Monday, November 3, 2008


Saturday was a storm day in SF with strong winds and heavy rains in the afternoon, so we stayed in port all day. Sunday started with overcast skies that eventually gave way to partly cloudy skies with some nice sunshine periods. My daughter came over for brunch a bit after 11 am, and after our brunch, we headed over for some coffee at Cafe Francisco. Then we went shopping at REI for a few items before heading back to my boat.

A nice light breeze was blowing, so we got ANTICIPATION ready and headed out for a couple of hours of sailing around 3 pm, raising full main just outside the marina and then heading out into the central bay, hoping for enough breeze to more than stem the waxing ebb current. Once out in the central bay, we pulled the jib out to full and sailed northeast for a while before gybing onto starboard tack to head for the A-B span of the Bay Bridge.

We were just ghosting southeastward against the current, making less than a knot of headway over the ground as the city suffered under overcast skies.

This J24 was just passing in front of us as we sailed into the central bay-- sailing main only and just barely making headway against the current, so we easily passed her with our full canvas, and soon left her far behind. I asked the skipper where he was headed and he said: "South Beach." He was too lazy to put up the jib since he didn't have roller furling.

The sun managed to peek through the thick clouds for a short time, creatine some lovely light and shadow displays.

A bit later that J24 was motorsailing and managed to pass us to port as we ghosted along against the ebb current.

This sailboat also motorsailed past us to port.

This Hunter sailboat was also motorsailing, but closer to the cityfront, and flying main only.

She was followed by another Hunter, also motorsailing but flying both main and a high-clew jib.

This sailboat named Fohn also motorsailed past to port.

Another J-boat named SMOKIN J motorsailed down the cityfront, closer to shore.

The breeze started to give us some stronger puffs from time to time and double our speed over the ground as we continued toward the A-B span of the Bay Bridge and the city continued to lie under overcast skies.

This small Catalina was also motorsailong down the cityfront...

... and eventually doused her sails as she motored along, as she passed the ferry building with her PORT OF SAN FRANCISCO sign already shining brightly.

Ahead of us, and south of the Bay Bridge, one of those motorsailing boats had doused sails and was motoring toward home port.

The HILLS BROS COFFEE sign was also lighted with one letter out as we continued sailing toward the Bay Bridge with more frequent puffs of breeze in the 5-7 knot range giving us faster progress.

The Bay Bridge was gloomed out by the overcast skies.

From time to time a few patches of brightness appeared in the cloudy skies, like this one over Telegraph Hill.

Some small patches of blue sky were visible in the south along with some pale sunset colors as we sailed under the A-B span of the Bay Bridge.

We sailed far enough to the south east to catch this shot of the Financial District buildings framed by the Bay Bridge, and then headed up for a while before tacking to head back toward home port.

The clock tower lights were lit on the Ferry Building now....

..and city lights on shore and in building windows were now burning as we sailed northward on the westerly breeze, making much faster headway with the current assist.

Eventually the breeze freshened to about 8-10 knots and we were into some great full canvas close-hauled sailing, well helled over and making 8 knots or better over the bottom as city lights brightened more and more on the shore.

South of the Bay Bridge some pale pinks and purples of sunset color stretched across the sky.

A bit of the same color pallette stretched between us and the gate as skies darkened.

It was tempting to keep riding the good breeze on the central bay, but with strong ebb current and the prospect of the breeze dying out, we tacked and headed for home port, sailing toward the lee side of pier 35. Indeed the breeze did start to soften and so we pulled in the jib and sailed main only toward the end of pier 35 while readying some lines and fenders, then headed into the wind to douse the main. It was dark as we motored into port, picking up surge as we approached our slip-- much more than in the easterly part of the D-E fairway-- but landing fine by going in low and letting the ebb current drift us into the center of the slip.

It was great to be out on the bay for at least a few hours, especially when the breeze freshened to give us some really great full canvas sailing with good speeds.

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