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jgsteven 03-27-2009 07:53 PM

Sailing Napa and Drinking Wine?

I normally berth and sail in the South SF Bay, with occasional overnights up to the city. I was interested in sailing up Napa river, getting some guest dockage/moorage, and touring (and drinking!) my way around Napa.

I have, however, never been to Napa so I was wondering if anyone had any advice on:

1. Is there a good Marina to use with relatively easy transportation to some wineries?
2. Is Napa river navigable by a boat that draws 5.5' ? (I have heard it can get shallow...)

It seems there is a professional tour company that offers 3 night Napa cruises for like $1,500 (on a big boat that draws more than mine, certainly) so it should be possible -- I just need to figure how where to go (and how to get around Napa once I arrive).



Freesail99 03-27-2009 08:26 PM

This past fall sail magazine or cruising world did a story on sailing Napa. You may want to have a look on there web sites.

jgsteven 03-31-2009 05:58 PM


Originally Posted by Freesail99 (Post 467560)
This past fall sail magazine or cruising world did a story on sailing Napa. You may want to have a look on there web sites.

I can't find that article on the web for the life of me. Does anyone remember what magazine and month it was?



jgsteven 03-31-2009 06:17 PM

Found it!
It was *sail* magazine, not *sailing* magazine. (yes, I should have read the post better).

The article is available online at:

Wine Country Cruising



Freesail99 03-31-2009 06:22 PM

Glad I could help.

meuritt 04-01-2009 04:11 PM

Here is a not too old story about cruising the mighty napa
Napa Visiting San Francisco Bay

if the link is stripped, its on boatingsf dotcom under boating guide.

The Petaluma is another enjoyable cruise

imagine2frolic 04-01-2009 04:34 PM

I doubt there will be any sailing. The river is quite narrow. I can't be of any help, but there is a marina, and yard that does cats. You could possibly call the car rental companies, and see who provides for the place. I would think you would need 4-7 days to make it leisurely, and time the tides.....i2f

SJ34 04-01-2009 07:06 PM

The Napa river is a great place to cruise with lots of bed and breakfasts along the way. I haven't been in years but would recommend talking to somebody with local knowledge of the shifting sandbars. There are some quite large boats in the main channel so if you pay close attention to the depth sounder you should be OK. Have fun.

jephotog 07-23-2009 03:40 PM

My napa suggestions
I know I am a little late in responding but since my folks live in the Napa Valley and I have drank a lot of wine there, I will add my info.

The marina is a bit south of Napa proper and will take some motoring to get to. From there you will need to get a car to get into the town of Napa. From there it is still a drive to most of the wineries.

I do not think the marina location is necessarily a wine tasting friendly location. I imagine having to drive at least 10-15 miles to get to the nearest winery. The rest of the wineries are spread over both sides of a 30+ mile long valley. Not as idyllic for setting for the winery hopping setup as one might hope unless you have a designated driver.

My suggestion for anyone reading this, since my moms house is not an option is to stay centrally in the valley in Rutherford, Yountville, or St. Helena, none of which will be cheap but you own a Yacht you must be rich anyways.;) If you realize the limitations staying on the boat would be a good cheap alternative.

Visiting more than 3 wineries a day definently requires a DD, more than 5 you win an award. Buy anything you think is special (they will have unique wines available at the wineries) but better deals can be had at trader joes or the grocery store. Visit the Olive Oil, place in St. Helena, visit Copia (food and wine museum) in Napa, and eat at Mustards on Hwy 29.

jgsteven 09-11-2009 04:48 PM

Well, we completed out Napa Winery cruise over a slightly extended labor day weekend. Thanks to all who responded and helped! A few useful things we learned:

1. Napa Valley Marina is a 'working' marina (haul outs and maintenance during the day) but very very quiet at night. Cost was about ~$20/night to tie up at the guest dock, and there is a well-stocked store for water and ice.

2. Don't plan to take taxis in Napa. Just rent a car. Taxi was $25 one way to go only 2-3 miles!! Just rent a car, at about $50 per day. Enterprise will come pick you up at the Marina and drive you to their shop.

3. There are several wineries within about 5 miles of the marina. Domine Carneros is a great place for food and a relaxing, sitdown drink. We liked the Pinot Noir at Arcadia, also close to the marina.

4. Driving about 30 minutes north to Yountville is really where the action is. A ton of Wineries and a *beautiful* town. Just walking around downtown (and letting the effects of all the tasting wear off...) is great fun. More wineries than you can count within about 3 miles of the town.

5. Ran soft aground in the Napa river, *mid-channel* mid-tide when low was still +1.1. We were able to power out of it, but going through the river on a rising tide is definitely recommended, as is following the directions on the Napa Valley Marina site (which served us well).

6. Six cases of wine makes a boat a bit crowded, unless you have a larger boat than ours... so plan accordingly. :)

Overall a great trip -- and highly recommended!


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