Sailing . . . kite boarding . . . racing on the bay!

Hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans race across San Diego Bay during the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series.
Hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans race across San Diego Bay during the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series.

What an amazing day out on San Diego Bay! Here come a bunch of cool photos!

I began my walk at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, where the Star of India sail crew was getting ready for their ocean journey next month. I then walked along San Diego Bay to Harbor Island to view a variety of events during this weekend’s 2018 Extreme Sailing Series.

As I arrived at Harbor Island, kids were racing O’pen BIC boats in an Un-Regatta. Next came an exhibition and race by world-class kite boarders. A lack of sufficient wind made the Element Sports Kite Boarding Invitational a real challenge for those great athletes.

At two o’clock the main event began. Seven hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans competed in the San Diego leg of this year’s Extreme Sailing Series. I watched the first race, then, while devouring a yummy quesadilla from a food truck, enjoyed a look around the Race Village and its US Sailing Education Zone.

To see lots of photos from the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series, including exhibits in the Race Village, and catamarans actually flying above the water under stronger wind conditions, click here!

The Star of India will sail next month upon the Pacific Ocean. The volunteer sail crew is busy preparing for the historic journey.
The Star of India will sail next month upon the Pacific Ocean. The volunteer sail crew is busy preparing for the historic journey.
The sail crew learns the ropes aboard Star of India, oldest active sailing ship in the world.
The sail crew learns the ropes aboard Star of India, oldest active sailing ship in the world.
Muscle, skill and coordination are required to sail a full-rigged iron-hulled windjammer.
Muscle, skill and coordination are required to sail a full-rigged iron-hulled windjammer.
Pulling ropes to manipulate the yards and sails.
Pulling ropes to manipulate the yards and sails.
Securing one rope tightly to a belaying pin on the ship's wooden pinrail.
Securing one rope tightly to a belaying pin on the ship’s wooden pinrail.
Walking along Harbor Island, where various exhibitions and races are enjoyed during the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series.
Walking along Harbor Island, where various exhibitions and races are enjoyed during the 2018 Extreme Sailing Series.
As I arrived, the O'pen BIC racing Un-Regatta was underway.
As I arrived, the O’pen BIC racing Un-Regatta was underway.
Kids as young as ten years old learn about sailing competitively on the fun little O'pen BIC sailboats.
Kids as young as ten years old learn about sailing competitively on the fun little O’pen BIC sailboats.
Kids love sailing on San Diego Bay in the October sunshine.
Kids love sailing on San Diego Bay in the October sunshine.
O'pen BICs in close competition off Harbor Island.
Lots of O’pen BICs in close competition off Harbor Island.
Spectators were sitting on the rocks along Harbor Island watching the free Extreme Sailing Series events.
Spectators were sitting on the rocks along Harbor Island watching the various Extreme Sailing Series events.
Magic in San Diego.
Magic in San Diego.
Next came a kite boarding exhibition and race, with downtown San Diego's skyline as the backdrop.
Next came a kite boarding exhibition and race, with downtown San Diego’s skyline as the backdrop.
A highly skilled kite boarder flies above the blue water of San Diego Bay.
A highly skilled kite boarder flies above the blue water of San Diego Bay.
World-class kite board athletes prepare to race during the Element Sports Kite Boarding Invitational.
World-class kite board athletes prepare to race during the Element Sports Kite Boarding Invitational.
The kite boarding race has begun!
The kite boarding race has begun!
By sheer chance the racing kite boarders produce a beautiful photograph.
By sheer chance the kite boarders produced this beautiful photograph.
More magic on San Diego Bay.
More magic on San Diego Bay.
Now to the main event, as the GC32 Stadium Racing will soon begin.
Now to the main event, as the GC32 Stadium Racing will soon begin.
The super fast, hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans begin to maneuver before the first race begins. Seven teams would participate this weekend on San Diego Bay.
The super fast, hydro-foiling GC32 catamarans begin to maneuver before the first race starts. Seven teams would participate this weekend on San Diego Bay.
The race has begun! One catamaran tips upward in the wind, as its crew tries to obtain maximum speed.
The first race has begun! One catamaran tips upward in the wind, as its crew tries to obtain maximum speed.
Team Mexico works hard to reach the finish line before the other competitors.
Team Mexico works hard to reach the finish line before the other competitors.
Element Spark Compass, the United States team, is a wild card entry for this weekend. The members raced really well, even though they have very limited GC32 experience.
Element Spark Compass, the United States team, is a wild card entry for this weekend. The members raced really well, even though they have very limited GC32 experience.
The fast catamarans maneuver up the course into the sun. The wind was a bit disappointing today due to the mild Santa Ana-like weather this weekend.
The fast catamarans maneuver up the course into the sun. The wind was a bit disappointing today due to the mild Santa Ana-like weather this weekend.
Someone on Harbor Island points toward one of the racing teams.
Someone on Harbor Island points toward one of the racing teams.
They've navigated around a race mark buoy and are coming back downwind.
They’ve navigated around a race mark buoy and are coming back downwind.
Here they come again! Alinghi, the Swiss team, seems to always be in front. Their crew members have won multiple America's Cup titles.
Here they come again! Alinghi, the Swiss team, seems to always be in front. Their crew members have won multiple America’s Cup titles.
Red Bull Sailing Team is turning on San Diego Bay.
Red Bull Sailing Team is tacking on San Diego Bay.
Here comes the Element Spark Compass catamaran! The crew works hard to capture every inch of wind.
Here comes the Element Spark Compass catamaran! The crew works hard to capture every inch of wind.
Action aboard Red Bull's GC32 catamaran.
Lots of action aboard Red Bull’s GC32 catamaran.
Sails of many types were spotted today out on beautiful San Diego Bay!
Sails of many types were spotted today out on beautiful San Diego Bay!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A golden sunrise above downtown.

