We headed out about 3 pm, hoping that we would still be able to catch some of the skiff racing that had started on Wednesday. My hiking buddy and I had passed the skiffs sitting on the land just off the Crissy Field Promenade while returning from our daylong hike on Monday. A young man was standing near one of the skiffs and we asked him when the races would start. There were 10 skiffs there-- more than the number that had participated last year in the International Skiff Regatta and there would be teams from the USA, Austrailia and Gt. Britain.
Just outside the marina, we raised single-reefed main and put out a small jib and headed out into the central bay, sailing westward before tacking into the lee of pier 45, passing the end of pier 39 where the flags were fluttering in a moderate breeze of only about 10 knots-- unusually light.
As we tacked to the west again, we spotted ADVENTURE CAT 2 heading out for one of their afternoon sails to the gate and back with quite a few passengers on board-- just raising the main sail here. In the background, a neighbor sailboast, the BECKY J, was heading out of port. While passing her as we motored down the fairway, her owner said they were planning on sailing down to Monterrey.
A short time later, ADVENTURE CAT 2 was heading toward the lee side of Alcatraz-- her usual route-- while another sailboat, not the BECKY J, was heading north toward the lee side of Angel Island.
A bit later, we spotted the PRIVATEER heading back to home port after their charter outing with a nice load of passengers aboard enjoying the sunshine on this part of the bay.
The city was enjoying hazy sunshine as we continued westward.
As we sailed along, we spotted this lone pelican diving for a fish and here resting on the water while swallowing the fish.....
... and then taking off with a fuller belly.
As we continued sailing westward, a sailboat operated by the BLUE WATER FOUNDATION passed in front of us.
We tacked toward the cityfront and began beating toward the gate, eventually spotting the skiffs on the beach, but beginning to head out for another race line YANDOO here heading upwind
The KINDER CARING [a home health care company] skiff passed us, heading for the starting line.
A bit later, we spotted the HARKEN skiff blasting downwind, doing a practice spinnaker run toward the start line
Some kiteboarders like this one were also out enjoying the now strong winds on the bay.
We sailed past the windward mark of the skiff race course and continued on toward the gate mostly covered in mist, planning to shoot the gate and then return to watch the skiff round the windward mark.
As we approached the gate, this Catalina passed us, doing wing and wing directly downwind.
As we were sailing out the gate, this sailboat was heading back inside between the south tower and Fort Point.
We just ducked out the gate and then came about and headed back inside toward the windward mark and hung around there, watching as this lone skiff, sponsored by PANASONIC, rounded the mark and blasted downwind under spinnaker, all alone so probably badly trailing the other skiffs.
We hung around the mark, just sailing back and forth waiting for the skiffs to arrive and eventually spotted the SLAM skiff heading upwind toward the mark...
... followed a bit later by the WEST MARINE skiff.
Here the lead skiff, SLAM, is blasting downwind under spinnaker.
Here the ACTIVE AIR skiff is charging downwind under spinnaker....
...followed by the WEST MARINE skiff.
The ACTIVE AIR skiff gybed onto port tack soon after setting the spinnaker-- unusual since most of them stay on starboard tack until they near the leeward mark and then gybe onto port tack to head for the mark.
Other skiffs rounded the windward mark, set spinnakers and blasted downwind, like this one here with no name visible on her....
.... followed by the PANASONIC skiff.
After all the skiffs in the race had rounded the windward mark, we headed downwind also and eventually spotted this kiteboarder that had lost the wind. We eventually sailed over and asked if he would like us to tow him into the wind, but he declined and said he was winding up his control lines.
Here one of the Harken sponsored skiffs was heading upwind on port tack
toward the windward mark as the cruise ship earlier tied up at pier 35 was steaming toward the gate.
A bit later, a kiteboarder blasted past as the cruise ship continued toward the gate....
...followed by this HARKEN skiff heading upwind.
There were areas of strong winds along the cityfront, but also areas of light winds and here a sailboarder was struggling to make headway in light winds.
He had a big smile on his face as he approached us.
Behind us, this kiteboarder was blasting along on the sparkling bay waters.
As we continued downwind, we could see that all the skiffs-- at least these six, were on the beach so we thought there would be another race.
Eventually we spotted the skiffs leaving the beach and heading toward the gate along with this sailboarder.
This skiff was also heading upwind so we wondered if there would be another race with a downwind start.
We spotted a number of sailboarders with large sails heading upwind toward the gate also, like this one.
This helicopter had been hovering over the skiff regatta, so I assume they were taking aerial photos or videos.
We were hanging around the leeward mark of the race course, assuming that the skiffs would be rounding that mark and heading back upwind, but we soon realized that they were doing a bridge to bridge race with the skiffs racing the kiteboarders and sailboarders with one of the skiffs here blasting downwind in strong winds with a kiteboarder following.
We caught this great shot of one of the skiffs blasting past us with almost the entire hull of the boat out of the water.
The city was enjoying more brilliant sunshine as we approached home port.
The flags on the end of pier 39 were fluttering in strong winds of about
As we headed for the lee side of pier 35 to douse the main sail, we spotted this red-hulled Cal sailboat heading our way on starboard tack and looking good.
We doused the main in the lee of pier 35 and readied for landing before motoring around the pier into the marina, happy to have spent some good time on the water with the racing skiffs.