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  #11  
Old 05-29-2012
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Re: Advice on SF Bay summer sailing

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Originally Posted by crstophr View Post
Thanks everyone for all the advice. The boat has been well maintained by the previous owner of 12 years. It needs topside paint badly but rigging was replaced about 10 years ago, bottom paint is about a year old, all lines run to cockpit and newish, st100 autohelm, self tailing winches for the jib sheets.. etc. Lots of attention to little functional details. He took wonderful care of the boat and I paid a bit more because I recognised that it was a turnkey without any major projects. UK Sails were new as of 2006 and weren't used much at all the in past 4 years or so. They seem good to me.

For a jib I'm running a class jib (125?) for a santana 22. Hank on. I have a tack line that raises it up so I can easily see under the jib while sailing. I love the visibility. Probably functions as about a 100 as it can just touch the mast in a tack. This is what was up last weekend. I have a 90 with battons as well but it's heavy dacron and I like it less. I have a 100 drifter, and a 120 and 150 genoa. I've also got a santana 22 90 jib that would be the smallest head sail I have. Would it be worth running that?

I sail out of the alameda marina. Waaaaaaaaaay up the Oakland Estuary. 45 minutes motoring into the wind just to get to the bay is getting a bit old and I'm starting to think about an alternate east bay location but not likely this season.

The main only has one set of reef points and a single line reef setup. Is it worth it to pay to add a second?

Please tell me more about danger from currents. I go under the bay bridge a lot and I may not fully understand what I should be careful of. Will a current tend to take you around an object as the water flows around it? What should I lookout for?

I really want to learn to handle whatever is normal for the bay here and not just hide from it. I've been out with the previous owner a couple of times but that was in winter and low winds. We're still in contact and he's a great source of advice. Single handing is a reality for me if I want to sail regularly and the boat is well setup for it. I'm starting to take non-sailor friends out as well and want to manage my boat so as not to freak them out

Thanks again for all the advice. I have learned so much by lurking on these forums.
Hi Chris,

Alameda Marina is a good place to be for a first year sailor who is teaching himself. When it's blowing too hard for comfort out on the bay, you'll be able to "pick you windspeed" by picking your location on the Estuary -- the closer you get to the mouth of the Estuary the winder it gets (on most summer afternoons. )

I'd recommend that you turn off the motor and use your sails to tack upwind in the Estuary -- use it as a chance to practice tacking. You'll learn more about tacking and boat handling in two months on the Estuary than you would in two seasons on the bay. It's about 4 nautical miles from Alameda to the Oakland outer harber, so there's plenty of room to practice. .... And there are some great bar and grills on the estuary -- they have docks that are perfect for practicing your docking skills

On a windy day, it can easily be blowing 25 kts up by Jack London Square That's a lot for a newbie to handle. You'll want to stay closer to Coast Guard Island on those days, while you learn to reef and trim your sails for control. When you feel comfortable, you can start going further out the Estuary.

On windy days when it's blowing 15-25 in the Estuary, it'll be blowing 25-30 outside the Estuary and 30+ with higher gusts in the central bay on the other side of the bay bridge.

For your mainsail: You'll definitely should have a second reef in your mainsail. (If that boat came from SF Bay, the mainsail should have had one). Make sure your practice reefing at the dock so you can do it without even thinking. Make sure your single line system works easily and properly.

(Reeefing comment #1: If by single line you mean one line for both the reef tack and reef clew, make sure it works properly: the reef tack has to be set securly up against the mast before the reef clew line puts outhaul tension on the foot.)

(Reefing comment #2 :I personally prefer two line reefing -- it's actually easier and faster to put a reef in than single line reefing. You can set the front of the reef more easily when nothing is pulling on the clew of the sail. One line for the reef clew and a separate line (or a hook) for the reef tack at the mast is the most reliable and foolproof system there is. )

For your jib -- that Santana 22 125% class jib will probably work acceptably well if you can adjust the clew height so it's correct relative to the location of the jib sheet fairlead. The vertical angle of the jib sheet controls the amount of twist in the jib. And the amount of twist makes a difference in how well the boat performs (or heels or points etc) . The "sheet angle" is really important.

