2021 Sailing Events in San Francisco, California | Modern Sailing

2021 Sailing Events in San Francisco, California

Sailing Save-the-Dates for San Francisco Bay 2021

Known as a sailing mecca the world over, San Francisco is home to hundreds of sailing events every year. From community boat parades and regattas to the latest innovations in the yacht racing world, you can see it on the Bay. Check out this list and mark your calendars to experience these sensational events that bring the local sailing community out onto the Bay. Some of these event dates are "TBD" (to be determined), but we will continually update this page as event dates are announced. Also, keep an eye out for our specialty Club Sails to experience some of these events from aboard a Modern Sailing yacht.

View our Club Sails calendar here

Three Bridge Fiasco - Saturday, January 30, 2021

The Three Bridge Fiasco hosted by the Single-Handed Sailing Society takes place right outside of the St. Francis Yacht Club. Racers compete single- or double-handed to round three buoys or temporary marks representing the three major bridges of the San Francisco Bay; the Golden Gate Bridge, East Bay Bridge, and Richmond-San Rafel Bridge. This race is an annual event regularly attracting more than 300 yachts and teams from all over the Bay Area. Due to COVID-19, this year, the race has been limited to 125 single-handed yachts. MSC members can bareboat charter to witness some of the spectacle.

Enjoy this video clip of Modern Sailing School & Club's owner and CEO, Captain Leigh Hunt and sailing instructor and Captain Jimmie Marquez as they attempted the 2020 socked-in, strong-ebbed regatta. 

Pacific Inter-Club Yacht Association Unity Parade - February 20, 12:00 - 3:00 PM

PICYA presents the UNITY PARADE in celebration and recognition of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition held on Treasure Island. In cooperation with the Treasure Island Museum and additional partners to be announced.

Join in on a 360 Three Hour Parade around Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island beginning at noon. All boaters welcome. 4 entry points to enter the ongoing Parade at the north, east, west and south marks to be provided.  

Latitude 38 Crew List Parties - Spring and Fall (dates TBD)

Check for updates on Latitude38's virtual crew list page

These parties occur twice annually and are hosted by our favorite maritime news outlet, Latitude 38. Hosted by the Golden Gate Yacht Club from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, the event is a meet and greet for Bay Area Sailors (crew and boat owners), featuring stunning views of the Bay, and a live life raft launch from Sal's Inflatable Services. $10 cash at the door or $5 for ages 25 and under with ID. Learn more

International Ocean Film Festival - April 16 - 30, 2021 (Virtual)

Learn about the ocean, its inhabitants, the people who play in it, and people who work on it at the International Ocean Film Festival. Each year the IOFF aims to save the oceans one film at a time by inspiring film-goers to become the voice of Earth's largest organ. This year, the 18th Annual IOFF will take place online and in person if possible. Check out the schedule and get your tickets here

Opening Day on the Bay - Sunday, April 25, 2021

Celebrate the official beginning to the San Francisco Bay sailing season with fellow sailing enthusiasts! 2021 marks the 104th annual celebration kicking off the start of the boating season in the Bay Area. From the blessing of the fleet in Racoon Straights to the parade of decorated boats, Opening Day on the Bay is one of the premier sailing events of the year. Dating back to 1917 and organized by the Pacific Inter-Club Yacht Association, the parade sails from the shadows of the Golden Gate Bridge to just past Pier 39. Any vessels can take part as long as they register beforehand. The procession regularly features tug boats, clean-up boats and tour boats, with visitors and spectators onboard. Judges are on hand to dish out prizes for the décor and imagination of the colorful vessels. More details to come as the 2021 Celebration planning comes together!

Remain subscribed to the Modern Sailing weekly newsletter email for Opening Day on the Bay Parade Club Sail announcements so that you can join in and participate in this spectacular event. If you're not already subscribed, subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

Jazz by the Bay - Friday Nights this summer (dates TBD)

Enjoy late summer nights and the smooth tunes of jazz on land or from the water. Hosted by Sausalito Parks and Recreation, Jazz by the Bay is a community event focused on park enjoyment and music appreciation. During the summer, these weekly Friday night concerts occur in Gabrielson Park overlooking Richardson Bay and the Sausalito Yacht Club mooring balls. Book a boat to enjoy the tunes and sunset. 

