Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The day started out with a light northeasterly breeze which died out around noon and then a light westerly came up in the early afternoon. We headed out about 2 pm for a few hours of sailing, put out full canvas and headed out into the bay. I decided to risk heading for the gate with a waxing ebb current

We headed west with the current and sailed past the end of pier 39 where the flags were fluttering in a breeze of three or four knots. It's now been so long ago that we were having those 25-35 knot winds on the bay that I've almost forgotten them.

We sailed out to the west a ways and then tacked into the lee of pier 45 and then tacked away to the west again, leaving the city behind us, drenched in sunshine.

As we headed west, a small catamaran was motoring past the southern shore of Alcatraz. Guess they were in a hurry to get somewhere.

Out in the west, a blimp was hanging over the gate and a large ship was inbound. In this telephoto shot, it's clear that the ship is a cruise ship, but I thought initially that it was a container ship.

As we continued beating to the west, passing the entrance to Aquatic Park, I saw a couple of small sailboats -- one seemed to be dropping the sail.

Behind us, a tractor tug -- one that I can't recall having seen before-- was hanging out with a white cover protecting the dirty tires on the bow. Later it was obviouis that she was waiting for the cruise ship to assist in docking.

The cruise ship was steaming into the bay as a sailboat crossed the bay.

That blimp was the MetLife blimp and she was heading east over the city.

Later, I spotted a sailboat heading our way with the main sail on deck as well as the boom. Obviously the boat didn't have a topping lift to keep the boom in place with the sail down.

We passed this boat with the main still down and just ghosting along with jib flying....

... and then, a bit later, the main sail was going up again.

The cruise ship steamed past us. She is one that I can't ever recall seeing on the bay before.

The smoke stack is so distinctive, I think I would have remembered it.

As we sailed past marina green, this Ericson was motorsailing eastward.

As we continued beating westward in a breeze that changed slightly in velocity and direction from time to time, we spotted this nice sailboat heading our way

She passed us, looking good, except for the fenders on deck.

We were eventually heading for the gate on port tack and enjoying the spectacular views of our bridge and the Marin Headlands. The light this time of year renders them so vivid!

As we headed out the gate near midspan, this sailboat was entering the bay just inside the south tower.

We sailed out a short ways, continuing to enjoy the great views, and then came about and headed back inside.

Another sailboat was re-entering the bay near the south tower.

She was looking good as she entered the bay and soon headed up to sail northward and crossed in front of us.

As we ghosted eastward in light winds, making a knot or two over the bottom, a large container ship steamed in behind us.

She was probably doing 10-12 knots and, with her bulb out of the water due to a light load, she was making quite a wake that we ended up riding.

As we continued eastward, that same Ericson that was motorsailing eastward earlier now passed us heading for the gate and looking good.

That light blue-hulled boat that entered the bay ahead of us was named Chloe and was ghosting eastward and we were slowly overtaking her...

.... and eventually passed her.

We started doing a mix of gybing back and forth and trying to do wing and wing, and gradually pulling ahead of Chloe, but then she started following our lead, doing wing and wing and making better headway and then keeping up with us.

Ahead of us, this sailboat came motoring out of the San Francisco Marina and headed out across the bay. Didn't look like they intended to put up any sails

We continued ghosting eastward, and eventually the sun dropped behind the Presidio Hills.

We managed to sail to a point opposite the Fort Mason piers, enjoying views of the city in partial sun and shadow, and then we had to begin motoring.

This interesting fishing boat, shaped like a herring boat, steamed out of port. I wondered if she was a crabber.

The piers on the end of pier 39 were barely fluttering as we motored past, having already pulled in the jib and doused the main.

A bit of sunset color was developing in the southwest sky.

Way behind us in the north, a sailboat flying spinnaker was headed toward Berkeley.

A quarter moon was brightening in the sky above

After sailing in the light breeze for a half hour or so, the breeze died away again and soon we were back in front of the east marina again. So we gave up on any more breeze and turned on the engine to motor into port, dousing sails and readying for landing.

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