Saturday, November 8, 2008


Usually we don't go sailing on Fridays-- taking a break between a Thursday afternoon outing and our dual weekend outings, but the sailing conditions were irresistible-- warm sunshine, moderate breeze-- perfect for the full canvas sailing that we love! So, we headed out a little after 3 pm, and put out full canvas before heading out into the central bay where a moderate flood current was flowing-- the sun and moon fighting each other's respective gravitational forces and the moon winning as always.

We headed west on the southwest breeze, passing the end of pier 39 where the flag fluttering indicated a breeze of about 7 knots or so.

We had quite a bit of sailboat company out there as a lovely Beneteau was sailing eastward and flying a cruising spinnaker with dousing sock, and in the background you can see another sailboat heading west over by Angel Island.

A catboat also passed us, heading downwind.

Freighter traffic was heavier than usual with four freighters in a row steaming into the bay a couple of miles apart, this last of the four belching out a heavy dose of engine exhaust pollution-- DAMN IT!!!!

We tacked again and headed west after approaching the pier at Aquatic Park and soon spotted this Islander 36 sailing wing and wing.

Way over in the north, we spotted this large sailboat flying a cruising spinnaker also and looking good!

The breeze freshened up to about 10-12 knots -- perfect for fast full canvas sailing and we were zooming westward along with this lovely Alberg sailboat, one about the same size as the one that my friend Jen and I sailed on in Chicago in late spring.

Way behind us, the charter ketch PRIVATEER was heading home with her passengers and crew.

With a fresh breeze of sufficient velocity for windsurfing with a large sail, I thought we might see some out there, but only spotted a couple of beginners playing around near shore where winds were hardly strong enough to make any headway-- and they fell a lot.

The breeze was softer near the shore, but after we tacked to the west again, heaidng for the gate, we caught a freshening breeze that had us zooming toward the gate, well heeled over as this double-masted catboat passed us, motoring eastward-- what a shame to be motoring in such a good breeze.

I was shocked to see that the DEREK M. BAYLIS had an open transom and carried a large power launch in her cockpit. Never saw anything like that before!

As we blasted directly toward the gate on port tack close reach, we could see that a massive fog bank was waiting out there on the ocean, but for a long time seemed to be stationary-- hiding Pt. Bonita, but far enough out that we were thinking we might be able to play around outside the gate for a while before heading home.

The GGB and the Marin Headlands were drenched in sunshine as we approached the gate between the south tower and midspan-- making good headway against the flood current.

But as we shot the gate, we could now see that the fog bank was charging toward the gate and already obscuring Baker Beach and Seacliff, so there would be no playing around outside the gate.

We just ducked out the gate and then came about and headed back inside, wondering if the galloping fog bank would soon envelope us since behind us it had swallowwed the setting sun.

Off to port, the advancing finger of fog was already starting to invade the bay.

Ahead, the city was basking in sunshine.

Behind us, a tidal wave of mist was charging toward us...

... getting closer ....

....and closer...

... and closer...

...and then we were swallowed up by it and could only see a few hundred yards around the boat-- fog horns now blaring on the bridge and a tourist ferry blasting her fog horn every half minute or so as we steerred an eastward course via compass-- not at all concerned as I knew that that course would take us home and eventally we would probably sail out of the fog and have good visibility again.

Eventually we could see the top of the south tower of the GGB behind us....

... and the city came into ghostly view.

A short time later, we were out of the fog and could see, behind us, the top of the north tower of the GGB and the peaks of the Marin Headlands.

The city was now clearly visible and still basking in late afternoon sunshine.

Behind us, the low lying fog finger invading the bay left the tops of both bridge towers visible now and further west, some high clouds hung over the horizon, giving us some hope of brilliant sunset dispays eventually.

The combination of low fog and high cloud created some interesting patterns of pastel grayishness in the declining sunlight.

I doused the jib to ghost toward home port and await the sundown and sunset, eventually gybing toward Alcatraz which had a gray-purple shower of mist crowning the island and prison buildings.

Now the sun started to sink behind the Presidio hills and to create some brilliant sunset colors on the clouds.

Unusual to have grayed out fog covering the water and sunset color developing on clouds above!

After we gybed towerd home port, this sailboat motored past, heading west directly into the fog finger invading the bay.

Sunset color was splashed across the sky from southwest to northwest.

Sunset color seemed to be fading fast as we ghosted past pier 39.

Orange and yellow colors fading toward the horizon as we sailed past the marina.

But, after dousing the main beyound the marina seawall, we were treated with some even more brilliant and vivid sunset colors....

.. still visible as we motored into the marina.

Meanwhile, city lights were brightening magically at twilight!

Ahhhhhhhhhhh.. more hours of horrible suffering out on San Francisco Bay!

No comments: