Sailing in San Francisco with Boatsetter Experience partner Jonathan Ganz

Jonathan is a San Francisco local and has been sailing the Bay his entire life.

He’s sailed the world, from the South Pacific to the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, but there is no place like San Francisco.

The Bay has some of the most beautiful views and challenging conditions in the world. For Jonathan, a perfect day is stepping out of his house and onto his boat. If you’re in San Francisco, you can check out his sailing lessons here, brought to you by Boatsetter.

How did you get into sailing?

Wait.. sailing? 🙂 Well, my parents finally got sick of me around the house during the summers leading up to my 12th birthday, so they sent me to a summer camp up in the Sierras. One of the activities was sailing on a small lake. They didn’t give us much instruction (or life jackets.. perhaps they were in touch with my parents). Apparently, I really liked it, because I found some letters I sent to my parents in which I was gushing about it.

What are some misconceptions people might have about San Francisco? What might surprise someone?

About San Francisco? Well, that the weather is warm, because it’s in California.
“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” a saying that is almost a San Francisco cliché, turns out to be an invention of unknown origin, the coolest thing Mark Twain never said.
I’d say that beyond that, it’s seeing sailboats on the bay and thinking that it’ll be a mellow, smooth experience guaranteed. It might be, but it could also be a thrilling ride with a fair amount of wildlife including a plethora of sea birds, seals and sea lions, sharks (I’ve seen Great White juveniles jumping), dolphins, and lately humpback whales.

If someone only had an afternoon to visit the bay, what are some highlights you’d recommend?

For San Francisco, it would be the many diverse kinds of food and general tourist sorts of things to see. It really depends on if someone is interested in nature or city stuff. For sailing near SF, I’d say to try and avoid the foggy areas (typical for some parts of the bay), best seen from a distance.

What’s your favorite thing to do out on the water on your boat?

I think the most fun thing is just cruising around, trying to spot dolphins and being amazed by the number of other boats, including sailboats, powerboats, and cargo and oil tankers.

Do you have any tips for people who are trying sailing for the first time?

Give it a try it for a few hours before you make a huge financial commitment or sign up for a long day. I’d also suggest layers of clothing, light food and drink, try to avoid alcohol and greasy food, and consider some sort of seasickness prevention, e.g., pills, patches, or wrist bands.

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