Date: Sunday April 29, 2007
Event: Unscheduled sail to "Opening Day of the Bay" festivities on the San Francisco waterfront. (9:45 AM to 5:00 PM, 7.25 hrs on the water.)
w/ Don Person with his daughter Marthe (P-15), and Dave Meredith (Com-Pac 19)
Winds: light (4-10 knots) building to 20-22 knots with gusts to 25 in mid-bay.
Weather: High sometimes dense fog, burning off to blue skies in the mid-afternoon, and returning at haul-out. Temps got very cool under the fog cover mid-bay, reaching mid to high 60's in the sunshine.
  Course of the day: Emeryville to the San Francisco waterfront and back.My plan for the day was to put out early, around, 9:00 AM, and make for the San Francisco waterfront to view the some 250 boats expected to be there for the opening day parade. My advance r online planning discovered that the tall ship Lynx would be joining the festivities on and all day excursion sail out of Richmond. I hoped to catch her under sail for some good pictures. Also on my agenda was to enter San Francisco's Aquatic Park for the first time, then, if time allowed, make it around to China Basin (aka McCovey Cove) as there was ball game going on at AT&T Park.

I chose Emeryville as a starting point for its direct access into the bay--out of the marina, into the channel and your there!. But past experience has shown morning winds to be light to non-existent in the Rigged and ready for launch (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)shelter of Treasure Island, and generally blowing from the west as well. This means motoring a mile of two to find a breeze, then setting sails to tack windward to reach San Francisco.

I left the house early, 7:00 AM, and was at the Emeryville ramp with plenty of time to get rigged an on the water by the appointed launch hour. Dave Meredith checked in at about 8:00, we talked briefly, then he was off to prepare his Com-Pac which is kept at a nearby slip. My time was further occupied by chatting with a few other boaters and the view of the San Francisco skyline beyond Yerba Buena and Treasure Island.

Hole in the San Francisco fogh (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)At 9:00, Dave walked back around to join me at the ramp for more conversation and a cup of coffee while we waited for Don to show. A unanswered phone call to his home was interpreted as a positive sign that he was on his way. When Don arrived, it turned out that he had been delayed by the traffic mess caused by a gasoline tanker truck carrying 8,600 gallons that crashed in the wee hours at the East Bay highway interchange to the Bay Bridge called the "MacArthur Maze." The estimated 2,000 degree fire caused 250 feet of elevated highway above the crash site to collapse. I was lucky to come through early enough to not be effected, but what a mess it was to see.

Don Person and daughter Marthe (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)Don was quickly rigged and launched, putting us on our way by 9:45 AM. We motored out of the marina to the first channel marker, a distance of mile or so, to be greeted by a light breeze. Sails raised, we started tacking toward Treasure Island.

One of the most delightful benefits of living in the San Francisco Bay Area is the seemingly unlimited number of things to do on any given weekend. On the list for this day was the "Dream Machines" event at Half Moon Bay with the B-17 Sentimental Journey a prominent part of the displays. We sailors were treated to views of this Lazy Ka outbound from Emeryville, CA (PHOTO: Don Person)historic airplane breaking beneath the high fog on morning excursion flights over the bay and city.

As we worked our way westward, the foggy overcast seemed to intensify and temperatures dropped a bit as well. Our little trio stayed together on several tacks, Don and I only once resorting to motor power for the lack of wind in the shadow of Treasure Island. When Dave and I turned northward on a tack that would put us in position to make the San FranciscoDave Meredith and Don Person on San Francisco Bay (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan) Waterfront with just one more, Don continued South presumably bound around the South side of Yerba Buena for a bit more sun that was evident from under the fog. Out in the central Bay, the winds picked up. With a good 20-22 knot blow with occasional gusts, we were moving right along.

I'm am now very comfortable with winds in 25 knot range. My practice of pushing the limits of my abilities seems to be paying off.

Now it was one more tack to the South make the San Francisco waterfront and Aquatic Park. All along, since setting my sails, I maintained a point as high on the San Francisco's Aquatic Park from the air (PHOTO: unknown)wind as possible. This turn for the city was at a point well into the central bay, Northeast of Alcatraz Island. as I came closer to the waterfront, it became evident that one more short tack would be required to sail into the Aquatic Park entrance between the Municipal Pier and the Jetty.

