Above the Bay
San Francisco Bay
July 19, 2004
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Inviting people sailing is a little like inviting people to dinner
and then hoping something to eat walks in the yard. No control
over whether the wind shows up. And even though no one verbally
blames the skipper, the feeling of watching your crew bob sadly in
irons is not unlike the feeling of hosting a party that no one's enjoying.
So I was a little worried to see flags and tell tails hanging limp as
Allen, Lang & I prepped our boat for an afternoon sail, just a few
days before I headed out on a business trip and got this view of the bay.
But as we
motored out of the marina, the winds began to puff and by the
time we cleared the channel we were gliding. We
heeled our way up Raccoon Straits, and saw the swells and
white caps in the central bay, decided to go for it and let the
wind rushing in the Golden Gate push
us along the windward shore of Angel Island,
so roughly that we had to furl the jib.
Then, coming around the island's southeast point, I saw something I
hadn't seen on the bay: a dorsal fin breaching, just a few yards off the
stern. I looked again and saw there were three of them -- porpoises,
giving us chase as we sailed into the island's lee side. The day was so
good we were loathe to bring it in, sailing back and forth across the
yawning gape of the marina entrance, the beers drained and the
sun sinking down over Mount Tam. In the end, we couldn't bring
ourselves to sully the day by starting the engine, so we sailed on into
the marina, letting the wind bring us all the way home.