Sailboat Racing in San Francisco | Modern Sailing

Sailboat Racing on San Francisco Bay

Take your sailing skills to the next level and learn to race sailboats! The San Franciso Bay is known as a sailing mecca and racers from around the globe come to test their skills under the Golden Gate Bridge. The Bay's famous winds and significant currents test every team’s expertise, strategy, and mettle year-round.


Join our Racing Program and you will join an inclusive community of sailors while adding depth and dimension to your sailing knowledge.

Explore the topics below to discover Racing Program details and the wide range of opportunities that Modern Sailing has made available for you to learn, practice, and compete.

Wondering if racing is for you? Check out our Member Resources article Five Reasons to Race with Modern Sailing.


San Francisco Bay Area Sailboat Racing Clinics

Prior racing experience is required to join our teams in the local yacht club races. However, if you're new to racing, our Racing Clinic will fulfill this requirement and prepare you to be a solid crew member on any Modern race boat. 

With locations in Berkeley and Sausalito, Modern Sailing is able to offer the widest range of opportunities to learn and experience the excitement of yacht club racing on San Francisco Bay.

The Racing Clinic is a 2-day clinic that will teach you performance sail trim, efficient maneuvers, and the basics of the race course. After spending a portion of the clinic honing these skills, you will enjoy hands-on experience racing against another Modern boat! 

The Asymmetrical Spinnaker Clinic will teach you all the ins and outs of flying this beautiful light wind sail. You will spend two days getting familiar with all the crew positions to hoist, trim, jibe, and douse an asymmetrical spinnaker. 

RACING CLINIC   ASYMMETRICAL SPINNAKER CLINIC


This two-day clinic is for qualified sailors to learn the fundamentals of sailboat racing. We will work on starts, marks, windward-leeward courses, optimal sail trim, and the basics of racing rules, strategy, and tactics. The majority of instructional time will be on the water but we will include classroom sessions on these topics. Practice races will be conducted with white sails only to help students focus on the fundamentals of racing.

The Racing Clinic meets the prerequisite to enroll in the Berkeley BYC Midwinters and Friday Night Races and the various SYC, CYC, and GGYC Drop-In races out of Sausalito.

Price: Members $535 / Non-members $645
Prerequisites: Silver or Sportboat Fleet Rating
Duration: 2 days, 9:00am - 4:00pm

 


Aboard one of our fully outfitted J/105s (Berkeley) or a Catalina 320 (Sausalito), this clinic focuses on all aspects of asymmetrical spinnaker handling. We will practice a number of different sets, jibes, douses, and crew overboard recovery maneuvers with a spinnaker.

The Spinnaker Clinic is not required to join Drop-In Races, but the racing coach may decide to not fly the spinnaker during a race if there aren't enough spinnaker-trained sailors aboard.

This clinic is also a prerequisite for bareboat chartering with a spinnaker.

Price: Members $535 / Non-members $645
Prerequisites: Silver or Sportboat Fleet Rating
Duration: 2 days, 9:00am - 4:00pm


Enroll now and be ready to join the races for the upcoming season!

View the Schedule of Clinics and Enroll Online 


Sailboat Races and Regattas in the SF Bay Area

Once you've completed the Racing Clinic, you are eligible to join the races!

The Bay’s many yacht clubs take turns hosting regattas year-round, giving sailors ample opportunity to partake in thrilling races all over the Bay Area. During races, our participants rotate through different roles (skipper, helm/driver, spinnaker trimmer, jib trimmer, foredeck crew, midship/mastman, tactician) in order to gain skills and confidence in each role. Each team will have one of our USCG Captains on board to give expert advice and coach racers across the finish line.

Below are some of the Bay Area yacht club races that we typically enter our teams in.
 

BERKELEY RACES   SAUSALITO RACES


Berkeley Yacht Club (BYC)

  • Friday Night Beer Can Races - Friday evenings April through September.
  • Midwinter Series - Second Sundays of the month November through February.
  • Chowder Races - Sundays October through March. 
 


Sausalito Yacht Club (SYC)

  • Chili Midwinter Series - First Sunday of every month during the mid-winter season.
  • Summer Sunset Series - Every other Thursday evening from May to September.

Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC)

  • Midwinter Series - First Saturday of every month November through March.

