24 Hours in San Francisco
So my gf joins me in sfo for a week visit with my brother. We decide to do a 24 hour charter
of a Hunter
31 set up on Friday the 13th from 9:00am till 8:00am Saturday.
5 days to launch the forecast
is for rain the thundershowers. 5 days away I am confident the forecast
is wrong. It rains Wednesday and Thursday so I think the rain came early and it will clear. Thursday night is raining hard and there is a low front west of SFO. At 22:00 it looks like the front is passing SFO and I am optimistic but unsure what the post frontal weather
will look like Friday morning. 24 hours forecast is scattered Thunderstorms and >50% chance of rain. Morning weather
shows the low has just passed to the east and I am confident of improving conditions.
We have to stop and pick up a friend of my son and we do that and eventually are 6 on the boat. 2 couples and 2 X 14 y/o boys. 4 "decent" sailors on board - me, my son, my gf and brother. It rains steady all the way to Richmond bridge and the crew is skeptical of my forecasting abilities but we get big sunny patches the closer we get to sausalito. We definitely will sail but I am a little concerned about the 2 new non-sailors, more for cold and rain than for the winds we eventually got.
Get to the boat a bit late after formalities and launch at around 10:30 at around a slack tide turning to incoming all afternoon. There is a good squall above us and we get slightly wet as we motor
out fron Richardson Bay and I notice we are heeling under bare poles. Hmmmm...
I look out and there are a few boats out. Most with just a main up or a reefed main. I am expecting this to be my first "big wind" day in SFO and I want to be conservative. I call for 70% of the mast furling
main. The plan is to reach across the gate, run downwind along the piers and cross parralel to the bay bridge, reach back across and head
generally towards Berkley and the NE bay area.
The boat feels OK but I see good whitecaps already in the gate. I start the reach across and as we get out discover about 3 foot swells with like a 40 foot fetch. Sporty but OK. Winds are about 15g18. The boat wants to round up a bit but aggressive steering
keeps an ok line. I actually work upwind towards the gate as I head
up to take the bigger swells on the starboard bow.
Just after half way I turn the helm
over to my brother and start tending the main. We bear away to a quartering sea and a very broad reach. The conditions are bulding still and soon no amount of sheeting off stops us rounding. Wind
is 18g20 now and swells are probably 4 feet on the quarter. As we approach the south bank we gybe and have a big, out of control 360 round up to port. As she comes head to wind
I furl the main in to 50% of boom length.
We stay in control past Pier 39 but we are doing 6 1/2 knots under half a main sail. The crew has been hanging on to rails for a while now. They were totally unimpressed with our near broach but confidence in skipper
is slowly restoring as we progress along the watrfront and I keep smiling and saying how normal it is for the boat to round up like that - LOL. There are about 10-15 boats in a 1/2 mile radius all having fun but all under reefed main alone except one pretty well crewed 50 footer with reefed main and jib
My spunky crew, headedd by my 14 y/o who went below to make sandwiches, even managed to have lunch on the run in 22kts and 4 foot swells! Even the newbies ate sandwiches, probably predicting their last meal on earth...
We finally gybe to the south and get in the lee of SFO and while windy the water
is flat and under reefed main we still scoot along reaching at 4 1/2 knots. The ladies, one newbie and my excellent sailor gf, decide its nap time. For the newbie, fear makes you tired, for my gf its a 5:30 wake up to go sailing. They miss the best part of the trip as I modify the plan to stay in the lee for a while and head down to Giants stadium to check out the ball game
. We don't duck in to the stadium where there a about 6 boats but we head south about 30 minutes.
plan is Ayala Cove on Angel island and I had promised the newbie gal that we would get there in time for a hike as last trip we didn't have time. At 2:30 I decide to head north. As we approach the gap I am anticipating a strong reach, and my brother agrees I will helm
. I reckon for comfort I will close reach and head up as to take the waves on the port bow. I also discuss with my brother that the weather helm is intolerable and we could use a "couple of feet" of stabllizing jib
. We set up that way and as we reach the corner newbie gal comes up and I brief her for a rough ride. The bay is solid whitecaps now and I am thinking 25kts.
A ship is coming in crosses us and we pass between the ship and it's tug. The ship is making knots and the wake lifts us pretty good (about 10 feet) and we slam fairly hard. My gf in the v berth shows up 30 seconds later and asks if the fun is starting - LOL.
The crossing is tough. I reckon peak waves were 5 feet and we saw 30kts true at times on the guage. We were smoking along at 5 1/2 - 6 kts but we were fighting an incoming tide and I was heading up and luffing to take the biggest waves and steering
down hard in the troughs. Plenty of water
gets over the deck
and we get some nice spray in the cockpit
. I decided to run the engine
to keep us moving when I luff and also help fight the current
. The boat is well balanced with the jib confirming that idea and doing well but the engine
really helps stabilize the speed running it at about 1800 rpm
Halfway across I take note that we are just about the only boat in the gap. Local sailors probably figure its better to bbq than bash about on a Friday with a hankerchief up for sails
We head up to towards the southwest end of Angel Island as my plan is to bear away hard and then take the swells on the port quarter. Newbie gal looks concerned but not green and not scared. The sailors on board are having a blast, the newbies are on the high side hanging on and getting wet and my crazy son has found the best place on the boat, forward cockpit
bench on the starboard side. The spray is completely blocked by the doger, he is laying on the low side so he can't fall out and I soon notice he is ASLEEP as we pound through the swells!!!!!!! Ahhhhh... My son is a sailor!
The bear away works great and we run 10 minutes to the lee of Angel Island. In Robertson(?) cove we decide that we've had our sailing fun and it's time to cruise
. W douse our 12 square inches of sails
(LOL) and motor
around a bit towards the landing. It's pushing 4pm and we poke around the corner and dock
at Ayala Cove. The hike was wonderful and we decide to get the mooring
done before dark. Of course the boys disappear and are late coming back but a blast on the horn makes them show up in ten minutes on the trot.
Get to chatting with a couple and they say they a going to swing rather than bahamian moor as is recommended. I am lazy and decide that's sounds good. There are only 3 boats in the cove so I am not woried about being unfriendly. W get the bow on and I make my famous one pot mac and cheese with spicy sausage. The girls notice we are sailing back and forth a lot which is very uncomfortable and after a bit of discussion we decide that there are two reasons to bahamian moor in the cove - get more boats in and not sail around on the ball. It is dark now but we splice some bow line together and kite backwards back and forth across the stern ball. Eventually we pay enough out and swing close enough to snag the stern ball with a boat hook and my son deftly ties us of by the stern. I motor forward as my brother takes in slack. We end up pretty taught between the moorings and the boat is now very stable. Learned about mooring
The folks we talked to bobbed and weave all nite as did another boat who did the same plan. At about 8:30 a fifty footer came in and had 30+ minutes of drama trying to get hooked up in the dark as the wind in the cove was still 15 knts till after midnight.
- Post frontal sailing rocks!
- saling a hunter
31 under main alone is not the good plan. Even 4 feet of jib totally solve weather helm
- don't plan to swing moor in Ayala cove in wind. Not too relaxing
- moor before dark
Couple of photos attached...