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About San Francisco Bay

Photo by Erin & Daniel H.Recently written up in Fifty Places to Sail Before You Die, San Francisco Bay is truly one of the best sailing venues on our blue planet. They say that if you can sail the Bay, you can sail anywhere in the world. This is definitely true, at least for protected waters.

Photo by Erin & Daniel H.The main part of the Bay provides over 400 square miles of intense, exciting and exhilarating sailing made up of strong summer winds, powerful tides and currents and abundant commercial traffic. Among the few gifts to the sailing community are the Marin Headlands which provide relief from ocean swells, hence the "protected waters" caveat above, and places like Richardson Bay and Raccoon Strait where you can tuck in to get out of the wind for a bit and enjoy a glass of wine.

Photo by Erin & Daniel H. Besides the wind, tides and currents are also forces to be reckoned with. Each ordinary flood or ebb tide pushes water through the Golden Gate at a rate of some 5,000,000 cubic feet per second. How much is that? At its highest flood stage in 50 years, the Mississippi River topped out at a flow of 1,962,000 cubic feet per second. More water goes through the Gate each and every tide change than flows out the "mighty Missip" every day. Currents under the Gate can reach 7 knots on an outgoing tide which exceeds the top speed of a lot of boats.

Photo by Erin & Daniel H.All that being said, with proper planning a counterclockwise trip around the Bay can actually be a pleasant experience. San Francisco Bay is honestly a wonderful place to sail. It is an experience not to be missed and, on a good day, you can feel that you're almost on equal terms with the Bay.

Click here for a little history on our namesake, the Mission Bay/Mission Creek area of San Francisco >>

Click here for some videos and a VR panorama of SF Bay >>

It is remarkable how quickly a good and favorable wind can sweep away the maddening frustrations of shore living.

—Ernest K. Gann

There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.

—Norwegian Adage