Summer Sailstice Returns to Celebrate the Wide World of Sailing

Despite an extremely active Bay Area sailing scene, thousands of local boats remain tied to their docks day after day, week after week, and sometimes for years on end.

Summer Sailstice is an annual global celebration of sailing for people of all ages and abilities. Photo by John Arndt


Published: June, 2019


Despite an extremely active Bay Area sailing scene, thousands of local boats remain tied to their docks day after day, week after week, and sometimes for years on end. Often the people and skills to use them are in short supply.


Boats need people, and despite the myth about the high price of sailing, the vast majority of sailors sail as crew on other people’s boats. This gives other people the opportunity to get out on the water and enjoy all that sailing has to offer. But it’s also the challenge that inspired John Arndt, publisher of local sailing magazine Latitude 38, to create Summer Sailstice in 2001. It’s an annual, global sailing celebration that unites sailors worldwide to celebrate and share their passion for sailing.


Now celebrating its 19th year, Summer Sailstice also signifies the official start to the summer sailing season. Held this year on Saturday, June 22—the day after the summer solstice marking the longest day of the year—Summer Sailstice will see hundreds of Bay Area sailors out on the water under billowing sails as their boats crisscross, meander and race all over the Bay from San Rafael to Tiburon, the Delta, Richmond, Oakland, Mountain View and beyond.


“With the Bay literally at the doorstep of millions of local residents it’s always a shame to see so many people spend hours in a car driving away from one of the region’s best activities, sailing,” Arndt said. “Summer Sailstice is dedicated to connecting everyone with sailing by celebrating the full mosaic of the sailing culture.”


The San Francisco Bay Area provides dozens of opportunities for people from all walks of life to experience and enjoy sailing. And on June 22, the Bay Area will become a hive of activity as sailors, clubs, schools and charter boats open their doors and ready their boats to welcome aboard everyone from professional sailors to recreational cruisers and student sailors, right through to the merely curious I’ve-never-sailed-before newcomers in celebration of Summer Sailstice.


Just as there are countless different types of sailboats, there are numerous styles of sailing—ocean cruising, racing, day sailing, bay sailing, tall ships, small ships and everything in between. And not every sailor will agree on which style or boat is best, which is what makes Summer Sailstice all the more fun. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join the June 22 celebrations. And you can enjoy a variety of sailing boats and learn about the different styles of sailing right here on the Bay.


“The entire sailing community wants to help Bay Area residents take a break from the challenges of life ashore and discover the freedom and escape provided by sailing. Many organizations are signed up to share the experience by connecting current and future sailors. We invite you to find your way to the Bay on June 22, untie the dock lines, hoist sails and enjoy sailing with the many sailors ready to show you how,” Arndt said.


Whether you’re a curious newcomer or long-ago sailor who’s been on land for a while, you can join in as sailors all over the country and around the world launch their boats, grab crew, friends and family, hoist sails to cruise, race or just daysail.


Listed on these pages is a small sample of the events that Bay Area sailing organizations have already added to the list of fun celebrations. New events are being added daily at As the event draws nearer, more and more Bay Area sailing groups, organizations and individuals will add their sailing plans to the Summer Sailstice map, giving everyone more opportunities to get out on the water to enjoy and learn about sailing, and fewer reasons not to.


The Summer Sailstice website allows everyone to find an event near them. The events are marked by either a yellow pin, meaning that the event is open to the public, or a red pin meaning a demonstration event showcasing the best of sailing life. Individuals that list private plans are indicated by a blue pin. When you browse the site you’ll find all kinds of sailing, from cruising and racing to backyard dinghies. The beauty, fun, simplicity and accessibility of sailing is all on display and being celebrated across the United States on the Summer Sailstice weekend. Find a boat, jump aboard and hoist your sails to start your summer of sailing.


Plus, everyone who registers on the Summer Sailstice website to participate in the June 22 celebrations automatically becomes eligible to win prizes from any of dozens of sailing oriented businesses and organizations. It’s easy to get on board with Summer Sailstice. Sign up and RSVP to a sailing event near you!


•  Call of the Sea is celebrating Summer Sailstice by offering free two-hour sails aboard the schooner Seaward. Reservations are required. The Seaward affiliate Matthew Turner, a tall ship built in Sausalito, is also signed up and will spend Summer Sailstice receiving finishing touches ahead of her USCG inspections. The event is in Sausalito. For more information, call (415) 331-3214.


•  Afterguard Sailing Academy invites you to join them for their “Play Day with Small Boats & Flare Shoot Off.” Rig and sail small boats such as El Toros and Sabots, and then learn how to set off flares, safely, just in case one day you need to. You can also try out a hydro-bike and hard or inflatable kayaks. Reservations are required. The event is in Oakland. For more information, call (510) 535-1954.


•  Shoreline Lake Boathouse & American Bistro is inviting you to experience sailing with free skippered sailboat rides for kids (ages 2-12), free racing demos for non-sailors, and a free 30-minute intro sailing lesson when you purchase a picnic basket and sailing package (both Saturday and Sunday). The event is in Mountain View. For more information, call (650) 965-7474.


•  Join the 11th Annual Westpoint Regatta sailing out of Treasure Island around Alcatraz Island and on to Redwood City where you spend the night and enjoy the Island Time Party at Sequoia Yacht Club. For more information, call (415) 771-9500.


•  Encinal Yacht Club is hosting the Snipe Fleet 12 race in Alameda. For more information, call (510) 522-3272.


•  Shared-ownership club SailTime will be out sailing and meet up at Clipper Cove in the afternoon for a raft up. Some will stay overnight.


•  Corinthian Yacht Club is starting the Summer Sailstice weekend with its regular Friday night race series (June 21) off the race deck in Belvedere Cove. Located in Tiburon. For more information, contact


•  And on Sunday, June 23, explore the world of wooden boats with the open-to-the public, one-day-only, largest wooden boat show in Northern California at the Master Mariners 26th Wooden Boat Show held at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon.

A big kid gives little kids their first taste of sailing during last year’s Summer Sailstice. Photo by John Arndt

There are many sailboats large and small looking for crew and ready to welcome you aboard on Summer Sailstice. Photo by John Arndt