C34s racing on SF Bay
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Frequently Asked Questions

Our specialty is making your time on the Bay as relaxing, exhilarating or as romantic as you want. You can participate to whatever extent you like in sailing the boat or just sit back and enjoy the ride.

If this is your first time with us, we recommend that you read our Sailing Fundamentals and Sailing Nomenclature handouts. They will give you an idea of what to expect and some basic knowledge of sailing so you can get the most out of your time on the water. We also have a Glossary of Sailing Terminology you may find helpful (and amusing).

Mission Creek Sailing Hints & Tips

  1. Where are you located?
  2. Can I get there via public transit?
  3. What should I bring?
  4. What's the weather like on the Bay?
  5. How many guests can you accommodate?
  6. Is it okay to bring children or pets?
  7. What about seasickness?
  8. I want to surprise someone. Is a sail a good idea?
  9. How much does it cost? What's included?
  10. How do I pay?
  11. Anything else?

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Still have a question? Email us and we'll get right back to you >>

  1. Where are you located?
  2. MCST is one of the few companies offering private yacht charters on San Francisco Bay that is actually located in San Francisco. We're in the South Beach/Townsend area or SoMa (South of Market), which has some of the best restaurants and attractions in the city, many just a short walk from the harbor. If you'd like some recommendations on what to do after your sail, please let us know.

    'Imi Loa is berthed in South Beach Harbor, near Pier 40 on the Embarcadero which is not, contrary to common sense, next to Pier 39. Even numbered piers are south of the Ferry Building (Pier 1) and odd numbered piers are north. Actually, we're about a half-mile south of the Bay Bridge on King St (Embarcadero) between 2nd and Townsend, right next door to AT&T Park, home of the Giants.

    Photo map of area >>
    Driving directions >>

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  3. Can I get there by public transit?
  4. Parking is a big problem in San Francisco so public transit is actually one of the best ways to get to us! We're close to BART, CalTrain and the Ferry and there are two Muni light rail stops within a block either side of the Harbor.

    Public Transit directions to South Beach Harbor.

    Pan & zoom map of the San Francsco Muni system.

    There is very little public parking in the area so if you must drive, please carpool. We can normally get one parking pass for the harbor parking lot but if there's a Giants game or other event, we can't promise anything.

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  5. What should I bring?
  6. Dress in layers! San Francisco Bay can be very cold in the summer & nothing will ruin a day faster than being cold & wet. That being said, it can also be hot & swim suit weather so you really have to be prepared for anything. Here are some suggestions:

    • Deck shoes or white, rubber-soled tennis shoes. Please, no leather or black soles.
    • Medium weight, waterproof jacket
    • Windbreaker or light jacket
    • Sweatshirt or sweater
    • T-shirts, tank tops, swim suits
    • Long pants & shorts
    • Sun block
    • Sun glasses with a neck leash
    • Hat with chin strap or a clip thingie
    • Camera w/extra batteries & film
    • If you would like to help work the lines, we highly recommend sailing gloves.

    Please do not bring:

    • Hard-sided coolers or those nasty styrofoam ones
    • Shoes with hard, black-leather soles
    • Glass containers ~ you may bring bottled wine or champagne or canned beer and we'll provide plastic glasses

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  7. What's the weather like on the Bay?
  8. San Francisco Bay is perhaps one of the most challenging and exhilarating places to sail in the country, perhaps the world, and we take advantage of it year-round. During the summer months, the combination of the cold water off shore, the hot central valley and the funneling effect of the Gate can cause very strong winds in the "Slot" running from the Golden Gate Bridge past Alcatraz to Berkeley and other spots around the Bay.

    July through September bring the signature fog and it's typically very windy, overcast and cool on the Bay. The fog and marine layer will burn off by afternoon except for the iconic finger of white pouring past the bridge and rolling towards the Oakland hills. Winds build up in the afternoon to 25+ knots with gusts over 30.

    October through December is usually warm and sunny with afternoon winds in the high teens and can make for some incredible sailing.

    January through March can bring anything from light showers to torrential downpours with crisp and sunny days with very light winds between storms.

