Opening Day of Sailing Season: Rich Sailor Man, Poor Sailor Man


The San Francisco Bay is free from pirate infestations, so it'll be clear sailing on April 25 -- the official opening day of Northern California’s sailing season. Para surfers beware, sailboats of all stripes will take to the seas to catch the spring breeze and no doubt the envious eyes of landlubber bystanders.

The last Sunday in April has marked the kick-off of sailing season since 1917.  Spectators will get to watch 300 tricked out boats float proudly in parade formation. The theme (apparently there are themes,) for 2009 is “Legends of the Sea,” which suggests that the event might be something of a watery Bay to Breakers deal, with va va voomey mermaids and snappy Loch Nesses adorning boats and/or people.

But even if you don't own sloop or schooner and even if you’re not a card carrying member of the SF yacht club, you can climb aboard a number of vessels such as The USS Potomac – which was President Roosevelt's "Floating White House" -- and see the parade in style.

On Opening Day eve, big spenders can celebrate at sunset, aboard Call of the Sea’s 82-foot schooner, Seaward. Saturday afternoon marks the celebenefit party for “Call of the Sea”, a Sausalito-based nonprofit dedicated to connecting Bay Area students to the sea and the world around them, transforming their lives through the challenges of sailing a tall ship. Call of the Sea provides hands-on, experiential sailing programs for underserved youth in the Bay Area. Their fundraising bash is on dry land – at the Bay Model Visitor Center, a place many of us have been meaning to get to.

Meanwhile, the Treasure Island Sailing Center will be hosting free sailboat and kayak rides for families, with music, food, games and whatnot (presumably not while kayaking.) The Treasure Island Sailing Center offers sailing lessons to all ages and abilities and provides scholarships to families in need.

Looks like you don't have to live large, own in Pac Heights or rent a berth at the Marina to get nautical. What with all these socially conscious sailing outfits and Navy Seals popping Somali pirates, Popeye’s not the only honorable sailor on the high seas nowadays

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