Early today I happened to be on Harbor Island just as the sun began to rise across San Diego Bay.

Downtown’s beautiful skyline slowly emerged from the night. The ascending light splashed the quiet morning with gold.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Lively mural by Rafael Lopez outside Coasterra!

Left half of mural by Rafael Lopez outside Coasterra on Harbor Island seems to depict abstract boats and the San Diego skyline across the bay.
Left half of mural by Rafael Lopez outside Coasterra on Harbor Island seems to depict abstract boats and the San Diego skyline across the bay.

Coasterra is an elegant, very popular restaurant located at the east end of Harbor Island. It opened in 2015, in the exact same place where the iconic Reuben E. Lee paddleboat restaurant was docked for many years, before sinking.

There are two lively murals painted by renowned San Diego muralist Rafael Lopez at the restaurant. The one I photographed this morning decorates a section of Coasterra’s exterior, by the parking lot.

I love it!

Two additional murals by Rafael Lopez can be seen in downtown San Diego here and here!

Photo of the cool mural across an empty early morning parking lot.
Photo of the cool mural across an empty early morning parking lot.
A fun, dynamic work of public art by renowned San Diego artist Rafael Lopez.
A fun, dynamic work of public art by renowned San Diego artist Rafael Lopez.
Right half of mural by Rafael Lopez outside Coasterra on Harbor Island seems to depict a lady enjoying food and drink.
Right half of mural by Rafael Lopez outside Coasterra on Harbor Island seems to depict a lady enjoying food and drink.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A discouraging visit to Harbor Island.

Early this morning I headed to Harbor Island, hoping to capture photos of the sun rising over downtown San Diego. Alas, the sky remained gray and overcast.

Even worse, I observed something that was ugly and very discouraging.

I’ve never seen gang-style graffiti on Harbor Island. Not until today.

Harbor Island, the home of large bayfront hotels, elegant restaurants and marinas, has always seemed immune from any negative influences from downtown San Diego. Growing homeless and drug problems downtown and in neighboring communities haven’t seemed to reach this tourist destination. That appears to be changing.

I seldom post photos of the street people, the drug addicts and drug dealers on stolen bicycles, and the many broken souls that now fill most corners of downtown. I try to keep my blog positive. But this extremely sad and sometimes frightening reality seems to be growing worse.

