Tuesday, November 18, 2008


We left port around 1:30 pm and raised a full main and pulled out a full jib while heading out towards the central bay.

Once out on the bay, we could see that there were a few fellow sailors out there, like this one on his cutter-rigged sailboat way over by Angel Island.

We headed northeast for a while on a broad reach port tack and then gybed toward the A-B span of the Bay Bridge, just ghosting along with some declining flood current assist. Tied up at pier 29 were the same three Canadian naval vessels.

A nice looking Catalina was motorsailing west, and passed us to port as a large tanker was steaming toward the A-B span of the bridge also.

A large rope was stretched between the stern of the tanker and a following tractor tug. The tanker was probably towing the tug to keep the line taut as it was.

The tractor tug has two large diesel engines and, I'm told that each of the engines is the size that they use in the largest diesel locomotive engines, so the tun has beaucoup power to stop the tanker if it needs to do so in case of emergency, e.g. if the tanker were to lose helm control and be at risk of running into a bridge support.

We gradually ghosted our way to the A-B span of the Bay Bridge as she gleamed in the afternoon sunshine.

We sailed along the shore of the city, south of the Bay Bridge, heading for South Beach Marina to take another look at a large sailboat docked just north of the Marina. Coit Tower and the tower of the Ferry Building were parallel to each other from this view through the bridge between the Alpha tower and the shore.

As we approached one of the large piers south of the bridge, we spotted some motorcyclists doing wheelies on the pier, like this one was doing.

We had light winds continuously as we continued southward along the shore until we were getting close to the pier where a large sailboat is docked.

She is a very large sailboat, probably around 100 feet long, perhaps more, and has a very broad beam-- perhaps 25 feet. No boat name was visible on either the transom or the sides of the hull. My guess is that she is brand new and the owner is having the finishing touches put on her. Perhaps the name will be painted on eventually before she takes off on her maiden voyage. Would love to know who owns this vessel and where the owner intends to go. You can see from this photo that she has twin, fixed backstays supporting the mast.

Earlier in the day, I hiked down the Embarcadero to take a look at this large sailing vessel from the land. I think my boat would fit on the foredect easily.

She has a five spreader mast with antennae mounted on her spars, both satellite receivers and many aerials on each of the spreaders. Twin roller furlings are arranged on the bow -- probably with different sail sizes-- as well as another roller furler on the babystay. One of the roller furlers on the bow has jib sheets attached to the sail and wound many times around the sail with the sheets coiled near the base. The other two sails have jib sheets leading to blocks on the deck. A hard dodger extends over the companionway and a portion of the large cockpit with windows on the front but not on the sides as far as I could tell.

The cockpit has massive winches mounted on the deck. I windered if they were motorized-- seems likely on a boat this size. Other smaller winches are mounted near the mast.

After sailing past this sailboat, we continued southward to check out the two naval supply ships that are docked at a pier south of the South Beach marina, and watched as a sailboat sailed from the northeast toward the marina.

The two naval cargo ships have these massive gangplanks mounted on their sterns. These gangplanks can be lowered and rotated to lead to the adjacent pier so that cars and trucks and equipment can drive right into the hold of the vessel. A ship like these was tied up at pier 29 for a long time many yeasrs ago. The one here that is adjacent to the dock has been here for quite some time, but the other one just came into port yesterday. I have no idea why they are here and what their mission might be.

A nice breeze of about 7-8 knots out of the northwest was now blowing, so we hardened in the sails and headed toward Yerba Buena Island, watching as this kayaker paddled toward the Oakland Estuary. Don't often see shirtless kayakers on the bay.

As we sailed along, we dodged this log section in the water ...

... and then encountered this debris field where a bunch of crap had accumulated. The tide was slack, but would soon turn to a strong ebb that would carry all this junk into the central bay and eventually out the gate.

The cranes on this portion of the Port of Oakland were silent.

This dredging barge was anchored about 100 yards off of the shore of Yerba Buena, but was not actively dredging as we approached. One of my new crewmates that works for the Army Corps of Engineers told me that the Corps is in the process of dredging the Oakland ship channel much more extensively to allow for passage of some new and larger container ships with a deeper draft than the current ones.

The lighthouse on the shore of YBI was as cute as always and you can see that the tide is high since there is no beach visible where the harbor seals often congregate.

After approaching YBI, we tacked to the west and sailed through the D-E span of the Bay Bridge into breezes that were lighter than we had encountered in the south bay. But we now had some ebb current assist and enough breeze to make good headway toward home port, eventually passing this sailboat named LIBERTY from some island in Washington state. She was just motorsailing around.

The breeze freshened a bit and we were tempted to head north to watch the sundown through the gate, but eventually decided not to risk loss of breeze and having to motor back to port, so we beat our way toward the end of pier 35 and then doused sail and prepared for landing in the area between pier 35 and the east seawall of the marina. Then we motored into port and landed fine in the moderate ebb flowing through the marina.

After tying up, we headed over to the end of the pier to watch the beautiful sundown.

I caught the last sun rays over the Presidio Hills in the southwest ...

... and watched as this sailboat was ghosting eastward against the current and making slow headway over the bottom, finally heading into the wind and dousing sail while drifting westward with the strong current. Eventually she was motoring past the end of the pier, but I didn't notice if she motored into the marina here, since I walked over to the marina restrooms.

A bit later, I went back to the end of the pier to watch the sunset color develop.

Some dramatic cloud and color patterns developed as the sunset progressed.

The southwestern sky was brilliant with sunset colors eventually.


Success said...

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eddy the reds said...

very beautiful pic