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Lest you think that the refuge is only home to waterfowl at this time of year, let me tell you that the place was thick with raptors including Golden and Bald Eagles, and many types of hawks.

Most likely a Cooper's hawk.

 

Red-tailed hawk.

A Bald Eagle at sunset at the Llano Seco unit of the SNWR.

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Only seven boats were on hand for this year’s Melges 32 North American Championship in San Francisco Bay, but with near-perfect conditions, the competition was close.  After three days of racing, Don Jesberg’s Viva claimed the championship – the only completely corinthian team on the race course.  Congratulations Don!

Hosted by the Sausalito Yacht Club, the regatta was run by Regatta Pro’s Jeff Zarwell with race committee volunteers from San Francisco Yacht Club and an additional mark-set boat from St. Francis Yacht Club.  Racer Steve Pugh kindly provided his Protector to the event for use as a media boat for the class association. Thanks Steve, and congratulations on your 2nd place finish!

More photos at Rockskipper Photography.

Don Jesberg's VIVA leads at the windward mark.

Don Jesberg's VIVA leads at the windward mark.

Steve Pugh's Taboo nears the windward mark.

Steve Pugh's Taboo nears the windward mark.

Q and Rougarou round the windward mark.

Q and Rougarou round the windward mark.

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September fourth’s full moon (known as the Harvest or Corn Moon) provided a great opportunity for photography of San Francisco Bay and a few recognizable icons.   The sun was setting as the moon was rising,  providing dramatic lighting on the Berkeley hills,  Alcatrez, the San Francisco city-front, and the Golden Gate Bridge.    All images, Nikon D700, Nikkor 200-400 f/4.

Moonrise over the Berkeley Hills.

Moonrise over the Berkeley Hills.

San Francisco Twilight.

San Francisco Twilight.

San Francisco Bay Ferry

San Francisco Bay Ferry in the Moonlight.

Moonlight over Alcatrez.

Moonlight over Alcatrez.

Fog over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Fog over the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Sixteen schooners participated in San Francisco Yacht Club’s Great Schooner Race,  which benefited the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center.  Thanks to Bill Moore, I was out on the Express 27, Shenanigans to watch the parade through Raccoon Straights.  With temperatures on land reaching 95+ degrees, the Bay was definitely the place to be for the day.  Thanks Bill!

The gaff-rigged schooner Stardust.

The gaff-rigged schooner Stardust.

The Marconi-rigged schooner Seaward.

The Marconi-rigged schooner Seaward.

The gaff-rigged schooner Yankee sails past Angel Island.

The gaff-rigged schooner Yankee sails past Angel Island.

While black and white seemed most appropriate for many of these high contrast images, one schooner in particular called for color.

Kaiulani sails past Tiburon.

Aldebaran sails into Raccoon Straights.

More images can be found on Rockskipper.com.

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The second day of the Kiteboard Course Racing World Championship in San Francisco was windier than the first, with gusts over 20 kts.  It was also a more typical summer day in San Francisco with a blanket of fog that moved in mid-afternoon.  The race course was still far enough off shore so that close up action shots weren’t possible from my vantage points on shore, but there was great action at the colorful starts.  More images can be viewed on Rockskipper.com.

The StFYC committee boat and racers at the start.

The StFYC committee boat and racers at the start.

Racers sail upwind.

Racers sail upwind.

The weather mark.

The weather mark.

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After a hearty breakfast at The Station House in Pt. Reyes Station, we headed to Abbott’s Lagoon for a hike. By the end of the day John had counted more than 40 species of birds – mostly unphotographable –  but here are a few images from the day.  My lens of the day — the Nikkor 70-300mm zoom — lightweight for hiking, but fast and sharp for birds.  Although it wasn’t the most productive of photographic days, I was rewarded with a few good opportunities.

Birdwatching at Abbott's Lagoon in July.

Birdwatching at Abbott's Lagoon in July.

A quail standing guard.

A quail standing guard.

Heerman's gulls on the beach.

Heerman's gulls on the beach.

The endangered snowy plover.

The endangered snowy plover.

Tule Elk.

Tule Elk.

A coyote by the roadside.

A coyote by the roadside.

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The 2009 Swan 42 U.S. National Championship, hosted by the New York Yacht Club,  came down to the wire on the fourth and final day of racing, with Andy Fisher’s Bandit, seemingly unstoppable,  in first place by eleven points (including four bullets).  But in the end, determination and consistency paid off as Phil & Wendy Lotz’s Arethusa sailed to victory – with no bullets, but the only boat with all single-digit finishes.   Photo galleries are on the Rockskipper Photography website.  Results are on the NYYC website.

The start of race 8 of the Swan 42 NAs
The start of race 8 of the Swan 42 NAs
Arethusa and Bandit on the first beat of the 8th race.

Arethusa and Bandit on the first beat of the 8th race.

Swan 42s approach the first windward mark.

Swan 42s approach the first windward mark.

Close racing for the Swan 42s.

Close racing for the Swan 42s.

Celeritas and Mustang hoist at the windward offset mark.

Celeritas and Mustang hoist at the windward offset mark.

Day 4- Arethusa at the windward mark.

Day 4- Arethusa at the windward mark.

I was fortunate to be following the race in the Lotz’s support boat, Alpheus.  But after eight windward/leeward races, with four legs each, the Swan 42s, with their predominantly white hulls and white sails all started to look alike.  Happily, on Saturday and Sunday the big boats of the Newport Bucket regatta (parade?) sailed by and through the fleet adding some much wished for color.

Hanuman sails past the Swan 42s

Hanuman sails past the Swan 42s

Wild Horses and the Swan 42s.

Wild Horses and the Swan 42s.

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