Corinthian Yacht Club (CYC)

  • Friday Night Series - Every Friday during summer months.


View the Race Schedule and Enroll Online 

A Three-Tier Yacht Racing Program for Beginning to Advanced Racers

When signing up for races online, you will encounter some different types of races. Here's how to distinguish between them and know which you are eligible for.

TIER ONE: DROP-IN RACING   TIER 2: CLUB RACE TEAMS   TIER 3: PERFORMANCE RACE TEAMS

Drop-In Races are perfect for those who are just getting started with racing, or those who want to occasionally race and cannot commit to regular attendance in a full series. Members and non-members are invited to sign up.

Drop-In Races are also skippered by a Modern Sailing instructor who serves as a race coach.

There tends to a wide variety of crew members and coaches participating in the various races within a series.

In Sausalito Yacht Club races, drop-in teams race aboard a Catalina 320 or a J/105. In Berkeley Yacht Club races, drop-in teams are typically racing J/105s.

The prerequisite for joining Drop-In Races is completion of the Racing Clinic. The Spinnaker Clinic is not required, but the racing coach may decide to not fly the spinnaker during a race if there aren't enough spinnaker-trained sailors aboard.

 

Club Race Teams give racers the opportunity to develop skills both individually and together to become a cohesive and competitive team. Racers are required to sign up for all races in a local yacht club series.

Club Race Teams are usually skippered by a Club Race Skipper who is an experienced racer. Teams sail a J/99 or J/105. 

After completing the Racing Clinic, Asymmetrical Spinnaker Clinic, and three (3) Drop-In Races, Modern Sailing members are eligible to join a Club Race Team. Stay tuned to our weekly email - we'll announce when we are building new teams before the start of a series. Learn about club membership.

Club Race Teams also serve as training grounds and feeder for our Tier 3 Performance Race Teams.

 

Tier 3 Performance Teams have the opportunity to participate in international regattas and elite racing events on San Francisco Bay such as the Rolex Big Boat Series.

Racers will train together on multiple occasions in advance of the event to get well-prepared to put in their best possible performance for the event.

For the class-level spring and summer series, the prerequisites for crew are a minimum of 12 days of racing experience, preferably in the Modern Sailing Racing Program.

Participation in the Rolex Big Boat Series is by Modern Sailing invitation only. Preference is given to members who have participated in the Spring and Summer Series J/88 Performance Program, or who have had frequent participation in past races with Modern Sailing. 

Learn More


Race Pricing

Drop-In Races

To purchase online, click a hyperlinked price above.

View the Race Schedule and Enroll Online

Club Race Teams

Drop-In and Club Race Team prices are subject to change by season or series.


Questions?

We're happy to help! Please feel free to reach out to our friendly customer support team. Representatives at either location can answer questions for both locations. 

Berkeley and Sausalito Contact Information


Drop-In Race Cancellation Policy

  • If you cancel your reservation in a Drop-In Race with notice more than 72 hours (24 hours in winter) prior to the Race, you will receive a full refund.
  • If you cancel less than 72 hours (24 hours in winter), there is no refund.

Club Race Team Cancellation Policy

  • If you cancel at any time before the start of the series, you are eligible for a 50% refund.
  • If you cancel any of the races during the series, there is no refund. Participants are expected to attend all sessions.
  • Your position will be filled permanently if you miss more than one race in the series.


 

 

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Testimonials

  • John Kipping

    The meeting room was quite adequate and the location most convenient, but the course outline and instruction were outstanding. Modern Sailing is fortunate to have such a well organized instructor in Mr. Stan Lander who teaches very well from a rich professional background. Mr. Lander was generous with his time and patiently in helping students who needed more attention or time in understanding various aspects of the curriculum.

  • 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 Clark

    Every aspect of Modern Sailing - training, syllabus, course materials, quality of the boats, quality of the instructors, and the very friendly and helpful staff - exceeded my expectations. Modern Sailing has a first class sailing program in an environment with challenging winds and currents. I look forward to coming back to charter a boat and certainly plan to continue my sailing training.

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Contact Us

Modern Sailing School & Club

Sausalito Location
2310 Marinship Way, Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 331-8250
(800) 995-1668

Berkeley Location
1 Spinnaker Way, Berkeley, CA 94710
(415) 331-8250
(800) 995-1668

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