Why is there always a professional photographer nearby when you broach the boat? A little back ground. The boat pearling was a Santana 22 which the owner (a longtime Bay sailor) kept in nearby San Francisco Marina. The water depth there is about 30 feet (center span it drops to 333’). There is so much water draining from the Sierras that they say it never truly floods through the GG, but rather the top layer turns to flood while the lower layer stays in ebb. Needless to say the currents can do weird things here. (I have spent hours at the Bay Model trying to figure this all out). The Bridge pier, Fort Point, and the hills in the Presidio make for some interesting wind shifts too. Our usual windward mark on City Front Races (Blackaller buoy) is right off of the old CG Pier. I can usually find a lift of up to twenty degrees by hugging the shore along Chrissy Field (I go in to within about 100’ of the shore line to find it though). Coming in from Ocean Races we try to go under the Bridge near center span on starboard which gives us a good run down to the finish at either GGYC or STFYC. The Santana was DDW on a poled out jib which probably played an important part when it back winded and helped spin him around. In the owner’s defense, more than a few people cut inside the bridge pier and he said that from the back side, the waves didn’t look too big. Looking at pictures of Summer Moon, it appears that the Bay was in ebb at the time and the Santana was probably looking for current relief. Full ebb can run at 5kts, problematic when your hull speed is only four and a half. The amazing thing was later that day when the owner returned from the hospital after being checked out, his boat was waiting for him at the dock, already de-watered!
One of my friends was returning to Santa Cruz from Montereyl in heavy fog in the pre GPS/radar days when his wife asked: “Why do you think that those surfers paddled out really far this morning?” It can happen to any of us.