Wednesday, July 23, 2008


We left port about 2 pm, hoping to be able to sail to the gate and back in a couple of hours.

Winds were moderate as we left port, but would probably freshen out in the bay, so we raised single-reefed main right outside the mairna-- no PRINCESS MARIANA to get in our way-- and put out a double reefed jib before heading out into the central bay.

We headed west on the southwest breeze that was blowing about 10 knots and fluttering the flags on the end of pier 39 in a moderate fashion.

This charter sloop, an Islander 34 named LADY J, I think, came out of pier 39 marina behind us and, after raising sails, headed northwest toward the lee side of Alctraz, with a couple of other sailboats behind and headed north.

A U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat was sitting out on the bay and I couldn't tell if they were about to conduct a safety inspection of a power boat that is hidden behind her.

We sailed out to hte west for a while and then tacked into the lee of pier 35, before tacking westward again and watching ADVENTURE CAT pass in front of us, heaidng home.

We sailed westward again until we encountered a small fleet of fishing vessels, like CALIFORNIA DAWN here, off to starboard....

... and then we tacked back toward the shore and sailed past C GULL 2...

....HUCK FINN....

... and OUTER LIMITS. We've stil not seen any of these boats actually in the process of catching or landing a fish, but of course we pass them quite swiftly.

As we sailed past Aquatic Park, the city was enjoying hazy sunshine.

Out in front of the yacht clubs on shore, we spotted a fleet of Lasers playing around on the bay.

We tacked after sailing past the pier at Aquatic Park, and sailed westward again until we were about to encounter the wake of this fully loaded container ship, and then we tacked back toward the shore again.

This lovely Catalina named MI VIDA [my life, in spanish?] was sailing downwind and looking good.

The wind was gradually freshening, now about 15 knots or so, and after approaching the shore, we tacked and sailed westward again while watching this group of Lasers heading toward and rounding a leeward mark, but then just stalling out near the mark-- presumably on purpose.

The Lasers all seemed to be skippered by young people-- probably teenagers undobutedly having a great time on the water and learning sailing skills.

These three Lasers grouped togehter were just barely moving-- sails mostly flapping, and I heard the escort boat asking if they wanted to take a break.

Ahead of us, the fog bank was moving in and now obscurring most of the gate, and the wind continued to freshen as we headed west toward the gate, on the verge now of being somewhat overcanvassed and so getting pulled to weather a bit in the gusts of wind.

We sailed westward against the declining flood current until we were appraching Yellow Bluff, found a softer spot in the wind there and reefed the jib down to a hankie size, and bagan beating toward the gate, getting this view of the GGB as we sailed into Horseshoe Cove.

Just inside the gate, the wind was blowing well in excess of 20 knots, perhaps between 25 and 30 and so we decided it was just a bit too nasty to try to shoot the gate and besides we would have had to do a number of short tacks against the flood and wind to achieve that goal, so we fell off and headed home, pulling the jib out to full for more downwind power.

As we sailed past pier45, a Coast Guard patrol boat was just hanging out there off shore about 500 yards, and further to the east, another such patrol boat was steaming northward. Unusual to have two CG boats like this in the same area.

We had sailed out from under the fog bank about as we were passing Aquatic Park, and the city was enjoying hazy sunshine as we blasted toward home port.

A private power boat was fishing in front of pier 39, but the large charter fishing vessels had all disappeared from the bay.

Flags on the end of pier 39 were now fluttering in a breeze of about 15 knots-- less wind than we encountered near the gate.

We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails and ready for landing, and then motored into port, landing in what seemed like pretty slack current, having sailed almost all the way to the gate and back in less than 2 hours-- good fun as always when the wind doesn't turn the bay into a survival zone.

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