Normally we don't do Friday outings, but Edward, the young Brit that sailed with us a month or so ago along with his girlfriend Katie, was going to be in the area for a job interview and wanted to go sailing again, so we agreed to make an exception and take them sailing-- actually you don't have to twist my arm very hard to get me to go out on extra days!!
We left port about 3:15 pm with some fairly moderate winds blowing, but we still raised single-reefed main in anticipation of stronger winds to come, and pulled out a single reefed jib as we headed out into the central bay.
We headed north to make a rendezvous with the two tall ships that were already out on the bay and heading west, with the CALIFORNIAN here on port tack close reach with only two of her three head sails flying.
Futher to the north, this nice looking schooner was also heading west. She is also part of the Festival of Sail, but doesn't participate in the mock sea battles like the others.
As we continued northward, LOLA passed to port, heading home to pier 39 marina with some paying passengers.
The other tall ship, the LYNX, was ahead of the CALIFORNIAN, and she now tacked and headed south toward the lee side of Alcatraz.
The CALIFORNIAN also tacked a bit later and followed after the LYNX.
As the CALIFORNIAN blasted southward, this small sailboat was clearly in the exclusion box but none of the security boats seemed to be chasing them away.
After the two tall ships passed to port, we fell off to dead downwind to reef the jib down to a hankie size since the winds had freshened dramatically and we were overcanvassed for sailing close-hauled toward the gate as we intended to do. After reefing, we came about to harden in the main again and then tacked to the west to head for the gate.
As we approached Yellow Bluff, having taken quite a few blasts of spray over the bow and some into the cockpit as we sailed westward in strong winds and building seas, we tacked toward the gate and encountered this Catalina named ALLEGRO heading toward the gate as well, but with more canvas flying, i.e. a full high-clew jib that we thought would make her overpowered in the stronger winds of the central bay.
However, at this point, the crew of ALLEGRO was enjoying the nice sunshien and moderate winds in this part of the bay.
The Golden Gate Bridge was enjoying hazy sunshine as we sailed southward on close reach starboard tack.
ALLEGRO was ahead of us as we sailed across the gate, being pushed away by the flood current, and she was indeed getting pulled to weather in the stronger gusts, so not making any faster headway than we were with far less canvas flying. She tacked before approaching the shallows near the shore of the city and headed toward the gate.
We continued heading southward, sailing closer to the shore before tacking toward the gate, and then unexpectedly finding ourselves in the race course for the Lasers-- this sailor from Canada passing us to starboard. These Lasers are particpating in the North American Laser Championship Regatta hosted by the St. Francis YC.
We beared away to starboard to get out of the course, and this Lasesr passed to port.
Other Lasers that had rounded the windward mark were headed our way, but we were clearly out of their way by this time. and we could head up again to sail toward the gate.
These two Lasers passed to port and, as you can see, there are many others that are still beating westward toward the windward mark.
This group of Lasesrs that had just rounded the windward mark were heading our way, but we were well to the north of them and quickly sailing westward so well out of the way of their intended course.
A bit later, another group of Lasers had rounded the mark and were headed downwind on port tack broad reach.
We soon left the racing Lasers behind as we continued on toward the gate, watching as this smaller sailboat sailed across the gate in front of us.
With flood current resisting our progress westward, we were being pushed northward as we sailed westward, and soon we again encountered ALLEGRO as she was sailing parallel to the gate.
We would have either passed safely in front of her, or if needed, fell off to go behind her to give her her due right-of-way, but she tacked back to the west again as our couses converged.
ALLEGRO was too far north to lay the gate, so she eventually had to tack to the south again, and this time we did pass in front of her and finally sailed out the gate on that tack, just inside the north tower of the bridge.
We just ducked out a short ways-- both Edward's and Katie's first time sailing under our magnificent bridge-- and then came about to head back toward home port, passing this sailboarder as we blasted eastward after pulling the jib out to full again for more downwind power.
This sailboarder passed to starboard, enjoying the strong winds on the bay, and we noticed that the Catalina ALLEGRO had sailed all the way across the gate and was pushed away to the east by the current and still nowhere near shooting the gate.
With flood current assist, we made great headway toward home port and enjoyed views of the city in the hazy sunshine as we blasted along.
The flags on the end of pier 39 were fluttering in a breeze of about 15-20 knots as we passed.
We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails and ready for landing and then motored into port, happy to have spent some delightful hours on our beautiful bay with some fun young people as sailing companions.