Sunday, July 6, 2008


The heavy fog that had obscurred 90+ percent of the fireworks shows of the prior 4th of July evening burned off by mid-morning over the city and was mostly gone from the bay by early afternoon. Greg and Kris came down from Placerville for an afternoon outing with us and we headed out about 1:15 pm, raising a single reefed main just outside the marina, pulled out a small jib and headed out into the central bay.

A strong flood current was flowing, but in decline, and the winds were fluttering the flags on the end of pier 39 at about 10 knots, as one large sailboat was passing and heading east and another smaller one wsa headed west under full canvas.

We were headed toward Alcatraz, but being pushed northward as we sailed along and we spotted the ALMA sailing downwind past the southern shore of Alcatraz under full canvas. She was passing a fleet of fishing boats spread over Alcatraz Shoal.

This sailboat passed to starboard headed east under main only, as winds began to intensify as they usually do at this time of day.

This cutter-rigged sailboat also passed to starboard, heading eastward and looking good.

Up in the north, this large vessel named CHESAPEAKE was steaming toward the gate in the outbound freighter lane. She is unlike any other vessel we have seen on the bay and we wondered what she was and what her mission is.

As we continued westward after passing Alcatraz, this Beneteau passed to starboard, looking good.

This large sailboat named RIBBIT, with almost completely enclosed cockpit, crossed in front of us, heading east. Why anyone would want a sailboat with such an enclosed cockpit, so no breeze and no sunshine, is a mystery to me.

Way in front of us, along the shore of the Marin Headlands, both the RUBY and ADVENTURE CAT were headed toward the gate.

We eventually arrived at the edge of a windhole after passing the little Harding buoy and tacked back into the wind, now beginning to beat toward the gate against the flood current as this small Ericson 32 passed astern of us.

The Golden Gate Bridge was standing proudly over the gate, and a residual blob of fog was stuck to the tops of the hills of the Marin Headlands.

Behind us, a number of sailboats were now heading westward on close reach port tack courses.

This Olympic Circle Sailing Club boat was heading west, and passed astern of us...

..before tacking to the south and sailing parallel to our course.

Along the shore of the headlands, this lovely schooner operated by the CALL OF THE SEA organization was heading toward the gate....

... and later was crossing the gate on the sparkling bay waters.

As we continued beating toward the gate, this nice Ericson sailboat passed astern, sailing off the wind.....

....with a large crew in shorts and shirtsleeves-- perhaps to change when they arrive in the cooler winds of the central bay.

This large Morgan 65 passed astern, looking good except for the round fenders still dangling over the side of the hull. She sailed out into the middle of the central bay where currents were much stronger, and we began to catch up to her as we beat toward the gate in the lighter current north of the gate, having shortened the jib on one of our tacks when we arrived in some lighter winds.

We eventually tacked into Horseshoe Cove, where we are treated to one of our favorite views of our magnificent bridge.

Once in Horseshoe Cove, we began short tacking our way out the gate, making about 10 quick tacks, and finally sailing out the gate just inside the north tower, but being preceded out the gate by this Hunter sailboat.

Greg and Kris were enjoying the sunshine and lighter winds outside the gate.

As we beat our way to the west, putting out more jib on several tacks, we noted that the a blob of fog was still frosting the tops of some of the hills of the Marin Headlands.

We eventually pulled the jib out to full in the lighter winds further out on the ocean, sailing then a bit off the wind to take the growing swells at an angle to avoid banging down the backside of the sharper swells, eventually passing Point Bonita and the cute lighthouse on the point.

Quiet a few visitors had cressed the small suspension bridge leading to the lighthouse and were enjoying the lighthouse and the views from there.

We sailed a little ways past the point and then came about and headed back toward the gate on broad reach starboard tack, passing this Catalina heading out toward the ocean.

This stately pelican flew past as we ghosted back toward the gate with some residual flood current assist.

The fog blob had mostly disappeared from the tops of the hills of the Marin Headlands as we cointinued toward the gate, picking up freshening winds aas we neared the gate.

We sailed inside the gate about midspan and began seeing windsurfers like this sailboarder just inside the north tower.

This kiteboarder was blasting toward us initially, threatening to tangle the kite control lines on our rigging, but changing course before getting too close.

Behind us, this Ericson was blasting across the bay under full canvas and I was surprised that she wasn't more heeled over than she was.

The city was enjoying brilliant sunshine as we sailed between pier 45 and pier 39.

Pie r 39 flags were fluttering in the wind of 15-20 knots as we sailed past.

We continued sailing past the marina, heading for the A-B span of the Bay Bridge and enjoying the views of the Financial District buildings.

We passed up this smaller sailboat that was ghosting along under main only and flying a large american flag.

The Ferry Building was enjoying the late afternoon sunshine as we approached.

Off to port, this lovely center-cockpit ketch was heading north under full canvas and looking good.

That same Morgan 65 that passed us earlier as we were tacking toward the gate, now passed us again, heading north from the Bay Bridge.

The breeze disappeared after we passed the Ferry Building, so we gave up on reaching the Bay Bridge and came about and headed back toward home port, riding with the ebb current until we were back into the breeze again, eventually spotting this kiteboarder in an unusual location on the bay, way to the east of Alcatraz.

We sailed westward until we could tack into the lee of pier 35 where we doused sails and prepared for landing as we motored around the pier and then motored into the marina and landed fine in the now light ebb current. Our outing was especially enjoyable and, after docking, we headed over to North Beach for a pizza dinner at North Beach Pizza.

After dinner, Greg and Kris headed for BART and I headed back to my boat. Boat neighbors Steve and Daria were enjoying the warm evening air in their cockpit, so I wandered over to say hello and they invited me aboard for a glass of wine. Eventually, our new neighbors showed up and came aboard and we sat and chatted for a couple of hours while sipping several glasses of wine. Eventually the evening chill hit us and we retired to our several boats-- another day in our life of 'terrible suffering'.

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