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Author Topic:   San Francisco Fleet Week info wanted
andygere posted 09-16-2006 01:47 AM ET (US)   Profile for andygere   Send Email to andygere  
My wife and I are planning to spend the weekend of Oct. 7-9 cruising our Outrage 22 Cuddy on San Francisco Bay. Since this coincides with Fleet Week, we thought it would be fun to overnight somewhere in San Francisco on Saturday to enjoy the Blue Angels, ships and fireworks.

How difficult will it be to get overnight guest berthing on that day? Thus far, I've found only one city marina that takes reservations (Pier 39), all others are first come, first served. Any tips on good marinas, places to see the action and places to avoid are appreciated. I've picked up the Cruising Guide to San Francisco Bay, but nothing beats first hand info from local mariners. Unfortunately we do not belong to a yacht club, which would have opened up our options considerably. Thanks in advance for tips from all of you SF Bay locals.

prm1177 posted 09-16-2006 02:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
Should be fun, Andy. You can look at the SF Municipal yacht harbor near Fort Mason. I believe they have guest berths. Further sound, the Sequoia Yacht Club has guest berths in Redwood City, but that might be too far to travel. I'd also look at the various marinas in the Oakland/Alameda shipping channel. There is the Alameda Marina 510.521.1133, the Fortman Marina 510.521.1133, or the Grand Marina 510.865.1200. Guest fees run from $15-30 per night. If you don't want something on the estuary, but would prefer the Bay side, try the Ballena Isle or Emeryville Marinas. A good resource is . Click on the Marinas link for more info.

As for where to enjoy the show from a boat, most of the activities stretch from the GG Bridge, along the SF waterfront, down to the Bay Bridge. Unfortunately, this is a) the primary shipping lane for ports of Oakland, Richmond, and the oil refineries that dot the Bay. Also, if the fog and on-shore winds pick up, it's the snottiest part of the bay in the afternoon. I generally park myself in the lee of Angel Island (East side), which gives me some degree of protection and a pretty good view. The schedule is posted at ]. The Parade of ships at 11 on Sat, the Air Races at 12:30, and the Blue Angels at 2:30 are the highlights. Fireworks are at 9 PM. The Blue Angels perform again at 1 on Sunday. I'll be out on one or both days and keep my eyes peeled for you.

andygere posted 09-16-2006 11:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Paul, I would love to be at the SF Marina (East or West) since this will be close to the fireworks Sat night, and provides lots of options for walking out to dinner. I have no idea how hard it is to get a guest slip during fleet week, so I may have to just take my chances. Pier 39 would be OK as well, although I think it's probably pretty noisy with all the sea lions so close. There are lots of choices on the estuary, but I'm not crazy about Alameda, since there's not very much in close walking distance to most of the marinas.

On Saturday, I was thinking about putting the hook out somewhere around Angel Isle to watch the ship parade and air show, so perhaps we can rendezvous on the water that day. I am thinking of towing up to Coyote point to launch, and motoring up to the city on Saturday, getting an overnight slip in the city for Saturday night. On Sunday, we are planning to run up the Peteluma River, and stay overnight in the turning basin, returning to Coyote on Monday.

Does anyone have good local info on Coyote Point marina? Is the launch ramp decent, and would you leave your car and trailer overnight there on a weekend? Another option for launching would be Marina Bay in Point Richmond, which would be a shorter run for our return trip on Monday. I launched my Montauk there years ago, and the ramp is quite nice, but I'm also unsure about leaving the tow rig overnight. Any info on that facility would be welcomed as well. I am trying to avoid driving over the Golden Gate and launching in Sausalito, since I think the Fleet Week traffic will be quite heavy, and I hate towing on 19th Avenue through the city.

prm1177 posted 09-21-2006 11:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     

If you plan on launching in Marin (Sausalito or Loch Lomond), come up the East route (580) and cross the Richmond Bridge. Much less brain damage than going through the city.

rjgorion posted 09-22-2006 10:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for rjgorion  Send Email to rjgorion     
Andy, I would definately NOT launch and leave your tow vehicle in Richmond. However, Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael has a very nice launch ramp and good parking that would be safe overnight. I think the lot is even patrolled. Loch Lomond Marina is nice and has quick, easy access to the bay proper. However, when leaving or returning to the marina by water, make sure that you stay within the channel markers as the water outside the channel gets shallow in a hurry.


