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Old 05-25-2012
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Re: Advice on SF Bay summer sailing

You can expect winds to build to over 25 kts in the central bay almost every afternoon. The Ranger 23 by Gary Mull is a wonderful boat for SF Bay - a real SF Bay boat with 1500 of ballast. They're old, so be sure it's well maintained. The R23 can probably take anything the bay dishes out, which is considerable.

Where do you keep your boat? SF Bay is a big place. If you tell us that, we can give you better advice on where to sail to stay out of big winds.

From an equipment perspective: You really need good sails for SF Bay -- not bagged out. It makes a world of difference. With good sails, the boat won't heel as much and will point a lot better. It won't be twitchy in the gusts. You've got an excellent SF Bay boat, be sure you have good sails to go with it.

An 80-110% jib is a good size for summer sailing here. That's what most non-racers use in the summer. You'll get pummelled with anything bigger. You'll need two reefs in the mainsail. For comfort and for safety, I'd recommend an 80% jib until you have more experience. You'll have MORE than enough power most days. On SF Bay, it's better to be underpowered on the occassional day than overpowered everyday.

Try to get somebody to take you out sailing on your boat, or go out with a more experienced skipper on his or her boat. Or take lessons from one of the excellent sailing schools on the bay.

Watch the currents -- learn to read the chart in the back of the tide book. On a day with big tides, the currents around Treasure Island can wreck you in dozens of places on the Bay. For example, the towers on the Bay Bridge or the rocks at the east end of Treasure Island. Currents are a big deal here, and an important part of local knowlege.

Tell us where you're berthed and we can give you some suggestions about where to sail while you gain experience

Fair winds,
Judy B
Sailing windy SF Bay
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