The Santana 22 125% jib is approx the same area as an R23 95% jib so it's about right in terms of power. But it's not necessarily the optimal shape for the Ranger 23. A purpose-built R23 95% jib would be about 3.5 feet taller on the luff and 3.5 feet narrower on the LP, and most importantly, the clew might be higher or lower to suit the location of the genoa blocks or tracks.

Your 90% jib, if it's specifically built for the R23, might be a better cut sail for your boat. The heavier cloth is likely a good thing -- it reflects the heavier displacement of the R23 over the S22. The vertical battens suggest that it's a custom built sail of high craftsmanship.

I keep a 7000 pound Catalina 27 on the Estuary (and I often sail other boats in the estuary.) It's really a great place for learning.

Fair winds,
Judy B
(Full disclosure in accordance with Sailnet rules: I'm a sailmaker)

Last edited by jblumhorst; 05-29-2012 at 06:10 PM.
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  #12  
Old 05-30-2012
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Re: Advice on SF Bay summer sailing

IIRC the main was measured by someone from rooster sails but actually made by UK (both patches are on the sail)... I'll have to look at what it will cost to get another set of reef points on it and think about switching to a double line system at the same time. I have no idea why it came with only one set given that it was all done locally. I'll need to read up on how a double line system is setup.

The weekend traffic in the estuary can be really busy sometimes. Rowers racing, dragon boats, kayaks, dingy sailing races, small boat races, ferries, tugs, container ships, coast guard, fishing boats... My desire to motor out to more open water is mainly about wanting to get some space. For a newbie it can feel really crowded and I spend most of my time in the estuary focused on how everything is moving so I don't run into any of it.

The 90 jib with battens is indeed cut for the ranger. My complaint is that I have to use blocks shackled to the rail for the sheets as stock tracks are too far aft. This is how the PO had it setup anyway. It also likes to wrap the fore stay when DDW and that's another reason I've gravitated away from it. The sheeting angle worked out better with the S22 class jib because I was able to get it high enough to use the normal tracks/blocks.

I've got a lot to think about. Thanks everyone!

--Chris
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Old 05-31-2012
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Re: Advice on SF Bay summer sailing

Not much to add but will second what others have said about the R23 being a great little boat for SF. Used to have a pretty active one design group way back when as well. Tides, check. It's pretty straight forward, but the currents are very strong. Temp check for the right side of the Berkeley Hills, check. The hotter there, the harder it blows in the slot. One thing not mentioned much or in big enough letters is the need for really good foul weather gear in the Bay. On a little boat in the summer, you absolutely will get wet. Being cold is dis-functional and dangerous. Latitude 38 publishes an annual "how to sail in SF Bay" that outlines a usual lap and talks about the general conditions you'll find on a typical summer day. Oh, and watch out for the South Tower demon (GG Bridge). I think everyone who's sailed in SF has gotten spanked at least once by the bugger.
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Old 05-31-2012
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Re: Advice on SF Bay summer sailing

Out of curiosity, and never having sailed in SF Bay, could you elaborate on the meaning of "gotten spanked by the bugger?"
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Old 05-31-2012
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Re: Advice on SF Bay summer sailing

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Originally Posted by -OvO- View Post
Out of curiosity, and never having sailed in SF Bay, could you elaborate on the meaning of "gotten spanked by the bugger?"
Don't go between the south tower and Fort Point. During an ebb and big seas outside it can break big time in there. No need to go there. There used to be a video on You Tube showing a sailboat being rolled there but it is not working.

Paul T
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Old 05-31-2012
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Re: Advice on SF Bay summer sailing

The tides and resulting currents are a big part of successfully sailing the Bay. May I suggest you look into either the Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron classes to get a better understanding. Here is a large scale version of the current chart in the back of most tide books. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/7758645/SF%2...20Currents.pdf

When planning you can determine where you need to be to best utilize the currents, or have the least negative effects.