The Master Mariners Annual Regatta (date TBD)

Hosted by the Master Mariners Benevolent Association, a San Francisco yacht club that dates back to 1867, the Master Mariner's Regatta is an exquisite event showcasing wooden tall ships from all over the Bay Area. In contrast to SailGP, boaters will have the opportunity to experience the historic heritage of sailing innovation at its finest.

Summer Sailstice - June 19, 2021

Celebrate the year's longest day and the start of summer on the "Sailstice." Organized by Bay Area sailor John Arndt, this event is a global affair that brings sailors together to celebrate their favorite pastime - sailing. Participation in the Summer Sailstice event is free. All you have to do is slip the lines, hoist your sails, and head out to your favorite body of water on a sailboat. Modern Sailing members can participate in Summer Sailstice by chartering a boat or joining a Club Sail. Share your Sailstice plans for a chance to win epic prizes from sponsors such as North Sails, Navionics, American Sailing Association, US Sailing, and more!

Independence Day Celebration - Sunday, July 4, 2021

Celebrate America's independence on the water! Chartering a sailboat or join a Club Sail to watch the multitude of fireworks shows around the Bay Area from the water.

Rolex Big Boat Series and J/88 Nationals - September 15 - 19, 2021

The Rolex Big Boat Series is a four-day regatta founded by the St. Francis Yacht Club in 1964. The annual event attracts competitive racing teams and big racing boats from all over the state, nation, and world. Thousands of racers and hundreds of boats take to the Bay each day of the race, competing for first place and the Rolex watch that comes with it. MSC club members can bareboat charter or join a Club Sail to witness the excitement from the water.

Fleet Week - October 3 - 11, 2021

The grand finale to summer in San Francisco, Fleet Week, celebrates the United States Navy allowing civilians to tour warships while their sailors tour the city. The week begins with a parade of ships progressing to free concerts, educational events, and family fun. Fleet Week's grand finale is a two-day air show over the Bay featuring the Blue Angels of the United States Airforce, the F-35 Demo Team, a demo from United's largest airplane, and several internationally known performance flight teams. The best seat in the house for these shows is from a boat on the Bay - keep an eye out for our Club Sails that weekend. 

Leukemia Cup Regatta - October 2021 (TBD)

Join Modern Sailing School, Pirates for a Cause, and hundreds of Bay Area racers on the San Francisco Bay for the Leukemia Cup Regatta. In conjunction with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and yacht clubs across America, the Leukemia Cup Regatta has raised millions of dollars to support cancer patients and help find a cure for blood cancers. In 2019, Modern Sailing and Pirates for a Cause helped raise $17,780 with the help of 54 "pirates" and eight teams!

Sausalito Lighted Boat Parade - December 2021 (date TBD)

Spark the spirit of the season with holiday lights, music and fireworks on the water! This special event is a holiday tradition in Sausalito and across the Bay Area. Every year, we enter two of our club boats in the parade and our hard-working fleet staff decorate them for our members and guests to participate in this magical experience. With the sounds of holiday music and cheering spectators, you and your guests will be dazzled by the spectacle of decorated boats and fireworks. An enchanting and memorable event to kick off the season, even the grinchiest of sailors will be unable to resist the holiday cheer.

Do you know of any other 2021 San Francisco Bay Area sailing events? Let us know and we'll add it to this list!

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  • Steve Hood, Basic Coastal Cruising

    I would definitely recommend Modern Sailing to anyone who is interested in learning to sail the right way.

  • Esther C

    I took ASA 101 with them recently. They have the best customer service I've ever seen! I mistyped my address when I signed up online so didn't receive the textbook. I called and the lady immediately sent me another copy! Everyone at the club is super friendly.

  • John Kratochvil, Oregon

    I would like to compliment Stan Lander for his coaching, counseling and teaching Heavy Weather Offshore Sailing. Stan was very accommodating to all of the student's interests and shared his many years of insight on handling the boat in heavy seas. I would certainly recommend Stan and this course to sheltered waters sailors. My confidence in handling a boat of this size was certainly enhanced by the experience.

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