Day Sailing on SeeCoach, a 38' Hunter Ocean Cruiser
Skipper Larry Seeger
What to expect
We depart from Richardson Marina and typically motor down the Sausalito channel, then hoist some sail and poke our nose out of the Golden Gate. With favorable weather we might do a “heave-to” sailing maneuver that puts us in a controlled drift that makes it comfortable to eat and visit a little with an ocean view of the GG Bridge. We then come back through the Gate and cruise down the San Francisco waterfront, head up past Alcatraz and Angel Island (or back around Angel Island and down Raccoon Straight past Tiburon), and back to Sausalito. A typical voyage like this may take five to six hours. Depending on when people have to be back, we can adjust itinerary and time as necessary. There are other options and interesting things to do inside the Bay and the itinerary may change as influenced by weather, tides, and personal preferences.
Sailboats by nature heal over about 20 degrees when sailing up wind, so at times you may be bracing and hanging on. See Coach has a high freeboard (sits high off the water), has a spacious cockpit and an oversized dodger (windshield canopy) that offers a great deal of protection, so you may not get wet from spray if the waves are up. Sometimes it gets glassy smooth out there. Whatever the conditions, the crew will try to keep it comfortable for everyone. The goals of the crew are to (1) keep you in the boat, (2) keep the water out of the boat, and, with your help, (3) enable an atmosphere of camaraderie, stimulating conversation, and FUN. At the end of the day, we often have an optional cocktail hour at dockside for those who can linger awhile to reminisce about the day, debate over the number of whales we think we saw, sign and read the guest log (see attached mission statement), and tell stories.
Weather conditions on San Francisco Bay and out the Golden Gate can very tremendously. The summer is the best sailing as wind is up, especially in the afternoon, and it is usually sunny and more comfortable. In the winter months, wind is minimal and it is usually more overcast and cold. When practical, we usually try to only go out for pleasure sailing when the weather is nice—but we can never be sure what we finally get—so be prepared.
What to wear
Being out on the water tends to get chilly—if not actually cold for those cold blooded souls, even in the summer. Bring a variety of cloths as though you were going to Tahoe in the winter. Thermal layering is best with an outer water proof windbreaker. A pair of cozy gloves and a warm hat to cover your ears if necessary. If you are a cold-blooded person, long underwear can make all the difference. If summer time include shorts if you are inclined. Wear footwear that won't leave marks on the deck and will protect your toes (i.e.boat shoes, athletic shoes, or sandals with covered toes. There is spacious room below to change cloths when necessary or get out of the cold. (See Coach sleeps 7 and has two private cabins.) Soft-sided carry-alls work best in the confined, irregular shapes found on boats. Don’t forget sunglasses, sunscreen for skin and lips, and perhaps a cap or brimmed hat.
What to bring to eat and drink
The usual routine is each person/couple brings some heavy pu pus (finger food), to share (at least a sample for everyone) and what ever you want to drink with a little extra to share. Variety is the best treat. I will let you know how many are expected aboard. When sailing it is easiest to deal with precooked stuff even though there is a small electric microwave and a propane-driven galley oven to heat larger items. Some typical foods that go well are KFC or spicy chicken legs/wings, shushi trays from Safeway, pot stickers, Armenian rolled sandwiches, pieta pocket bread with chicken salad for inside, Togo sandwiches that can be cut up, jumbo shrimp and dip, interesting deli salads, chips and neat dips, raw vegetables with dip, fruit, etc. There is a refrigerator below to keep provisions cold. If you wish, smaller coolers can be brought aboard.
Alcohol (in moderation) is allowed with beer and white wine being the favorites. Red wine is allowed, but requires more careful handling to avoid spills and stains. Water is also popular. While the primary crew doesn't drink alcohol when sailing (we are responsible for your safety), guests may, but good judgment must always prevail. Excessive alcohol and sailing are not a good combination, especially in the San Francisco Bay, which can be challenging at times.
Sometimes someone takes on a pre-coordination role to help balance the food offerings. While the galley is fully equipped for cooking and dinning, paper plates and plastic cups are the easiest to deal with as they minimize the cleanup. Ice is available for coolers..
By the way, at the entrance to the marina is the Harbor Center on your left that has a restaurant (great breakfasts) and grocery store with deli, ice, liquor, etc. for things forgotten.
This can happen to anyone under the right conditions--especially slow, rolling seas often encountered just out the Golden Gate, but if you know you are susceptible to this, here are some suggestions. Seasickness medication should be taken before departing. Options include:
- Wal-Dram (Walgreens), Dramamine or Gravol (Dimenhydrinate), available over the counter works for many. Take ½ to 1 hour before departure, then every 4-6 hours. (I have some aboard)
- Bonine (generic meclazine) that you take the night before and in the morning before departure. Then only once every 12 hours.
- There are inexpensive wristbands for the traveler (e.g., Travel-Eze) available over-the-counter (I have a pair aboard) which put interfering pressure on nerves that cause nausea. These can be applied at the onset of symptoms.
- Compazine (generic prochlorperazine) 25 mg suppositories are very effective, reduces anxiety and do not make one drowsy.
- Scopolamine Transderm (Transderm-V, available only with a prescription), 1.5 mg patches that you apply the night before or at least a couple hours before departure make you drowsy and have other negative side effects.
Before departure avoid greasy, spicy, or acidic foods, carbonated beverages, coffee, and alcohol. Be well rested. Sometimes even a head cold can bring on seasickness. For more information see http://seasickness.co.uk/
The assembly point
Meet at the Richardson Marina in front of the gate at the designated time.
The Address is 100 Gate Six Road, Sausalito, CA 94965.
Check our “SeeCoach Location” page or mapquest.com for directions.
There is ample, free parking in front of the building. There are white carts to haul stuff to the boats that are sometimes outside and often inside the gate at the bottom of the ramp. The access gate to the docks is controlled with an access card needed to both enter and exit. If you don’t see one of us at the gate, you may (a) “backwash” your way through the gate with someone, or (b) phone me on my cell (408.838.0581) and one of us will come up to let you in. Once inside the gate, go down the ramp, turn right, go to C Dock on the far right (south), go about 20% of the way out to See Coach in slip C14 (numbers on the dock boxes).
See Coach Charters 24 Hour Cancellation Policy:
- 24 hour customer cancellations: If the sail is booked 24 hours or more in advance and the weather forecast remains favorable and the sail is cancelled by the customer within 24 hours of the scheduled boarding time, you pay 50% of the agreed trip price. Cloudiness and/or cool temperatures do not justify a cancellation as we have warm clothing to supplement your warm clothing to keep you comfortable in the cockpit when out on the water. The yacht runs high and dry with the protection of a large dodger. And we always have a lovely, spacious cabin below if needed.
12 hour customer/owner cancellations for weather:
- Should the weather turn unexpectedly to unpleasant rain or high wind within 12 hours of the scheduled boarding time making it too unpleasant and/or unsafe, the customer pays a one hour rate compensation of $190.
- The preparation for a charter requires up to 3 hours by the owner to evaluate and monitor the tides and weather; make a sail plan consistent with the customer’s desires; schedule a licensed Captain--the second crew person--who commits to stand by; wash the yacht and prepare to cast off before the customer(s) arrive. This is all lost time if a cancellation occurs.
Owner cancellations for cause:
- Should extenuating circumstances occur with the owner (i.e., mechanical, safety issues or staffing), and he has to cancel, there will be no charges to the customer.
In all cases, we would hope to reschedule: