Tuesday, July 22, 2008

SUNDAY, 20 JULY08 -- OVERCAST SAIL TO THE GATE AND RACCOON STRAITS BEFORE HEADING HOME

The sun broke out over the city for part of the afternoon, but the high marine layer covered the city and the bay as we left port around 4 pm.



Winds were moderate, but we raised single reefed main and put out single reefed jib before heading out into the central bay.




The megayacht PRINCESS MARINA is still tied up at pier 35, but has been turned around since last we passed her.




As we headed west on the southwest breeze, SYNCHRONICITY passed astern, looking good.




A sailboat was also sailing eastward just outside the east marina sea wall.




The flags on the end of pier 39 were fluttering in a breeze of about 10-12 knots-- more moderate than the previous few days, but still liable to freshen up.




After sailing out a ways, we tacked back toward the lee of pier 45, and ADVANTURE CAT 2 passed in front of us.




The scow schooner ALMA was motoring along the cityfront, heading for her home port in Aquatic Park.




We tacked after approaching pier 45, and headed west again, watching as this small sailboat named LES BONS TEMPS [french for 'the good times'] passed to starboard.....




....followed by this small catamaran.




After sailing to the west for a while, we tacked again toward the Aquatic Park and the J105 RACER X motored past, heading home after the races earlier in the day.




We tacked again after approaching the pier at Aquatic Park, and began to see some small race boats heading across the bay with kites flying, like this one that crossed in front of us....




... and this one that passed astern of us.




As we continued westward, a sailboat was heading east along the cityfront.




We tacked again after sailing out a ways and this small sailboat passed in front of us, heading for the gate.




This large ketch was heading east and owed us right of way as the windward boar but showed no sign of altering course, so we liffed up to let her cross in front of us.




The wind had freshened to over 15 knots so we fell off to dead downwind and reefed the jib to a small handkerchief size before coming about and heading for the gate, watching as this dark-hulled sailboat was crossing the bay under full canvas and well heeled-over.




Way off to starboard, this lovely ketch-- perhaps a motorsailor-- was heading downwind under full canvas.




A flock of pelicans flew past and we caught this shot of one of these beautiful flying creatures.




Outside the gate, some kiteboarders were playing around in the strong winds.




As we approached the gate, this nice sailboat passed in front of us, sailing across the gate.




Some sailboarders were also out in the now-strong winds, like this one heading for us from the north.




We sailed out the gate about midspan and enjoyed the views of the bridge in the grayed out skies.




We sailed out a short ways and then fell off to head back inside on a board reach port tack, soon finding that same sailboarder heading our way outside the gate....




....but taking a spill as he tried to gybe.




We sailed into Horseshoe Cove and gybed there in an area of light winds to sail eastward for a while before doing a chicken gybe to head for Raccoon Straits, noticing that a beam of sunlight was brilliantly illuminating north beach and telegraph hill.




This smaller Ericson was heading southeast, and initially I thought it might be Olivier on Corto Maltese, but soon realized that she had a dark mast so clearly not Olivier's boat.




The PRIVATEER crossed in front of us and then soon tacked to head back toward home port, passing us to port.




Off to starboard this Hunter sailboat was heading west past the Little Harding Rock buoy.




This Ranger 25 was heading for Sausalito under full canvas.



Winds in the area southwest of Angel Island were highly variable with some strong gusts and some light wind areas, so we were tempted to pull out the jib, but resisted.





Mt. Tam was not covered with fog like Sausalito was, but she looked ghostly in the mist.





As we approached Raccoon Straits, a beam of sunshine peeked through the overcast and illuminated part of Angel Island.




We sailed into Raccoon Straits and noticed that a tractor tug was steaming up the straits-- an unusual sight.




A sailboat was anchored in the cove just to the west of Ayala Cove, something not frequently seen since the area is subject to strong winds much of the time and if your anchor didn't hold, you'd be on the rocks very soon.




As we sailed past Ayala Cove, we could see that only a few boats were still tied up to the buoys in the cove....




... and only one sailboat was still at the docks.

We sailed to near the east mouth of the straits and then reefed the jib down to a postage stamp since the winds in the east half of the straits were strong, and then we came about and headed back up the straits, beating against the wind, but helped with some ebb current.




A couple of tacks took us out of the straits and headed toward the gate again on a westerly breeze, as this sailboat passed astern, heading for Tiburon.



We eventually fell off to head for home port, but then saw that we couldn't pass safely in front of an outbound freighter, so tacked back to the west again for a short time before coming about and heading toward home port again.




A couple fo sailboats out of Sausalito were behind us as we sailed toward home port.





The winds on the central bay had softened and we were sailing on a broad reach, so we let the jib out to full for more power, eventually picking up a stronger wind south of Alcatraz while the city in front of us was grayed out under overcast skies.




The central bay was overcast as well with light skies only in the north bay areas.




As we approached pier 39, ADVENTURE CAT 2 came out and raised her sail before heading toward the lee side of Alcatraz, giving us right of way, as required...




...she passed astern of us on her sunset outing with a relatively small number of passengers on deck.




The flags on the end of pier 39 were fluttering in a breeze of about 15 knots as we passed.




We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse sail and ready for landing before motoring around the pier toward the marina entrance, again passing PRINCESS MARIANA with her bow light on at this time.



We motored into the marina and landed fine in the light ebb current, happy to have spent several hours on the bay after not going out for several days.