Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Sunday started with heavy marine overcast-- totally different from the brilliantly sunny start of the previous day-- but similar with a morning coffee with Olivier at Cafe Francisco.
Stan, a new crewmate thanks to sfsailing.com, was joining us at 1 pm for our afternoon outing, but before he arrived, we went to the end of pier 39 to watch some of the race boats passing.

The race boat ALETA, part of the IRC fleet, was beating upwind close to the cityfront for flood current relief, along with other boats in the fleet, while others of the race boats in the last race of the Aldo Alessio Regatta were charging downwind under spinnaker-- further out for flood current assist.

Here ALETA has tacked back onto starboard tack, while in the background a race boat-- probably Mr. Magoo, a J120, is charging downwind.

Winds were already strong-- perhaps 20 knots-- and ALETA's crew were mostly on the starboard rail to keep the boat as level as possible for maximum upwind speed.

Here, ACABAR is passing in front of the pier on port tack...

....with most of her crew on the port rail to balance the boat.

We left port about 1:15 pm with skies starting to clear in the east part of the city, with flags fluttering in a breeze on land much less than the wind on the bay.

We raised single-reefed main just outside the marina, pulled out a postage stamped sized jib and headed out into the central bay, where this lovely schooner was charging downwind along the cityfront.

As we headed west, we spotted DOUBLE TROUBLE, that modified 1D35, was headed for the cityfront on starboard tack, and we later spotted them dousing the jib, assuming they were changing to a smaller one, but soon saw that they had doused the main as well-- so apparently they were pulling out of the race.

The IRC fleet was beating upwind from the leeward mark that was northeast of pier 39 and we watched as several boats sailed toward Alcatrax and then headed for the cityfront on starboard tack, like HOWL here was doing.

She soon tacked onto port tack toward Alcatraz..

... and later tacked back onto starboard tack along with another Sydney 38 named BUSTIN' LOOSE.

It was great fun to be out there on the bay with these magnificent racing machines, and staying out of their way as we all beat westward, and we also had some cruisers out there, like this large double-cockpit sloop, named ESPRIT de [something], heading downwind to the east.

The city was in hazy sunshine as we continued beating westward against the quite strong flood current.

Behind us, ALETA was now heading for the cityfront on starboard tack and luffing up on the main sail in the strong winds on the bay.

CHANCE was doing the same.

Ahead of us, a couple of race baots were beating on different tacks.

JOLLY MON passed us to starboard as she headed for the cityfront on starboard tack.

Futher out on the bay, ADVENTURE CAT 2 was heading back from her trip to the gate with a relatively small number of passengers on her wind-chilled decks.

Here a dark-hulled race boat is headed our way with crew on the rail...

.. and passes astern of us in heading for the cityfront.

We continued beating westward along the cityfront, as the race boats were doing, like HAWKEYE here just passing the Fort Mason piers.

At one point, we tacked toward the cityfront and the St. Francis YC-- the finish line of that day's race, to watch some of the boats heading for the finish line under spinnaker, like PHANTOM MIST here....

... and that dark-hulled race boat that earlier passed astern of us....

... and HAWKEYE, the boat that Olivier crews on, here passing Anita Rock on her way to the finish line in front of the St. Francis YC.

We were nearing the windward mark ourselves as the last race boat, ACABAR, was approaching the mark.

We watched and took a video clip as ACABAR rounded the mark and set her gold spinnaker for her downwind rush to the finish line.

Then we headed for the gate-- the only sailboat out there near the gate in the strong 25+ knots of wind and building seas, sailing out just inside the north tower of our magnificent bridge and enjoying views of the bridge and the cliffs of the headlands, now in welcome sunshine.

We just ducked out a short ways and then came about and headed back inside, blasting downwind in strong 25-30 knot winds.

As we approached a point opposite the Ft. Mason piers, we watched as this Islander 36 headed for the cityfront.

The city was enjoying hazy sunshine still as we approached home port.

Behind us, the marine layer was beginning to move over the bay again and starting to obscure the gate.

The flags on the end of pier 35 were not just pegged out, but lifted up at an angle, indicating strong wind of more than 25 knots as a sailboat under main only passed the end of the pier.

We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails and then ready for landing while motoring around the pier. Another fun afternoon on the bay and a good time getting acquainted with a new crewmate Stan who is originally from Checkoslovakia, having left when it was still Soviet dominated.

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