The bay was all fogged in when I returned to my boat this morning, and so it had cooled off a bit in the city from the heat wave we have been having this week. I walked over to C dock to check out how Olivier and his friend Ashley were doing in finishing up the installation of the new roller furling on his boat CORTO MALTESE. After they finished, Olivier invited me to join him for an afternoon sailing outing, so I went and got my stuff and came back, so we could head out about 3:15 pm.
Winds were not too blustery yet, so Olivier raised a full main and put out a reefed jib before heading out into the central bay, sailing west on a southwest breeze away from the city which was hazed out.
The winds intensified so we fell off to sail into the lee of Alcatraz to reef the main and then continued on to the west, watching as the fog gradually retreated back out the gate, leaving the gate locked in smaze.
We beat toward the gate a couple of times and then headed for the Sausalito channel with Angel Island also locked in smaze.
As we headed for the mouth of Richardson Bay, we encountered strong winds and sailed into the bay a short ways before tacking back toward the south since we were east of the channel along the shore of Sausalito. We eventually tacked again toward the Sausalito channel and this time ran into amazingly strong and gusty winds that forced us to sail off the wind, and still we were being strongly pulled to weather in the major gusts of 30-35 knots in an area where in former years, we would usually find very light winds or becalmed conditions.
A gaggle of Optimist dingies was out in Richardson Bay, struggling in the strong and gusty winds.
A fleet of dingys was at some docks in Sausalito with sails up and probably getting ready to head out for some sailing practice.
We eventually encountered the usual light to no wind conditions in the Sausalito channel, along with a much stronger smell of smoke from the wildfires in the state, and came about and headed back south, motoring at one point out of a wind hole, shortening the jib a bit in anticipation of the strong, gusty winds, and then heading down the shore of Sausalito and the Marin Headlands, having to sail off the wind to avoid being drastically overpowered in the 30-35 knot gusts.
This lovely ketch had passed us as we were headed for the Sausalito channel and was now crossing the bay with her two head sails and her mizzen deployed.
Once out in the central bay, the winds moderated a bit and so we sailed across the entire central bay, intending to shoot for the gate eventually, and now starting to see some windsurfers, like this sailboarder.
We tacked toward the gate after approaching the shore of the city just west of the St. Francis Yacht Club-- the flood current having pushed us at least a half mile eastward as we crossed the bay-- and we continued to see windsurfers like this sailboarder and kiteboarder here between us and the gate.
As we continued sailing toward the gate with the flood current pushing us northward, this kiteboarder approached and passed astern of us....
... looking good as he headed for the cityfront shore.
We sailed into Horseshoe Cove eventually, encountering blustery, gusty winds in the north half of the bay, and then began beating toward the gate.
A heavily loaded containuer ship was headed out to sea and steaming along at a good speed and sending out a large wake. We tacked away from the ship but then eventually had to tack back toward the wake on starboard tack, well-heeled-over in the strong winds so that the freighter wake came pouring over the gunnels and submerging the port side of the boat and covered the topsides in 6-8 inches of water-- quite a blast!
After a couple of beats, we ended up sailing all the way across the gate and then tacking just inside the south tower to sail out the gate between the south tower and midspan with the flood current resisting us.
We sailed out a short distance and then fell off to head back inside on port tack broad reach, eventually gybing just past Horseshoe Cove where we found a light wind sport, and then headed for home port on broad reach starboard tack, watching some more windsurfers and enjoying views of the city locked in smaze.
Winds were variable but mostly strong and gusty the whole way back to pier 39 where the flags on the end of the pier were still pegged out in the breeze.
We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails and prepare for landing and then motored around the pier toward the entrance of the marina, passing the large private yacht, the PRINCESS MARIANA, tied up on the west side of pier 35. Note the helicopter on the aft portion of the top deck of the ship.
We landed in Olivier's slip on C dock and, after tying up, we sat in the cockpit and I drank a glass of wine while he enjoyed a beer, chatting away about life-stuff until Olivier had to get ready to go to his friends place for dinner. Another lovely afternoon of sailing and companionship!