Richmond, California

NOTE: There is now a $5.00 fee for parking and use of the launch ramp. The fee covers more than one day. If you exit the parkng lot you have to pay the fee again to gain access. The access machine takes bills up to $20.00 and gives you change in $1.00 coins.

Richmond is a great place for both novice and experienced sailors. If the weather is good we can head out into SF Bay then west to (and around?) Angel Island; or north and under the Richmond / San Rafael Bridge to China Camp. If the weather is really bad, or if you feel your skills aren't up to open waters, you can have a great time poking around inside the breakwater.

On the trip north we usually swing by Red Rock as this small island seems to intrigue everyone who has ever driven over the R/SR bridge. Looking up at the bridge from the water gives a completely different perspective than looking down from that high span.

Richmond/San Rafael Bridge from Potter Level
(Click on photo to see full size.)

Another popular part of the northern trip is to swing by The Brothers and check out the Light House/ Bed and Breakfast that was featured in Bay Area Backroads. (I wonder how much I would have to pay to have that fog horn keep me up all night long?) If the day is good and the weather fair, we could make it all the way to , a popular destination of our club. We might even be able to find the time to swing by Bob's Fo'c's'le at Loch Lomond for one of his great cheeseburgers or his "world famous" fish and chips.

Angel Island makes the western trip more than worth it. Just to be able to add that 4-mile open water trip to your ship's log is reason enough to go. When you are finally tied up to the dock or one of the moorings in Ayala Cove, sitting back enjoying a beer and the view, it won't take you long to realize why this was a favorite anchoring spot for the early ships that visited the bay. If Raccoon Strait is calm we could head over to Tiburon for a sandwich at Sam's. City folks drive all the way over here just for the food and the view. If Raccoon Strait is reeeeally calm, we could even make a run all the way around the island before heading back to Richmond.

If the weather is bad, we can sail inside the jetty, a run of about a mile and a half each way, and make the short, but at times interesting side trip up to the old marina. Or we could just anchor out in the large new marina and boat watch. One of the nicest times Peggy, Jesse and I have had was doing just that. We were waiting for Jerry and Carol to come back to their senses and leave the 25 knot wind, and 2-1/2 to 3 foot breaking chop that they had ventured out into. With the million dollar houses on the breakwater blocking the wind, and the jetty stopping the waves, we sat in the warm winter sun, broke out some wine and crackers and pretended that we were in the Mediteranean.

Another little jaunt if the wind is high, or for the faint of heart, is north out of the channel, and east into the normally protected waters of the large cove by Port Richmond. I have messed around here a bit and found the only hazard was the wooden breakwater at the mouth of the Richmond channel. A strong ebb tide could suck an unsuspecting boater up against the pilings.

Marked in red on my Bay chart is a trip that Jerry and I took one beautiful winter's day from Richmond to Angel Island, to Alcatraz, to Pier 39, and then back to Richmond. What a trip!!!

Directions: To get there:

Take 580 to the "Harbor Way" exit. Go south on Harbor Way to "Hall." Take a left on Hall, go two blocks, and you will be in the ramp's parking lot.

Larry Costa

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