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What a day it was out on the water yesterday! Sunny, warm, and winds of ~ 10-20 kts, made for perfect sailing conditions for the Rolex Big Boat Series competitors.  A  beautiful fog bank blanketed the Golden Gate Bridge for much of the day, providing a great backdrop for the boats as they made their way upwind.  With relatively light air and flat water, there wasn’t much in the way of the crashing and burning that we photographers find so compelling, but none-the-less, I think I shot a few compelling images.  Many thanks to John Siegel for the ride on his Protector!

The day’s galleries are online now at Rockskipper Photography.

Pre-race at the St. Francis yacht Club dock.

Pre-race at the St. Francis yacht Club dock.

Ragtime and the TP 52s.

Ragtime and the TP 52s.

Dan Woolery's Soozal at the windward mark.

Dan Woolery's Soozal at the windward mark.

John Siegel's Scorpio ducks James Bishop's Gold Phoenix.

John Siegel's Scorpio ducks James Bishop's Gold Phoenix.

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.

2009 Jazz Cup

I’m always looking for different vantage points when shooting sailboats, and my perch on the pier just north of Crockett proved to provide some terrific angles of the boats as they raced to Benicia through the Carquinez Straits.  More photos at Rockskipper Photography.

9-5-2009_7LR7973_s

9-5-2009_7LR8088_s

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.

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.

More Kiteboarding!

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.

Tuesday marked the first day of racing at the inaugural Kiteboard Course Racing World Championship hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California.  It was a very colorful scene at the beach at Crissy Field where nearly 70 racers prepared themselves and their kites for the preliminary races on Tuesday, August 4th.

Kiteboarders prepare their kites for competition on the beach at Crissy Field.

Kiteboarders prepare their kites for competition on the beach at Crissy Field.

Typically kiteboarding is a more solitary sport, but this event is more like a sailing regatta with multiple boarders lining up on a starting line and then sailing a windward / leeward course around inflatable marks.  What makes this special as a photographer is the chance to get images of multiple kiteboards / kites in the same frame.   However, photographing kiteboarders poses some  unique challenges — for example,  how do you fit both the kiteboarder and the kite into the frame, and how do you track the focus of a single boarder when they can be flying along at 20 knots?

Racers start at the StFYC committee boat.

Racers start at the StFYC committee boat.

The racers fly past Alcatrez on their way to the first upwind mark.

The racers fly past Alcatrez on their way to the first upwind mark.

Kiteboarders are dwarfed by an incoming tanker.

Kiteboarders are dwarfed by an incoming tanker.

More photos at Rockskipper.com.