Wayne joined us at about 11:30 am for our outing and we headed out shortly after, putting out full canvas just outside the marina, and then heading out into the central bay.
We sailed to the north on a northwest breeze for a while and the flags on the end of pier 39 were fluttering in a way that indicated a breeze of 8-10 knots.
Ahead of us, a J124 named CAN O' CORN [odd name for a sailboat] was also sailing to the north.
Skies over us were clear, but clouds were gathering in the west, and showers were forecasted for our area.
CAN O' CORN tacked to head west and was looking good with Angel Island in the background. We did the same and begain our beat toward the gate in winds shifting in both direction and velocity.
Off to port, this catboat was passing us.
Well west of Alcatraz, we encountered the BLUE WATER sailboat heading northeast on port tack.
She seemed to have about six total crew and passengers, and I noticed that she was rigged with running backstays which require extra crew work during tacks and gybes.
She eventually gybed and headed toward the San Francsico shore.
CAN O' CORN, as a bigger boat with more jib canvas, was beating us as we both beat toward the gate, but then she chickened out and headed away from the gate, passing us to port as she sailed northward.
In the north there were big patches of blue sky and most of Belvedere and Tiburon were in sunshine.
In the west, it was more cloudy and the gate was not enjoying any sunshine.
We continued beating toward the gate and were just inside, heading toward the south tower when a squall hit us and the wind increased to about 20 knots or so, leaving us way overpowered on a close-hauled course and forcing us to tack and then fall off the wind to avoid being out of control.
We sailed toward Raccoon Straits for a while and passed this nice sailboat that was heading for the gate.
The gate was now in partial sunshine, the light rain had stopped, and the gate looked pretty calm again so we came about and headed back to try to shoot the gate, and the gate was in beatiful sunshine as we sailed out near midspan.
Over by the south tower, that sailboat that we passed a while back was now headed back inside the bay, sailing toward the north.
We sailed out a short ways and then headed back inside ourselves with the beautiful Marin Headlands behind us enjoying some sunshine.
That sailboat that returned to the bay before us, was now sailing off our port side as we sailed to the north on the northwest breeze.
We got into light air just east of Horseshoe Cove so gybed and headed southeast toward San francisco and the city was enjoying brilliant sunshine.
Ahead of us, a small catamaran was sailing northward.
That sailboat that was sailing parallel to us, off our port side, decided to duck behind us and head for the shore.
A smal sailboat crossed in front of us, heading northwest toward Sausalito.
We eventually did a chicken gybe and headed northeast toward the Berkeley Circle race course to see if we could catch some racing action before returning to port and we now passed in front of that catamaran. She was leisurely gybing back and forth to the east.
A race boat flying a black and white spinnaker crossed in front of us and headed east with the city in the background.
From time to time we saw some harbor seals poking their heads up to look around at us and this one had done so and was about to submerge again.
As we continued sailing northeast, this lovely Santana passed us to port, looking good!
Checking behind us, we spotted that same sailboat that earlier had chnaged course to duck us, now chasing us but sailing a bit closer to the wind.
She easily passed us, being a race boat and flying a much larger jib so being both lighter and having more sail power.
A well-reefed small sailboat crossed in front of us, heading toward San Francisco.
Way in the distance, we spotted the race boats and it looked like GRACE DANCES, the boat that my mate Michael races on, was in the lead by many boat lengths in the race that was then underway.
She was followed by Mr. Magoo.
As we came closer to the course, we spotted this Melges heading for the leeward mark behind a colorful kite.
We soon spotted GRACE DANCES heading back upwind, still in the lead.
As we arrived near the leeward mark, a fleet of J24s was headed upwind after rounding the mark.
We furled in the jib so we could tack around without having to worry abotu the jib, and soon spotted the J105 fleet heading for the leeward mark with this boat in the lead.
WONDER was in second position a few boat-lengths behind...
.....followed by Blackhawk.
A short time later, it looked likeWONDER was starting to catch up with the lead boat. Perhaps she stole some of the lead boat's wind.
As they approached the leeward mark with kites doused, they seemed to be neck and neck but the lead boat had the inside advantage around the mark, so would clearly retain the lead.
As Blackhawk approached the mark, she was rolling out her jib and preparing to douse the kite.
WONDER was just rounding the mark as Blackhawk approached-- wonder what happened to WONDER to delay her rounding. Whoops, looks like Blackhawk is shrimping with her kite.
Next to approach the mark was HAZARDOUS WASTE with jib rolled out and kite being doused.
RACER X was next to approach the mark and, with jib still furled, she started to broach a bit, but recoverd....
.. and began to unfurl her jib as she approached the mark.
She was dousing the kite as she started to round the mark.
The Express fleet was next to head for the leeward mark.
A short time later, the J120 fleet was heading for the finish line with GRACE DANCES well in the lead.
She doused the jib before reaching the finis
.... and did some penalty turns before crossing the finish line...
... and then headed for home port.
Next came Mr. Magoo and Desdemona seeming to be neck and neck and about 20 yards apart....
....when Desdemona suddenly breaches, probably scaring the shit out of the crew of Magoo.
Desdemona recovered fairly quickly...
... but Magoo gybed out of the way, just in case.
Magoo was dousing her kite as she crossed the finish line..
... and completed the douse as she approached us...
... while Desdemona was still flying her kite as she crossed the line.
She struggled with dousing the kite and was shrimping with it pretty badly.
We watched as the 4th place J120 approached the finish line...
... and the leader of the Melges fleet approached the finish....
...before heading for home, pulling out the jib to full and blasting toward home port in good winds.
Unfortunately we had to fall off to go behind an outbound freighter so we were unable to make it directly to the lee of pier 35. So we furled the jib as we approached pier 27 and then sailed into the lee of pier 27 to douse the main. But, even with ANTICIPATION in reverse, we couldn't fight the strong ebb tryting to take us into the pier, so we had to sail main only into the lee of pier 35 where we doused and flaked and tied up the main before steaming around pier 35 and into port. Fortuantely, we were in time to avoid dragging the keel in the mud as we motored down the fairway.. well, not until we got just behind our slip where it is shallowest, and I had to go back into forward gear to power through and then reverse to stop once inside the slip. We had an exhilarating outing for about 4 hours-- it was great to be out there in some exciting conditions and to catch some racing also.