Thursday, July 31, 2008


The morning fog was heavy overcast, but started to clear early and then came back, but by early afternoon, skies were totally clear and the sunshine was brilliant! John, Millie, Eve and Sandra joined us about 1 pm for our afternoon outing, and we left port about 1:15 pm, raised single-reefed main just outside the marina, put out a postage stamp jib and headed out into the central bay \where the strong winds coupled with ebbing current had already folded up some substantial wind waves.

We sailed westward for a while on close reach port tack, taking spray over the bow and some into the cockpit, then tacked back to the south to sail toward the Fisherman's Wharf marina before tacking again to sail westward, but this time more off the wind so as not to crash through the wind waves on Alcatraz shoal.

As we sailed westward, this smaller sailboat passed us to starboard, heading downwind and looking good.

This single tack took us well to the west of Harding Rock and eventually we ended up near Yellow Bluff, watching as this small Catalina blastred toward the gate along the shore....

.. and PRIVATEER blasted across the gate.

Approaching Yellow Bluff and arriving in lighter winds, we tacked back toward the central bay, enjoying views of the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge presiding over the golden gate.

We sailed parallel to the gate until we were in position to tack into Horseshoe Cove-- which we did-- and then tacked to sail parallel to the gate but closer until we were in a position to tack out the gate in the strong and building winds and substantial seas-- wind waves plus ocean swells.

We sailed out just a short ways and then came about and headed back inside with the 'girls' enjoying the brilliant sunshine and the views as we headed back inside the bay.

Once inside the bay, we encoutered this lone kitesurfer....

.... and this lone sailboarder, both blasting across the ruffled surface of the sea.

Way over by the shore, some Lasers were playing in the wind and waves.

We made great headway back toward home port as the city wsa bathed in brilliant sunshine.

Flags on the end of pier 39 were pegged out in the breeze of between 20 and 25 knots as we passed.

The trip to the gate and back had taken so little time that we still had time to head for the Bay Bridge to complete a two bridge kiss, enjoying views of the Financial District buildings as we sailed toward the A-B span of the Bay Bridge.

The sun on the stair-stepped architecture of the Hyatt Regency Hotel created an interesting light and shadow display at this time of day.

The afternoon sun was just beginning to illuminate the north side of the Ferry Buidling tower as we sailed past.

Winds were more moderate in the lee of the city but we did encounter some strong gust alleys as we sailed along, while this sailboat was playing around in light winds closer to the shore of the city, sailing main only.

As we approached the A-B span in light winds, this sailboat, dragging her fenders, was heading northeast under full canvas with the Bay Bridge behind her gleaming in the strong afternoon sun.

We ghosted under the A-B span and then pulled in the jib so we could sail main only back to home port, and then came about to head home with a bit of ebb current assist.

We eventually arrived in very strong winds-- perhaps 30 knots or more, and eventually this sailboat blasted past us, heading east on a broad reach port tack.

That sailboat we saw earlier just north of the Bay Bridge was now retreating out of the strong winds and we could see that she still had fenders dragging and her jib luff was wrinkley-- not an example of good seamanship.

A bit later, we spotted this J-World boat heading back toward her home port at our marina and struggling a bit in the very strong and gusty winds.

We beat a few times before we were able to sail into the lee of pier 35 to douse the main and then motor around the pier while preparing fenders and dock lines for landing. We accomplished the 2 bridge kiss in about 2.5 hours-- hours filled with both pleasure and the excitement of dealing with some nasty conditions at times.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The fog had cleared out by afternoon, and, not haveing sailed on Sunday afternoon, it was irresistible to go out for an evening and sunset sail, so we left port about 4:30 pm. After raising single-reefed main and putting out a small jib, we headed north toward the lee side of Angel Island. Strong winds and substantial wind waves buffeted us as we sailed across the central bay, and we took spray over the bow and some into the cockpit until we arrived in the lee of Angel Island.

For some time, as we were sailing across the cenral bay, I spotted what looked like a tall ship heading our way from the northwest, and eventually it became clear that she was a square-rigger tall ship approaching.

Coming closer, the tall ship was clearly a large three-master, and I wondered what ship it was. I tried to head up toward the island so as to pass starboard to starboard with the tall ship, but she altered course to starboard and made it impossible for us to cross in front of her.

