As the sailing world gears up for the America’s Cup, it seems that all eyes are on the City by the Bay. But 500 miles south, just grazing the Mexican border, lies a city where you can sail year-round, the weather is nearly perfect and sailors are friendly as can be. In San Diego, California, here’s where to…
RENT A BOAT: With locations in both San Diego and Long Beach, Harbor Yacht Club offers daysailers and cruisers four-hour rentals. To get started, simply submit your sailing resume and take a quiz. If your skills aren’t up to par, you can enroll in an inexpensive US Sailing Basic Keelboat class. If you’re looking for a berth on another boat, check out their online crew forum.
TAKE LESSONS:The Seaforth Sailing Club charges low monthly dues and rents boats from its fleet on an hourly, daily or weekly basis. Choose from any one of five locations in the city. You’ll find an expansive course list, and you can enroll in a free ASA Basic Keelboat class when you pay your one-time sign up fee.
RACE: At the San Diego Yacht Club on Point Loma, members race everything from Snipes and J/22s to Beneteaus. Every Thursday night, you’ll find adult members racing tiny Sabots, and nearly every weekend there is some kind of one-design regatta on the calendar.
GIVE BACK:The Southwestern Yacht Club, located behind Shoreline Park, has great racing, an outstanding junior program and a unique Wednesday night program called SALTY. SALTY, which stands for Special Athletes Learn Through Yachting, teaches learning-challenged individuals how to sail and compete on small boats. Volunteering with SALTY is a great way to support an on-the-water cause. To learn more, visit the club’s website and click on the “Special Athletes” tab.
HANG OUT:Fiddler’s Green on Shelter Island Drive is not only the top sailor’s hangout in San Diego, it also made Coastal Living magazine’s worldwide list of Top 10 Sailors Hangouts in 2006. The wall of half-hulls and a menu filled with seafood makes this place feel like home. Happy Hour, from 1700 to 1900, features locally brewed Fiddler’s Ale pints and wine. There are a number of guest slips available, but make sure to call ahead, as racers from SDYC and SYC like to come here after racing.