The Bay in Fog

Last week, reader Vikas Kapur sent us photos from a foggy day of sailing on San Francisco Bay.

California Hornblower
Vikas titled his emailed photo essay “painted ships on painted seas.” (A reference to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner: “As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean.”)
© 2019 Vikas Kapur

Vikas called it “thick fog but have seen worse.”

Matthew Turner
Coming out of Marina Plaza in the morning, the crew motored past the Matthew Turner.
© 2019 Vikas Kapur

On Saturday, November 9, Vikas and his crew took a newish 2013 Beneteau 37 out of Modern Sailing Club in Sausalito for a daysail from 10:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. They motored in the morning, until some light winds came up in the Slot around 1:30 p.m., when they got in some sailing. The GPS reported 22.4 miles for the day and an average speed of 4.1 knots, with a peak speed of 8.5 knots (“likely surfing a wake”).

Fishing boat at new bridge
The journey continued on south of the fog-shrouded Bay Bridge, but rays of sun lit up this fishing boat.
© 2019 Vikas Kapur

“A nice day as the fog burned off — although being in fog is cool too.” Vikas had a 10-year-old on board and gave him the wheel. “I told him it’s ‘just like driving a car…'”

Joe and Mike
Joe Columbo, age 10, seen here with his dad Mike, took a turn at the wheel.
© 2019 Vikas Kapur
GPS track
The GPS track shows a counterclockwise circumnavigation around the Central Bay: down the Cityfront, around Treasure Island and Angel Island, and through Raccoon Strait.
© 2019 Vikas Kapur
Sailboats at Angel Island
Sailboats in the sun but also in the wind shadow on the east side of Angel Island. The boat with the red spinnaker is a J/35c.
© 2019 Vikas Kapur
Dinghy sailing in Richardson Bay
Back in Richardson Bay in the sunny afternoon.
© 2019 Vikas Kapur
Satellite view
Vikas took the photos on Saturday the 9th, but Saturday the 16th dished up a repeat of the low, dense fog. We captured this image at 8:40 a.m. PST, from the GOES-West satellite. Check out how the fog follows the water into the South Bay and east up through the Delta.
© 2019 NOAA


  1. Avatar
    paul clausen 8 months ago

    I guess people today just don’t remember the Tule Fog that was so prevalent back when it rained in winter, unlike the drought decades we have had lately… Then the fog was so thick you literally couldn’t see 10 feet, and I am not exaggerating.. Driving by Braille, using the road markers to let you know if you were in the lane or even still on the road was a needed skill.

    • Avatar
      Ken Brinkley 8 months ago

      Driving on the old skyline in the 60,s it was a challenge to stay on the road with a brisk 30 knot wind whipping up the hillside and fog as thick as fur on a frog

  2. Avatar
    Judy Ott 8 months ago

    Great shots. Let us know if they are published. I love that you let that young boy have a turn at the wheel.

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