Wednesday, May 21, 2008
TUESDAY, 20 MAY 08 -- BLUSTERY SAIL TO SAUSALITO AND BACK
It was blowing 15-20 knots as we left port just as the noon warning siren test was happening.
We raised single reefed main and put out a postage stamp sized jib and headed out into the bay, sailing to the west on a southwest breeze with a strong flood current resisting our progress, as a container ship from China steams toward the port of Oakland -- symbol of our trade deficit.
As we entered the bay, we spotted ALMA sailing toward the cityfront, but by the time we were ready to take a shot, she had dropped her sails and was motoring along the cityfront toward her home port.
As we sailed to the WSW on the southwest breeze, the breeze started to shift more westerly, so we tacked toward the city for a while and then tacked away to the west again, leaving behind the city in a sunny haze.
As we sailed to the west, we spotted this sailboat crossing the bay from the north but a mile or so away from our position.
We continued westward until it was apparent that the flood current was resisting us to the point that we weren't going to be able to clear the buoy on the weather side of Alcatraz, so we tacked again to the south before once again tacking to the west, this time sailing past the buoy west of Alcatraz--sailing through a flock of cormorants and scaring them into flight.
Here's a video clip of the birds taking flight as we sail through their territory.
The wind was irregular and gusty at times, and our single port tack took us directly compass west toward Sausalito, and we eventually spotted this other sailboat coming out of Richardson Bay and heading southeast.
As we approached the mouth of Richardson Bay, the wind-- strill strong-- shifted more into the WNW so we tacked toward the gate and soon were in the area called Hurricane Gulch, which lived up to its name. The wind kept intensifying the further south we sailed, and after taking two huge blsts of spray into the cockpit, completely soaking us, we gave up on trying for shooting the gate, and fell off to head for home port, enjoying the view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the fog bank.
The fog bank frosting the Marin Headlands lended beauty to the scene.
We blasted to ward home port, sailing downwind on starboard tack broad reach, heading up at one point a bit to make sure that we cleared the buoy on the weather side of Alcatraz. As we approached pier 39, we spotted this Catalina heading west under full canvas.
We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails and ready for landing, and as we motored around the pier toward the marina entrance, we spotted that same Catalina, named Home Free, retreating from the stong bay winds.