After she passed, I took a photo of the stern of the ship to check the name
and then could see that she was the BOUNTY.

We continued on toward the northwest, heading for Raccoon Straits with some flood current assist, watching as this nice cutter-rigged sailboat sailed parallel to our course.

When the bounty was past Angel Island, she turned into the wind, and I hoped that she was planning to raise sail, so we came about and headed after her for a while.

It soon became clear that the BOUNTY was not going to raise sail, so we came about again and headed for Raccoon Straits, watching as a small flock of pelicans flew around, like this beautiful one, shortly after taking off from the water after a dive and a catch.

The immigration buildings on the east side of Angel Island were illuminated on the north side by the declining sun.

That cutter off starboard had now shaken the reef out of the main sail and was continuing to sail northward in the light winds in the lee of the island.

We beat a couple of times before entering the east mouth of the straits, heading northwest on a breeze out of the west, and eventually having a full view of the Golden Gate Bridge through the straits.

Approaching the shore of Tiburon, we tacked to the south and hoped that the wind would stay on that course so we could sail directly through the straits on a single tack, but the wind shifted and we soon were headed for Ayala Cove where only a few boats were present.

This small power boat was tied up at the buoys....

... and a few boats were still docked in the small marina...

... and a couple of sailboats were also tied up in the buoy field.

As we continued beating through the straits against the flood current, we could see that the fog was gathering near the gate.

We made some good progress to the west through the straits, enjoying the view of the gold and green Angel Island rising above the blue waters of the sea.

Only a light wind was blowing, but sufficient to make headway westward as we watched some ducks resting on the water -- here one was standing up and waving at us.

As we slowly approached the west end of the straits, we could see the standing waves in the shoal area with an area of calm water beyond -- perhaps a wind hole that would require some motoring against the flood current.

We were sailing toward Belvedere, and enjoying the view of Mt.Tam in the haze beyond Tiburon.

Gradually we ghosted to the west and soon Alcatraz was coming into view.

As we patiently searched for enough wind to make progress westward, this lovely ketch was motoring up the straits.

Out on the central bay, ADVENTURE CAT was heading for the gate on her sunset sail.

The massive fog bank over the hills above Sausalito was just beginning to spill over the top of the hills as the evening waned.

At one point, we were about to fire up the engine to begin motoring into stronger winds when a freshening breeze arose and we were able to continue making progress. Eventually, we were able to sail across the mouth of the straits in the light southwesterly breeze, and eventually were approaching the northwest point of the island.

Off in the south, the fog was beginning to obscure the gate and the bridge.

Out on the central bay, the Coast Guard tall ship that had participated in the Festival of Sail was steaming out toward the gate.

Another flock of pelicans flew around, and we got this good shot of one of them.

Off to the east, the CALIFONIA HORNBLOWER was heading north on her dinner/sunset cruise.

The declining sun was now illuminating Angel Island at an angle that created light and shadow.

As we headed out into the central bay where winds were still light at that area, we continued sailing slowly toward home port, with the sun starting to go down into some unusual high clouds over the massive fog bank, creating an interesting sunset.

As we continued toward home port, we called Coast Guard traffic on channel 14 to check on whether there was any inbound freighter traffic to watch out for eventually. The answer only identified the car carrier that was rounding Pt. Blount on the southeast point of Angel Island. We assumed that that the car carrier would be taking the usual outbound route, turning to starboard to pass north of Harding Rock, and this we would we be wall out of her way, since we were already passing Harding Rock. But, it soon became clear that the car carrier was going to head sraight for the gate, and we were not going to have enough speed to pass well in front of her, so we tacked back to the west again for a while before coming about again to again head for home port as the car carrier headed for the gate.

Behind us, the setting sun was illuminating the high clouds and the finger of fog starting to invade the bay.

Stong winds were now propelling us toward home port and the city ahead of us was mostly lost in the fog.

Behind us, the sunset was being progressively obscurred by the fog.

The city lights were dimmed by the mist.

Flags on the end of pier 39 were still pegged out in the strong winds as we sailed past.

As we sailed toward the lee of pier 35, a large flock of pelicans was circling around over the pier.

We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails and ready for landing, and then motored around the pier as the last of some sunset color spread across the western sky beyond Alcatraz.

We motored into port, happy to have spent some more good time on our beautiful bay.