andygere posted 09-25-2006 04:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Loch Lomand is a good option I hadn't considered, and I like the idea of secure parking. Does anyone have info on any of the marinas in the Oakland Estuary in terms of a good launch ramp and safe overnight parking? How about Oyster point?
prm1177 posted 09-25-2006 05:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
Grand Marina in Alameda charges $30 a night for guest berths, but provides free launching and free secured parking (for what it's worth). Tiled restroom and showers as well.
gtxhal posted 09-25-2006 06:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for gtxhal  Send Email to gtxhal     
hey andy,

checked out your website / pics, really like your boat. any chance you're a diver in monterey?


andygere posted 09-26-2006 12:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I haven't done any SCUBA diving since my honeymoon 13 years ago. I do most of my boating out of Santa Cruz, primarily fishing.

Grand Marina sounds good as well. Our plan is to launch Saturday moring, and motor over to the city and arrange for an overnight berth for Saturday night, then enjoy the airshow from somewhere around Angel Isle. Sunday we are going to cruise up the Peteluma River, and overnight in the turning basin, and return to our launch point on Monday. Loch Lomand gives us a shorter return trip via water, longer by car than Alamdea. Are you planning to get out on Saturday, and if so, when and where?

prm1177 posted 09-26-2006 12:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
I suspect I'll be in place around Angel Island in time for the Blue Angels on Saturday. I'll keep my eyes peeled for you. You'll need to watch out for the loonies on the Bay. Fleet Week brings them out as does Opening Day.
andygere posted 09-28-2006 07:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I was just informed by the nice folks in Petaluma that my reservation in the turning basin is cancelled due to dredging. Rats! Anyone here have local info on the Napa River?
prm1177 posted 09-28-2006 07:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
There's a lot of construction going on for flood control, so it's not advisable to venture too far into downtown. I think the river's not very navigable beyond the 3rd street bridge.

There is a small public dock downtown, but I'm not sure if they permit overnighting. Check with the Napa Valley Yacht Club 707-252-3342 or the Napa Valley Marina 707-252-8011 and they might have better info.

Chuck Tribolet posted 09-28-2006 08:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Paul: what's the brain damage towing through the city? I've
done it a two or three times to launch in Sausalito to run to
the Farallones. We switched to HMB because there's no three
mile no-wake zone, no snot through the gate, and the tow is
shorter. But the tow through SF was just a tow, even with a
stick shift.

gtxhal: I dive Monterey almost every weekend (about 130 dives
a year). You can contact me off line at


andygere posted 09-28-2006 11:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I think Paul is talking about towing a 22 foot boat through the endless stoplights (and moron drivers) along 19th Ave and Park Presidio. Add a bunch of gawking tourists flooding in for fleet week and you've got brain damage.

From the cruising guide, it looks like Napa Valley Marina is the only gig on the river. Too bad it's so far from town, I was hoping for a nice dinner out within walking distance to the boat.

Chuck Tribolet posted 09-29-2006 02:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
The stop lights weren't bad, nobody gawked, but it was only
a 17 footer. Just don't hurry, you won't get there any


prm1177 posted 09-29-2006 12:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     

Even if you stay at the Napa Valley Marina, you can motor to downtown and stop at the public dock for dinner. Here's a map of the river. You can see the public dock downtown and its proximity to some nice restaurants like Copia.

andygere posted 10-02-2006 01:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
The Napa city dock is out of commission due to a flood control project. We may opt for Vallejo for the overnight, after a day cruise on the Napa River.
rjgorion posted 10-03-2006 10:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for rjgorion  Send Email to rjgorion     

If you take a cruise up the Napa River, please note: When traveling north in the river, from the hwy 37 bridge to marker 13 make sure you stay in the channel (even at high tide). Outside the channel is very shallow and you will be in the mud very quickly. Above marker 13 you will not have any problems but once you get to the Kenedy park launch ramp (on the east side of the river) that's about as far north as you can safely go right now because of all the flood control work that is being done. The river is a nice cruise though. Have fun,


andygere posted 10-04-2006 12:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Ron, thanks for the tip. I have been hearing that the striper fishing is picking up on the river, so I may enjoy a nice slow troll down...
rjgorion posted 10-04-2006 12:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for rjgorion  Send Email to rjgorion     
Andy, the striper fishing has been picking up lately. Your best bet is to start trolling at about marker 13 mentioned above. At that point the river narrows some. Troll from there to the Kenedy park Launch ramp and back using broken back rebels or rapalas in blue/silver, black/silver or green/silver. If the fish are there you will do well. Which day are you going to be on the river?


andygere posted 10-05-2006 02:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I'll be on the river Sunday, perhaps a bit Monday morning, depending on where we berth overnight. I picked up a few fresh broken backs and rigged them with feather trebbles, a potent combo when I fish for stripers in New England.

