We left port around 3:30 pm and raised full main just outside the marina, then headed out toward the central bay and pulled out full jib since the breeze was soft. Once out on the central bay, we headed west against a light flood current, sailing out a ways and then tacking toward the lee of pier 45.
As we passed the end of pier 39, we could see that the flags were fluttering in a breeze in the range of around 5 knots.
After giving the people on pier 39 a photo op, we tacked back to the west again, passing this J-boat heading east and doing wing and wing.
In the distance, we spotted PRIVATEER near the southern shore of Alcatraz ghosting along in the light breeze.
The city behind us was basking in the mid-afternoon sunshine and enjoying clear air-- the air one enjoys breathing deeply!
Eventually, PRIVATEER tacked away from Alcatraz and headed for the shore of the city, passing in front of us with full canvas flying-- looking good!
After PRIVATEER passed, we tacked to head for the shore of the city as well to see if we could catch some more good shots of PRIVATEER as we passed her along the shoreline, and meanwhile a lovely Catalina named TWO DOGS passed astern of us.
Further out on the bay another sailboat was heading west.
PRIVATEER looked especially beautiful as she approached the seawall near Aquatic Park with the buildings on Russian Hill as a backdrop.
As we passed PRIVATEER, she tacked to the west again and we continued on for a while before also tacking to the west and sailing along toward the gate at a speed of between 4 and 5 knots, enjoying the spectacular geography surrounding the bay, like Mt. Tam towering over the village of Sausalito in shadow.
Some of the houses on the hils of Belvedere and Tiburon were still enjoying sunshine.
Sailing was blissful in the steady light breeze with full canvas flying but heeling over at less than 10 degrees, and before sundown we were approaching Horseshoe Cove and enjoying closeup views of our magnificent bridge!
We sailed into Horseshoe Cove and approached the shore just north of th enorth tower and then tacked to sail across the gate, passing the north tower as it took on a deeper orange from the setting sun.
We sailed across the gate for a bit and then tacked to head out the gate, but the breeze was softening further and we were making slower progress against the flood current near the gate, so we gave up shooting the gate when we were about 50 yards away, coming about and heading home to watch the sundown through the gate.
As the sun started to slink below the horizon, it's shape became very distorted.
We were ghosting eastward on broad reach starboard tack as the sun continued to drop into the sea.
The last shape of the sun was less distorted and was surrounded by marmalade colored sky-- beautiful, eh?
Eventually, the sun disappeared and left just a brilliant glow near the horizon.
As we continued ghosting toward home port, a lovely Catalina named Temptation crossed in front of us. She used to be a boat neighbor at pier 39, but now lives in the San Francisco marina.
Behind us, another sailboat was crossing the bay and creating a dramatic shot of a sailboat at sunset!
In the sky above, the moon in half-moon phase was shining ever more brightly as the skies darkened, though the skies were not yet this dark.
This small catamaran crossed in front of us, heading for the shore of the city.
Out near the gate, another sailboat was crossing against the background of the marmalade sky... such beauty!!!!!
As we continued ghosting toward home with some flood current assist, the city lights were brightening on shore-- magic time on the bay as sunset turns to dusk.
In the west the marmalade color of the sky deepened...
... and city lights grew brighter as darkness fell.
The marmalade sunset sky was fading fast now...
...and city lights were brilliant against the dark sky as we now motorsailed toward home port in the declining breeze.
We readied some of the lines and fenders for landing after pulling in the jib while motorsailing along, eventually passing the marina and heading up into the wind to douse the main. We headed for the marina entrance while tying up the main, finishing preparations for landing, and then motored into the marina filled to overflowing with the pleasures of another great sailing outing. Somehow, full canvas sailing in breezes that one doesn't have to fight to maintain control is especially pleasurable after a summer of heavy reefed sailing in oft-brutal breezes.