John and Stephanie joined us a bit after noon for our afternoon outing on the bay. This was Stephanie's first sailing outing on our bay, though she had sailed back east before moving here.
Winds were moderate as we left port, but we still put up a single-reefed main in anticipation of much stronger winds as the afternoon wore on, but put out a full jib since we could readily reef that sail if needed.
The flags on the end of pier 39 were fluttering in a breeze of about 8-10 knots at the time that we sailed past heading west on a southwesterly breeze, perfect sailing conditions for us at the time-- warm air, warm sunshine, moderate breezes... something we are not used to having this time of year in recent years at least.
As we continued westward, this nice, well-reefed sailboat passed to starboard, heading east.
Sure enough, within a half hour or so of departing the marina, the wind freshened dramatically to 15-20 knots and we had to fall off the wind to avoid being overpowered- overcanvassed- or else fall off to dead downwind to reef the jib, and we did the latter, heading for Sausalito and softer winds and watching this smaller sailboat heading the same way.
This sailboat, flying full canvas was heading our way in the lighter air in the lee of the Sausalito hills, perhaps to regret flying full canvas when encountering stronger winds.
Adventure Cat crossed in front of us heading southeast across the bay.
We arrived in light winds as we approached the shore of Sausalito and reefed the jib down to a postage stamp size to make sure we were properly canvassed for the central bay winds, and then we began beating toward the gate, watching as this lovely J105 headed for the gate ahead of us as we passed Yellow Bluff.
On one of our beats, we sailed into Horsehoe Cove for this favorite view of our magnificent bridge as that J105 was sailing across the gate with some flood current pushing her away.
We began short tacking toward the gate to stay in the lighter flood current near the north tower, and finally sailed out between midspan and the north tower as the Adventure Cat was returning to the bay and passing to starboard.
Stephanie was enjoying her first sailing trip on the bay and her first experience of sailing under the GGB, as we continued beating westward in a more moderate breee outside the gate.
We pulled out the jib to full for more power in the lighter ocean winds as we enjoyed the views of the rugged Marin Headlands and oceanside cliffs.
This smaller sailboat passed us to port as we headed west-- it looks similar to the Ahlberg 30 saiboat that we were sailing on on Lake Michigan the previous week.
Winds outside the gate were shifty and fluky in velocity, so we gave up on sailing out to Point Bonita, especially since we needed to be back in port by around 4:30, so we came about and headed back toward the bay ourselves as we continued enjoying views of the bridge and the city in the somewhat hazy distance.
When we were about a mile inside the gate, we spotted a gaggle of windsurfers, like these two, blasting around the bay, and John mentioned that the U.S. Kiteboarding Nationals were this week and might have started that day, so we pulled in the jib and headed over toward the cityfront to watch the kiteboard racers and their colorful kites.
Here three of the kiteboarders were headed west on one tack while two others were headed south on another tack.
This group is also on different tacks.
This close-up shows a rugged kiteboard racer sending up spray as he blasts over the bay's surface. Winds were quite moderate actually, and we suspected that they would have preferred to have another 5-10 knots of breeze for maximum lift, but perhaps they were using their larger kites and still experiencing the same lift with less wind.
At one point, the GASLIGHT out of Sausalito came sailing right through the race course. We were being careful to stay well out of the course as we watched the racing action.
Over near the shore, a couple of Lasers were practicing their racing technique.
Behind us, way out on the bay, a couple of sailboats seemed to be racing each other and I thought they were the Oracle-BMW mini-Americas Cup boats challenging each other, but I was wrong.
We were southeast of the kiteboarding race course as the kiteboarder fleet began jokeying around for the start of the next race.
And they were soon off on the race with the leaders all on the same tack here...
... and here as well-- what a beautiful sight to watch-- giving us a feeling of race-excitement!
We watched the progress of that race and stuck around as the lead kiteboarders finished and then headed for home port, enjoying views of the city in the brilliant afternoon sunshine.
We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails and readied ANTICIPATION for landing as we motored around the pier and into the marina, landing fine in the moderate flood current and happy to have spent about 4 exciting and varied hours on our magnificent bay in moslty warm shirtsleeve weather.