Michael and two new mates from sfsailing.com 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!