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Islander 36 Summer Sailstice Cruise

Even though it’s a pandemic year, that hasn’t prevented the Islander 36 Association from celebrating the 50th anniversary of this well-known San Francisco Bay sailboat. Ten family-crewed Islanders met under the western span of the Bay Bridge to take a tour of the San Francisco Bay to celebrate Summer Sailstice on June 20. The wind provided for a great (and fast) sail around Angel Island through Raccoon Strait and back under the eastern span of the Bay Bridge. A novel rule for the rally — and what should become de rigueur for future Sailstice rallies on the Bay — was a start line formed by the shadow of the west side of the Bay Bridge at high noon. A finish in the shadow of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge completed the symmetry.

Three Islanders with SF skyline in background
Beating up the Cityfront.
© 2020 Rick Van Mell

Winds ranged from 15 knots to 30-knot gusts, especially around Harding Rock and Angel Island. The wind continued through Raccoon Strait, as the I-36 fleet listened in to sailors from Corinthian Yacht Club on the VHF. The Bay was busy on Saturday — four tankers and a barge and pusher showed up on the tour. A big blue tanker steamed north, then a barge and pusher came southbound. Both caused four Islanders and two other cruising boats to get pushed toward the Angel Island shore and into the accelerated wind blasts coming around Point Blunt. Lots of fun sailing!

Kapai sailing past Angel island
Kapai sails east of Angel Island with a reef in.
© 2020 Rick Van Mell

The I-36 Association has members in 25 states, Canada, South Wales, US Virgin Islands, England and Australia. Those members were invited to be ‘virtual’ crew with the boats sailing on Summer Sailstice. A number of Association members took the invitation and joined in.

Zingara with Belvedere in the background
Zingara approaches Raccoon Strait.
© 2020 Rick Van Mell

It was a fun Summer Sailstice for 10 Islander 36 boats, all proudly flying the I-36 burgee and showing off how well this iconic boat handles the water and wind of the San Francisco Bay. One of the most fun aspects was that most boats contributed pictures and a paragraph about their experience, and we followed up with an after-race virtual cocktail hour via Zoom on Tuesday evening. Here’s a link to a web page for those who are interested: I-36 Summer Sailstice Rally.

Editor’s note: We profiled the Islander 36 class in the April and May issues of Latitude 38.

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