Setting off on a coastal cruise and harnessing the power of the wind is one of the most exhilarating and fulfilling experiences we can enjoy in life. Numerous sailing clubs and rental companies dot the northern edge of San Diego Bay, beckoning us to try out their vessels, even if only for a couple of hours, to see if sailing fits our style.
Of all these establishments, one family-owned sailing excursion service stands out as a model for the rest: Sail San Diego in America’s Cup Harbor. This small, family-owned business, managed by Chaluim Muir, also known as “Captain Cal,” specializes in catering to individual guests and small groups, turning sailing fantasies into reality with day excursions on San Diego Bay, tailored to the wishes of each group onboard their sailing vessels.
Sail San Diego’s dedication to meeting customer needs in terms of sailing style and different levels of experience among clients has garnered a number-one rating out of the 550 boat and tour companies on TripAdvisor for San Diego.
If you have been tossing around the idea of learning to sail, but have not settled on committing the time and funds necessary to undertake this pastime seriously, the first step is to try it out for a day. Many a would-be sailor has spent a fortune on an old boat, looking forward to that far-off day when he can cross oceans under the power of canvas without ever getting out there on the water where he can feel the vessel heal over in the wind, trimming helm and sails for the best mix of speed and comfort.
Before buying and outfitting a boat, and eventually learning whether sailing is in your future, take advantage of Sail San Diego to test your own visceral reaction to being under sail. You will feel secure knowing there is a USCG-licensed captain at the helm, a highly experienced ocean skipper who is responsible for assuring an exciting yet safe outing as you acclimate to the fascinating sport of ocean sailing.
Sail San Diego, a “boutique, family-run sailing company,” which has been in operation for 33 years, is one of the city’s oldest private sailing charter companies. Although relatively small with only seven boats in its fleet, the company has diversified its services to include group and private charters, whale watching, sailing lessons from beginning to advanced and corporate team-building regattas.
While out on the water, you can expect the kind of treatment you would find on a luxury cruise line, with cocktails, soft drinks and hors d’oeuvres close at hand. So if your primary goal for the day is to luxuriate under sail while the skipper sails the boat, you can expect to be accommodated to your satisfaction.
On the other hand, if you are using the day trip as a first step toward learning how to sail, particularly on a large coastal bay, you can use the experience as a step toward navigating a sailing vessel on open water.
Feel free to ask the skipper about how you can acquire the knowledge and experience needed to sail offshore. It is one thing to study basic lessons with a book and practice on calm water in a dinghy, yet quite another to set out on a huge bay or out in the ocean on a large yacht. You can expect your captain to know about appropriate sizes and types of sailing craft you can use as stepping stones to sailing your own vessel, not only on San Diego Bay, but to California’s Channel Islands as well.
To be sure, San Diego is home to numerous sailing and motor yacht excursion services. City Cruises offers bay excursions with its fleet of four large ships. Passenger capacity ranges from 100 to 1,200 guests, depending on vessel size.
Catamaran Cruises, with its 58-foot catamaran “Aolani,” can carry up to 48 passengers on harbor party cruises. This is the perfect vessel for corporate events, whale watching and luxury weddings for customers who want to be pampered while enjoying their harbor adventure.
What makes Sail San Diego stand out is its choice of medium-size yachts large enough for comfort yet still offering an authentic sailing experience for groups looking for fun, excitement and perhaps some hands-on experience while enjoying their bay adventure.