Greg and Jillian and Rachel joined us around 1:30 for our afternoon outing on the bay, and we left port shortly after they arrived, putting out full canvas before heading out into the central bay.
This Catalina sailboat passed astern of us as we headed west on the southwest breeze....
... but after passing the end of pier 39, where the flags were fluttering in a breeze of only a few knots, we arrived in a wind hole and were becalmed for a while.
A sailboat passed us but she was motorsailing eastward.
This softening of the wind that had been blowing about 10 knots earlier changed our mind about heading for the gate and when the breeze filled in again, we headed downwind against the waning, but still strong ebb current with Jillian taking the helm for a while.
Greg took over the helm a bit later-- that's Rachel on the left and Jillian on the right-- and we began gybing downwind toward the Bay Bridge.
The clear skies of morning gave way to increasing cloudiness as this Catalina headed for the city.
The breeze was variable as we sailed toward the Bay Bridge against the current, and we watched as a series of sailboats headed north, sailing with the current, like this one...
... and this sailboat 2...
... and this sailboat 3...
... and this sailboat 4..
.. and sailboat 5.
A sixth sailboat passed us to starboard and looked good against the backdrop of the Bay Bridge.
We managed to ghost under the D-E span of the Bay Bridge and enjoyed views of the financial district buildings through the bridge spans.
We eventually gybed again and headed for the east side of Yerba Buena island, passing the colony of harbor seals sunbathing on the shore...
... and the picturesque lighthouse on the southern point of the island.
As we headed for the span of the east section of the bridge, we passed the Coast Guard buoy tender tied up at the pier.
I was surprised to see this barge and crane anchored right in the middle of the span and apparently building something in that location. It will be interesting to see if this is something permanent that divides the span.
I was also surprised to find that they have constructed another set of support columns west of the roadway sections that cantilever out from the last support towers of the causeway portion of the bridge. I suppose these are part of the suspension portion of the bridge that will cross the span, but it will be interesting to watch further developments.
A small sailboat passed us, doing wing and wing with jib poled out.
We beat northward a couple of times and eventually this small sailboat crossed in front of us, heading west.
We finally managed to beat our way out into the central bay and this nice blue-hulled sailboat passed us, heading for Berkeley or Emeryville.
Far in the distance, we spotted this Catalina flyin a colorful spinnaker, and she eventually passed us, looking good..
The wind direction changed into the west and then into the southwest as we continued beating, now beating westward, hoping to sail into position to watch the sundown through the gate, as this small sailboat headed east toward the Bay Bridge.
The breeze began to soften and soon we were just ghosting along, watching the sun going down and reflecting off some of the buildings in the financial district.
The 2/3 moon was shining through some thin cloud in the eastern sky.
We ran out of breeze and had to begin motoring toward home port, dousing sails as we motored along, while the sunset developed with some brilliant sunset color behind us, in the northern sky.
In the southwestern sky, some even more dramatic sunset color developed.
Directly overhead, a massive cloud was colored a vivid orange-pink by the setting sun and the moon was shining more brightly as the skies darkened.
Some sunset color also flowed over the city as we approahed home port.
The moon gradually brightened in the darkening sky but was a bit hazed out by the high cloud layer.
We had done all preparations for landing by the time we approached pier 35 so we just motored into the marina against the strong flood current, and landed fine. After a trip to the restrooms, we went below to share some wine and fruit and cookies and watch a slideshow of the day's photos as well as some other photo collections before the crew took off to head home on their bicycles. Another great afternoon of good sailing, good weather and good company-- more of the good life in San Francisco!