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Old 10-07-2019, 15:00   #1
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Good Anchorages in SF Bay

Hey there!

Wife and I are at Berkeley Marina but we want to spend the next month cruising around the bay, at anchor as much as possible. We don't have a liveaboard slip, so we can't spend more than 3 days a week at the marina (we also don't want to). Also, we're new-ish (1y) to California and the Bay area.

What are overnight anchorages would you recommend that are in the Bay or nearby? We plan on hoping around every day or every couple days. We're also considering taking a look at Drake's Bay and maybe Ano Nuevo. My favorite anchorage so far on the west coast has been San Simeon, so if someone knows of similar places, let us know!

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Old 11-07-2019, 00:58   #2
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Re: Good Anchorages in SF Bay

Not really that many. Aquatic Park is good. If you remind me, I can dig up some details on access there. Also, if you're interested in going up to Drakes Bay, then you should also not miss Half Moon Bay. A big group sails up each year for Memorial Day Weekend.

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Old 11-07-2019, 05:54   #3
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Re: Good Anchorages in SF Bay

Mc Nears Beach just past San Rafael.
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:09   #4
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Re: Good Anchorages in SF Bay

You might want to click over to and register (free) after which you can use the "map" page to view the Bay Area and prospective anchorages (with reviews). One possibility also is a trip up through the Delta, toward Sacramento, which has a number of good/interesting anchorages.

"It is not so much for its beauty that the Sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:10   #5
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Re: Good Anchorages in SF Bay

Since you have been as far south as San Simeon, if you go south again you can anchor in Pillar point,(muddy bottom) Ano Nuevo (windy and a bit spooky), Santa Cruz, use a stern hook to keep from rolling all night, just east of the pier in Monterey (stern hook helps ) around Point Lobos into Carmel bay there is a small cove called Stillwater Cove (draft may limit your boat) that is right on the 17 mile drive. The people on shore were not friendly at all but it was beautiful. Around Point Sur a few miles is Pfiefer (sp?) cove which is my favorite on the coast. Other than Pillar Point which is inside of a breakwater, all of these depend on decent weather and NW winds. If the wind swings around to the SW, you bail out and go somewhere else. Good Luck and have fun. Grant.
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:21   #6
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Re: Good Anchorages in SF Bay

Reference link to article discussing anchorages in S.F. Bay.


Aquatic Park
Belvedere Cove
Central Basin
China Basin
China Cove
Clipper Cove
Downtown Sausalito Anchorage
East Garrison
Horseshoe Cove
Paradise Cove
Point Stuart Anchorage
Quarry Beach
Richardson Bay Anchorage

Note each anchorage has its own unique rules as to length of stay, for example I believe the Sausalito anchorage no longer allows overnight usage.
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Old 11-07-2019, 08:19   #7
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Re: Good Anchorages in SF Bay

Clipper Cove by the Bay Bridge offers the very good protection. It's good for a few days. Needs a permit from Treasure Island, available online.

Mcnears beach/ China Camp, located on the west side of San Pablo Bay, is a nice quiet Anchorage. Free, No permit required. It can get a little choppy in the afternoon, but not too bad. Avoid if winds from North or east.

Paradise Cove is not too bad on the east side of Tiburon. The ferry wakes are a problem there though. Free.

Aquatic Park is okay, you have to watch out for all the swimmers in the water when entering it. You also feel like you're in a fishbowl with all the people walking on the Pier. I think there's a fee for that now too.

Richardson Bay near cone Rock, that is away from the anchor outs, it's quite pleasant as well. Free.

Argyll Cove at Angel Island has mooring balls where you can stay at overnight. They also have daytime Docks. Both require Fee.
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Old 11-07-2019, 09:09   #8
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Re: Good Anchorages in SF Bay

Sorry bad link,
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Old 11-07-2019, 09:12   #9
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Re: Good Anchorages in SF Bay

There is a good book called Cruising Guide to San Francisco Bay by Carolyn and Bob Mehaffy. They show all the possibilities with photos and charts.
Lots of good suggestions already, but I'd add: Angel Island and Sausalito. Ayala Cove on Angel Island has fixed mooring buoys, but they charge. There are good anchorages on the east side, but you have to watch the wind. You can anchor in Sausalito opposite the Spinnaker restaurant, on the north side of the channel. Have a great time!
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Old 11-07-2019, 10:23   #10
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Re: Good Anchorages in SF Bay

If you are going as far as Drakes Bay you might go a bit further and check out Tomales bay. You have to keep a sharp eye out as the entrance is narrow but the entire bay is protected and has good holding ground in the small nooks on the north east side

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