Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Olivier called me in the late afternoon to invite me to go out with him on his Ericson 34 'CORTO MALTESE' and we headed out of port around 6 pm, raised single reef main and put out reefed jib before heading out into the central bay where the winds were still blowing 20+ knots and the current was a waning but still strong ebb. With strong wind and ebb current, we were soon blasting westward on the southwest breeze and bucking through the substantial wind waves, taking blasts of spray.

We eventually fell off the wind a bit to sail past the lee side of Alcatraz.

We continued ou to the northwest until we were southwest of Angel Island, where we fell off and reefed the jib to a smaller side and then came about and headed back across the bay, where we eventually approached the shore of the city where some windsurfers were still playing around in the strong winds.

After approaching the shore, we tacked toward the gate and watched as this sailboarder headed for shore, hoping that he's have enough breeze to get all the way there.

This kitesboarder was heading for shore...

... as was this sailboarder.

We initially headed for the gate but then spotted the Maltese Falcon in the north and possibly under sail, so we headed off the wind to sail that way until we could see that she was anchored with no sails up. Then we headed up toward the gate and watched as this Hunter sailboat passed after returnign to the bay from outside.

Our old pal, ADVENTURE CAT, was also headed back from the gate and passed to port.

We approached the gate inside the north tower, and then tacked to head out the gate on starboard tack close reach, enjoying the great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands in the evening sunlight that makes the colors more vivid and the shadows more pronounced.

The GGB takes on a dark orange color as the sun drops low toward the horizon and the city behind takes on sundown color as well.

Olivier turned the helm over to me again as we headed back inside the gate on port tack broad reach.

We sailed into horseshoe cove where the wind was lighter and then gybed to head toward home port with the sun dropping toward a massive fog bank on the horizon.

As we continued toward home port, the sun was starting to disappear into the fog bank.

Eventually some brilliant sunset color developed in some whisps of fog that drifted off the fog bank.

City lights were beginning to come up as we continued on toward home port as sunset turned to dusk.

The GHIRADELLI sign was a bright beacon above the Maritime Museum and Aquatic Park.

Sunset color persisted above the fog bank in the west as we approached home port...

...but then began to wane as Olivier took over the helm to continue toward home port.

At twilight, the city lights continued to brighten on shore-- magic time on the bay!

Some bright sunset color continued in the west as we neared home port.

As we passed pier 39, it was nearly dark and city lights on shore were bright and beautiful.

The remaining light in the west was brilliantly reflected in the glass wall of the 101 California building.

We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails and ready for landing and we enjoyed the view of Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill and the financial district buildings.

We motored into port at last light and landed fine, full of the pleasure of an exciting outing on the bay with all the beauty surrounding us while out there. Later Olivier joined me on Anticipation for dinner and a few more hours of good companionship and conversation.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Robert from Sunnyvale -- another sfsailing.com contact-- joined us for the first time at 12:30 pm for our afternoon outing. We were also joined by Benjamin, a young man from Paris, France, who was referred to us by Olivier after he chatted with him from the pumpout station on A dock. Benjamin is in SF for two weeks for training with his U.S. employer and we were happy to welcome him aboard.

We left port about 1 pm, raised single-reefed main and headed out into the central bay, gybed toward the Bay Bridge, and pulled out the jib to full for downwind power, heading for the A-B span of the bridge and eventually spotting that damn Rocket Boat blasting westward.

As we headed southeastward along the cityfront, this lovely ketch with tanbark sails was blasting in the other direction and looking great!

This smaller sailboat also passed us-- she was flying full main but a small jib and also looking good!

The S.F. Fire Department's fireboat steamed past to port, heading north.

A sailboat that had BAADS on the side sailed past-- BAADS probably an acronym for Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors. Both her main and jib were a bit on the wrinkled side.

A catboat named RANARE' was sailing through the D-E span as we passed astern of her.

We sailed under the A-B span and then gybed to head for Yerba Buena in shifty winds-- both velocity and direction-- that forced us to do several gybes to sail southeast enough to be able to sail around YBI, and being followed by this Beneteau....

... following closely behind us.

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We finally were able to sail around the southern shore of YBI, enjoying our view of the cute lighthouse on the southern point of the island.

We reefed the jib in the lee of YBI and did a couple more gybes to stay in a breeze to take us back through the Bay Bridge cantilever section, meanwhile watching as this lovelyAlberg sailboat named SOJOURN passed, heading for Alameda.

We sailed under the bridge and looked at the new causeway, noticing that the columns and roadway bottom has all been covered with a white coating of some kind -- most of that having been done since last we sailed past this area.

As we sailed northward, we spotted this small racing trimaran was sailing into the cove...

...followed by several others of the same type boat, like this one, but these had a bowsprit with another sail on a roller furling. Perhaps these are the new types of small raceboats that we will be seeing doing regattas on the bay in the future.

As we continued sailing northward, that BAADS sailboat passed us again, heading southeast, having sailed the opposite way around TI.

We soon entered the central bay past the lee shore of TI, and then we were in really strong winds-- seeming to be 25+ knots from the west -- forcing us to sail between closehauled and beam reach with blast through big windwaves too close to the nose of ANTICIPATION for comfort, and we took sevaral big blasts of spray, including one that soaked us in the cockpit.

It was exciting, but uncomfortable sailing for a fast trip across the central bay to the lee of Angel Island where winds softened and we pulled the jib out to full for more power to beat into Raccoon Straits, eventually sailing past Ayala Cove where the buoy field was far less crowded than it was on Saturday.

A small sailboat was blasting past Ayala Cove where the small marina was quite crowded with boats.

As we beat through Raccoon Straits, we were watching the huge fog bank hovering over the gate and pouring over the hilltops of the Marin Headlands and the Sausalito hills.

As we beat southwestward with reefed jib again, planning to take another close look at the Maltese Falcon at anchor, this lovely small Beneteau named TALISMAN passed to port.

Eventually we were approaching that huge ship, also being checked out by other boats, with cabin and spars gleaming in the sunshine and now pointed in the direction opposite from the day before because of the strong ebb current.

You will find all of our many photos of the Maltese Falcon at

We sailed around the stern end of the Maltese Falcon and enjoyed our views of the ship from the sunny side that we were not able to get to on Saturday.

We continued sailing toward Sausalito, leaving the ship behind us with a couple of motoring sailboats checking out the ship.

Ahead of us, a fleet of Optimist dingies was practicing their racing skills...

....with children enjoying their sailing experiences and handling the gusty conditions quite well.

The dingies were scattered over a small area of the bay in the lee of the Sausalito hills but there were several wind alleys with really strong gusty winds.

We found a quite spot and reefed the jib down to a postage stamp size before heading back down the shore of Sausalito toward the Maltese Falcon again, sailing past her port side again and around her stern where one really gets a sense of her beam and the massiveness of her masts and spars-- the spars extending well beyond the hull of the boat.

As we headed toward home port, saying goodby to the Falcon, the sunlight was gleaming off her masts and spars.

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The GGB was darkened under the massive fog bank.

We had good winds all the way to home port, with the city covered by fog extending in from the gate.

Winds were lightening a bit as we passed pier 39, but still strong.

We sailed into the lee of pier 35 and doused sails there, prepared for landing while motoring around that pier and then motoring into the marina where we landed fine in quite slack tidal conditions. It was an exciting outing under highly varied conditions of wind and wave and enjoyable to have a couple of new sailing mates aboard. Olivier later came over for wine and cheese and crackers-- bringing the wine-- and then we went out for a nice seafood dinner at La Pescatore restaurant.