Monday, June 23, 2008


Brian, a young architect and a crew contact from, joined us for our afternoon outing about 1 pm. He has been a sailboarder for many years, but now wants also to get involved in sailing on bigger craft. Our outing would be only his second sailing outing on our bay.

The pier 39 flags on shore just ouside the marina exit were pegged out in the strong winds of the early afternoon, so we raised single-reefed main and put out reefed jib before heading out into the central bay, heading north and hoping to find the racing action this time.

This large sailboat was heading east and passed to port.

The charter sloop RUBY passed in front of us on her westward course under main only.

This lovely small sailboat was looking good as she blasted across the bay, except for wrinkles in the luff of her jib and main sails due to insufficeint halyard tension.

We spotted the spectacular center cockpit Swan named HASTY HEART heading west from the lee side of Treasure Island and heading our way and eventually forcing us to fall off to give her right of way as the leeward boat on port tack.

She was looking magnificent as always as she blasted westward with reefed main and trisail flying, probably doing at least 10 knots upwind.

We headed northeast to try to watch some racing by the J120s and Express 29s, but the race was apparently over as we saw all the boats way ahead of us sailing toward Raccoon Straits and a race commitee boat dragging the marks toward home port.

So we headed up toward Raccoon Straits and passed this Ericson 35 trying to sail down the lee sohre of Angel Island and not making headway in the light breeze with flood current opposition. We wondered if she would make it to the central bay and then regret flying full canvas in the strong winds.

We ghosted along with flood assist until we encountered stronger breezes when lined up with the straits, but watching as, in the distance, a large sailboat was struggling with her kite. Initially, I thought she might be using a kite like a kitesurfer as we have seen before, but Brian took out the binocs and saw that she was having spinnaker problems-- big problems, that eventually seemed to force her to let the kite go into the water. I wondered if she couldn't have sailed direct downwind to blanket the kite and backwind it so the crew could grab it and bring it onto the foredeck. But it looks like perhaps the spinnaker pole is still attached to the kite, so perhaps even that would have been too dangerous. Anyway, I hope they eventually managed the situation okay.

A bit later, that Eriscon that we had passed earlier had now tacked and was ghosting toward Raccoon Straits also.

We eventually picked up a strong breeze and were making great headway towward the straits and watching an unusually large number of sailboats approaching from the northwest, like this catboat named LOTTO LUCK-- did they purchase the boat with lottery winnings?

Ahead of us, along the shore of the Tiburon Headlands, we again spotted HASTY HEART. Now she was flying full canvas, with main all the way out on the boom and her 120 jib flying instead of the trisail as earlier. WOW! What a spectacular sight she was! LOOKING GREAT!!!!

As we approached the headlands shore ourselves, we spotted this lovely dark hulled sailboat headed our way under full canvas with rail in the water, carefully determining that we could safely pass in front of her since she had right of way, being on starboard tack and we on port tack.

She passed astern of us and we could see that she was named 'energy'-- she was looking good also!

Further to the northeast, this center-cockpit boat was also blasting southeast under full canvas. I wonder if these boats were making their final leg of a return trip from the delta ditch run from the previious weekend. It was unusual to see this many sailboats coming down our way from San Pablo Bay.

OMG--here she is again to our great surprise-- we had the added and unexpected treat of watching HASTY HEART blasting her way toward the mouth of Raccoon Straits from the north!

Her crew and passengers looked miniature on her large decks!

We eventually tacked to follow her toward the east mouth of the straits, but she, of course, was much faster than we, and we watched as this smaller Beneteau headed north through the straits while we were sailing across the mouth of the straits.

Way ahead of us and near the shore of Angel Island, HASTY HEART was tacking to the west to head for home port in Tiburon. Tacking seemed to be quite a slow process for her and the large jib has to be pulled around the baby stay carrying the trisail and so takes longer to trim.

We later tacked just to the east of the spot that HASTY HEART did and began sailing up the straits, passing Ayala Cove of Angel Island, where only a few boats were tied up at the buoy field...

... but the docks of the small marina was full of boats.

As we continued westward through the straits, we eventually had to fall off to give right of way to these two trimarans sailing almost side by side, but on starboard tack.

After passing them we tacked again toward Angel Island, planning to do short tacks along the shore to stay in good winds in case a wind hole developed southeast of the point of Belvedere as often happens, and on one tack, we spotted this lovely Tartan sailboat heading west in a pretty good breeze.

We had to make about six tacks before we were well out of the straits and past the buoy off the northwest point of Angel Island, successfully navigating the flood current and shifting winds, and we noticed that other sailboats in the straits, including that same Ericson 35 were following our lead.

This yellow hulled Ranger sailboat, named NEREUS, also followed suit-- her on port tack in the straits....

.. but here on starboard tack heading toward the buoy and eventually clearing it.

We continued beating toward the gate, watching as the lovely fog began spilling over the hills of Sausalito and the Marin Headlands.

Avanti was sailing with the current toward the mouth of the straits and looking good and comfortable under full canvas.

On the other hand, this Catalina was heading out into the draconian winds of the central bay on a close hauled course under full canvas, while we had earlier reefed our jib down to a postage stamp when we first encountered the strong winds. She was being pulled ot weather regularly until she fell off the wind more to avoid being overpowered.

We continued beating toward the gate for a while, but the winds kept building in velocity until they were lowing at leat 30 knots, and I decided it was too extreme to try to make it out the gate, so we fell off toward home port, blasting across the bay on beam reach, watching as this lovely old woodie blasted toward Tiburon under main only.

Crossing the bay was extreme sailing, just a bit less than that Sunday afternoon a month or so ago when it was blowing ast least 40 knots and the wind waves were huge. This time, it was still flooding, so wind waves were more moderate and we did less surfing down their backsides. We eventually sailed into the lee of pier 35 where there was only quiet water right near the pier for dousing sails. We managed to do that, readied for landing as we motored around the pier and landed fine, though the winds were rocking and rolling the boats in the marina. Brian enjoyed the outing, as did I, and it was nice to make the acquaintance of another young man who is in the process of becomming a sailing enthusiast!

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