I second the Lat38 tour. This is what I always do for visitors since it give them the highlights of the Golden Gate Bridge and the city front.
Loop is Berkeley, Raccoon Straights, Golden Gate Bridge, broad reach down the city front, then back to Berkeley below Alcatraz.
Main thing is to figure out how long you want to be out and where you want to stop.
Leaving Berkeley, head up the east side of Angel Island, then left into Raccoon Straights. Raccoon Straights doesn't get the big winds that you'll see in the slot but it can take forever to tack your way through if the current is against you. I'll admit to using my engine
If you're ready for a stop there are two choices here.
Stop in at Alaya Cove on Angel Island for a picnic and a possible walk. It's a state park and there are plenty of picnic tables on a grassy area, restrooms, and you can do a somewhat long walk up the hill to get a view of the city. Dock
in the slips, pay at the ranger
station and enjoy the sun. There is usually sun here.
Alternately just opposite you can duck into Sam's Anchor
Cafe in Tiburon. Nice outside deck
patio, free slips, great atmosphere.
There are some photos of their docks here on TripAdvisor.
But depending on when you leave it may be too early for a stop so just continue on.
Heading out From Raccoon Straights be ready to reef if the wind
is up. You'll be heading into the slot where in the summer the winds can easily be 10 knots higher. Look ahead and see how other boats are heeling, and either reef or be ready too.
I like to head out to the Golden Gate Bridge and then loop down along the city front, to below Alcatraz, the head back to Berkeley.
If you're going to the Bridge - which you should definitely do - stay high and head toward toward the north tower when leaving Raccoon straights. Otherwise you'll be tacking your way up to the bridge and that will take forever, especially if you have opposing current.
I wouldn't go much beyond the bridge. You'll start to get remnants of swell whereas inside the bay there isn't any. Also the ebb or flood can get pretty strong and the water
can get squirly beyond the bridge. If you have time, ducking outside for a nice view back can give some great pictures, but no one will miss it if you don't. But definitely go under the bridge, this will be a highlight.
Then fall off and it's a broad reach down along the city front, with Alcatraz to port. I like to swing in close to Pier 39 and wave to the tourists.
Another favorite stop is Pier 1.5, where the city maintains a free dock for about 6 boats. I've never had a problem getting a spot.
Pier 1-1/2 San Francisco - La Mar Restaurant - Pier 3 parking - Yacht departure | arrival
See the photos here: https://foursquare.com/v/pier-1-12/4...01d3b0b7bb1fe5
I've got this at about N37.79901 W122.39242. Look for the white-capped pilings to find it.
this puts you in the heart of the city. Dock the boat
, walk up the ramps, out through the doors to the street, hang a left and walk about 100 yards to the Ferry
Building. Perfect tourist destination
, lots of eateries, artisan foods, etc.
Then it's back to the boat
and a beam reach back to Berkeley.
An alternate stop before the golden gate bridge is a restaurant stop in Sausalito at the Trident Restaurant - http://www.thetrident.net/
. Makes a good lunch stop too, I just usually do it for dinners. Outdoor patio over the water
with fantastic views back to the City. They have a side tie dock for about 3-4 boats. I'm not sure of the dock status but you can call them. I've never called for reservations but here's what the website says:
By Sea The dock is for Trident/Ondine customers only. Reservations are required. Pick ups and drop offs are not permitted
Call 415-331-3232 for dock reservations.
Stay above the Berkeley Pier!!! It extends about 2 miles into the bay and is a hazard. I can never find the end of this thing.
Other hazards - Little Alcatraz. Just north of Alcatraz is a rock that is submerged at high tide. There is a red/green buoy above it with a bell. Stay above the buoy (don't go between it and Alcatraz). I've heard that every year someone hits the rock. I've watched boats go through there. Don't :-) No other real hazards to watch for except boat traffic.
The big ships stay in the shipping
channels. You can listen on channel 12 for VTS (vessel traffic service) for traffic announcements at 15 after and 15 to the hour.
(Technically, ch 12 is ship traffic outside the gate, ch 14 is inside. But ch 12 does the scheduled broadcasts. http://www.usps.org/localusps/redwoo...f_channels.htm
Usually outbound traffic coming from the port in Oakland uses the channel that goes near Angel Island then does a dogleg turn toward the golden gate bridge. They transit the Oakland Bay Bridge on the SF City side. Also on the northeast side of Angel Island watch for ferries and shipping
traffic going toward Richmond. The ships use the channel but you'll be crossing this.
Other notes - kite surfers. Don't alternate course or worry about them. They'll avoid you. I'm absolutely certain that someday one of them will get tangled up in a mast
but there's not much you can do. Just enjoy them and take video.
Watch for dolphins
, sea lions, and whales. Whales especially near the bridge and just outside. Last year was amazing. Don't expect it but if you see them it will be a treat.
Have a great time!!