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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Sailing San Francisco Bay

1.Are the prices listed per person or for the whole boat?

The prices listed are for the whole boat. You can bring from 1-6 passengers on Flying Tiger and 1- 24passengers on Bay Wolf and Osprey.
 
All of our trips are private charters – no need to spend your time with a bunch of strangers.
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2.Do all of the trips provide food and drink? If so, what is the menu?

All trips with fewer than 6 people include food and drink for free. For trips over 6 people the charge is $20 per person (or you may bring your own food).
 
We typically go to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Mollie Stone’s market and buy lots of good food and drinks. A typical trip may include: sandwiches (bread, meat, cheese, avocado, tomato etc.), chips, fruit, vegetables and dip, chocolate or cookies, and beverages: water, soda and good quality beer and wine. For sunset sails or a lighter fare we can substitute cheese and crackers for the sandwiches. We never run out of food! Vegetarian food can be provided. If you have any special food requests, then please let us know.
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3. What should we wear?

Please dress in layers (T-shirt, sweatshirt, wind jacket is the minimum of what we'd suggest, more if you get cold), long pants or wind pants are recommended. Any extra warm clothes can be kept down below inside the boat if you don’t use them. Hats that can be tied on are also good.
 
Please wear soft-soled shoes such as tennis shoes or sneakers; no heels or cowboy boots, which can become slippery on the wet decks. Try to wear shoes that are non-marking (white or light soles sneakers preferred) Also, don’t forget your cameras & sunscreen!
 
For winter trips dress warmly. We recommend a warm jacket, gloves and a hat that doesn’t come off easily. You can also wear long underwear and or wind-pants if you get cold easily. Remember it will be cooler on the water than on the land because of the wind.
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4 May food and drinks be brought onboard?

Yes, feel free to bring your own food if you wish. We recommend finger foods (small sandwiches, cheese and crackers, etc), as they’re easiest to eat on the boat.  We have some cups plates cutlery and napkins on board, but please bring your own if you’re providing your own food for large groups. If you’re bringing a cake for a birthday we recommend cupcakes. 
 
We have NO corkage fees. Groups 15 passengers and fewer can bring their own beer and white wine. We only request a reasonable amount and no red wine and no hard liquor. While having a bit to drink on a boat is a lot of fun, having too much to drink can be a safety hazard, so we request people have a great time, but not overindulge. For groups over 15 passengers we can provide your beer and wine for $15 per person. 

Whether we provide the beer and wine or if you do, we recommend one beer or one glass of wine per person per hour for safety. Figure that being on a boat is like driving a car as far as how much is safe to drink. 

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5. Are children allowed on all tours?

Yes, children are allowed on all trips. If you have children under 4 years old, then callus and we can discuss. Sailing with kids under 4 can be stressful for the parents- depends on the kids and depends on the parents.
 
Kids from 5-18 can get involved in the sailing of the boat. We have a lot of experience with kids on the boats. Give us a call and we can discuss this.
 
Children 5 years old and older are fine if there is at least a 1-1 adult/kid ratio and if the kids listen well to instructions (safety instructions are important). We enjoy teaching kids and teenagers how to sail.
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6. Do you have a set itinerary or schedule for the San Francisco Sailing Trips?

Every trip is different. The route that we take is flexible.
 
There is a general counter-clockwise route that is often followed although the winds and tides often dictate the direction we’ll go. This route often includes the following for a typical 4 hour trip:
 
Sailing along the San Francisco or Sausalito waterfront for an up-close view.
 
Sailing under (or near) the Golden Gate Bridge for an awesome view of the Pacific Ocean and the Marin headlands.
 
Spending time sailing out past the Golden Gate Bridge (depends upon the weather and currents).
 
Sail back under the Golden Gate Bridge, cruising along the Presidio, Crissy Field, Aquatic Park, Fort Mason, Fisherman’s Wharf. See the Liberty Ship Jeremiah O'Brian.
 
Continue along the waterfront past the financial district and under the Bay Bridge, approaching AT&T Ball Park by water, close enough to cheer with the crowd and hope for water-bound home run.
 
Then sail back up under the Bay Bridge to Alcatraz Island, where we get a very up-close view of Alcatraz.
 
Sail past Angel Island, for a great view of that state park.
Sailing San Francisco Bay can also include loops around Angel Island and picnics or barbeques at Angel Island. We have dropped people off at AT&T Ball Park, before the Giants game, sailed up in the North Bay to see the Brothers Lighthouse, sailed the South Bay to see the ships in dry-dock, sailed out past the Bonita lighthouse or cruised the Alameda estuary to view the Port of Oakland.
 
Every trip is different depending upon the winds, currents, time of day, wildlife, location of other boats and the desires of the clients. Your own private yacht with a captain: You get to choose the route
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7. Can we stop somewhere during the trip?

Most of our trips do not include a stop during the trip. We usually just sail around the bay because there is much to see from the water and stopping points are limited.
 
Some destinations for stopping at include:
  • Sam’s Anchor Café in Tiberon for lunch,
  • Angel Island picnic or barbecue (see pricing) We have been having a great time with our Angel Island Barbecues.
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8. Is there any narration provided?

