Since 2018 my partner Chris and I have lived aboard our 1979 Cheoy Lee 41, Avocet, preparing to cast off in search of whatever lay beyond the horizon.
In the Fall of 2022, it was finally time to cash in on efforts and leave the dock for good. We left Ventura, California, on September 17th, 2022, with a southern wind on our tail, and our course set for San Francisco Bay. After two days and seven hours of nonstop sailing up the California coast, we sailed under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. We found solace in Clipper Cove, located between Treasure and Yerba Buena Island.
Getting into the anchorage definitely proved a bit difficult, especially as a deep-keeled vessel like Avocet with a 6.5’ draft, since a shoal guards most of the entrance at low tide. With that said, sailors will want to wait until the flood current returns, as similar drafted vessels need enough clearance to navigate the channel into the deep section of the anchorage.
A locals’ knowledge is worth its weight in gold and can be the difference between a successful entrance to the anchorage or an embarrassing grounding; Fortunately for us, Chris’s brother spent a fair amount of time sailing the Bay area back in the mid-2000s and was able to pass along some information regarding the Cove’s tricky access. It is recommended to hug the pier on your starboard side and, once almost to the sailing dinghy dock, point your bow directly at the TransAmerica pyramid building (a tall pointed structure) in the distance. We followed the instructions carefully and kept a close eye on our depth, seeing a minimum of two feet under the keel. Once we were over the shoal, the depth gradually increased, and we set our hook in a comfortable 16 feet of water.