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Tartan 28
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm looking to do some sailing on a trip to Frisco in March and want to bareboat for a day. Any suggestions on companies would be appreciated - I'm currently leaning toward Atlantis Yacht Charter and their Beneteau 38, Escapade... I'm taking the parents on this trip (4 of us) and would be looking at early morning to early afternoon on a Friday and then taking off for Napa. This would be my first time sailing the Bay (have been on fishing boats there in the past) so any suggestions on sailing the area beyond charter recommendations would also be very welcomed. I've read a bit about the thermals kicking in on afternoons and am sure it will be a memorable sailing experience. Thanks.
 

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STARBOARD!!
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March is a bit early in our reliable "slot" wind season; mainly you will want to be on the lookout for storm weather with heavy winds from the due north. When storms come through sometimes the north wind makes for horrible conditions on San Pablo Bay; which has long fetch from the north and shallow water so the waves get steep.

For charter companies; check out Club Nautique, Sailtime, OCSC, Tradewinds, or Modern Sailing Academy. There are probably others too; if I can think of them I will post back. Check out Latitude38.com for links and info; you can even download their online version of the monthly magazine (just install a software plug-in). You must be sure to have a bareboat cert from ASA or US Sailing to be able to charter in most cases; they are pretty hyper about it for insurance purposes and because of the heavy wind we get on SF Bay.


Napa is a bit tricky to get to via sailboat. The river is very shallow in areas and the risk of going aground is not minor. I suggest doing some day chartering for SF Bay/Sausalito and then doing a car trip up to the Napa Valley for Wine & Cheese. Everything in terms of services in Napa is based on the ability to drive to the different wineries (aside from the "wine train"); there is not much aside from downtown Napa on or near the Napa river. Santa Cruz is also a great place to day charter depending on weather conditions; check out Pacific Sailing for chatrers there.

Oh; forgot to mention that it is a full day sail from central SF Bay to Napa. So you would be looking at an overnight trip; mostly under sail to go round trip from SF Bay up to Napa and back.
 

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Tartan 28
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I guess I need to clarify - driving to Napa after sailing... hence I figured a charter from Sausalito area may be a bit better to be a step ahead of the Friday traffic. Basically just looking to get in a good day sail. The parents have never been to the area and I've always enjoyed SF from a water's perspective and want to share it with them.

Thanks for the info on weather and the companies. I'll do some research on the co's you recommended.
 

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STARBOARD!!
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I guess I need to clarify - driving to Napa after sailing... hence I figured a charter from Sausalito area may be a bit better to be a step ahead of the Friday traffic.
OH! LOL Thought you were going to go for a long sailing based vacation!!

Yeah; either Sausalito, which should have Club Nautique or Modern Sailing Academy IIRC, or Richmond who has Tradewinds would be good choices. Tradewinds has older fleet boats; but not sure if they have nice newer boats like the Beneteau 38 for charter also. Tradewinds is more "budget" conscious so their fleet for training and club-based chartering boats are older Ericsons and Newports.

Daysailing the bay on Friday would be a good choice since the racing sailing can make it challenging to stay clear of on the weekends depending on what's going on. Sounds like you sailed here before or had a boat here previously? If not there is a lot more info I could give on sailing conditions, etc.
 

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DG:
Cannot over emphasize KH's point about "hyper" review of your qualifications even with certifications. The 1st question will be "have you ever sailed SF Bay". If the answer is No, then many of the firms/clubs listed will have a separate set out requirements / scrutiny. Maybe a little more relaxed in the "winter" but I doubt it. I learned first hand when first migrating more than a couple of years ago.

So You definitely want to speak with a couple of places once you narrow down the list based on proximity, schedule, yacht selection, whatever to avoid disappointment & mis-understandings.
 

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Tartan 28
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
DG:
Cannot over emphasize KH's point about "hyper" review of your qualifications even with certifications. The 1st question will be "have you ever sailed SF Bay". If the answer is No, then many of the firms/clubs listed will have a separate set out requirements / scrutiny. Maybe a little more relaxed in the "winter" but I doubt it. I learned first hand when first migrating more than a couple of years ago.

So you definitely want to speak with a couple of places once you narrow down the list based on proximity, schedule, yacht selection, whatever to avoid disappointment & mis-understandings.
Good feedback - I'm very comfortable bareboating and have done it in the past in BVI and the San Juan Islands in WA - but also know that places vary by locale... and knowing that I want to make that Friday as effecient as possible, I would be willing to hire a captain on the charter just to avoid the common and time consuming situation of taking the boat out with the charter company and showing them your skills. From your post it sounds like the lack of Bay experience could present an issue, thus it may be better to go the captain route. I'm planning to book next week so I'll include that option in my discusions with the charter co's. Thanks for the info.
 

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Tartan 28
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OH! LOL Thought you were going to go for a long sailing based vacation!!

Yeah; either Sausalito, which should have Club Nautique or Modern Sailing Academy IIRC, or Richmond who has Tradewinds would be good choices. Tradewinds has older fleet boats; but not sure if they have nice newer boats like the Beneteau 38 for charter also. Tradewinds is more "budget" conscious so their fleet for training and club-based chartering boats are older Ericsons and Newports.

Daysailing the bay on Friday would be a good choice since the racing sailing can make it challenging to stay clear of on the weekends depending on what's going on. Sounds like you sailed here before or had a boat here previously? If not there is a lot more info I could give on sailing conditions, etc.
KH - I've been boating in the Bay 4 times prior - never on a sailboat though so actual experience with the currents and wind conditions is zilch. I always crank away at researching sailing locales prior to chartering so any advice is always welcomed.