My boat is an Outrage 22 Cuddy with a T-top, answers to Namequoit on the VHF. Will you be on the river?

rjgorion posted 10-05-2006 11:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for rjgorion  Send Email to rjgorion     
Andy, I have to work on Sat. and Sun. but I'm off at 2:00pm and could be on the river between 3:00 and 3:30 for the rest of the afternoon. It would be nice to get out and try for the fish. Sunday sounds good, I look for you. I have an Outrage 18 (HorseTrader).


17 bodega posted 10-06-2006 01:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for 17 bodega  Send Email to 17 bodega     

It looks like you are all dialed in but Downtown Petaluma has some dockspace for stern ties. I think it is free too... Lots of old vintage yachts come up from the City to hang... It's a real laid back scene... lots of retired folk with the wine glasses, good food cooking, kids, and live music heard off in the distance...

If I get blown off the ocean I might check out the freakshow on the Bay...


andygere posted 10-06-2006 01:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Peteluma was our initial plan for Sunday, but they are dredging the turning basin so the marina is closed.

Raise me on the VHF, Channel 16 or 19 (call for Namequoit - sounds like nam-uh-coy).

prm1177 posted 10-09-2006 07:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
So I managed to catch Andy on the radio on Saturday. He was anchored to the West of Alcatraz. I attempted to motor over to him, but the waters were full of mindless sailors and motorboaters with severe rectal-cranial inversions. I heard the Coast Guard describe 4 near misses, two impacts and one DUI in a 15 minute period. Oh yeah, and the Alameda Sheriff's Department ordered pizza then left no one to pay for it.

I retreated to the safe area south of Angel Island to enjoy the show. Here are a couple of shots:

andygere posted 10-10-2006 12:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
We just returned from 3 fantastic days on San Francisco Bay and the Napa River aboard our Outrage 22 Cuddy Namequoit.

Paul was wise to stay away from Alcartraz. We anchored on the outer edge of the fleet, but were soon swallowed up in the madness. The Blue Angels were great, but I've never been around a more chaotic boating scene in my life. We avoided peril, but just barely.

We did connect with Rob "Ratherwhalering" Schmidt, who went out of his way to arrange an overnight berth for our boat at his yacht club, set us up as his personal guest at the club, and showed us all-around great hospitality. He even shuttled us over to our restaurant for dinner in his immaculate Montauk.

On Sunday, Ron "rjgorion" Giachello met us out on the Napa River in his beautifully restored Outrage 18. We tied up at a public dock up the river, and enjoyed a Napa Valley style lunch of Chardonnay, cheese and fruit. After the requisite boat gawking, Ron lead us on a tour of the upper river.

Overall, we had a fantastic weekend afloat, marked by fantastic weather and sea conditions. I was finally able to put the new E-TEC 200 through her paces, and I'm quite pleased with the performance and fuel economy. I will post a more detailed article and photos as time allows, but here are a few teasers in the meantime. Fleet%20Week%20Cruise%202006/

prm1177 posted 10-11-2006 02:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
Andy. Where's the restaurant behind your wife in photo 3 located? Looks like it has some nice guest docks.
andygere posted 10-11-2006 04:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
That would be the very spiffy San Francisco Yacht Club in Tiburon. Our presence there was made possible by the very generous efforts of one the SFYC's finest members, our own Rob Schmidt (ratherwhalering), who made arrangements for us to be his guests. The neatest thing about the club, besides the beautiful surroundings, is that the people that we met were all very down to earth, friendly and welcoming. It was one of the highlights of our weekend.

By the way, sorry we missed you during the air show, but the scene around Alcatraz was nuts, and it was far too rough to raft up anyway. Thanks for the good advice on Loch Lomond and the east bay route, both were as advertised.

prm1177 posted 10-12-2006 06:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for prm1177  Send Email to prm1177     
Ah, the one around the corner from Sam's. Seen it from the Bay, but never visited. Looks nice. Sorry to have missed you as well, but after nearly getting hit by FDRs old yacht, I retreated. At least monitoring the Coast Guard channel was as interesting as the Air Show.

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