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

Sun, 28 Sep 2014
Bonita Trip, YRA Season Closer 2014-09-28
Levitation II Express 27 Pt. Bonita Approach Buoy
North shore of the golden gate, Nat Criou and James Smith

For the second day of the Closer, the committee gave us a gatecrasher course: out to the approach buoy near Pt. Bonita (near the lighthouse), down to a mark in the bay roughly between Alcatraz and Berkeley, and then to finish. It's a simple course but if the wind gets too light it would be a pretty long trip.

For the second day, we had a full crew of 5, adding James Smith to the Saturday lineup. We swapped around vs Saturday, with Nathan running tactics versus driving, Nat driving vs foredeck, and David working foredeck vs tactics.

As for Saturday, staying to the right up to Belvedere Island was important to be out of the flood. After that, it was somewhat a matter of timing: the division was a bit spread out and the correct move (left, right, or middle) depended a bit on the timing of the shifts.

After that, it was a trip across Richardson bay with the goal of getting to the Marin shore near the sewage plant and sailing along it past Yellow Bluff and to the Golden Gate.

Once near the North Tower, we stayed close to the shore because the flood was full strength 50 yards or so out. We dodged into each little bit of shelter behind an outcropping. The final bay before Pt. Bonita is tricky because while the current looks tempting there's often no wind all the way in. So, we skipped that one.

Passing Pt. Bonita close by, we took a hard right to stay along the shore. Further out, there was less wind and more current. That gained us some distance.

From Bonita back into the bay, we took a short hop on starboard tack out to the middle of the channel. Then we gybed earlier than most of the others, heading back toward the bridge in good current and reasonable wind. The wind built as we got back into the bay and we were able to drive almost DDW with very good speed because of the help from the waves. There wasn't enough wind to let us plane and justify heading up; we were just a displacement boat rolling along at 7.5 kts or so.

By the leeward mark, we'd caught back up to Levitation II and passed him in the rounding. After that, it was just a straight shot back up along the windward side of Angel Island and to the finish. We did a good job on trim, which gave us one less tack than Levitation II and gained us more distance.

Conclusions: We had trouble getting moving or pointing for the first 1/2 hour or so. I made one bad tactical call which took us a few boatlenths too far inshore on the Marin side and left is with no air for a while. Trim and boatspeed were excellent from there, although we had trouble getting our tacks timed properly and approach+exit angles quite right.

Sat, 27 Sep 2014
YRA Season Closer 2014-09-27
Dredge blocking the entrance to STFYC and GGYC
David Bennett and Mark Lazar on Elise after the Season Closer
Mark Lazar and Nat Criou on Elise after the Season Closer

Elise's first event after a delayed return from SHTP was the YRA Season Closer run by Corinthian Yacht Club. It's a two day event with starts and finishes in front of the CYC. It was a bit of a challenge to get out as a dredge was completely blocking the channel. Fortunately, it was set up and willing to move.

Saturday we ran with a crew of four: Nat, Mark, Nathan, and new crew David Bennett. The conditions were fairly light but building to about 14 by the end of the race. The course was a bay tour: CYC to Blackaller between the cityfront and the bridge, down to Blossom Rock down towards the Bay Bridge, up to Little Harding, and back to CYC to finish.

In a significant flood, staying right along the Marin County shore was important up past Belvedere Island and then upwind courses up through Richardson's Bay. It turned out that in spite of a predicted flood, there wasn't actually that much current in the main Golden Gate channel, so a simple layline to Blackaller was sufficient. The breeze rose and fell a few times but it was just a matter of monitoring heel and trim to keep up.

From Blackaller to Blossom was a spinnaker leg. A bit of current avoidance in the shadow of Alactraz helped but it was mainly a search for wind.

The trip back up to Little Harding was mostly hard on the wind with occasional cracking off. Up next to Angel Island, we saw the usual pattern of a lift on port tack which made it ultimately wasy to lay the mark. The challenge was being efficient in puffy conditions and facing waves.

The final leg from Little Harding to CYC was pretty much a straight without too much in the way of tactical finesse. We wanted to enjoy the flooding current for as long as possible but not risk being carried past the finish line if the breeze became too light in Racoon Strait.

Boatspeed and trim were excellent. We had an awkward start when I (as driver) was a little unsure as to the directions coming from tactician and bow about distances to the starting line. Once started, we were pointing with and keeping up with the crowd except for Motorcycle Irene who stretched on everyone. Sailhandling was pretty smooth and other than being over early and a trip to the right on the first windward leg that we shouldn't have made (all the way up at the bridge, going past layline to Blackaller) it wasn't bad for a first race after SHTP and first time for this four crew working together.

Sun, 07 Sep 2014
Half Moon Bay Cruise 2014-09-06
Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay at sunset
Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay at sunset, a little darker
Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay at sunset, lights on
Pillar Point at night across Half Moon Bay

A friend, Bridgitt Ahern, has just been concluding some coastal navigation classes at Club Nautique. As a final exam, they run a cruise up to Drake's Bay or down to Half Moon Bay with an instructor boat and a few student boats following. Bridgitt recruited some sailing friends as her crew for the exercise. Unfortunately, we wound up unable to use the trip as her exam but did the cruise and exercises anyway. It was a really fun group with diverse backgrounds: Bridgitt, a veteran cruiser, someone just back from the Clipper round the world race (Sarah Lloyd), and me.

The conditions were light enough that we steamed or motor-sailed significant portions of each leg. Still, we got in some good sailing in conditions which topped out at around 10 kts of breeze except inside Pt. Bonita. We had tight reach conditions for most of the trips there and back with occasional beating. Our particular group was of three boats total though there was another group doing the same thing from a different branch of Club Nautique. With more than one boat on the trip, of course we were racing: in spite of having less waterline than the instructor boat and significantly inferior sails versus the other student boat, we managed to be faster on all points of sail. Trim matters!

The conditions in Half Moon Bay for our overnight were beautiful: calm and warm. It took us two tries to set the hook properly; our first attempt was under sail and we didn't have enough force to dig it in. After that, we had a great dinner and good night of sleep. The trip back was equally enjoyable and the breeze picked up as we got closer to the gate. Back on the bay, as usual there was more than enough.

Full size picures

Bridgitt Ahern and Sarah Lloyd Grey Goose, Beneteau 37, from Club Nautique
Wed, 03 Sep 2014
Oakland Yacht Club Sweet Sixteen 2014-09-03
Wyliecat 30 Green Onions, Oakland Yacht Club Sweet Sixteen

This Wednesday was the final race of the 2014 OYC Sweet Sixteen. On Cassiopia, Kit Wiegman's Islander 36, we were in the lead for the series by a few points. The principal competition (a pair of Wyliecats) were the main concern, but so long as we didn't lose to Green Onions by more than a few places we had the series in hand.

The conditions were great for a conclusion to the evening and series: warm and 7-10kts at peak. The course was a windward leeward with a subsequent jog in past the tip of Government Island, finishing back at OYC.

Our trim was good in spite of some sailhandling issues. The downwind was generally a broad to tight reach rather than a deep run and we were slightly faster than the Wylies boat for boat, more so downwind than upwind. We managed to keep our bow out in front even though they owe us significant time. Gun, series, dinner on a beatiful evening.


Powered by Bloxsom