Latitude 38 lists lectures around the bay at various locations, including yacht clubs. In Marin, the Corinthian has a lecture every two weeks for some sailing topic, recently, what its like on the commercial shipping, dealing with us yachties, previous to that, emergencies at sea, particularly a portion of COB. There is much to learn, and more to enjoy.
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Old 05-31-2012
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Re: Advice on SF Bay summer sailing

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Originally Posted by dabnis View Post
Don't go between the south tower and Fort Point. During an ebb and big seas outside it can break big time in there. No need to go there. There used to be a video on You Tube showing a sailboat being rolled there but it is not working.

Paul T
Here's a pic of Yachtsea just before things really got exciting:

And here's a link to the aftermath:
4/2/05 Ft. Point boat sinking Photo Gallery by Chuck Lantz at pbase.com
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Last edited by SlowButSteady; 05-31-2012 at 04:18 PM.
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  #18  
Old 05-31-2012
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Re: Advice on SF Bay summer sailing

General rule of thumb: If you are sailing somewhere and all around you are surfers, you may not be in the safest place.....
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Re: Advice on SF Bay summer sailing

No, the surf inside has nothing to do with the south tower demon. The STD is more about swirling winds, etc as you leave the lee of the south tower coming back into the Bay. Typically you're under spinnaker tooling along thinking life is good and you're close to being home, then WHAM!!!! About 30 seconds or so of a large puff that knocks the unaware and complacent on their ear. Been there, done that as have many many others. Latitude 38 has had a number of great pictures over the years of the south tower doing its thing to boaters.
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Old 05-31-2012
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Re: Advice on SF Bay summer sailing

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Originally Posted by crstophr View Post
I'm looking for a bit of advice and perhaps encouragement on sailing in summer conditions on the SF bay. Back in December I bought an old Ranger 23 (short rig) and have been getting out on her about twice a month. I am brand new to sailing and this is my first boat. No lessons but I've been out with folks a few times prior to buying my own boat. I have avoided going out in any kind of small craft advisory and with one exception have managed to avoid winds much over 10-12kts as it's been fairly light winds over the winter.

Last weekend (Sunday) the forecast was 9-12 kts and I was sailing S of the Bay bridge and we had little to no wind. As we crossed under the bridge heading north near the city the wind started building and I looked out ahead and thought "damn, that's a lot of whitecaps, and gee the water sure looks crazy". Then we were in it. Waves from every direction, strong winds, and stronger gusts. I was suddenly way out of my comfort zone. We took some spray over the nose a couple of times and we may have momentarily hit 30 deg of heel. The boat seemed to take it all in stride. It never really tried to round up. I was tense and kept on for a few minutes before tacking back towards the bridge and heading back to calmer water and home. Looking later at the recorded wind graphs online gusts may have been hitting 30.

1st lesson for me is that it's time for decent sailing shoes. Sliding across the deck wasn't cool.

I'm trying to get a sense... is this what sumer conditions are likely to be on the bay? This weekend is calling for winds 15-25 and I'd really like to go sailing but I'm not 100% sure of my own abilities. We have a single reef in the main we can take advantage of with a single line system that I have yet to even try out.

How much wind is "too much stay home" wind for my little boat? Does small craft advisory always mean stay home? How often will these conditions happen over the summer?

What's your advice for a newbie sailor on the SF Bay in the summer?

--Chris
Funny thing I was talking to my neighbour at our marina in the estuary (which marina are you in?) chatting about the nasty conditions in the south bay last weekend! Usually south of the bay bridge the winds are lighter then gradually build as you head north reaching a peak in the slot. Last weekend, however, they were just as strong in the south bay.

The weather forecast is not very good at the detail of wind strengths. However, they invariably get the big picture right. Two GOOD indicators of wind strength to check are the height of the marine layer over the peninsula hills (higher, and spilling over the hills means strong winds) and the temperature difference between the bay area and central valley. The more the DIFFERENCE the greater the wind. Last weekend it was cool in the bay and warm inland.

I think my key advice would be to have a sail plan that works when the winds are strong, and be able to use it routinely, second nature. Practice reefing and un-reefing. When it's blowing 35 is a bad time to find out that the reefing line is too short or something.

You didn't say if you're sailing alone, but if you are being able to heave-to is really useful, especially to put a reef in or just have a snack

Finally, a dependable engine is worth it's weight in gold.
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