Sail on the R. Tucker Thompson

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July 31, 2005

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In a happy coincidence, Sail San Francisco 2005 was in full swing when a friend of mine was visiting, this led to an opportunity to sail on the tall ship R. Tucker Thompson (from New Zealand).

Weather and Conditions

Clear, cool and windy on the Bay.

R Tucker Thompson - R Tucker Thompson

The R. Tucker Thompson

Mast and ShoreOut of Whanga, New Zealand, Gaff Rigged Schooner, 85' Beam. Crew of four, plus volunteers. Part of the Sail San Francisco 2005 events.(Sail route)

Scuppers AwashBefore Sunday, I had only been out on (motor) ferries and small sailboats (most recently on a friend's catamaran). Which are nice and all (except the ferries that don't have outside areas...those suck. Suck!), and I'd never been under sail where there was more than a steady breeze. So I didn't know entirely what to expect, but I was expecting rather more rocking and rolling (less than rather bigger ferries), and something perhaps a bit more sedate. Fairly unexpected was the amount of time we spent with water washing in and out on the deck on the low the time we were coming back, I was pretty much OK with that.

As the ship (The Lynx?) ahead of us had left, we motored very briefly to clear the dock (but not the pier), and sailed gently out, passing the ships docked at Pier 30-32, under the Bay Bridge . Past the Financial District, we emerged from San Francisco's wind shadow, and things got a bit more exciting... (all these pictures are from the return leg, but nothing was particularly different other than I'd gotten less freaked out about the tipping over thing). Intellectually, I knew it wasn't going to tip over, even if the scuppers were awash on the low side , and the crew was entirely unconcerned. But, still, trying to right the ship with my ass. Also interesting that I could get both the East Bay shoreline AND to tip of the mast in the frame on my digital.

22 degree heelWe crossed between Alcatraz and Angel Island, before dropping into the Marin wind shadow, and making a gentle turn around the back of Angel Island, and in turn, heeling over again crossing to the south. That was rather more enjoyable (I guess the backbrain had admitted "Not Dead Yet, No Worries!"). Interesting that I was able to get both the East Bay shoreline and the top of a mast within a single portrait frame on my digital. Down past the San Francisco dockyards, turning just south of the county line. Approaching the dock, all sail was furled and we motored in for the three point turn in close quarters to dock.

Level HorizonI was taken to task for the unlevel horizon in that image, being pretentiously instructed that boat pictures should always have a level horizon, despite my having very consciously taken the picture off level. Anyway, for anyone who really wants a level horizon, or isn't so hot on the whole vertigo thing (22 degree tilt on the original picture), look to your right.

R Tucker Thompson under Bay BridgeOK, and here's a picture of us going under the Bay Bridge,R Tucker Thompson and one of her in a hurry, heading south from Angel Island (taken by cymbeline on Saturday). I'll note that we had one more sail up than in this picture, but other than that, it pretty much sums up the experience!

More Images

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R. Tucker Thompson's route (approx.)

Map with route
Detailed Image (129K)

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Sail on the R. Tucker Thompson / Robert Parks / / revised August '05