Our captains have been sailing San Francisco Bay for over 20 years and know nautical information, history and interesting sights. We can talk as much or little as you like. We will often be discussing the currents, the wind, the sights on the shore, the different boats, the Golden Gate Bridge, the animals and birds we see, etc. There are a great deal of interesting sights on a Bay Area sailing trip. We enjoy talking about sailing on San Francisco Bay and the history of the Bay. Each trip we see something different.
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9. What activities do passengers participate in?

We encourage people to help steer the boat and work the sails. People can help as much or as little as they like. Our captains enjoy teaching people how to sail and will hand you the helm for as much time as you like. There are many beautiful sights out in the San Francisco Bay, including Alcatraz, Angel Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the San Francisco skyline and waterfront. There are great photo opportunities that include wildlife and other boats too. Many passengers prefer to just relax with a beer and unwind from a hectic work schedule. Some enjoy hearing the captain explain the sights and talk about the local history.
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10. What do people tend to enjoy most about these cruises?

Different people enjoy different parts of the trip. Sometimes it is the thrill of seeing dolphins jump outside the Golden Gate Bridge, or seeing the sunset, or getting to steer in high winds, or having a conversation with your family and friends or bonding with your co-workers.
 
Sailing San Francisco Bay is also a chance to unwind and recharge your internal batteries. There are no outside distractions, just you, the wind, the water and the boat.
 
Sailing on Flying Tiger, Bay Wolf or Osprey, is your own private San Francisco yacht with a captain. Your choice of destinations, your choice of food and drink, you can steer if you want or have the captain take care of everything. Sailing on the San Francisco Bay is something that you have always wanted to do and you will remember the experience for years.
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11. How do I book my trip?

Give us a call and we can easily help you choose a trip to suit your group. We just need some contact information and a credit card for the deposit.
 
On the phone we will ask you for an estimate of the number of passengers on the trip. We understand this often changes, so you can get back to us on the exact count. We will also ask whether you want us to provide the food or whether you would like to provide your own. We will also ask where you want to sail out of, since we sail out of 3 locations.
 
That’s it. Very simple.
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12. Is there an enclosed cabin where people can sit inside?

Yes, there is an enclosed cabin with a small sitting area on Osprey and Flying Tiger. All boats have a head (bathroom). There is also a custom canvas dodger outside that keeps people dry and warm while in the cockpit. Most of the sailing time is spent up on deck or in the cockpit. The cockpit or the deck are the best places to see the views and experience the sailing adventure.
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13. What if the weather is bad?

Sailing San Francisco Bay year round provides many excellent sailing days. Rain in the summer and fall is very rare. On windy days there are places with plenty of wind or places with less wind – we get to choose. On foggy days there are parts of the bay that are fog-free. Sausalito is the perfect starting place for a Bay Area sailing trip, because Sausalito has quick access to the Golden Gate Bridge and is usually sunny and warm when San Francisco is totally socked in with fog.
 
In the Winter, if it is raining, we will simply reschedule for another time or cancel the trip and return all of your money. Some charter operations force you to sail in the rain. If it is raining, you do NOT have to go sailing.
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14. Do we have to wear life jackets (PFDs)?

Although the coast guard does not require that you wear them, we do. Safety is incredibly important to us. That is something you want in your choice of a charter company. Our Type II life jackets are comfortable and will not impact your enjoyment of the sailing.
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15. What are the pickup locations?

We have three convenient locations.
 
San Francisco – Both Osprey and Bay Wolf can do pickups in San Francisco at Pier 40 (next to AT&T ballpark).
 
Oakland - Osprey is located at Jack London Square (right next to Kincaid’s Restaurant and easy parking).
 
Sausalito – Bay Wolf and Flying Tiger are based in Sausalito and both have convenient, free parking
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16. Where do I park?

Flying Tiger in Sausalito has a large free parking lot that always has a lot of space. directions page.
 
Bay Wolf in Sausalito has free street parking on a very quiet side-street. We will email the directions to you when you book your trip.
 
Osprey in Oakland at Jack London Square has considerable parking. The easiest is on Franklin Street where there is a large parking garage. There are several parking lots close to the Osprey dock.
 
Pier 40 San Francisco: There are a number of lots with in a few blocks of the dock. Often street parking is available. There is also a short-term loading zone right at pier 40.Captain Kirk’s favorite parking is at the intersection of Bryant and Embarcadero, which is just north of Pier 40 (toward the Bay Bridge) where the parking lot is actually on a pier: Impark 541 The Embarcadero San Francisco, CA 94105
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17. What is the cancellation policy?

Our cancellation and refund policy is as flexible as we can make it. It is based primarily upon whether or not we have turned down another trip for the selected time/date.
If we have NOT turned down another trip for the selected time, we will offer a full refund, since there has been no cost to us. The only charge may be a 10% charge to cover the cost of the credit card processing fee that we have incurred.

If we have turned down another trip for the selected time, we offer our guests three options if they need to be a change their plans.
     1. First, we offer to reschedule your charter to any new date/time that works for both of us (no fee, no charge).
     2. Second, we are happy to provide you a gift certificate that can be transferred to anyone and has no expiration date. So you never lose the value of a trip.
     3. If neither of these options works then we will negotiate a fair compensation with you based upon our expenses incurred.

Many of our competitors have very restrictive policies for any changes (e.g. no refunds if changes made within 30 days, 50% cancellation fees, etc). We don’t believe in these types of business practices. Our motto is “Sailing With Friends” We try to treat you well.
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