Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The fog bank that sat on the horizon at sundown yesterday charged over the bay area at night, but began to dissipate in the late morning hours, except for a finger of fog still invading the bay.

We left port about 1 pm with a very light westerly wind just starting to blow, motored past the Maltese Falcon still tied up at pier 35, and then raised full main before heading out into the central bay.

I pulled out the jib to full as we sailed to the northeast, planning to head for the Bay Bridge, and noticed that the fog was obscurring the gate, and ADVENTURE CAT was heading out.

This Catalina crossed in front of us on starboard tack, heading toward the cityfront.

We saw a sailboat duck in behind the west side of pier 35, probably to check out the Maltese Falcon, and then head back out into the central bay a few minutes later.

That Catalina tacked onto port tack as she arrived in stronger winds and was now sailing on port tack and quite well heeled-over as the breeze had freshened to about 10 knots.

We were gybing back and forth toward the Bay Bridge, and eventually this highly reefed, cutter rigged sailboat out of the south bay passed to port. The freshening wind now started to clear away some of the haze in the air.

As we approachd the A-B span of the Bay Bridge, the ebb current was already quite strong and the buoy in front of the B tower of the bridge was leaning substantially in the direction of the current.

The Financial District was enjoying hazy sunshine...

...and the sun was glinting off the bow and arrow sculpture on shore.

We sailed under the A-B span of the bridge, reefed the jib down to a postage stamp size and then sailed parallel to the bridge for a while before tacking and heading back under the span-- the bridge gleaming in the early afternoon sunshine.

The Ferry Building clock tower showed that it had taken us about 45 minutes to sail to the Bay Bridge agasint the waxing ebb current in light winds.

As we headed northwest along the cityfront, this J105 was headed in the opposite direction and eventually passed us to port.

A sailboat named DEPRESSION passed well to the east of us-- wonder if she's owned by a mental health professional making a living off depression????

Fainche passed to starboard as she headed toward the Bay Bridge.

As we entered the central bay again, we could see that that gate was still obscured by the fog finger invading the bay.

Alcaatraz was almost hidden by the mist.

We began beating westward and the flags on the end of pier 39 were fluttering in a breeze of about 10 knots, but one that still seemed to be gradually freshening, so we resisted the temptation to pull out more jib.

As we continued beating westward, we eventually passed ADVENTURE CAT returning from the gate.

Eventually, the fog finger retreated and we could see all of Alcatraz again, though in hazy air.

The fog finger moved in again a while later and again obscured the island.

We sailed westward toward the fog bank until we had passed the St. Francis YC and then decided to head back to home port. Now the fog began to retreat in earnest and soon much of the gate was visible.

The pelicans have not left the bay yest and this one was heading west as we sailed eastward, now under full canvas.

The city was enjoying hazy sunshine as we approached home port, sailing main only, having doused the jib to sail direct downwind in the westerly breeze to avoid having to gybe.

We sailed into the lee of pier 35 to douse the main and get ready for landing and then motored around the pier toward the marina entrance.

The Falcon had her aft crane up , probably for some cargo loading.

On her bow was a submarine-- boys and their toys, eh?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


The weeklong indian summer weather disappeared Sunday night with fog moving in over the city, turning the city gray and chilly. Some clearing started in the midafternoon and almost summer-strong winds came up.

We headed out of the marina about 3:15 pm, motored past the Maltese Falcon still tied up at pier 35 and raised a full main before heading out into the central bay, where a nice looking folkboat passed in front of us and headed toward the lee side of pier 35.

We headed north toward the lee side of Angel Island, leaving behind the city grayed out by the overcast, and eventually pulled out a small jib to help balance the boat as we sailed on a beam reach with good speed across the ebb current that was waning.

After passing well to the east of Alcatraz, we spotted this sailboat sailing downwind with heavily reefed sails.

This small Ericson sailboat passed in front of us, leaivng Raccoon Straits and heading toward Berkeley under main only, but with the lone skipper on the foredeck, preparing to raise the hanked-on jib.

Soon she was heading toward Berkeley with full canvas flying and looking good!

The strong winds of the cental bay gave way to light winds in the lee of Angel Island and we pulled out the jib to full but still were only ghosting northward, but managing to sail past the stationary navigation platform at Southhamption Shoal.

We found a bit of freshening breeze and headed up toward Raccoon Straits, sailing past the buoy located northeast of Angel Island.

A small flock of pelicans, like this one, flew past low over the water.

We ran out of breeze as we approached Raccoon Straits so headed back south along the lee shore of the island, turning on the engine for a while until we arrived back into some breeze as the sun went down behind the hill on the island.

The sun was shining rhrough some lovely cloud patterns that extended from the south to the north with a clearing spot further to the west, suggesting that we might have a beautiful sundown and a colorful sunset following the sundown.

We sailed out into the central bay and then tacked to head west on the southwest breeze, having reefed the jib again to reduce power, and eventually sailing past the southern shore of Angel Island as she was illuminated by the setting sun. The light wasn't strong enough to discern areas of the island that were blackened by the fire that burned there a few weeks ago.

The setting sun was reflecting off the buildings in the east bay and, as here, on the buildings in the financiall district of the city.

Adventure Cat was already at the gate as the sky began to take on some sunset glow.

We eventually tacked to the south to be in position to see the sundown through the gate and we managed to sail far enough along to watch the sun begin to sink behind the thick fog bank above the horizon.

The sun was huge as it sank into the fog bank...

... and soon disappeared.

We were soon treated to a 360 degree sunset with dramatic pink colors on clouds over and behind the city....

... dramatic sunset colors on the clouds over the central bay and from southwest to northwest....

... as well as pink sunset color in the north over Alcatraz.

The sunset color over the bay deepened and grew in brilliance as we headed toward home port.

A brief video of the lovely sunset color all around us.

After passing Alcatraz, we headed off the wind and pulled the jib out to full again to sail downwind as the sunset color faded behind us.

City lights were brightening-- magic time on the bay!

We sailed to a point just at the end of pier 35 and then came about and headed back to the west to watch the final sunset color and to wait for the flood current to fill in the marina so we wouldn't drag the keel in the mud while approaching our slip.

A deep marmalade sky developed beyond the gate and some brilliant sunset colors re-emerged over the bay as dusk turned to twilight and we were sailing westward on close reach in a perfect full canvas breeze of about 8-10 knots.

We eventually tacked to sail into the lee of pier 45 to give a photo op to the people on the end of the pier and then fell off to head downwind again, eventually sailing into the lee of pier 35 to douse sails as bright city lights shone over us at full darkness.

After dousing sails, we readied fenders and lines for docking and then motored around the pier and into the marina. We made a nice landing in the flood current. It was great to be back out on the bay, especially with the pleasure of some full canvas sailing with beautiful conditions and the brilliant sunset that mother nature gave to us!