Fortunately, on my quiet morning walk along San Diego Bay, I also saw much that was beautiful and good.

And I discovered something cool! Fun photos of some colorful artwork on Harbor Island are coming up in my next blog post!

On the bright side, this friendly guy caught some fish at one of the beautiful Harbor Island marinas.
On the bright side, this friendly guy caught some fish at one of the beautiful Harbor Island marinas.
And grass is still green, and flowers still bloom.
And grass is still green, and flowers still bloom.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos of Extreme Sailing on San Diego Bay!

Super fast GC32 catamarans fly through and above San Diego Bay during an Extreme Sailing Series 2017 race!
Super fast GC32 catamarans fly through and above San Diego Bay during an Extreme Sailing Series race!

Today I headed over to Harbor Island to check out the Extreme Sailing Series races out on San Diego Bay. The exciting Ultimate Stadium Racing Championship takes place over eight weekends, in eight international cities. Elite teams from countries around the world sail identical, super fast GC32 catamarans, which at their highest speed actually fly above the water!

I was amazed at how close some of the action was. A good crowd of people watched a sequence of relatively short races from the shore of Harbor Island, and from the Race Village, while announcers described exactly what was happening out on the water. When the catamarans flew by, many cheered for their favorite team!

The event continues through Sunday. Except for the VIP section, everything is free and open to the public!

I got a few decent photos!

Boy points toward fleet of high-tech foil-equipped catamarans manned by elite level teams. Another wild race is about to begin.
Boy points toward fleet of high-tech foil-equipped catamarans manned by elite level teams. Another wild race is about to begin.
A crowd watches the free Ultimate Stadium Racing Championship event from Harbor Island's festive Race Village.
A crowd watches the Ultimate Stadium Racing Championship event from Harbor Island’s temporary Race Village. Viewing is free!
Some of the best sailors in the world, many who've won Olympic Gold, various world championships, and the America's Cup, vie for supremacy in San Diego.
Some of the best sailors in the world, many who’ve won Olympic Gold, World Championships, and the America’s Cup, vie for supremacy in San Diego.
The Extreme Sailing Series includes stadium racing competition in eight international cities. San Diego is Act 7.
The Extreme Sailing Series includes stadium racing competition in eight international cities. San Diego is Act 7.
The race announcers add character and deep knowledge to an already exciting scene.
The race announcers add spice and sailing knowledge to an already exciting scene.
The SAP Extreme Racing Team out of Denmark seemed ahead of the pack nearly every race. They've already been the winner in 3 cities.
The SAP Extreme Sailing Team out of Denmark seemed ahead of the pack in nearly every race. They’ve already been the winner in 3 cities.
Once the catamarans attain sufficient speed, they become airborne, maintaining control with foils!
Once the catamarans attain sufficient speed, they become airborne, barely maintaining control with foils! Gusts of wind in the sails can really make these racing craft sway!
Lots of people were enjoying the VIP section.
Lots of people were enjoying the VIP section.
The Race Village features many vendors and organizations. US Sailing has a scavenger hunt for kids.
The Race Village features many vendors and participating organizations. US Sailing has a fun scavenger hunt for kids.
Young people compare how different sail arrangements produce speed.
Young people compare how different sail arrangements can produce speed.
A large diagram provides a guide to the amazing GC32. Each team's vessel is exactly alike. Skill and strategy determine victory.
A large diagram provides a guide to the amazing GC32 catamaran. Each team’s vessel is exactly alike. Skill and strategy determine ultimate victory.
Legend beneath the diagram explains various key parts of the GC32, including the J-Foils, which create lift.
Legend beneath the diagram explains various key parts of the GC32, including the J-Foils, which create lift. (Click image to enlarge.)
Our local Team Extreme San Diego was making a great showing! San Diego has produced many of the world's top sailors.
Our local Team Extreme San Diego was making a great showing! San Diego has produced many of the world’s top sailors. (Need I mention Dennis Conner?)
Beautiful sailboats do battle on San Diego Bay, with the downtown skyline providing a picturesque background.
Beautiful sailboats do battle on San Diego Bay, with the downtown skyline providing a picturesque background.
The crew of each vessel is a highly skilled athlete. The action is wild and fast-paced!
The crew of each vessel includes many highly skilled athletes. The action is wild and fast-paced!
A dance upon sparkling water.
A dance upon sparkling water.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

A sunny walk from the airport to Spanish Landing.

