Wednesday, September 24, 2008


We headed out of port about 2:30 pm on the second day of Fall with fall weather having arrived yesterday-- fog gone and more moderate winds. [It's great to wake up to sunshine!!!] We raised a full main for the first time in many months and also pulled out a full jib as we headed out into the central bay, heading northward toward the lee side of Angel Island.

Way in the west, we could see some sailboats playing around near the gate.

We sailed in front of this sand dredge and barge steaming westward, sailing in about 8-10 knots of breeze-- perfect for full canvas-- it felt great to have all that canvas up there, looking good as we sailed along!

As we sailed between a point well east of Alcatraz and a point well east of Angel Island, we watched as a sailboat passed down the southern shore of Angel Island, sailing jib only, and eventually she passed astern of us.

We also watched as this lovely sailboat crossed in front of us, heaidng toward Raccoon Straits and looking good with full canvas flying.

The breeze softened further in the lee of Angel Island and was a steady 3-5 knots as we sailed past the platform at Southhampton Shoal.

This much larger, dark-hulled sailboat was heading northward and further east of us, heading for Richmond and passing us up as we ghosted along to the north.

Ahead of us, a tanker with two escort, working tugs was approaching the Richmond Long Wharf where the tankers dock to unload.

As we continued to ghost northward in light breezes, we watched as the two tugs maneuvered the tanker into the dock in front of an empty tanker already docked there, taking lots of time to slowly position the ship.

We managed to sail to a point about a quarter mile southeast of Red Rock before we started to run out of wind, so we gave up on reaching the Richmond-San-Rafael Bridge, and came about and headed toward Raccoon Straits on close reach starboard tack, sailing a bit faster in the light breeze because it's more efficient to sail close-hauled than on a broad reach in light winds.

We eventually sailed past the lane marker buoy with a couple of harbor seals taking a snooze on it.

We were sailing right toward this tugboat that was standing a ways off from....

... this barge, and we would have liked to sail between the tun and the barge but didn't want to risk the possibility that the two were still tied together somehow, so we fell off and sailed past the opposite side of the barge and then could see that it was anchored.

The southwesterly breeze eventually shifted a bit more into the SSW so we were now pointing toward the middle of the east mouth of Raccood Straits as this smaller sailboat passed to port, heaidng back to Pt. Richmond probably.

We sailed on that starboard tack until we were approaching the shore of Angel Island near the northeast point of the island and then we tacked to the west, passing this race boat named Ariadne that was heading down the straits.

The breeze in the straits was also light and we were just ghosting along to the west, and eventually passed this Catalina named SunBreak heading downwind through the straits. She may be a neighbor boat as I seem to recall a boat on D dock with that name.

Her crew was mastly in short sleeve shirts and enjoying the warm evening air.

As we ghosted past Ayala Cove, we could see that a flotilla of power boats was tied up at the buoy field in the cove, and I thought perhaps this was a group from Discovery Bay Y.C. that my former boat neighbor Rich belonged to. I called him on my cellphone to inquire and found out that his group was tied up at pier 40 and they were enjoying the delightful fall weather.

The docks in Ayala Cove were mostly empty, but a few sailboats were tied up there.

The houses on the hills of Tiburon were enjoying the early evening sunshine as we ghosted westward....

... and we eventually passed this lovely ketch motoring down the straits, later seeing her headed for Ayala Cove.

As we exited the straits near the Tiburon shore we could again see the city and financial district buildings in the distance through a moderate haze.

A flotilla of about 10-12 dingies was racing around just in front of the yacht harbor of the Corinthian Y.C....

... and the yacht club building looked majestic in the early evening sunshine.

We eventually tacked to the south and soon spotted a large tall ship way further west along the shore of the headlands. She was fully loaded with canvas and I would have liked to have been able to get closer to see the name of the ship. I don't recognize her mast and sail plan as corresponding to any of the tall ships that we have had visiting the bay in the past 6 months.

As we began beating toward the gate, this Coast Guard fast boat blasted past us, heading toward Raccoon Straits.

We spotted quite a few sailboats out enjoying the light evening winds and warm temperatures, like this small saiboat sailing with main only ...

... and this one motoring out of Richardson Bay...

....and this one sailing down the shore of the Marin Headlands.

We continued to beat toward the gate, sometimes sailing a bit off the wind when we started to encounter somewhat stronger winds along the shore of the headlands, and were at this point approaching Yellow Bluff when we spotted Lola heading for the gate ahead of us.

Behind us, and close ot the shore of Belvedere, the Gaslight was heading home toward Sausalito after an evening charter cruise.

Quite a few sailboats were milling around over closer to Angel Island.

This smaller sailboat was returning from the gate and passed us to port.

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As we sailed past Yellow Bluff, we could now see all of the GGB standing guard over the gate and we also encountered winds too strong for our full canvas-- pulling us intensely to weather in a few gusts and so we had to fall off to dead downwind and reef the jib to avoid being overpowered as we contiued to beat toward the gate.

We sailed eventually into Horseshoe Cove and then sailed parallel to the gate before tacking and heading out on port tack just inside the north tower of the bridge. Winds were more moderate at and outside the gate, so we tacked onto starboard tack for a while and then tacked onto port tack again and let out the jib to full again to look beautiful for the onlookers from the headlands.

After sailing out a short ways further, we came about and headed back inside, watching as our old pal, ADVENTURE CAT, sailed across the bay toward the cityfront shore before tracking to head out the gate for her sunset cruise.

The air was a bit hazy, so our view of the city in the late sunshine was hazed out quite a bit.

Inside the gate, the winds freshened again and we were really blasting downwind in about 15 knots of breeze, sailing at 8-9 knots-- FANTASTIC!!!! as the sun was setting behind the headlands behind us.

This smaller sailboat was heading west as passed us to starboard in the declining daylight.

Dusk was falling over the city as we sailed between pier 45 and pier 39.

The cruise ship tied up at pier 35 was just getting ready to depart as we approached and we heard her give her warning signal that she was about to begin backing away from the pier.

She was eventually well out into the bay and preparing to turn westward as we continued sailing toward the Bay Bridge.

Twilight was now falling over the financial district as we sailed toward the A-B span of the bridge in good winds.

We sailed under the A-B span and then shortened jib for the return trip before heading back to the north again to return to home port, the sky now being dark and the lights on the bridge bright.

The Ferry Building was illuminated as usual in the darkness ....

...and with the bright lights from the financial district towers, created magic time on the bay for us.

As it turned out, we could have left the jib at full since the winds had softened and shifted into the west from the southwest. After passing pier 23 and having to sail northward on port tack with the prospect of beating several times to get to pier 35, we turned on the engine so we could motorsail on a direct course toward the lee of pier 35, pulling in the jib as we did so, and readying the fenders for landing; finally dousing the main in the lee of pier 35 before motoring around and into the marina, docking at about 8:30 pm. So we had been out there for six delightful, mostly full-canvas hours of wonderful sailing, and so returned to port filled up with pleasure and very happy!

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