Current Atlas for San Francisco - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 3 Old 01-25-2012 Thread Starter
Senior Member
Liquorice's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 170
Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Current Atlas for San Francisco

6 of us are sailing San Francisco bay in late March.
We've got 2 x J-80's chartered with J World in Jack London Square.

This is for all those sailors who are based in San Francisco:
I've got tide tables on my iPad but what about a current atlas?
Should I be concerned about current? - I suspect yes!
Can someone point me in the direction, either on line or book with current predictions that I can use for planning purposes?
These J-80's don't have motors and I'd like to be able to get back to the bar every evening!!!
sam :-)
(...and if anyone has suggestions for day sails out of Jack London Square that would be welcome too!!!(we're serious sailors so we don't mind long days!)

sam :-)
Just because you're paranoid ...doesn't mean they're not after you!

Last edited by Liquorice; 01-25-2012 at 05:26 PM.
Liquorice is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 3 Old 01-25-2012
Senior Member
GeorgeB's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Alameda, San Francisco Bay
Posts: 1,955
Thanks: 3
Thanked 60 Times in 59 Posts
Rep Power: 13
If you have a Palm Pilot, there is an app called “tide tool” that shows the current velocities at various spots on the Bay. Local tide books (like the one named “Tide Tool” – no relation to the app) have charts in the back showing general current velocities and directions in one hour increments from max food or max ebb at the gate. The downside is they are averages and do not take into consideration the runoff from the Sierras which can skew the data a lot. The tides on the Bay are amazingly complex and it can take years to master them. There are software licenses like “Go Flow” that provide some really accurate predictions.

My boat is across from Jack London (in Alameda). What are your dates that you will be down here? Perhaps we’ll see each other out on the Bay. Unfortunately, the lack of an engine and the desire to do happy hour at Heinhold’s is going to limit where you will be able to sail. Jack London is 2 NM down the Estuary from the Bay. The prevailing winds blow straight down it from the Bay so expect to do 50+ tacks to get out as the Estuary is only about a thousand feet wide for most of its length. The good news is that it is dredged so you can get to within a couple of feet of the breakwall before you need to tack. Down here, March may not have the best or consistent winds as it usually is too early in the season for our normal wind pattern. In normal winters, you can easily add a knot to any ebb current and expect the ebb to start sooner and end later than the prediction.

Last edited by GeorgeB; 01-25-2012 at 07:03 PM.
GeorgeB is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 3 Old 01-25-2012
Senior Slacker
SlowButSteady's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: SoCal
Posts: 4,223
Thanks: 0
Thanked 17 Times in 15 Posts
Rep Power: 8
I used to sail out of Alameda Marina (a couple more miles up the Oakland-Alameda Estuary from JL Square), so I've had some experience with the wind and currents you're likely to encounter. Most of the little tide books you can get at marine stores, bait shops, et cetera, will have current info and time off-sets toward the back. Also, you can use "Mr. Tides" on a Mac, but I don't know if there is an iPad version. The tidal flow in the Estuary can be a bit frustrating on a calm day, particularly along the stretch from JLS to Middle Harbor. However, since the afternoon winds almost always blow from SF Bay proper into the Estuary it would have to be a heck of an ebb to keep you from getting back to JLS. Having said that, I did get caught by a HUGE ebb one evening as I was trying to get back from Gashouse Cove to Alameda (I sat almost stationary off Pier 39, fighting the ebb, for what seemed like hours). By the time I got back into the Estuary the wind had died, but tide had finally started to turn and I more or less drifted back to Alameda Marina.

As for day trips from JLS, South Beach Marina or Central Basin are both easy daysails. Pier 39 and SF Aquatic Park are also well within range. Tiburon, Angel Island, or Sausalito will take a bit longer, but fine if you're game for a long day. The great advantage you have is that the Estuary is usually downwind from the Central Bay, so your return trip should be a nice run. Just watch out for them big ol' container ships.

Never forget them. Do something to prevent it from happening again.
Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Rachel Davino, Olivia Josephine Gay, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Hochsprung, Madeleine F. Hsu, Catherine V. Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli , Grace McDonnell, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Benjamin Wheeler, Allison N. Wyatt
SlowButSteady is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
atlas of ocean currents ArgleBargle Cruising & Liveaboard Forum 2 10-21-2007 09:36 AM
ALAMEDA / Seaworthy, again / Coastal schooner once hauled wood to rebuild San Francisco (San Francisco Chronicle) NewsReader News Feeds 0 05-21-2006 07:25 AM
old atlantic pilot atlas wgwl13736 General Discussion (sailing related) 0 09-15-2004 08:06 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome