Sunday, August 24, 2008


We left port about 2 pm under brilliantly sunny skies, pulled up single-reefed main and pulled out a small jib and headed out into the central bay in quite strong winds with a flood current flowing. We were hoping to be in time to watch some of the J105 North American Championship racing on the bay.

We started to see some fellow sailors out there almost immediately, like the ones on this ketch headed downwind.

Way in the west, we could see the J105 race fleet heading downwind under colorful kites and hoped they weren't finishing the last race of the day.

This small ketch passed us, heading east on the sparkling bay waters....

.... as did this large sailboat and behind her you can see that the flags on pier 39 are fluttering in a breeze of 15-20 knots.

We sailed westward on the southwest breeze, fighting the flood current and continued watching the J105 fleet sailing downwind with colorful kites flying. Here you can see that one of the boats has finished and doused the kite while the others are approaching the finish line where the committee boat is positioned.

These members of the fleet are still charging downwind with their colorful
kites flying.....

... as is this part of the fleet, with one member having already doused her kite.

Here a couple of the boats in the fleet are in the process of dousing their kites while others are still charging toward the finish line.

More kites being doused in this group of boats.

And here as well.

I was heartened to see that the boats that had finished the race were hanging around and not heading back to the marina-- meaning that another race would be starting soon, and sure enough, the boats were soon jockeying around at the start line and then heading upwind after the start gun sounded.

With the current flooding, all of the fleet headed for the cityfront for flood relief and some of them seem to end up in a close-quarters traffic jam, but this may be more apparent than real since we are taking telephoto images here.

The fleet beat upwind near the shore where the flood current is lighter than further out from the shore and we headed in that direction also.

We watched as the fleet beat upwind and as we neared the cityfront, we pulled in the jib all the way to sail main only for easy tacking and then headed out to watch the race boats coming downwind toward the leeward mark, here hte lead boat is charging downwind...

.... and she is a few boat-lengths in front of the boat in second position.

After the leaders, the boats began to be more grouped together-- three together here....

a couple side by side here...

... and a group of four here.

Five boats together here as they charge toward the leeward mark.

As the rest of the fleet continues toward the leeward mark, the leaders are already beating upwind toward the windward mark, like this one here on starboard tack ....

.... and this one on port tack.

Winds are strong and the boats are sometimes taking spray over the bow as they beat upwind.

We stay north of the fleet beating upwind to make sure we stay well out of their way and watch as they tack back and forth along the cityfront shore.

Some of the boats seem to have six crew members aboard, but ADVANTAGE here seems only to have four crew which may be a disadvantage for keeping the boat level while beating upwind.

Despite the crew sitting on the rail, the boats are often heeled over enough to submerge the leeward rail.

After all of the fleet passed us on their upwind beat, we headed out away fron some to watch the boats charging downwind under spinnaker again, like this one named AQUAVIT that may now have been the lead boat...

....followed closely by this no-name boat that had been in the lead on the first downwind leg of the race.

This boat, JAM SESSION, I think, that seemed to be in second place earlier now seems to be in third place.

We positioned ourselves to be east of the route that the fleet would take while beating upwind and soon spotted the lead boat charging toward the cityfront on starboard tack....

... while other boats in the fleet were still flying downwind... seemingly in somewhat closer groupings.

The lead boat approached us, sailing beautifully-- looking great!

... and a bit later we spotted JAM SESSION sailing off to starboard of the lead boat, perhaps gaining on the leader.

Soon others of the fleet were charging past us as they headed for the cityfront on starboard tack....

... and eventually started beating back and forth upwind.

It's a great sight to watch as the whole fleet is beating upwind at some point.

After they all passed, we headed west again expecting them to soon be flying downwind under spinnaker toward the finish line, but were disappointed to see that they had done an upwind finish this time and were soon headed back to the yacht club after the finish of the race.

So we headed toward the gate, and spotted this kiteboarder blasting across the watre.

We beat our way to the gate under skies that became overcast with the marine layer, eventually sailing out about midspan.

Fort Baker and beyond the bay was in sunshine, but the fog hung over the towers of the bridge and the headlands. as we sailed parallel to the gate for a while.

We sailed to near the shore of the headlands and then came about and headed back inside, gradually pulling the jib out for more downwind power and eventually passing this sailboarder that we often see out there-- the one with the batman costume on.

We blasted downwind with full jib eventually and the fog followed us, but left Telegraph Hill still bathed in sunshine as we approached home port.

The eastern part of the city was still enjoying mostly sunshine, but the fog was quickly moving to change that.

The winds were still blowing about 20 knots as we passed the end of pier 39.

We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse the sails and prepare for landing and then motored into the marina-- as always, filled with the pleasure of several hours of sailing on our magnificent bay and the thrill of watching exciting sailboat racing as well.

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