Archive for February, 2010

Today’s mermaid

(real live) mermaid reaches 1000 comments

NSL has one special post — Today’s (real live) mermaid.  For some reason, a Google search on the phrase “real live mermaid” brings this post up as the seventh item, which accounts for its popularity.

Today the RLM post reached 1000 comments, a staggering number, and one I am sure unequaled by any single post by a nautical blogger.   At the time of the thousandth comment, there were only 2001 total comments, so the RLM post accounts for exactly half.    You can see the 1000th comment here, it is fairly typical of them all.  The average age of the commentors seems to be about 11.

Today’s mermaid

An attractive visitor


This week there’s a very hot boat visiting at Grand Marina — an Archambault 40RC in a tricked-out paint job that appears to come from Nova Scotia.  On her own bottom?  The helm position on this IRC weapon looks pretty exposed for long-distance voyaging.  Hopefully, I’ll run into the owner or crew, and find out what the story is.  More pics after the break.

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Prince of Tides

Kame Richards astride Angel Island

I was glad the other evening to attend one of Kame Richards’ famous talks about tides in the Bay at the Bay Model in Sausalito.  It was a real eye-opener for a novice racing sailor.   While I’d been to the model once or twice before, Kame showed how the currents in the Bay work from a sailor’s perspective.   He should know — he is the proprietor of Pineapple Sails in Alameda and a long-time racer of and Express 37.  The talk was illustrated by analysis of a number of areal photos, and then we went out to the model to see the water in action.

Important points

  • Currents rule, and they are cruel.
  • Sea state.  Even if you can’t make out a current line, look for areas of transition from white caps to no white caps.  Water flowing to windward will be smoother.
  • Counter currents.  Nearly every point generates one.  Look for it.  Learn to snuggle up to the city front, especially when heading W. in a flood.
  • On Westerly days, the wind fans out so as to appear to be coming from Pt. Blunt no matter where one is along the E. shore of the Bay.
  • Alcatraz 1.  The wake of Alcatraz has a huge opening angle, and extends for miles.  Look for it!  The tide line to the south runs from Alcatraz straight toward the isthmus of TI-Yerba Buena.
  • Alcatraz 2.  The dirty air behind Alacatraz covers a much small angle than the current wake.
  • TI.  The dirty air behind TI extends out pretty far.  We got burned by this in this year’s 3BF, among other things.
  • Wind vs. current.  The domant wind direction in the central bay is along a line from the South Tower to Alcatraz.  The dominant current direction in the middle of the Gate is WSW.  These don’t line up.    Need to think about what that means.
  • Keep an eye on commercial fishermen.  They will often take the most efficient routes.
  • Angel Island.  The dead zone is big, big, big.  But you knew that.  Respect the hole!
  • The ebb will start along the shore before the flood in the center is stopped.
  • The same applies outside the Gate.  No matter what the tidal state, you can find a counter-area if you need one.
  • Slack water isn’t slack.  It just means that the net flow out the Gate is zero.  It is really still flowing out in some areas, in in some others.
  • In wet winters, the momentum of the surface fresh water from the rivers can carry water well down into the South Bay, well past the time when the ebb ‘should’ have stopped.


Styrofoam disks suspended from poles on thread indicate current flow.  Here, the counter-current to the main ebb tide just outside the Gate is easy to see.

Today’s mermaid

Today’s mermaid

Today’s mermaid

Today’s mermaid

Today’s mermaid

Pulp of the South Seas

Some great magazine covers of yesteryear, when men were men, and women wore tiny, animal-print loincloths.






Today’s mermaid

Quite the pickle dish

Security was tight….

The loyal fans were ready outside City Hall with their signs of support…

The Team was lauded….

All for the Cup!

Thanks to our friend Tom, Char scored a hat!  And she forged through the crowd herself to get a signed poster.

Meeting Hawaiian Chieftan


The Temerities were out for a pleasure sail off South Beach when we had an encounter with the Hawiian Chieftan, the replica square rigger that often visits the Bay in the company of the Lady Washington.   We had a lot of fun sailing rings around her!

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Today’s mermaid