Sunday, August 31, 2008


Michael and two new mates from crew list: Eileen from Livermore and Jule who hails originally from Berlin, Germany, joined us for our afternoon outing and we left port about 1:45 pm.

After raising single-reefed main and putting out a double reefed jib, we headed out into the cental bay, sailing northward toward the lee side of Angel Island and eventually falling off ot give right of way to this small Cal 20 sailboat heading west. A pretty small sailboat to be out in the blustery conditions today on the bay.

Winds were strong all the way to a point opposite Raccoon Straits and then softened in a small lee spot, and we spotted a number of sailboats playing around in this area, like this ketch....

...and this one named VAGRANT!

This lovely schooner named CONDESSA was headed northwest after passing the east mouth of Raccoon Straits.

We had headed up and were approaching the southeast point of the Tiburon Headlands when we fell off to dead downwind to reef the jib down to a much smaller size before coming around and heading for Angel Island on starboard tack. We tacked westward again for a while to avoid a collision with a Catalina flying full canvas and somewhat out of control, not insisting on our right of way, but soon tacking tack toward Angel Island again.

Approaching the island shore, we tacked to the west again to sail throgh the straits, passing Ayala Cove where the buoy field seemed to be full of boats...

.. as were the docks of the small marina.

One port tack in blustery winds took us through the straits and approaching the shore of Belvedere where we spotted NIANTIC, a ketch that we have seen out on the bay a few times before.

After exiting the straits, we tacked to the southeast to sail across the west mouth of the straits and down the weather shore of Angel Island for a while, before tacking and heading west toward Sausalito, eventually catching this shot of a sailboat heading for Raccoon Straits and not realizing until looking at it later that this was Olivier on CORTO MALTESE.

This small traditional sailboat passed to starboard and seemed way overcanassed for the strong wind that prevailed almost everywhere on the bay.

We finally entered a light wind lee area approaching the shore of Sausalito so headed up and reefed the jib down to a postage stamp size, relatively, before tacking and heading down the shore toward the gate, passing this Ranger 33 heading for Sausalito....

.... and this Islander 34 also headed toward Sausalito.

ADVENTURE CAT, our old pal, must have picked up a load of passengers at a dock in Sausalito since she was along the shore and then eventually took off and passed us to starboard.

Winds were quite blustery all the way down the shore of the Marin Headlands, so we were sailing a bit off the wind. After passing Yellow Bluff, we encountered large ocean swells well inside the bay. We continued sailing all the way across the gate in blustery winds and big seas, eventually tacking to head out the gate into big swells.. We just ducked out, and encountered such large and sharp swells in the north half of the gate, seemed 6-8 feet, that we dared not try to tack or come about and instead fell off to sail downwind on port tack to head back inside the gate and into Horseshoe Cove.

Sailboarders and kiteboarders were having a great time in the blustery conditions, like this sailboarder blasting toward Horseshoe Cove....

.... and this one heading across the gate at high speed....

....and this one about to go down!

We did a chicken gybe in Horseshoe Cove and then headed for home port in the strong winds and building seas, doing some surfing on the waves from time to time.

The city was enjoying hasy late afternoon sunshine as we approached home port.

Winds were softer around the end of pier 39, blowing only about 15-20 knots instead of the 25-35 knots that we were encountering earlier near the gate and for the first few miles of our return trip.

We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails and then readied for landing while motoring around pier 35, encountering substantial winds and surge in the marina as we landed in our slip. After tying up and making a trip to the marina restrooms, we sat in the cockpit in the warm sunshine and drank chai tea with cheese and crackers and some delicious vegan cookies that Jule brought with her, continuing the great conversations that we were sharing all afternoon. Another special and exciting day on the bay!

Friday, August 29, 2008


We left port around 6:30 pm in warm evening air after a warm day in San Francisco, and as we headed out into the central bay with reefed main and jib, we saw several ferried just hanging around northeast of Alcatraz, a very unuusal situation which suggested something must be amiss out there.

As we sailed toward Alcatraz, we turned on the VHF and heard a Coast Guard broadcast about some trouble in that area, but it wasn't until we saw a coast guard fast boat in the vicinity and took a telephoto shot that we could see that a small catamaran had flipped and a crew person was sitting on one of the hulls.

A later shot showed that there were two crew aboard the overturned cat.

A coast guard helo flew over the scene.

