What is the history of sailing in San Francisco?
San Francisco Bay remained long unknown to navigators because the Golden Gate strait, (now crossed by the famous Golden Gate Bridge), is often hidden by the fog. A Spanish sailing explorer found the bay in 1749 while searching for Monterey Bay, located 100 miles (160.93 km) to the south. San Francisco Bay has a rich nautical history, building tall ships for international shipping and battleships for World War II. With the first Yacht Club founding in 1869, San Francisco Bay has a long history of hosting sailing regattas and nautical traditions.
Today, San Francisco Bay has one of the most modern sailing scenes in the world, San Francisco hosted one of the highest-rated America’s Cup Race Series, thanks to the new foiling catamarans. Local technology companies are building and testing autonomous sailing research drones that sail around the world. A high-tech research vessel featuring an innovative ocean trash collection system for the Pacific Ocean launched here, and we still have an annual regatta with dozens of truly beautiful traditional wooden sailing yachts.
San Francisco has a unique weather pattern in the summer. The valley heats up and pulls the marine layer through the spans of the Golden Gate Bridge, creating what locals call “the slot,” so we have predictable winds every afternoon. San Francisco Bay and the sub-bays cover 1,600 square miles, with varied microclimates and spectacles like whales, harbor porpoise, sailboat races, kiteboarders, cargo ships, classic wooden yachts, the cityscape, and the Marin Headlands. Lastly, pair our California weather with a protected body of water and you can see why we love to sail San Francisco Bay all year long!
Destination sailing is also a huge attraction, and not just the quick trip to Oracle Park to root on the San Francisco Giants. Sailors can head to Napa Wine Country to taste some of the finest vintages in the world. Long weekends to Sausalito for fine dining, hiking, and sunshine are always popular. You can even sail all the way to Redwood City and see musicians perform live at the famous Shoreline Amphitheater. The Bay Area has fantastic spots to have lunch, see live music, or even dock next to the famous San Francisco Ferry Terminal Farmers Market. Captain Lisa has launched an effort to change the traditional “Black Friday Sale” to a “Black Friday Sail” encouraging sailors to skip the shopping and head out for some sailing.
SailTime San Francisco owner Captain Lisa Chapin first heard of SailTime while living in Austin, Texas, in 2005. She wanted to start sailing larger monohulls but didn’t feel comfortable taking on all the responsibilities of traditional boat ownership. SailTime Austin gave her the skills to learn more about systems, engines, anchoring and docking on their luxury sailing yachts. After a three-year sailing adventure that took her halfway around the world, Captain Lisa purchased SailTime San Francisco in 2009 and has owned and operated the base ever since.
Ken and Jette Shears have shared a passion for sailing together since they met and fell in love while cruising the Gulf Islands in British Columbia, Canada. In 2017, after years of chartering and memberships in different sailing clubs, they purchased a gorgeous Beneteau 35.1 and placed her in the SailTime San Francisco fleet. Named “Gabriola” after the islands where they met, their yacht is anchored at Emery Cove, only 90 minutes from their home.
Ken and Jette love sailing in SF Bay, and they appreciate its many moods, the consistent wind, the interesting destinations, and the micro-climates that offer just about any conditions on any given day. They enjoy sailing in strong, fog-propelled winds near the Golden Gate Bridge as well as the lighter, warmer zephyrs in the lee of the Tiburon Peninsula.
Ken and Jette love the convenience of having a well-maintained performance yacht ready to sail when they are. SailTime also offers great training, lots of scheduling flexibility, and a social network of SailTime members and owners.
SailTime San Francisco has two locations, the first being on Pier 39, in the city, with the second being in Emery Cove, located in central Easy Bay. Spots are available on the following sailing yachts:
- Beneteau 41
- Hunter 39
- Beneteau 38.1
Emery Cove Yacht Harbor
- Beneteau 38.1
- Beneteau 35.1
- Beneteau 31