Nathan's Sailing Blog/Notes


Sailing and related topics, SF Bay and beyond.



Nathan Bossett is a San Francisco area racer and now cruiser on a variety of boats.

This blog will evolve in form over time. It's intended to preserve a blog format while keeping subjects/tags intact for sort/search. For now, the minimalist cms bloxsom is an excellent fit.

  • CSS instead of tables
  • links by month
  • cleaner spacing on pics/text

Fri, 27 Sep 2013
America's Cup 2013 Final Race, Sept 25 2013

Coming into the final day of the America's Cup with the score tied 8-8 (after applying the 2 race penalty to Oracle) excitement was up and the spectator areas were crowded.

Conditions were just about perfect- under the limit but still exciting and sufficient for the teams to foil upwind and down. A mixed group came out on Echappee from work, a few people who'd been on Astraea the day before, and a few other sailors.

I didn't get many pictures in as the spectator fleet was dense and not everyone was paying very close attention. The racing was extremely exciting with NZ taking the start followed by multiple lead changes. Definitely worth the trip out!

Sat, 07 Sep 2013
Watching the America's Cup, 7 September 2013
Pics at:

While the weather forecast was for very light breeze, it was still a beautiful day and worth a trip out onto the bay.

We left too late to catch most of the first race starting at 1315, but still caught the commentary on VHF 20 and the finish.

The crowd of boats and other craft (even jetskis, etc.) was impressive. We stationed ourselves near the leeward gate, towards the cityfront from Alcatraz. There isn't any one location which gives a great view of the whole race but our compromise gave us a nice view of the foiling downwind and roundings. They were really very impressive though as for competitive racing the wins were by very large margins.

We motored around during the racing for better maneuverability, then did a quick reach back and forth across the bay once the AC show was over.

A good time with great friends.

Thu, 05 Sep 2013
Delivery Santa Cruz to San Francisco After the Windjammers, 2 Sept 2013
Pics and video at:

The delivery back from Santa Cruz to San Francisco was a very long day but still pleasant in light of favorable weather. An 0200 departure and 2000 arrival on a singlehanded trip is a long trip but fortunately I managed a nap in the middle.

Fortunately, Brian had helped with some autohelm work down in Santa Cruz as a combination of loose connections and blown fuses had rendered both autopilots nonoperational. The breeze had droped to nothing and the swells to almost nothing by the time I left at 0200 and motored around Pt. Santa Cruz with the main up and jib ready.

When the swells picked up with the dawn, the little short-shaft outboard wasn't up to handling it so I needed to switch to sails even though the wind was only about 2-5 kts. Then the autopilot decided that it wanted a break too. Fortunately, it's possible to trim Elise for a loosely beating course such that she will self-steer after you lash the tiller in place. That let me get in an hour and half or so of sleep.

There were some fantastic views along the way. Aside from Pigeon Point including the lighthouse which I always like, the weather cooperated to supply some really dramatic views approaching San Francisco: fog forming and blowing up various ridge lines, some interesting lighting on skylines and some really great cloud and sun colors.

Arriving just as it got dark, Serge helped me hoist Elise back out and get out of there (STFYC parking being constrained during the America's Cup, I couldn't leave my own car there).

Wed, 04 Sep 2013
Windjammers 2013 (singlehanded San Francisco to Santa Cruz, 31 Aug 2013)
Pics at:
Also, a nice video of Elise surfing near Davenport

The Windjammers is an annual race fr om San Francisco to Santa Cruz. This year, they switched the start from Friday to Saturday and made an aggressive effort to encourage shorthanded entries.

I packed the wrong jib- I had intended to take a #2 and a #3. The bag was marked #2 but it turned out to be a blast reacher. Performance upwind out the gate was not encouraging, though at the start line the angle seemed just right. The fog got really dense right outside the gate and I hugged the north shore to let a tanker by.

At Seal Rock, I turned left as expected but couldn't point quite high enough to avoid the Montarra hole. Thus, I spent some time in light air until about Pillar Point. Then, the breeze picked up just a little and I set a kite on a broad reach, headed offshore in 10-12 kts of wind.

About 5 miles after Pigeon Point, I gybed back towards shore in the expectation that the wind would build onshore. I was slightly premature, and quickly gybeed back out for another 15 minutes and then in again.

This time the wind did build to about a steady 20 so I gybed back onto starboard tack on a course rougly parallel to the shoreline. The autopilot handled the conditions well. The breeze gradually built up to 30+ steady, at which point the gusts were such that I took the spinnaker down and rehoisted the blast reacher. In spite of my slow start out the gate, I believe that my position may not have been all that bad at this point.

I had expected to finish before sundown, but shortly after Davenport the breeze dropped to almoost nothing very suddenly. I hugged the shore and switched between blast reacher, spinnaker, and #3 as the wind shifted around. I spent the last 3 hours of the race going about 5 miles. It was very discouraging tacking back and forth hard on the wind fighting a knot of current with only a few knots of breeze.

In retrospect, when it became clear that I wouldn't be arriving with a strong tailwind I should have made a wide arc around Pt. Santa Cruz to avoid fighting the current. A few locals told me that it's also possible to dodge right in towards shore, but what stops you on that side is large stands of kelp. Singlehanding in the dark as someone who's not that familiar with the area, it seems safer to stay wide than to find a pile of kelp and park in it.

Santa Cruz Yacht Club were good hosts and had hot clam chowder waiting for us even to the last boat.

Tue, 03 Sep 2013
Delivery RYC to STFYC After Nationals
Serge helped me deliver Elise on Tuesday night after the conclusion of the Nationals. The conditions at RYC were foggy but the trip back would cover everything from calm and clear to 20 kts in heavy fog. The run from RYC to the lee of Angel Island was clear, warm, and peaceful (jeans, polo shirt, lifejacket). The fog started just past Pt. Blunt and only the faintest trace of the Alcatraz lights were visible from there (sodium lights- the lighthouse was either out of service or totally obscured even when I rounded the Little Alcatraz mark). Power reaching under main and #3 from Alcatraz to the cityfront was a pleasant end to the trip. A defective RYC key fob rounded out the day, preventing me from retrieving my car but also providing an excuse to do lunch at Little China in Pt. Richmond during the retrieval.

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