Friday, June 13, 2008
THURSDAY, 12 JUNE 08 -- BLUSTERY SAIL TO THE GATE FOLLOWED BY SPECTACULAR KITEBOARD RACE WATCHING!
Thursday morning, from the end of pier 39, we spotted race boats heading for the gate on the start of the Coastal Cup race from SF to Santa Barbara, like this TP 52. A very light northwesterly wind was blowing so the boats were basically ghosting along toward the gate.
Bob and Bruce joined us around 2 pm for an afternoon sail and we left port about 2:30 pm, raising a single-reefed main and putting out a small jib, and heading out into the central bay where this large 50 foot sailboat with double-reefed main was heading west on the southwest breeze.
We sailed westward until we approached the south shore of Alcatraz and then tacked toward the cityfront, hoping to see some of the kiteboard races, but the racers were taking a break on shore, so we headed for the gate, encountering winds building in strength until they were at 20-25 knots.
We sailed to near the shore at Yellow Bluff and then tacked to sail parallel to the gate, enjoying views of our magnificent bridge.
We eventually tacked into Horseshoe Cove, but wind had built to over 25 knots so we gave up on shooting the gate and headed off the wind toward the kitesurfer race course, hoping to see some racing while, ahead of us, ADVENTURE CAT was sailing across the gate.
Winds approaching the shore of the city were lighter so we tacked toward the gate, beating against the flood current and watching this sailboarder blasting over the water.
After a couple of times, we sailed out the gate finally just inside the north tower. We just ducked out and then headed back inside, heading for the windward mark of the kitesurfers race course where some of the leaders were approaching and rounding the windward mark, like this one.
These kiteboarders had rounded the mark and were heading downwind toward the leeward mark.
Here, one kiteboarder was about to round the mark while another was heading downwind.
Here, that kiteboarder is actually rounding the mark and preparing to head downwind.
Here, three kiteboarders are approaching the mark while one is heading downwind.
This kiteboarder was heading for the windward mark, only one hand on his kite-control.
Here's another kiteboarder using both hands on the control.
These two are side-by-side as they blast toward the mark.
This one has rounded the mark and is heading downwind.
After watching the last kiteboarder round the mark, we headed downwind to see if we could catch the next race start, and watched as this lovely Knarr sailboat passed to port, heading for the gate, but a short time later turning around and heading back-- maybe too much wind for them.
We were approaching a point south of the starting line as the kiteboarders were preparing for the next start-- heading for the start line and somewhat spread out over the water.
As they approached the start line, they were more closely bunched together-- what a spectacular, colorful sight-- very thrilling to watch!
Here they are, bunched more closely together and getting closer to the start!
And they are off on the start, now starting to spread out a bit.
Here, some of the kiteboarders are on different tacks as they blast upwind after the start.
And the same is true here...
.. and here, as well.
We tried to stay around the leeward mark to watch some of the mark roundings, but the flood current kept pushing us eastward, so we gave up and headed for home port, passing this small dingy that looked like a sailboard from a distance.
The city was enjoying brilliant sunshine with a modicum of haze as we sailed between pier 45 and pier 39.
Here a couple of sailboats were blasting over the bay, one heading downwind and the other upwind under main only.
Telegraph Hill homes were enjoying the brilliant sunshine, as was the west marina as we sailed past.
The flags were plastered out by the strong winds as we sailed past the end of the pier.
We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails and ready for landing before motoring around the pier and heading into the marina, happy to have spent some very exciting hours on our magnificent bay! After tying up, Bob and Bruce treated me to a nice dinner at Liverpool Lil's restaurant on Lyon Street, adding a final piece of pleasure to a great day of fun and excitement.