Monday, June 9, 2008
\SATURDAY, 7 JUNE 08 -- SAILING TO THE GATE IN BLUSTERY WINDS AND LUMPY SEAS-- RETURNING IN SOFTENING WINDS AT SUNDOWN
We left port about 7 pm for a sunset sail with winds blowing about 15-20 knots, the buildings on shore being part of a Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Exhibition.
We raised single-reefed main and put out double reefed jib and headed out into the central bay as this lovely smaller sailboat blasted eastward with full canvas flying.
This heavily reefed sailboat was sailing between pier 45 and pier 39.
Pier 39 flags were fluttering smartly in the 20 knot southwesterly breeze as we blasted past heading west.
The city was enjoying brilliant evening sunshine and clear air-- making the buildings stand out vividly.
A catamaran flying jib only passed to port as we continued westward, eventually sailing over Alcatraz shoal where sharp wind waves forced us to fall off the wind somewhat to avoid the bow banging down on the backsides of the waves and gave us blasts of spray over the foredeck almost continuously.
As we continued blasting westward, making fast headway in good winds with some ebb current assist, this small sailboat was crossing the bay ahead of us, heading for the cityfront.
We had been keeping a close eye on a tug and petroleum barge headed for the gate north of Alcatraz, but the tug was going slower than we were-- unexpectedly-- and so we were able to cross in front of her with at least an eighth of a mile clearance.
The magnificent pelicans are back, bringing added pleasure to our outings on the bay.
Our single port tack close reach took us into Horseshoe Cove, giving us one of our favorite views of the Golden Gate Bridge, here in the declining evening light.
We tacked as we approached the shore and sailed parallel to the gate for a while before tacking out the gate in some excitingly large ocean swells with wind waves atop them-- sailing out between midspan and the north tower, beating the tug to the gate.
We sailed out a short distance before coming about and heading back inside as this large, but only partially loaded, container ship steamed out the gate.
Inside the gate, we spotted ADVENTURE CAT headed for the gate and you can see that the ocean swell is obscuring her starboard hull.
She's carrying quite a big load of passengers on the thrilling ride to the gate and back at sunset.
She continued sailing parallel to the gate as we passed, eventually tacking out to give her passengers the thrill of shooting the gate.
A small flock of pelicans flew past our starboard side, heading northeast....
....while this lone pelican was flying south toward the gate just a few feet above the water's surface.
The San Francisco Spirit was steaming toward the gate on a sunset dinner cruise and here passing the Fort Mason Piers.
The city was taking on sunset color as sunset neared.
As we continued eastward in softening winds, some of the downtown buildins began reflecting the setting sun dramatically.
The sun began to set behind the hills of the Marin Headlands.
The stronger sun reflection shifted from one financial district building to another as we moved further east.
A golden sunset followed the sundown behind the headlands.
The tops of the tall buildings were still illuminated by the setting su as we sailed past pier 45.
ADVENTURE CAT was now motorsailing toward home port as the last of the sunlight illuminated the Bank of America tower.
Dusk fell over the city as we approached pier 39 in dramatically softened winds.....
.....and ADVENTURE CAT was heading into port as we passed the pier with flags on the end lightly fluttering....
....and the windows of the restaurant on the end of the pier nicely reflecting the color of the sunset.
As we sailed past the east marina, we spotted the garishly lighted San Francisco Belle steaming out of port to the east of us.
A small flock of pelicans was swooping westward a few feet off the water.
With light winds, we doused sails after passing the marina and then readied for landing with ADVENTURE CAT 2 just returning to port as sunset color deepened and we began motoring toward the marina entrance, happy to have made a quick trip to the gate and back-- taking only about 1.5 hours to sail there and back. The changing wind and sea and light conditions added pleasure to the outing!