Sunday, August 3, 2008


On Friday, the first day of the StFYC Aldo Alessio Regatta, I hiked over to the St. Francis YC to watch the boat preparations in the marina and then I walked over to the point east of the Golden Gate YC to watch the start of the race and watch the boats beating toward the gate against wind and strong flood current. You will find photos of the race boats, sans the J120 fleet which boycotted the ocean race due to a late-advised boat equipment rule change, on my photo album website at this url:

I also took a number of video clips and put them together into a 10 minute video that you will find on youtube when i have a chance to download it.

Saturday morning started out with brilliant sunshine-- just a finger of fog invading the bay through the gate-- and we had coffee with Olivier at Cafe Francisco before he headed off to the StFYC to prepare for the day's racing on HAWKEYE, an IMX 38. If you look at the Friday photos on my photo album, you will see Olivier on the rail of HAWKEYE -- the most foward member of the crew on the rail, assigned to fordeck for the race.

We headed out on Saturday about 2:30 pm, hoping to catch some views of the second race of the day. Winds were already blowing very strong-- about 20 knots-- so we raised single-reefed main and headed out into the central bay, planning to sail main only to make it easy to tack around while watching the racing,

Out on the central bay, the J120 TWIST was heading west on port tack with the crew on the rail, looking good. Since she was all alone-- no other race boats in sight-- I assumed that she was just out practicing.

We headed west, sailing a bit off the wind with some ebb current assist, and sailing through rough seas, and soon passed up this center-cockpit sloop that was trying to sail too close to the wind with terrible sail trim and barely moving with sails flogging-- glad was I not to be on that boat!

This Ericson 38 sistership was heading east with very poor jib trim.

We soon tacked toward the shore of the city, and after approaching the seawall of the marina at Fisherman's Wharf, we tacked to the west again, pulling out a small amount of jib for a bit more power, and sailed toward what we could see as the leewar mark of the race course with raceboats coming downwind ahead of us. We tacked again toward the Ft. Mason piers and eventually pulled the jib in again to sail main only so we didn't have to deal with the jib while tacking around to watch the race boats.

We soon spotted Mr. Magoo heading toward the leeward mark, having dropped her spinnaker also to prepare for rounding the mark.

Behind her, three J120s were heading for the leeward mark under spinnaker and jib, with DESDEMONA already starting to douse her kite.

Approaching the leeward mark, DESDEMONA was in the lead with CHANCE and DAYENU close behind.

As we tacked back and forth to stay out of the way of the race boats, we spotted Mr. Magoo in the lead, heading upwind on starboard tack.

CHANCE and DESDEMONA followed, many boat lengths behind Mr. Magoo.

As the J120 fleet beat upwind, some of the IRC fleet, like TNT here, were blasting downwind under spinnaker.

As we sailed westward, off the wind a bit, we spotted BUSTIN' LOOSE heading our way blasting downwind ....

... creating a big wake and looking great!

Off to port, HOWL was heading toward the leeward mark under spinnaker and also looking good. The race boat more in the distance with red spinnaker flying was probably TWIST.

Cruisers were also out on the bay, like BLUZZZ here....

... and this catboat, both crossing the bay on close reach starboard tack.

As we continued beating westward, we soon spotted Mr. Magoo blasting downwind .

This is probably one of the IRC fleet blasting downwind.

This 1D35 DOUBLE TROUBLE has been modified to have a bowsprit so she can fly an asymmetrical spinnaker, but can't compete in the one design races with the rest of the 1D35 fleet.

The 1D35 DIABLITO was flying downwind under spinnaker and looking good as well.

A bit later, we spotted the J120 fleet beating upwind again, with CHANCE here heading toward the shore on starboard tack while another is beating westward on port tack.

A bit later, we spotted our old pal, ADVENTURE CAT 2, sailing across the bay on starboard tack on her way to the gate-- an unusual route since she usually takes a more northern route toward the gate.

Here, TWIST is blasting downwind and looking great!

ADVENTURE CAT 2 eventually tacked toward the gate.

With ebb assist, we sailed out the gate between midspan and the north tower, enjoying the view of our magnificent bridge and the cliffs of the Marin Headlands.

We sailed out a short ways, into building ocean swells, and soon came about, with some difficulty because of turning into the teeth of the swells, and headed back inside the gate, watching as this sailboat strangely named JGPC was heading away from the gate...

... while this catamaran was shooting the gate.

JGPC had headed up toward the gate again, with flogging sails, and then tacked as here, still flogging her sails for some unknown reason.

This sailboarder was heading our way, but crashed while trying to change course.

This sailboarder was heading our way, but crashed while trying to change course.

This sailboarder blasted past the downed sailboarder who was trying to get up and underway again.

A bit later, this sailboarder blasted toward us looking good!

Soon another sailboarder headed our way, and closer to shore that could be Mr. Magoo beating upwind toward the windward mark

This sailboat was way overpowered and her rail was in the water as she sailed on close reach port tack.

This J120 was not racing, but crossing the bay from the north, probably practicing for a future race.

This Catalina named TEMPTATION used to be docked at pier 39, but is now docked at the San Francisco Marina, and her she is blasting across the bay, reefed but heavily heeled-over.

The city was enjoying brilliant sunshine as we approached pier 39, sailing through large wind waves and often surfing down the backside of the waves, though sailing main only-- great fun.

The flags on the end of the pier were pegged out in the strong winds.

We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse the main and then motored around the pier while gradually readying the boat for landing, and eventually landing well in the ebb current flowing through the marina.

After tying up, and downloading our photos of the day, I prepared to head out for dinner with my daughter who had recently returned from 6 weeks on Europe, visiting friends and doing an environmental project for a couple of weeks in the Czech republic -- no, Moron McCain, there is no more Czechoslovakia-- how could you be in the Senate of the USA for so long and not know that?????

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