Cruise to Pier 39, March 24-26, 2017

Thanks to our Cruise Chair, Mark Bettis, for this exciting report on the cruise!

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The Coyote Point Yacht Club Pier 39 Cruise out was a great success for all those that attended!

Friday morning Catherine and I set sail aboard “Shannon” in blustery southerlies and steady rain. It turned out to be a truly fantastic sail, as we sailed downwind wing and wing, rockin’ rollin’ and sometimes surfing up to 9 knots.

Our trusty tiller pilot, “Jesus” had the wheel (tiller) and took us all the way to Pier 39 without having to gybe once.

Shannon

We arrived, soaking wet on the outside but warm and dry inside our foulies, and tied up at Pier 39. We were the only Coyote Point boat to sail on Friday, the rest of the cruisers having understandably chosen not to sail in stormy conditions.

Now, the west side of Pier 39 is well known for one thing, and sure enough, there was a mass of strange creatures clustered on the dock, making loud noises, arguing with each other, barking or sometime just lazing and relaxing as they clustered tight together on the pier, pushing around over each other to get a good look at the sea lions.

Pier 39

The very small west harbor at Pier 39 has a lot of vessel traffic. Two of the big Blue and Gold ferries dock there, as well as a few sightseeing boats and a huge bright orange rocket jet boat. It was a great opportunity to observe the strange creatures, that after gawking at the sea lions then rush over to the gate, don plastic ponchos, and board the rocket jet boat for a fun filled spin around the Bay, creating huge wake circles to knock the wind out of the sails of passing sailboats, all the time struggling to protect their iPhones and selfie sticks from the salt spray churned up by the massive jet drives.

Pier 39 (2)

Strong currents run along the City waterfront, as the tidal flows move in and out of the Golden Gate. These currents, coupled with heavy vessel traffic, cause very strong surge at the Pier 39 docks. After mooring “Shannon” with nine lines, and repeatedly adjusting fenders and snubbers we were able to achieve a reasonably comfortable ride, but the sound of the lines tensioning and chafing at the forward mooring hawse made for difficult sleeping both nights. Once we were safely moored and out of our soaking wet foul weather gear, cocktail hour ensued!

Mark & Catherine (2)

Catherine and I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon together, then took an Uber up to a brand new restaurant on Broadway called China Live. Coyote Point members Yvette Yong and Quinn McKenna both work here and have put in a huge effort to open up this place. It is a great spot – upscale, open, fun, and has an eclectic modern Chinese fusion menu that was outstanding. We had a great meal, and checked in with Yvette and Quinn. By the time we left the place was totally full with a line out the door, and really hopping.
After dinner we enjoyed walking back to Pier 39, and then detoured to Fisherman’s wharf, where we spent some time in the arcade museum. I discovered that Catherine spent way too much time as a teen playing Pac-Man.

Pier 39 (3)

Saturday morning at 2:30 am we were awakened as “Shannon” rolled violently in the slip. Bottles crashed to the floor in the galley, unsecured cabinets flung open and general mayhem occurred. I got up and cleaned up, and luckily nothing was broken or damaged. The next morning a monstrous cruise ship was in port, and we assume that the wake of this gargantuan passing the harbor entrance on its way to dock caused the carnage.

On Saturday our friends Mark and Linda arrived on their azure blue Catalina 275 “Azure”. They tied up alongside “Shannon” and cocktails once again ensued.

2 boats

That evening the four of us barbecued tri-tip and enjoyed a great meal aboard “Shannon”, then walked up to the Buena Vista Café, a San Francisco icon and home of the original Irish coffee. Mark treated us to a couple of these wonderful concoctions, and a great walk back capped the evening.

Sunday morning we had light to moderate southerlies, and motored home as the wind was right on the nose. A solid flood current made for a quick trip, and we encountered Luther on “Paradigm” just south of Hunters Point. Our two vessels then completed the trip together, arriving home by early afternoon.

This was a truly great weekend. It was interesting to have our little island of sanity among the tourist crowds of Pier 39, and to be able to retreat to “Shannon” and relax, enjoying this world class tourist trap from an entirely different perspective. I’m sorry the weather precluded more participation. I also have to say that mooring at the docks at Pier 39 is challenging, and the constant surge actually worked one of “Shannon”s very substantial bronze breast cleats loose. We will have to think carefully about whether we want to tie up there again, but the time we had was truly fantastic.

Pier 39

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