Playing catch with a dog on the small beach at Spanish Landing Park. A sailboat moves through Harbor Island's West Basin, heading out to San Diego Bay.
Playing catch with a dog on the small beach at Spanish Landing Park. A sailboat moves through Harbor Island’s West Basin, heading out to San Diego Bay.

A wide path for walkers and bicyclists runs from San Diego’s Embarcadero to Spanish Landing. While the portion between the Coast Guard station and Harbor Island Drive isn’t terribly scenic (it’s located right next to Harbor Drive and a lot of airport traffic), the section that meanders through Spanish Landing Park provides a peaceful, pleasant stroll. And a chance to learn a bit about San Diego’s history!

Today I took a long walk up the sunny path. Here are some photos. I pulled out my camera near Lindbergh Field and kept snapping pics all the way to the west end of Spanish Landing Park. (And beyond, as you’ll see in coming blog posts!)

As usual, please refer to the captions. You might note that Spanish Landing received its name because the 1769 expedition by Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portolá anchored in San Diego Bay near this place. The bay was much different back then–in modern times it has been extensively dredged and expanded. Indeed, Harbor Island, which you see in some photos, was originally a sandbank! Harbor Island today is composed of dredge spoils.

A long path along Harbor Drive runs from the Embarcadero in downtown San Diego to Spanish Landing. Bicyclists head up the path on a sunny weekend.
A long path along Harbor Drive runs from the Embarcadero in downtown San Diego to Spanish Landing. Bicyclists head up the path on a sunny weekend.
This mural can be spotted across Harbor Drive as one approaches Lindbergh Field. Painted on the commuter terminal, it spells SAN, the code for San Diego International Airport.
This mural can be spotted across Harbor Drive as one approaches Lindbergh Field. Painted on the commuter terminal, it spells SAN, the code for San Diego International Airport.
The path, at the edge of San Diego Bay, is part of the California Coastal Trail. It's ideal for walking or biking from downtown to Spanish Landing Park, and beyond.
The path, near the edge of San Diego Bay, is part of the California Coastal Trail. It’s ideal for walking or biking from downtown to Spanish Landing Park, and beyond.
A photo with my camera lifted toward the sky on a fine Saturday in mid-October.
A photo with my camera lifted toward the sky on a fine Saturday in mid-October.
A quick photo of Cancer Survivors Park, on the east end of Spanish Landing Park. I've blogged about this special place a couple of times.
A quick photo of Cancer Survivors Park, on the east end of Spanish Landing Park. I’ve blogged about this special place a couple of times.
Kayak heads across the water toward boats docked at a Harbor Island marina.
Kayak heads across the water toward boats docked at a Harbor Island marina.  Hotels on Harbor Island are resting on soil dredged up from the bay.
I remember hearing the Callaway Carillon bell tower near the center of Spanish Landing Park when I was a child. I believe it no longer works. I hope I'm wrong.
I remember hearing the Callaway Carillon bell tower near the center of Spanish Landing Park when I was a child. I believe it no longer works. I hope I’m wrong.
Plaque near base of the electronic bell tower. The Callaway Carillon is presented to the Port of San Diego by Thearle Music Company Associates . . . 1973
Plaque near base of the electronic bell tower. The Callaway Carillon is presented to the Port of San Diego by Thearle Music Company Associates . . . 1973
Walkers pause on the path through Spanish Landing to read a California Historical Landmark plaque near the water.
Walkers pause on the path through Spanish Landing to read a California Historical Landmark plaque near the water.
Spanish Landing. Near this point, sea and land parties of the Portola-Serra Expedition met. Two ships, the San Antonio and San Carlos, anchored on May 4-5, 1769.
Spanish Landing. Near this point, sea and land parties of the Portola-Serra Expedition met. Two ships, the San Antonio and San Carlos, anchored on May 4-5, 1769.
A bit further up the path is a playground and a popular spot for parties and celebrations on the nearby grass.
A bit further up the path is a playground and a popular spot for parties and celebrations on the nearby grass.
Bronze artwork near the path through Spanish Landing honors those who lost their lives, during the sea journey by Gaspar de Portolá up the coast.
Bronze artwork near the path through Spanish Landing honors those who lost their lives, during the sea journey by Gaspar de Portolá up the coast, two and a half centuries ago.
Dedicated to the heroic Spaniards who gave their lives and were buried near this site in 1769-70, after accompanying Gaspar de Portolá, the first Governor of California, in the exploration of California from San Diego to San Francisco.
Dedicated to the heroic Spaniards who gave their lives and were buried near this site in 1769-70, after accompanying Gaspar de Portolá, the first Governor of California, in the exploration of California from San Diego to San Francisco.
Many benches along Spanish Landing Park provide views of the peaceful water and Harbor Island.
Many benches along Spanish Landing Park provide views of the peaceful water and nearby Harbor Island.
Bicyclists near the west end of Spanish Landing Park. By crossing the North Harbor Drive Bridge, one can enter Point Loma.
Bicyclists near the west end of Spanish Landing Park. By crossing the North Harbor Drive Bridge, one can enter Point Loma.
The North Harbor Drive Bridge was dedicated in June 1980.
The North Harbor Drive Bridge was dedicated in June 1980.
Paddleboarders float down the boat channel between North Harbor Drive Bridge and the adjacent Nimitz Bridge, which is now used by pedestrians. The grass in the distance is part of the Liberty Station Esplanade.
Paddleboarders float down the boat channel, between North Harbor Drive Bridge and the adjacent Nimitz Bridge, which is now used by pedestrians. The grass in the distance is part of the Liberty Station Esplanade.
Resting on a bench at the west end of Spanish Landing Park, just gazing out at a beautiful scene.
People rest on a bench at the west end of Spanish Landing Park, gazing out at a beautiful scene.
Sailboats, paddleboards and boats of every type out on blue San Diego Bay. The Pacific Ocean lies just beyond the peninsula of Point Loma, in the distance.
Sailboats, paddleboards and boats of every type out on blue San Diego Bay. The Pacific Ocean lies just beyond the peninsula of Point Loma, in the distance.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to enjoy!

