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Summer Sailing Starts with Classic San Francisco Bay Breeze

Summer Sailstice weekend was a San Francisco Bay classic with summer fog and big breeze in the Central Bay but calm, warm conditions if you were hiding behind Angel Island or Tiburon. The three-day Lipton Cup, YRA Summer Series #3, the start of the Singlehanded TransPac and the St. Francis Yacht Club Opti Heavy Weather Regatta were all held this weekend, adding a competitive rush to the already challenging days.

Sailing San Francisco Bay
For cruisers, the Bay is not where you go to relax. But if you’ve got to give yourself a challenge, big breeze, fog and looming ships all add to the adventure.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
Small sails on the Bay
If you reef correctly, a 25-30-knot daysail can be reasonable.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
furled up
Even small scraps of sails didn’t mean sailing on the level.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
reefed down
It was impressive how many boats were out in the breeze, and reefed down enough to be in control and enjoy a sporty day on the Bay.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John
shortened sail
This is where you get boat and mind ready for the assault on the Bay. Reef in the calm then head out and hang on.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Despite the battles the big boats had with their day on the Bay, we are always reminded it’s not the size of the boat that matters but the skills of the sailor. There’s no better way to understand this than when you look up from managing your reefed-down, rail-down boat in the blow to find a fleet of 10-15-year-old kids frolicking in the breeze in their 8-ft Optimists. The blustery conditions for the big boats were energizing and fun for the St. Francis YC Opti Heavy Weather Regatta fleet that was sailing eight races over two days, right along the breezy, choppy Cityfront.

Opti Heavy Weather Regatta
The Opti fleet reveled in the breeze.
© 2021 Chris Ray
Breeze on
Best playground any kid could ever want. Same day, same Bay as the big boats, but a very different experience.
© 2021 Chris Ray

Other parts of the Bay are warm and calm, but the Central Bay is where the action is. Fortunately, the choice is yours. You can find the calm spots on the Bay, or sail early, or later, when the wind settles down. The Bay has an amazing variety of conditions on the same day depending on the time or place you choose to sail. Choose carefully, adjust sails accordingly, and enjoy the summer.

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Bring your Baseball Gear
The Cruisers versus Kids game is played the way baseball always should have been played — nonstop action, women and children rarely ever getting called out, and parties in the outfield.