Evelyn and Jule, and Jule's German friend, Martina, joined us at 12:30 pm
for our afternoon outing to head for the gate and watch for the arrival of the MALTESE FALCON, Tom Perkins huge sailboat as she comes to the bay for the first time. Winds were moderate when we left port, but seemed likely to freshen so we raised single-reefed main and put out reefed jib before heading out into the central bay and sailing westward on the southwest breeze.
We could see lots of traffic on the bay and the wind freshened up to about 20 knots, so we were blasting westward as this sailboat approached and eventually passed astern of us.
This Catalina was flying full canvas and overtaking us....
... but KIND OF BLUE tacked away before she reached us.
We sailed to near Yellow Bluff and then fell off to find lighter air to reef the jib, did that and then came about and headed across the bay, across the gate, and then tacked out to sail around outside the gate, awaiting the arrival of the MALTESE FALCON, which happened about on schedule of 2 pm and we saw her approaching from the distance, along with dozens of escort boats.
As she came closer her massiveness became more apparent-- you get asense of it from the photos and video clips you've seen, but in person its more dramatic, especially alongside normal size sailboats.
There were many dozens of sailboats out there, some sailing, some motoring-- mostly sailboat and fewer powerboats than greeted the QE2.
The schooner SEAWARD was heading out to watch with a big load of passengers.
Our old pal, ADVENTURE CAT 2, was also out there watching the arrival.
The MALTESE FALCON was threading her way through the escort fleet, and gybing back and forth so we could see the ease with which the dynarig mast and sail structure maneuvered.
Soon she was sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge, where fog horns earlier had been blaring and there was some hint of a fog finger developing that would have tragically hidden her arrival, but didn't materialize. Someone had said that she needed to come under the gate at low tide, but it was clear that her mast tops had plenty of clearance and this was a myth.
She headed down the cityfront to display herself to the people on shore, and we thought she might sail under the Bay Bridge as well, but we eventually spotted her sailing past Alcatraz and heading for the lee side of Angel Island, so we were hoping that we would see her in Raccoon Straits and get a closer look at her.
We bid adieu to her and headed for Richardson Bay along with dozens of other boats on the highly churned bay waters, enjoying at one point our view of this lovely old schooner the ELIZABETH MUIR.
We were on a parallel course to these three boats also headed for Richardson Bay on broad reach port tack.
We eventually did a chicken gybe and headed for Raccoon Straits on broad reach starboard tack, and watched as this saiboat flying a cruising spinnaker approached....
... her crew looking relaxed as she blasted northwestward.
Most of the fleet of escort boats heading toward home were sailing on the same tack, but occasionally a boat would be cutting across the fleet, like this small trimaran here.
At one point we were side by side with this lovely yawl that we have seen on the bay before and also used as a photo in our blog.
We were approaching the west mouth of Raccoon Straits when we spotted MALTESE FALCON rounding Angel Island and heading up the straits.
She soon passed us, sailing with the ebb current, and we gained and even greater appreciation of her massive length and height as she dwarfs the boats around her.
While the lines of her hull and cabin are clean and beautiful, the odd mast structure is not what I consider attractive-- dramatic, but not beautiful. I imagine how beautiful she would look overall if she had more traditional rigging and sail plan.
As we ghosted down the straits against the current, and eventually pulled out the jib to full for more power against the current, the MALTESE FALCON eventually was way in the southwest and eventually doused sail and anchored over by the shore of Sausalito.
We continued down the straits, enjoying the sailboats around us, like this
race boat heading for the finish line of the YRA season closing race...
and this lovely woodie heading up the straits.
As we passed Ayala Cove, we could see that the buoy field was full of boats that had had no interest in welcoming the MALTESE FALCON into the bay...
...and many boats were at the docks, but the small marina was not full.
While ghosting down the straits, we enjoyed the many goodies that Evelyn had brought with her, and those were then stowed as we reefed the jib again and then came about to head back up the straits, Jule at the helm and the other crewmembers enjoying the outing posing with her next to the helm.
We began beating westward to head for the spot where the MALTESE FALCON was anchored for a closer look at her, and saw other boats, like this Knarr also heading that way.
Winds were mostly moderate in the lee of the Sausalito shore so we pulled the jib out to full again and continued beating west in shifting winds, finally arriving at a point near the Falcon.
A big wind hole had developed in her location so we were mostly drifting with the ebb current, as we watched other boats investigating the big ship.
We got a close look at this big ship as we ghosted past her.
Eventually, a large motorsailor rafted up with her.
One of her twin launches was tied to the side and the other was still on the foredeck and in this photo you really get the sense of the massiveness of the masts and spars.
This lovely yawl was also invsestigating from a greater distance.
We eventually turned on the engine to motor back into the breeze, saying farewell to the Falcon with the sunlight glinting off her spars.
We soon arrived in a breeze that allowed us to stop motoring and eventually we were in really strong winds -- 20+ knots probably-- and were blasting toward home port, enjoying views of the city in the late afternoon sunshine.
We sailed into the lee of pier 35, doused sail and readied for landing as we motored around and into the marina, landing fine in the now flooding current, and happy to have spent about 6 very interesting and enjoyable hours on the bay with good mates!