Sailboats and Sutro Tower are both iconic components of the Bay Area summer, but the warm Friday afternoon implied by this image is not a part of that post-solstice set. Like many evenings, sweatshirt weather was close at hand.
Waiting for the Yacht Race to Begin
After a week doing science on a hilltop, I would sometimes sneak out of work just a minute early* and head across the Bay to Tiburon to watch the Corinthian Yacht Club’s Friday night sailboat racing. The lack of spinnakers implies to me that it’s a pretty friendly race, but it’s nonetheless a great way to end the workweek.
*Though early by my standards is “regular” to most folks, I suspect.
Rather Be Sailing
Morning sun provides very stark, even lighting across the San Francisco Bay. I know rationally that gravity forces the big body of water to be (basically) flat, but the curves of the shore and the shadows of the clouds have always made the Bay itself seem to have hills and valleys. I can also confirm that the water feels pretty far from level when actually sailing it.
Toaster glow sunlight was the result of through marine-layer haze coating San Diego every evening. I couldn’t help but notice the three abnormally large ships in this image: In the distance, two Navy aircraft carriers are the essence of industrial, practical form. Moored in the foreground is a truly massive sailing yacht that is 100% style. Look at how it dwarfs even the ostentatious motorboats beside it. Quite the contrast.
It’s a little cold for my taste but the folks around the Bay really like to get out on the water. Right around the Berkeley marina the water is absolutely jam packed with windsurfers, kitesurfers, and just small sail craft of all types. This surfer’s colorful sail really caught my eye here against the sort of drab backdrop of the waterfront condos.
Berkeley Marina is a wrench-shaped peninsula in the San Francisco Bay; the “handle” supports a bumpy road to the area itself, while the “head” has docks and a smattering of yacht clubs, restaurants, and smaller hotels aimed at the people mooring there. The larger boats (mostly of the sailing variety) are in the center of the Marina, but on the southern side, in a slightly-sheltered area, are the docks for the much smaller boats. Here, locals come to learn the basics of sailing and wind surfing in the shadow of the Port of Oakland and its massive container crains.
Having taken sailing lessons here myself, I can confirm that the placidity is an illusion. In a boat with a center board instead of a keel, the degree of resistance to the wind is much less, and the crew is required to really use their weight to control these little boats. Today’s shot captures the boats as I prefer to remember: ready to sail, but sitting calmly at the dock.