San Francisco Bay with Spinnaker Sailing

By Zeke Quezada.

Spend any time in San Francisco and you’ll be hard-pressed to ignore the Bay. While the sourdough bread bowls and cable cars get a lot of press along with the world-class dining and Golden Gate bridge; the sailing in the Bay is what should attract you to this Northern California city.

Be careful not to leave your heart here and always save time for some on-land diversions.

We asked the sailors at Spinnaker Sailing-San Francisco about their love affair with the city and they were more than eager to tell us why you should be choosing San Francisco as a sailing destination.

What are your top three reasons to sail in San Francisco?

Can’t limit it to three!

Number 1, The Wind – There’s perhaps no other location on earth with the possible exception of Sydney Harbor that affords the predictability of big wind at certain times. For the beginner, we send them out early in the morning when the winds are light and everything is easier so they can learn how to be a great skipper without the pressure of HAVING to be a great skipper. As their skills develop we schedule them later in the afternoon so they can enjoy the building breeze. We typically will see gusts into the high twenties most every day throughout the summer – fun and exhilarating for those who are prepared and confident. Our whole goal at Spinnaker Sailing – San Francisco is to teach the skipper not just how to sail but how to TEACH sailing. We fully know that they will rarely get to sail with an experienced crew so the more they know on how to teach sailing, the more they know about how to sail. Their ability to teach a friend directly supports their confidence in their own sailing skills!

Year-Round Sailing – Yes indeed. You can sail 24/7/365 here. The summer’s strong thermal winds give way to fall’s lighter breeze and even lighter air in the winter. The great thing is with winter’s light winds it can actually be warmer than a summer day with the missing windchill factor that 20+ knots of wind bring.

The sheer size of it – San Francisco Bay is HUGE, covering over 1600 square miles. Filled with microclimates you can sail in the Slot (from Pier 39 to Angel Island) in a huge breeze while a mile south, just past the Bay Bridge, the wind’s velocity abates, thanks to the San Francisco skyline, to the low 20s with flatter water. Head further South and you’ll be in the South Bay where you can sail all the way to Redwood City and beyond. Heading Northward you sail past San Pablo Bay and have literally a wealth of options including trips up the Petaluma or Napa rivers or take the long haul all the way up to Sacramento via the famous San Francisco Delta. For those who have the offshore itch (and a great deal of preparedness and skill) the Pacific ocean just outside the Golden Gate affords incredible sailing and challenges. A lap out around the Farallon Islands, some 30 miles past the Golden Gate, will provide even the most adventurous person serious challenges and thrills.