Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Alameda, San Francisco Bay
Thanked 56 Times in 55 Posts
Rep Power: 11
Re: Oakland estuary navigation
Flo, no working engine on your Columbia 29? I don’t have my current charts with me but flood in the Estuary or the South Bay in general happens at least a couple hours after peak flood at the Gate. Not to worry, Estuary currents are usually under a knot. You should be fine. The prevailing winds blow down the Estuary and you will be able to sail wing-on-wing from the Entrance past the old air station and down to Mariner’s square. We usually do it in two gybes. The winds are light (sometimes too light) and the boom comes across smoothly. Once past Jack London, the prevailing winds will shift and you be on a Stb broad reach until Coast Guard Island. The winds will start to back and will be behind you the rest of the way. There is a lot of space near Svendsen’s to take down your sails and not that much traffic that far down. Except for the reaching portion, the winds will get lighter the further you go down. Sometimes we don’t even bother turning into the wind to strike sails, the apparent wind from the engine being sufficient. One word of caution. The Estuary can get more than a little busy on a Saturday. Expect to encounter a lot of boats short tacking their way against the wind. You will also encounter ferries and there is at least one containership movement every day. What is the name of your boat? We’ll keep an eye out for you!