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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.

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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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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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Yesterday morning I positioned myself on the San Francisco coast with a terrific view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Mile Rock to photograph the start of the Spinnaker Cup.  50 + boats sailed fromSan Francisco Bay to Monterey in this race, jointly run by the San Francisco Yacht Club and the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club.   The weather was cool and foggy for the 11 am start with also featured a strong 3+kt flood tide — good for photographs from my shore location since most of the boats headed to the south coast for current relief after passing under the Golden Gate Bridge.  No results are posted yet, but the race, sailed under PHRF ratings, strongly favored the planing boats since this is a mostly downwind race.   Photos are online at http://www.rockskipper.com — follow the sailing links.

Jim Gregory's Morpheus

Jim Gregory's Morpheus

2009 Spinnaker Cup

Outsider and X-Dream pass Mile Rock.

2009 Spinnaker Cup

John Siegel's Scorpio heads offshore.

Lani Spund's Team Kokopelli races to Monterey.

Lani Spund's Team Kokopelli races to Monterey.

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After much procrastination, I am finally starting a blog!  So here it goes…

Where to start?  How about a few of my best sailing images from the first half of 2009?

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