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post #3 of Old 05-25-2012
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: SF - South Bay
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Re: Advice on SF Bay summer sailing

The SF bay is a wonderful place to sail for many reasons, not least of which is that depending on where you are you can experience a wide range of sailing conditions, both heavy and light winds, heavy and light swell, cold and foggy, warm and sunny - all in the same day if you wish!

As you have discovered, summer ain't winter. Take in the Genoa, break out a 100% jib, learn to reef - it gets windy in summertime....

Use Sailflow ( - CA-sf south Wind Data) to check the wind patterns. L-36 also has an awesome weather page (I use Redwood City, CA Marine Weather and Tide Forecast)

Most of the time I sail in the south bay. There are two main considerations: Time of day, and tides. Typically in summer the wind builds daily from 5 knots in the morning, to 20-30knots around 4-5pm, and then it gently winds down.

The other factor is tide, The wind generally blows down the bay - ese. If the tide is coming in, the waves are minimal - typically around 1'. If the tide is ebbing - against the wind - the waves quickly build to 3', sometimes higher. In a small boat you will get wet.

Around San Francisco, the city (and its headland) often causes a wind shadow, and that can be fun, but beware - as you head north you get into "The Slot", where the wind comes through the Golden Gate bridge into the Bay proper. I have had to go from a full main/headsail to (within a couple of boat lengths) double reef, no jib, still healing heavily as I race to Angel Island. Then as I exit the slot on the other side (Tiberon, Sausalito, etc) out come all the sails again!

Once again, always look at the tides; if it going against the wind, the wave builds fast.

Hope this helps....
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