SF Bay at it's best/worst yesterday - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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  #1  
Old 07-05-2012
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SF Bay at it's best/worst yesterday

Just seemed to be an odd fluky day, for sea state and wind.

We went behind Treasure Island to the slot. We got about 1/4 mile across to Angel Island and turned back. A nasty chop, contrary current, and wind 22 gusting to 30 now and then.

So back to the south bay, and we decided to have a go at crossing the slot again, this time near Alcatraz. It was quite nice until we got behind Alcatraz and, wham, wind gusted to over 32 (not sure the exact speed as the wind indicator didn't have time to respond). That's the closest to a knockdown we've been, boat heeled to about 45-55 degrees.

At this point decided to go somewhere more sheltered, and headed west over to the SF shore and beam reached south all the way down to Hunters Point. This segment was the highlight - 7.5 knots and smooth water all the way.

Back home and I've never seen such a nasty sea state near to the Alameda Estuary entrance. A very confused chop and gusty winds making it hard to steer. Particularly so for the Catalina 31 behind us who was doing a good impression of a plane with it's tail shot off.

Never been so glad to get back in the slip and have a cup of tea.

What was going on with the sea state? High tide was 2pm. But the worst conditions seemed to be around high tide and for a couple of hours after. Simply wind strength vs. time? There seemed to be some interaction with the current but contrary to my understanding.
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Old 07-05-2012
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Re: SF Bay at it's best/worst yesterday

Seems like a pretty normal summer day on the Bay. Wind amplies, and remember that current doesn't change uniformly. You also might have found some nice rips as well.
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Old 07-07-2012
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South of there was a bit fluky on the 4th. Up until high tide it was quiet then heading back to Coyote Pt from Hunters Pt all the sudden it kicked right up. According to the charts it went from about 5-7 and flat at the airport to 18-20 with a lot of chop. After a few minutes of 18-20 the wind died down so much near SFO that we motored in. It was a no wind - little wind - good wind - lotta wind - little wind day. Rarely a dull moment.
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Old 07-07-2012
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Re: SF Bay at it's best/worst yesterday

Been a long time since I was on the Bay. IIRC, your desceiption was "business as usual" for summer time conditions, all or more wind than you want, and nasty steep high chop. We sailed out of Sausalito and just about anywhere we went presented an "uphill" trip home. In the summer we reefed before we left the slip.

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Old 07-08-2012
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Re: SF Bay at it's best/worst yesterday

I was in Emery Cove plugging away on my varnish. I heard several reports of harrowing experiences on the bay that day. The guy next to me in a Catalina 38 came back with his hair standing on end and he's done quite a bit of cruising. "I've never seen it so bad" he said. We all know it gets worse but i hear the chute was ripping!
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Old 07-08-2012
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Re: SF Bay at it's best/worst yesterday

Ahhhh, I feel vindicated!
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Old 07-08-2012
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Re: SF Bay at it's best/worst yesterday

At least ya don't have to deal with eight foot standing waves like we do here...
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Old 07-09-2012
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Re: SF Bay at it's best/worst yesterday

Ahh yes, that is something to be grateful for! Well I know how lucky I am to live next to SF Bay, even if she isn't always in the best of moods
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Old 07-10-2012
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Re: SF Bay at it's best/worst yesterday

Sounds like a typical summer day on the bay to me! For years I taught sea kayaking out of Sausalito and made daily runs to Angel Island and longer runs around Alcatraz. On my own time out under the Gate and such. Now I've lived around the Salish Sea for a long time but other than the Straits of Juan de Fuca itself, I've never seen rough water here like in the throat of the Bay. So much of our water here is protected, which is one of the magical things about it, and our wind is benign much of the year.

Charlie is right about the 8 foot standing waves near tidal rips like Deception Pass, but that is small compared to what I've seen under the Golden Gate Bridge!!!

Scariest time I've had in a boat was in a Coronado 22 on a beautiful summer day on the Bay, while it was blowing snot against an ebb and all hell was breaking loose around Alcatraz. Absolutely white knuckle terrifying, but lived to tell the tale.
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Old 07-10-2012
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Re: SF Bay at it's best/worst yesterday

Mark, we were out the last couple of weekends and our experience was the same – The Bay was in all its glory. Last weekend, all the winds south of the Bay Bridge seemed to be concentrated at the entrance to the Estuary which I attributed to that big high moving slightly westward. This was a more typical wind pattern for mid winter, with the exception that the wind machine in the slot was opened full throttle. There had also been some exceptional large tidal fluctuations and their resulting currents made the usual tidal rips that more strong and exciting.

A couple of weekends ago during the HDA-2 race we came close to broaching a couple of times in the big rip zone just to the east of the Golden Gate. I think we were the only boat in our division not to wipe out there and we hung on to sail at 10+ kts all the way to Red #2 (not bad for a 47 year old Cal 40!) Years, years ago I had the distinct displeasure of sailing my little 22 for twenty minutes to get from the west to the east end of the South Tower’s bridge pier. It didn’t matter that I had near twenty kts of wind behind me when my boat was battling against a 4-5 kt ebb current. Good times.
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