El Camino Real bells around San Diego.

El Camino Real bell in front of California's first Spanish mission.
El Camino Real bell in front of California’s first Spanish mission.

Here are just a few random pics of El Camino Real bells around San Diego. During my walks, I’m often surprised to discover a new bell.

Many of these guidepost bells were placed in 1906 by the California Federation of Women’s Clubs. They marked the primitive roads that connected the old Spanish missions in California. El Camino Real, which means the Royal Road or King’s Highway in Spanish, led to 21 missions in Alta California, plus a variety of sub-missions, presidios and pueblos. The bells stand on tall posts in the shape of a shepherd’s crook. In subsequent years, bells have been removed or added to the California landscape.

Bell in front of Old Town's historic cemetery.
Bell in front of Old Town’s historic El Campo Santo cemetery.
Plaque explains history of the guidepost bells.
Plaque explains history of the guidepost bells.
El Camino Real bell spotted on Harbor Island.
El Camino Real bell spotted on Harbor Island.
El Camino Real bell by County Administration Building.
El Camino Real bell by the downtown County Administration Building.
Historic bell and palm trees in Imperial Beach.
Historic bell and palm trees in Imperial Beach.
I even found an El Camino Real bell near the Hotel del Coronado!
I found an El Camino Real bell near the Hotel del Coronado!
El Camino Real bell in Cesar Chavez Park in Barrio Logan.
El Camino Real bell in Cesar Chavez Park in Barrio Logan.
Plaque on Harbor Drive reveals nearby bell was donated by San Diego Woman's Club.
Plaque on Harbor Drive reveals that a nearby bell was donated by San Diego Woman’s Club.

 

El Camino Real bell on Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade by Children's Park.
El Camino Real bell on Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade by Children’s Park.

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