    April through June are mild and clear with winds usually below 20 knots.

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  9. How many guests can you accommodate?
  10. Due to insurance constraints and USCG regulations, we can only accommodate 6 guests at this time.

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  11. Is it okay to bring children or pets?
  12. In our experience this is not a day for young children and so reluctantly don't recommend bringing children under 8 on the longer sails.

    If your kids have sailed before and enjoy being on the water, then by all means bring them! We have found that older children are only too happy to take a turn at steering or grinding a winch ~ all with appropriate supervision of course.

    If you are worried about your child falling overboard, then the life jackets can be clipped via tether to secure points on the boat to ensure they stay onboard.

    Please be aware that conditions on San Francisco Bay can be somwhat “brisk” at times and if the Captain or crew feels that anyone on board, especially a young child, is overly scared or uncomfortable, s/he will terminate the sail and return to the dock.

    Children under 12 are required to wear a life jacket (PFD) at all times while underway and when the kids wear them, we encourage the adults to do the same. We have two childrens PFD's on board.

    Pets are not allowed (unless it's a talking parrot with an eye-patch or peg leg).

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  13. What about seasickness?
  14. The conditions on the Bay rarely cause seasickness but it does happen. We can not give you seasickness medicines as it is against the law. If you want to take seasickness medicines take BONINE not Dramamine. Dramamine is archaic and will put you to sleep. BONINE is available at most drugstores. We do not recommend you take it unless you really think you will need it, just bring it with you. Some people take it the night before the trip and that seems to work. Again, we are not really allowed to give medical advice.

    We have found that the "accu-pressure" wristbands do work and are in fact quite effective on some people. We try to keep a set on board but you may want to bring your own just to make sure.

    We also try to keep a supply of candied ginger on board. Any form of ginger works great and it's pretty tasty too!

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  15. I want to surprise someone. Is a sail a good idea?
  16. A sail on the Bay can be a wonderful surprise for your special someone. You just need to be absolutely sure they're prepared and are not prone to seasickness. Proper clothing (see #3) is essential and there are few things that can ruin a day faster than Mal de Mer.

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  17. How much does it cost? What's included?
  18. The following prices are effective as of August 1, 2008. Catering can be arranged for all sails.

    Click for current rates >>

    Some bookings may require a non-refundable deposit. Bookings, once confirmed, can be rescheduled if necessary. All catering and wine (for our wine tasting sails) must be paid for in full when ordering.

    All of our sails include complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

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  19. How do I pay?
  20. We will gladly accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, China UnionPay, cash or your personal check on the day of your charter. All catering services must be paid in advance.

    We have transferable, non-refundable gift certificates available too. Just ask!

    Also, if you had a good time, gratuities are encouraged (and the polite thing to do!) for your captain and crew.


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  21. Anything else?

    • You will be required to sign a waiver before we leave the slip. We always do our absolute best to look after your safety but going out onto the Bay on a sailboat does have certain hazards and you need to be aware that you are undertaking this charter at your own risk. Don't worry, we haven't lost a passenger yet! You can download the release form here, complete it and bring it with you to your charter. Or sign one when you arrive.
    • Alcohol is allowed ~ inebriation is not. The skipper and/or crew will terminate the sail and return to the dock if a guest has too much to drink.
    • Sailing times and/or dates are subject to change without notice due to weather conditions.
    • Schedules can be difficult to keep when it comes to wind and currents. We can't guarantee we'll be back exactly on time. Please plan accordingly.
    • You are considered a "NO SHOW" if you are more than 30 minutes late unless you call 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time.
    • We reserve the right to reschedule your charter to a mutually agreeable date if you are a "NO SHOW".
    • If you are redeeming a gift certificate and are a "NO SHOW" you will be required to pay a 50% rescheduling fee.

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"This has been a wonderful day!" said the Mole as the Rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. "Do you know, I've never been in a boat before in all my life."

"What?" cried the Rat, open-mouthed: "Never been in a - you never - well I - what have you been doing then?"

- from The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame

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