to San Francisco Bay and Oakland - 142 NM, 8.5 hrs moving, 4.5 hrs sailing

Only one more leg to go and we're in San Francisco. We motored out of Half Moon Bay prompty at 6:00 am to time our arrival at the Golden Gate on a slack tide. Nearly as soon as we pulled out of the bay and turned north, we were surprised that we could already see the spires of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

And, for the first time on our trip, we were able to do some substantial sailing. We put the sails up to a NW wind and close hauled, made our way up to the prescribed entry, 3 NM off shore, skirting the shipping channel. Outside the gate, the swell started becoming noticable at 3-4 feet, and, though not terribly quick, it was still a somewhat bumpy ride, especially as we made the turn to go downwind into the channel. We motored for about an hour or two as the Golden Gate bridge grew in size to meet us.

Golden Gate in Distance

I was bound and determined to not enter S.F. Bay under motor, and fortunately as the wind kept up with the swells, and with a preventer rigged, we wore across the bay to the north side, across the shipping channel, on a very broad reach as we passed under the bridge.

It turned into great sailing weather directly under the bridge, and to avoid crossing the lane again, we proudly flew our sails "wing and wing" as we went straight downwind towards the southern point of Angel Island, Mandala seemingly sensing that this was "sailing territory"; it was a wonderful and exhilarating moment.

Under Sail at Last
Passing under the Golden Gate Bridge

It got even more exciting when we turned south, putting the wind directly on our beam, and flew past Alcatraz Island on the fastest point of sail - a beam reach. I'd say that the wind was just about 20 knots, and we didn't even have time to reef as we were making over 9 knots, the boat heeling well past 20 degrees in the gusts. That's nine knots on the GPS, which is for real. It only took us about 20 minutes to sail from Angel Island, past S.F. and Pier 39 to the bay bridge! Whew, an exciting little ride.

Cooking Past Alcatraz Island
San Francisco Images

Before long we were at the turning point to head into Ballena Bay, where we have a reciprocal agreement with our Marina, and so can stay for free. The water is very shallow and we watched the depth sounder get down to 8 feet (Mandala draws 6.5) as we crossed the shoal into the Ballena Isle Marina.

After tying off at the guest dock and getting our slip assignment, we moved Mandala to slip H69, tied off, walked up to the marina restuarant for a few drinks and a wonderful and well deserved meal before crashing for the night.

We spent the next day doing domestic chores. The good boat deserves good feeding as well, so I changed Mandala's Oil then availed myself of the very clean showers at the Marina. I hadn't shaved in 4 days, and so was looking kind of gruffy, but cleaned up rather nicely, if I do say so myself.