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Big Wind, Big Waves, Max Ebb and Small Boats

We’ve said it before, “the smaller the boat, the bigger the adventure.” Last weekend a group of Lasers gathered to take on the Central Bay. Decorated and dedicated Laser aficionado Chris Boome sent in this report.

Laser Bridge Fleet
Even under gray skies, it’s good to have a Laser adventure on the Bay.
© 2020 Ernesto Perez

On Saturday, August 29, a group of nine Laser sailors, wanting to take advantage of the 1418 max ebb of 2.4 knots to get in some downwind practice, met up between Alcatraz and St. Francis Yacht Club. Six hardy souls sailed from Richmond Yacht Club and three came from StFYC. We had a mix of full rigs and Radials, and as we started upwind toward the Golden Gate Bridge it was a nice breeze — not too heavy and not too light — so we got to and sailed under the Bridge quickly. We all stopped for a while, thinking we would head downwind from there.

Emilio Castelli had a slightly different idea and had this burning desire to sail around the Point Bonita Buoy, so five of us headed out there and the others started downwind toward the Berkeley Circle. I am pretty sure everyone had a great day. The guys who went back inside the Bay probably had a much better training day, but I think the five of us who went to Bonita had a more exciting time.

Getting to the Point Bonita Buoy was a piece of cake, as the wind was moderate. I was surprised to still see so much ebb on the buoy when I rounded. At first there wasn’t much wind, but still enough to move along nicely. Once we were about halfway back to the Bridge, the wind started coming up and we had some really fun and exciting rides. See Emilio’s video below. We also saw lots of sea critters out there who could not decide if we were friend or foe as we were flying over the waves toward them.

I was part of the original San Francisco Bay Laser group in the early 1970s, and we did a lot of fun things together, besides just showing up for races. The SF Bay Laser group now has become close friends, thanks largely to the many hours that our fantastic district secretary, Stephen Aguilar, has put in to get us loving our Lasers, both for the sailing and for the great group that sails them.

Lasers coming in the Gate.
Dinghy sailing is for big kids too.
© 2020 Ernesto Perez

Do you sail a Laser, or another small boat? Drop your answer in the comments below.


  1. Greg Clausen 4 years ago

    Wondering what kind of safety gear do they carry? VHF? Coast guard float plan?

    • Scott olson 4 years ago

      Probably a bottle of bourbon and maybe a whistle

  2. Karen Miller 4 years ago

    Kudos to dingy sailors! I love sailing my Laser on Donner Lake.

    • Stephen Aguilar 4 years ago

      You should bring your laser to stampede next weekend for the laser district 24 championships and the Tahoe Laser fleet championships. It’s going to be a fun weekend of laser sailing.

    • tom goodwin 4 years ago

      Karen: Please say “hello” to Otto for me signed tom goodwin

  3. Stephen Aguilar 4 years ago

    Thanks Chris, great article and photos. The video from Emilio’s boat says it all. Good friends great conditions and that wonderful little tricky boat.

  4. Terry Jackson 4 years ago

    Wait, Wait, what happened to Emillio?
    This suspense is too much to bear!
    I’ve got a Super Satellite from the 60’s, 14 foot, good shape except rigging (been siting awhile), that I’ll give to any of you that want to move up! Terry

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