As a sidenote - I had no idea you could get anywhere near Napa in a sailboat from the Bay... That notion would definitely be a bit much for me - would be similar to someone telling me they wanted to sail from Kansas City to St Louis on the Missour River :rolleyes:
 

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STARBOARD!!
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One thing you might consider if you are only interested in taking family for a bay tour is that there are several charter boats that sail the bay on weekends. These boats are basically set up for 2-3 hour sails that tour the bay; are crewed and take tourists out for an easy non-severely heeling sail that non-sailors can enjoy. The boats I can think of are the following:

Adventure Cat I & II - These are 50-60+ ft catamarans; AC-II is more modern and bigger. In March there might only be one of them taking groups out; possibly AC-I. IIRC they operate out of Pier 39 in SF. San Francisco Bay Adventures - Charter Boats and Sailboats, The Gaslight

S/V Ruby is a big double-ender that does day charters; great looking steel hulled sloop; 63' long. Low freeboard and fast looking for a traditional design. y Sailing: Charter the Sloop Ruby for a SF Bay Tour!

S/V Gas Light is a 72' scow schooner; she has a "ballroom" down below if anyone in your group gets cold and wants to find a comfy warm spot it's a great charter boat both above and below decks. It's a newly constructed replica of a SF Bay cargo transport from the 1890's (similar to S/V Alma at the Aquatic Park Maritime Museum). San Francisco Bay Adventures - Charter Boats and Sailboats, The Gaslight

There are others also; I'll post back more if you are interested in this type of charter.

You could probably do a skippered charter via Club Nautique, Modern Sailing, or any of the other clubs. I'm sure that you would get helm time if you tell them you are an experienced sailor.

If you decide to do a bareboat charter I could provide more info about sailing SF Bay; or if you want "crew" to help guide you while you sail the chartered boat I'd be happy to lend a hand. Having experience chartering in BVI and the San Juans would be helpful in getting a charter from one of the SF charter companies.
 

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fleet upgrades

OH! LOL Thought you were going to go for a long sailing based vacation!!

Yeah; either Sausalito, which should have Club Nautique or Modern Sailing Academy IIRC, or Richmond who has Tradewinds would be good choices. Tradewinds has older fleet boats; but not sure if they have nice newer boats like the Beneteau 38 for charter also. Tradewinds is more "budget" conscious so their fleet for training and club-based chartering boats are older Ericsons and Newports.

Daysailing the bay on Friday would be a good choice since the racing sailing can make it challenging to stay clear of on the weekends depending on what's going on. Sounds like you sailed here before or had a boat here previously? If not there is a lot more info I could give on sailing conditions, etc.
Tradewinds has spent the last year or so upgrading their fleet. They have several new Beneteaus and Catalinas in the 30-40 foot range. They have sold off many of the older boats.
 

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STARBOARD!!
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Yeah; they also moved most of their operation to my dock at Marina Bay. I don't know what their entire fleet is composed of; but they do still use the older ~30' boats as "trainers". Just wanted to mention that they are more "down to earth" than most of the other charter operations. Personally I like the way the old girls sail better than many of the new boats anyway...
 

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drgamble,

I sailed in and out of the bay in a coronado 25 out of Sausalito for 10 years.
Keelhaulin and the others have covered it pretty well. Strong currents against the wind can make things pretty sloppy at times. Suggest you stay well clear of Alcatraz as you can be swept down on it very quickly, also lots of ship traffic in that area. If you go "out the gate" the currents can easily exceed 5 knots at times, also do not go between the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Point and stay well clear on the outside of Mile Rock. If you have inexperienced people with you it can be harder than being alone, things can get pretty busy really fast. For a more pleasurable experience I suggest you go out with an experienced skipper, at least for the first time.

Dabnis
 

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Excellent suggestion by KH - why mess with all that stuff when you can just jump on a "comm'l" sailboat - you don't have to deal with all the red tape for a narrow purpose & it will probably be cheaper in the end.

Your are correct = checkout sail has about a 99% probablility & it would add to the bill.

Here's a link which includes some of the previous stuff & much more (hit home too)
Yacht Charters - Boat Charters

No matter what - Have a great time & Fair Winds............then come back in the summer and grab a ride in a race or cruise with locals for the "full experience"
 

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Tartan 28
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you all very much for the great advice - after reading all the suggestions I'll start making some calls next week and will go with a hired captain route. This should serve the purposes of getting us on and off the water quickly and getting myself more familiar with the Bay. It should also allow me to work with the charter company on the comfort factor of bareboating with them in the future after such an outing. Now, hopefully the weather will cooperate!
 

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Tartan 28
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

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STARBOARD!!
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Yeah; it's passable on days when there is no heavy ocean swell coming in through the gate, but on days when there is heavy swell it's got breakers like those in the photo (rare event but it does happen). Check this out:


Article Here: Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine
That monster was at the west side of the Pt Bonita channel (NW/SW channel); the red/green buoy is the west side entrance channel marker. This was on a clear/calm day with sets of heavy swell coming in at 30 minute intervals. Looks like the swell came across Potato Patch Shoal and stacked up before breaking in the channel. They say you should stay in the main SF entrance channel when exiting/returning in heavy seas; but I'd be willing to bet that breakers come across the east-west channel in some cases also.

(This is well west of the GG Bridge; you probably won't be going out there drgamble)
 
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