooner owned by the CALL OF THE SEA organization passed, heading southeast.

An Ericson 35 passed to starboard, also heading southeast.

As we passed Alcatraz, the breeze started to freshen quite suddenly and soon we were making good headway toward the race course, now noting that the race had started with the largest boats starting first, like the two large Beneteau boats at the back of the pack here in this photo.

You can see over 300 photos of the race boats on my photo album website:

After we passed the windward mark, looking back we could see the next group of boats rounding the mark and heading our way. As you can see, the wind has freshened nicely and the boats are well heeled-over.

A short time later, we spotted pier 39 neighbor boat ZSA ZSA, a 1D35, passing to starboard in traffic.

Overhead, the BOATPIX copter was zooming around, taking photos of the race boats.

ZSA ZSA was blasting to the northwest on a close reach, looking good.

When ZSA ZSA approached the east mouth of Raccoon Straits, she fell off the wind a bit and set her spinnaker.

After setting the spinnaker, she was blasting northward on a beam reach course, still looking good!

Meanwhile, off to starboard, SERENDIPITY II was in the process of setting her spinnaker, as were the neighboring boats.

On our port side, the schooner seen earlier heading southeast was now heading north and looking good!

Soon a bunch of the race boats in one of the fleets was passing us, all now flying spinnakers, but not going too much faster than we were since the winds were quite light in the lee of Angel Island.

Ahead of us, all the race boats were flying spinnakers and either headed for the Richmond-San Rafael bridge or already past it.

As we continued northward, RUM TUM TUGGER passed to port, looking good!!!

Off to starboard, this Melges 24 was blasting past us under spinnaker and also looking good-- the crew looking pretty relaxed, especially the woman leaning against the mast on the foredeck.

Many beautiful boats passed us as we ghosted northward, including ZEPHYR here, a J 109 with one of my friends aboard as crew.

Later we watched as this race boat approached with a crew all wearing matching outfits and caps-- a quite unusual sight on Bay Area race boats with amateur crew.

We continued northward and behind us another fleet of boats were approaching flying their colorful kites.

As we sailed past a large barge anchored in the north bay waters, a couple of race boats were creeping up on us and soon passed to starboard.

These three boats were heading straight for us, so we fell off to make sure to be well out of their way.

Sometime later, we heard a large blast on a horn and turned around to see this tanker heading our way. I was concerned that she might be heading for the Richmond Long Wharf and planning to turn right in front of the fleet of race boats, but she was heading for the Richmond-San-Rafael bridge-- which was a relief, since she would be avoiding the racing fleet, and we were well out of her way already.

Ahead of us, most of the fleet had already passed under the bridge and were headed north, passing to the east of the island in San Pablo Bay that has the bed and breakfast inn on it.

As we were passing well to the west of Red Rock, these two race boats were passing it, but much closer to its shore.

Behind us, another of the fleets is approaching with beautiful kites flying.

We sailed under the bridge and were joined by several raceboats before we came about and headed back under the bridge.

The yawl Golani passed us when we were south of the bridge again-- not sure if she was part of the race or not. You may remember that this is the same yawl that we encountered several days ago as we were sailing between Raccoon Straits and Sausalito.

Here a mixed bag of one large and two much smaller race boats was seen heading for the bridge.

A bit later, we spotted the Islander 36 fleet headed our way, the boat with the blue and gold spinnaker being our neighbor boat LUNA SEA, here sailing on port tack.

As she was passing Red Rock, she was preparing to gybe onto starboard tack as the wind here was out of the souttheast.

As we beat to the south against the wind with a bit of ebb current assist,
we began to encounter some multihulls, like this one....

.... and some very small sailboats, like CRAZY JANE here.

We had good winds all the way to the mouth of Raccoon Straits and a couple of beats took us through the straits, followed by beating toward the gate in strong winds on the central bay-- happy that we had reefed the jib down to a postage stamp size in case of encountering these much stronger winds.

The sea state at the gate was very rough-- large wind waves on top of large swells, and gusty winds. We had tacked into the area just outside Horseshoe Cove where the winds were light and then tacked to sail parallel to the gate, soon arriving in really heavy winds and seas propagaing out of the south, so we tacked to head out the gate on port tack, just ducking out a short ways before coming about and heading back inside on a broad reach starboard tack.

Inside the bay again, we had great winds and watched sailboarders, like this one, and kiteboarders flying over the waters of the bay in the winds of about 25 knots.

We had great winds all the way past home port and some decent winds as we sailed toward the A-B span of the Bay Bridge, making good time until we were about 200 yards from the bridge when we encountered a wind hole and wondered if we would be able to complete our 3 bridge kiss. The breeze finally fille din a bit and we were able to sail under the A-B span and then come about and head back to home port, mostly in light winds until we reached the central bay.

We found some lee area east of the cruise ship tied up still at pier 35 where we could douse sails without fighting the strong wind. After dousing sail and readying ANTICIPATION for landing, we motored around the cruise ship and pier 35, and motored into port

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