Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Jon [another sfsailing.com contact] and his friend Gabe joined us for our afternoon outing, and we left port around 2 pm. After raising single reefed main and putting out a small jib, we headed out into the central bay.

As we headed west on the southwest breeze with some ebb current assist, we soon passed this nice cruising boat passing the east marina.

Off to starboard, ZARA was also heading west.

PRIVATEER was heading home from a charter outing.

Winds were moderate-- about 10 knots or so-- and we could have pulled out more jib, but expected the winds to freshen dramatically as the afternoon wore on.

We could see in the distance the Express 27 feet heading downwind with kites flying, but a couple of boats had already doused kites in preparation for rounding the leeward mark.

As we continued westward, we spotted HAWKEYE, the race boat that my friend Olivier crews on, blasting upwind and looking good!

She was sailing beautifully and that's Olivier as the most forward crew member working on something here-- perhaps making some kind of adjustment.

We were purposely ghosting along with reduced sail since we were waiting for the Express 27 fleet to head back downwind from the windward mark, and soon a former neighbor boat TEMPTATION passed us to starboard, looking good!

We eventually tacked toward the cityfront as we spotted the Express 27 leaders heading downwind toward the leeward mark, and then we tacked back toward the leeward mark to watch the spinnaker douses and mark roundings of the leaders. Note that the jibs of the boats are still on deck in this photo.

As the lead two boats approach the leeward mark, they first raise their jibs to have them ready for the mark rounding after dousing the kite, as they have done here.

Then as they approach the leeward mark, they begin to douse the kite, having first taken down the spinnaker pole.

The foredeck man is now working hard to pull the kite down onto the foredeck ....

... dousing more and more as the boat approaches the leeward mark....

.. .and then after completing the douse, they do a quick gybe of both main and jib as they round the mark going quickly from starboard to port tack and hardening in the sails for the upwind beat.

The two lead boats are about a boat length apart as they round the mark...

... and soon both are heading upwind.

The next group of race boats were soon approaching the leeward mark with their jibs up already and all of them have already gybed onto port tack.

Then the kite douse begins....

....and continues....

... until it was almost all on deck and ...

....then around the mark and upwind they go.

Here, one boat is heading upwind, and two are heading for the leeward mark with the boat behind already having completed her kite douse while the one in front is still in process of dousing.

The upwind and downwind boats are often crossing each others paths, as here.

Here again, two downwind boats are close together and the lead boat in this duo is still flying her kite while the other is already dousing.

As two boats are heading upwind, the downwind pair are now three, the lead boat in this group still flying her kite while the other two have already completed their douse and the lead boat has gained ground on the others.

The lead boat is dousing right as they approach the mark, but she now seems to have lost ground for some reason as the other two are approaching the mark in favorable positions.

Here two of the race boats are beating upwind on different tacks, but most of the boats did head toward the cityfront, perhaps because the winds were a bit lighter there and the boats could sail upwind without luffing up the foreward part of the main to avoid being overpowered and heeled over too far for maximum upwind speed-- boat speed being more important than staying out in somewhat stronger ebb current. If the lead boats do that, because their tactician makes that call, the others usually follow suit, though some maveriks might try other tactics under some conditions.

Here, one of the boats still flying spinnaker seems to be broaching a bit, perhaps being hit by a sudden wind gust, while 'elise' is heading upwind on starboard tack.

'elise' was sailing beautifully even though she was far behind the leaders.

Here the last boat in the fleet is heaing upwind and taking some spray while on port tack....

... and well-heeled-over as she sails here on starboard tack, but you could see as you watched more closely how much she was struggling under the windy conditions more than the leader boats did.

We wondered if the boats would do another downwind leg to finish in front of the yacht club, but we soon spotted the committee boat at the windward mark and the lead boats coming back with just their jibs flying and then knew that the finish was an upwind one-- being done more and more lately, though it is less interesting especially if the course is on the cityfront.

We then pulled out a small jib and headed for the gate, soon spotting this large race boat named RAINCLOUD from Mexico blasting downwind and flying a huge asymmetrical kite from a spinnaker pole extending way in front of the bow. I checked the entry list for the Rolex Big Boat Series starting next Thursday and her name is on the list so we will be seeing a lot more of her on the bay.

This lovely smaller boat was also heading downwind and passed us to port.

We soon spotted a very large schooner charging downwind and looking great!

We made a couple of beats and soon were heading for the gate on port tack close reach in seas that were a bit rough but nothing like the huge swells of the day before with much lighter winds as well -- in the 15-20 knot range, instead of 25-30 knots like the day before.

We sailed out near midspan with Gabe and Jon much enjoying their first time of sailing under our magnificent bridge-- all seem to be thrilled by this, and I, who have done it perhaps a thousand or more times, still find it thrilling!

We just ducked out the gate and then fell off and headed back inside, heading toward Horseshoe cove and spotting this kiteboarder blasting over the bay waters.

Here's a brief video of a kiteboarder on the bay.

Winds were light in Horseshoe Cove, so we gybed without even pulling in the main first and the boom just eased across the cockpit. Then we pulled out full jib for our downwind sail and soon we were in stronger winds as we sailed on broad reach starboard tack and eventually spotted this sailboat heading for us....

... but passing astern of us, looking great with full main and reefed jib, but not putting the rail in the water because winds were moderate-- about 15 knots.

This sailboarder passed us, enjoying good winds for blasting around on the sparkling bay waters.

We were soon approaching home port with the city enjoying brilliant sunshine

Off to port, that schooner was now heading upwind and here had her sails luffing quite a bit.

The pier 39 flags were flutting in a breeze of maybe 10 knots, perhaps less.

We decided to head for the Bay Bridge to try to complete our first two bridge kiss in a while, and soon spotted neighbor boat BLUE STAR dousing one of her head sails-- a club-footed staysail, I believe.

As we continued toward the Bay Bridge, this lovely small race boats passed to starboard, looking good!

As we sailed toward the Bay Bridge, fighting the ebb current in light wind, we spotted in the distance south of the bridge a sailboat heading upwind with ebb assist, and soon she was passing the Bay Bridge alpha tower and charging upwind with rail in the water or nearly so at least... but looking good!

This Islander 28 was in much lighter winds as she headed north and passed to starboard.

We sailed under the A-B span of the bridge, reefed the jib and then headed up toward the shore, enjoying views of the bridge in the strong sunlight.

We eventually tacked to head for home port, covering ground much faster even with reduced sail because of ebb current assist, and soon began passing boats heading downwind, like this Ericson 25....

... this Express 27 named MAGIC heading home with kite flying...

....and this Express 27 named Kolibri, heading home after the race.

We sailed westward until we were in position to sail into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails. We tacked into the lee there and doused sails, then motored around while preparing for landing. Landing was quite easy with an ebb current still flowing through the marina-- we came in low and drifted with the current into the slip. It was a fabulous outing with some ethusiastic new mates aboard to enjoy the outing with us!

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