Merced County Times Newspaper
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Valley People Beat The Heat Boating On Bay

From Ship to Shore: A Column by Times Publisher John Derby

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John Derby Headshot
John Derby

With the 100-plus heat of the valley, a lot of local people have found the San Francisco Bay is a perfect place to be.

Gary Davis and his wife Amie are one local couple who use their boat in Alameda to get away from the heat.

The cost is not as much as one might expect, between $200 and $300 a month depending on the size of the boat. In their case, they own a Catalina 25, and it is less than $250 a month. They can stay on the boat up to three days a week.

Hotel room rates in San Francisco are over $125 a night, so having the boat amounts to about two nights on San Francisco Bay a month, plus one has the added attraction of being able to sail.

Last weekend, when the heat hit 105 in the valley, the temperature was 75 to 80 in the Bay Area, and even cooler in San Francisco where the fog and overcast are often present.

The Davis’ have their boat at the Alameda Marina, which is centrally located and within easy driving distance from downtown Alameda and a large shopping mall. Alameda is a bike friendly town, and the marinas like the Alameda Marina have bike parking facilities.

In 1994, when we first started sailing on the Bay, our boat was docked at the Alameda Marina. It was a 24-foot Bayliner called Buccaneer. It was nice and roomy, and able to sleep four people comfortably. That was before we purchased the Day Dreamer, a 32-foot sloop, which eventually took us all the way to Mexico and back.

Alameda is home to well over a thousand boats, many of which never leave the dock. This is a shame as San Francisco Bay sailing is one of the finest pastimes in the world. The year before last, it was the location of the America’s Cup Race, one of the most prestigious sailing events in the world.

One does not have to be a member of some exclusive club to take advantage of the benefits of being a sailor on San Francisco Bay.

Members of the local Lake Yosemite Sailing Association qualify for exchange privileges at most of the clubs in San Francisco.

As novices of San Francisco Bay sailing, we spent years sailing to all the yacht clubs around the bay and paying our respects. Our sailboat was not always looked upon as the fanciest, but it qualified for full acceptance at the up-class clubs, and it was a wonderful experience.

Now, with the heat in the valley, renewing some of those sailing experiences is a pleasure. It takes us only two hours to drive to Alameda, if we plan our trip to avoid the high traffic times.

Leaving the valley at midday on a Friday will give us plenty of time to be on the boat having a cocktail by the time everyone else is getting home from work. And the temperature will usually be a cool 75 to 80 degrees.

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