We didn't continue to follow the scene so don't know what further actions were taken, but we continued on toward Alcatraz with winds increasing dramatically and putting us in a slightly overpowered condition. We sailed into the lee of Alcatraz and into a soft wind spot and reefed the jib down to a handkerchief size before heading back toward the cityfront on starboard tack close reach.

As we sailed southward, we spotted this nice Beneteau heading our way sailing downwind under full canvas and with flood assist.

We were both on starboard tack so the Beneteau as the windward boat owed us right of way, but sighting the relative bearing change we could see that we were not on a collision course, but the Beneteau would pass in front of us with at least a few yards of clearance, and so it was.

INSPIRATION continued eastward as we continued on toward the cityfront.

The flood current was pushing us eastward as we sailed southward, and we noticed this catamaran heading toward pier 39.

The city was basking in somewhat hazy evening sunshine.

A small flock of pelicans flew overhead.

We tacked to the west again in softer winds near the cityfront shore, and watched as the sun dropped behind the hills of the Marin Headlands.

We continued westward for a while and then came about, pulled out the jib to full and headed home as the city was mostly in shadow with some rosy sunset color above.

Pier 39 flags were fluttering in a breeze of about 10 knots as city lights were coming up.

We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse the sails and get ready for landing while enjoying the view of Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower as city lights brightened.

As we motored around pier 35 and toward the marina entrance, the marmalade sunset was intensifying.

The flood current was strong at the marina entrance and we needed some good headway under motor to fight the current and, to nail the landing in the slip, we went in high so the flood current would drift us down into the slip and the landing was near perfect. Another great outing!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


We headed out a bit after 6 pm for an evening sail, and as we were leaving port, we spotted Tim on CHEWINK headed out ahead of us.

We put up a single-reefed main, pulled out a small jib and headed out into the central bay, watching as this Catalina passed, heading downwind under main only.

We headed west in the moderate breeze, but the strong flood current resisting us actually put us mostly on a northerly course effectively, and the city retreating behind us was enjoying quite clear air despite it being a 'spare the air day'.

Winds were moderate initially and I was tempted to pull out more jib, but then the wind started freshening-- up another 10 knots-- after 6 pm-- what's up with that?- and we were happy with the canvas that we had ou tthere.

As we sailed past Alcatraz, quite to the east of it, this cutter-rigged sailboat was passing the island closer to the shore.

ADVENTURE CAT, our old pal on the bay, also sailed past the island on her sunset sail.

After passing Alcatraz, we began to make more westerly headway with a shift in the wind to more southwesterly, and we spotted this sailboat heading across the bay toward the cityfront where a number of sailboats were participating in a a beer can race.

Angel Island was looking beautiful in the late sunshine and shadow produced by the late sun.

As we entereed the area between the headlands and Angel Island, winds softened and we pulled the jib out to full for more power and began beating westward in shifting winds, enjoying as we did this lovely yawl crossing in front of us.

Closer to the headlands, this Catalina was heading for the gate.

In the distance, ADVENTURE CAT was heading out the gate and that Catalina was heading past Horseshoe Cove.

A sailboat in Richardson Bay was in flat water with little or no wind.

The sun went down behind the hills of Sausalito and it was time to head for home.

We spotted that lovely yawl heading back toward us-- and I love this shot with Alcatraz out of focus in sunshine and the Bay Bridge is ghostly in the background.

The yawl passed us, looking great and well-maintained, and the sunset colored shore of Angel Island provided a beautiful backdrop. We tacked to follow them for a while and took this video clip of the yawl ghosting along at sundown.

That Catalina spotted earlier heading toward the gate was now headed back toward Sausalito.

The CALIFORNIA HORNBLOWER was heading our way on her dinner cruise with sun reflections on the Berkeley hills in the distance.

The Golden Gate Bridge was looking beautiful against the dusk sky.

We kept the full jib out as we headed across the bay toward home port, sailing on close reach until the freshening wind required us to ease off the wind a bit, and we enjoyed the views of the city with the tall buildings seeing the last of the setting sun. The sailing was great-- moving fast on flat water-- very exciting!

Here's a video clip that gives some sense of what it felt like.

We managed to sail well to the west of Alcatraz and then could fall off the wind some more as we headed toward home port, enjoying the marmalade sunset sky in the west as we sailed along.

City lights were brightening as we approached home port-- always a magical time on the bay!

We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails, ready for landing and then motored into port-- happy to have been out on the bay at evening for the first time in quite a while and under really nice conditions!