By it's unmistakable arc, San Francisco's Municipal Pier marks the Northwest boundary of Aquatic Park from the Eastern border of Fort Mason toward the Hyde Street Pier, home to the vessels of the San Francisco Maritime National Balclutha as seen from San Francisco's Aquatic Park (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)Historical Park. Inside the protected waters are moorings for small boats. A sign posted at the entrance, on the bay-side of the Municipal Pier, warns of a 24 hour limit on moorings and prohibits power boats. This might be a fun place to overnight sometime in the Fall. San Francisco's Indian Summer can be very pleasant as the routine fog. intrusion of Summer gives way to more stable warm temperatures . . .  maybe the Fleet Week air show in October, or if I'm feeling exceptionally hearty, I'll brave the fog for the 4th of July.

Swimmer in the shadow of C.A. Thayer, Aquatic Park, San Francisco, CA (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)Inside the confines of Aquatic Park I take advantage of the photo ops on the Balclutha (1886, 301' Full Rigged Ship) and C.A. Thayer which has been returned to her home to await completion of her restoration. All-the-while I must keep alert to avoid the numerous swimmers that are found here. Talk about hearty soles, this time of year the waters of the bay are in the mid-50 degree range. These folks are swimming without the aid of wetsuits. I shudder at the thought!Lazy Ka runnig from the wind (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Back out on the bay, I find Dave is still close by. We turn East for a sail by pier 39 on the thought that we might find Don at us from Yerba Buena. With the wind at my back I can do my wing on wing on wing thing. I enjoy sailing in close to pier 39 and watching the tourists watching me watching them. In another life, before sailing, I spent my fair share of time at the end of the pier, or seated at one of the many restaurants, enjoying the views Pier 39 from San Francisco Bay (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)of boats on the bay. As I pass the end of the pier I manage a good snapshot of the ever-present banners in the wind, and Forbes Island (actually a vessel) which, after years of being shuttled around the bay from Sausalito to Antioch, has been reincarnated as a restaurant and found a long-term home here.

Rowing the open waters of the bay (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)It never ceases to amaze me the variety of vessels one encounters on any given day on the bay: major seagoing ships of all kinds; luxury yachts, both power and sail; of course, sailboats; kayaks & canoes; you name it, and it's likely to be found somewhere on San Francisco Bay. My attention today was piqued by this couple in their beautiful wooden skiff (pictured left.)

Proceeding along, I lose my hat to a gust of wind; this was the first I've lost and not been able to recover. Dave catches up and passes me as we head toward China Basin beyond the Bay Bridge, but I get left behind as I sail into the wind shadow East of the city. I've made this mistake before, forgetting that sailing too close to the waterfront piers makes for slow progress. Being the more experienced sailor, Dave avoided the shadow by staying a couple of hundred yards out. Becalmed for a bit, I enjoy the warmth of the sunshine having left the fog behind at Aquatic Park.Dave Meredith under the Bay Bridge (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Dave circles around and joins up again. It's 3:00 PM now. We agree that it would be prudent to set course back toward Emeryville. Dave leads off under San Francisco Bay Bridge tower (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)the suspension half of the Bay Bridge, then East past Yerba Buena Light, then North again. This takes us into another wind shadow behind Yerba Buena Island . . . but the sun feels so-o-o-o-o good!

Out of the shadow, breeze is blowing from behind once more. I set all sails as before for the run straight back to Emeryville, Keeping up with Dave's swift C-19 oh-so neatly. Dave even power's down by dousing his jib, allowing me to pull away. A gesture that was good for my ego. We followed the channel markers into the Marina, I remained under sail all the way. Dave dropped off to head for his berth; l sailed on and up to the dock under sail. There was a time, not all that long ago, when I never thought that I would never be able to dock under sail. Now it's becoming almost routine.

I find that I am getting much more efficient on rigging and de-rigging my little Potter. Where de-rigging was over an hour last year, today I was done and finished in under an hour with time out to talk Potters with a couple who were boat-watching at the ramp, and Dave who drove by before hitting the road for home.