Saturday, December 6, 2008


A strong northerly wind was blowing most of the night, rattling halyards, etc. so I thougth I would get up and have some breakfast and head out for a morning sail. When we left port about 8:45 am, the breeze had largely died away, and I raised full main while motoring slowly to the north. Then fell off to the northeast and pulled out full jib. Within a few minutes, the strong northerly wind had returned and I fell off toward the Bay Bridge.

Behind us, the dredging crane and barge were back again, having been gone for several days.

With a long fetch out of the north, the wind waves propagating from the north were quite substantial, some with whitecaps and we sometimes were surfing down the backside of the larger waves as the city off to starboard was locked in a morning mist.

By 9:20 am, we were approaching the D-E span of the Bay Bridge.-- quite a fast trip!

After sailing under the D-E span, I fell off to dead downwind to backwind the jib and furl it down to a handkerchief size and then continued sailing eastward for a while, passing this sailboat motoring past the southern shore of Yerba Buena...

... .and this catboat sailing rapidly past that shore....

...with a two-person crew in the cockpit with a tiller steering unit.

The cute lighthouse on YBI was bathed in the mistly morning sunlight.

I came about and headed back to the west, it now being 9:25 am, and sailed under the Bay Bridge between YBI and the Echo tower with the city barely visible in the mist.

Out on the central bay, this race boat [might be Mr. Magoo, a J120] was motoring westward, taking spray from the windwaves, as were we-- many blasts of spray over the bow and some into the cockpit.

We had to sail off the wind enough to avoid crashing through the wind waves and banging down the other side, so we ended up sailing into the lee of pier 27 where we found a quiet spot to further reef the jib and to put a single reef in the main before starting to beat toward the gate.

After a couple of beats, we were sailing directly toward the gate and, after passing the end of pier 39, we noticed this race boat starting to overtake us.

Over by Alcatraz, a race boat with a 48 logo on the sail was sailing main only and heading for the startign line of the race in front of the GGYC.

That small race boat, LAZY LIGHTNING, passed us and we could then see that she was flying only a large jib-- a 130 percenter, it appeared.

She continued blasting toward the start line of the race course after passing us.

The race boat, ABSOLUTE O2 motored past us, also heading for the start line.

Ahead of us, the race boats were beginning to gather in front of the yacht club start line, some with no sails up, others with full canvas and practicing in the strong winds.

This race boat in the mist was flying main only.

We left the race boats behind and continued on toward the gate, finally shooting the gate betwen midspan and the south tower about 10;40 am.
So it had taken us an hour and 10 minutes to sail from the Bay Bridge to the gate, with a good 10-15 minutes of that time taken up with reefing the
jib and main before leaving the lee of pier27. Quite the speedy trip!

.. and then heading up toward Kirby Cove while enjoying views of the bridge and the headlands.

Inside the gate, we spotted a couple of kiteboarders like this one blasting across the windswept bay.

We sailed out a short ways and then came about and headed back inside,
watching as this catboat approached from the north....

... and eventually shot the gate just inside the north tower.

We soon began to encounter some of the race boats again like this one sailing around on main only....

... but taking spray and burying the rail in the strong winds. Seems like they were going to have quite the challenge racing with full canvas in the strong winds then blowing.

As we continued sailing eastward on beam reach port tack, MYSTIC WIND was heading toward the gate with well-reefed canvas...

.. her one man crew at the wheel in a cockpit protected by a hard dodger.

This sailboat was pointed directly into the wind as we approached and a crewmember was unfurling the jib. Her crew all seemed outfitted for racing, but the boat has a dodger and one usually doesn't see a dodger on a boat in a race. So perhaps they were setting off on a cruise.

We passed astern of OHANA as she finished pulling out the jib...

... and then she fell off the wind and was heading northward on close reach.

As we continued toward home port, race boats behind us were in various states of dress.

This one was just raising her jib...

.. and soon was sailing northward with main luffing up, as OHANA was now blasting toward the gate on starboard tack, so perhaps heading out for an ocean sail.

Another race boat with a 48 logo on the main sail was sailing past Alcatraz and heading for the start line. I can't recall seeing these types of race boats before. I wonder if they are Farr 48s.

This catboat was heading for the race start line as well, and looked to be burying her port rail.

She joined other race boats near the starting line, while MYSTIC WIND was now heading back east, perhaps having shot the gate already.

As we sailed past the end of pier 39, the flags were showing that the wind there had declined. It was now 11:20 am, so our return trip from the gate had taken about 40 minutes against an ebb current with very reduced canvas. If we had pulled out some more jib we probably could have made it back in 30 minutes.

After passing the marina seawall, we fell off and furled the jib all the way, then headed into the wind to douse the main. We struggled a bit to tie up the main-- doing it sloppily while heading for the marina entrance. The northerly was now blowing quite strong again so when we landed, with quite a lot of surge, we made sure to be all the way inside the slip, and then I jumped off quickly to tie up the starboard stern line so the wind couldn't back ANTICIPATION back out of the slip, as it soon was trying to do. I managed to get tied up okay and then went below for a bite of lunch-- I was really hungry after spending three exciting hours on the bay-- it now being about 11:45 am. 3 hours for a two-bridge kiss.. excellent time!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really need to learn to sail. Such beautiful pictures.