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San Francisco Boat Show debut makes January feel like summer vacation

Visitors kicked off their shoes and enjoyed a summer-like day exploring yachts
Visitors kicked off their shoes and enjoyed a summer-like day exploring yachts
Cindy Warner

The inaugural San Francisco Boat Show at Pier 48 next to AT & T park felt like summer vacation on Saturday with barefoot tours of the yachts docked at McCovey cove in the sun. Informal seminars on sailing SF Bay, cruising the coast from Alaska to Mexico, anchoring, foul weather sailing, the America's Cup and more took place at the pier with its indoor boat show including a swimming pool for paddle boarding. The show is for all ages and all levels.

Yachtsman Magazine and live-aboard sailor Mark Reid tours the yachts in his socks at the first ever San Francisco Boat Show on Saturday, closing Sunday.
Cindy Warner

Related: SF Boat Show inaugural year

From the looks of the piles of shoes on the docks near the yachts, the show attracted folks in black leather cowboy boots, rubber flip flops, running shoes and me in a post-foot surgery shoe with velcro and my blue sparkly pedicure. Most don't need to go so far as a pedicure but clean feet would be nice. Bare feet grip the slippery pristine surfaces better than socks, which slip and slide.

Visitors removed their shoes to explore each yacht as they wished, from bedrooms inside the hulls of a catamaran to a glorious sleeping space on a raised interior deck above the galley, with a glass ceiling to see the stars.

Andy and Danny presented Protectors, made on SF Bay. The rubber inflatables have two huge outboard engines that also look like a BBQ and a kegorator strapped to the back. The protectors were used as chase boats for the America's Cup and can speed along at 60 miles an hour, just a bit faster than the gigantic racing catamarans. The company advertises the Protectors can go in any water anywhere. They only need fifteen inches of water to sail, in other words they have a 15 inch draft.

Yachtsman Magazine editor Mark Reid, who lives on his boat in Marin County while his son attends U.C. Berkeley, chatted at the seminar about the America's Cup and even he learned a few things. ORACLE TEAM USA's history-making skipper Jimmy Spithill is rumored to be signing again with the Italian team or "Prada" as it is affectionately called. A man named Craig is rumored to be a candidate to become the director of the next America's Cup since Ian Murray, an Australian, joined the Australians who then became the challenger of record.

The America's Cup goes back to the mid-1850s when boats were the height of technological achievement. The English hosted the race and at the time were a world power if not the dominant power and based their strength on the English rule of the sea. At the time ships were shaped like fish, with round fronts and slimmer back ends. However, ships move across the surface rather than swimming below it and the Americans redesigned accordingly. America consequently took the cup home.

Russell Coutts says things will begin in 2015.

The popular AC45s remain housed together on SF Bay. These smaller foiling catamarans race with their camber and twist pre-set, unlike the larger AC72s which take constant tweaking or adjustment and have hydraulic power. The next finalist cats will be smaller since the AC72s spill power at the top, making them too tall and inefficient.

Women are eligible to compete for spots but it takes enormous upper body strength. More likely, women would earn spots on the AC45s in the Red Bull Youth Challenge even if strength demands preclude most women from sailing AC72s of the finals.

Meanwhile, enjoy the last day of the four day show on Sunday, January 26.

It's a pleasant stroll along the Embarcadero, biking and roller skating is easy plus there re pedicabs. There's the N Judah muni to the baseball park which riders catch inside the BART station at Embarcadero.

Sunday, January 26, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cable car shuttle bus from McCovey cove to Pier 48.

WHERE: McCovey Cove & Pier 48 – Adjacent to AT&T Park

24 Willie Mays Plaza

San Francisco, California 94107

TICKETS: $12/adults (16 and older)/Free to youth 15 and under if accompanied by paying adult.

DISCOUNTS: BART ticket holders-$2 discount. Giants season ticket holders-50% off adult admission.

Active military personnel, firemen and police are admitted FREE with ID.

Advance tickets can be purchased at

Official show guide here

For more information:;;

Check out youth sailing around the Bay at, particularly the 75 year old program on Oakland’s Lake Merritt. Cal Sailing (unrelated to the university) at the Berkeley marina offers a cooperative program based on volunteering.

For more stories by this writer check out CBS San Francisco's website under Eye on the Bay, San Francisco arts & culture "Best Of"; and San Francisco Arts & Culture on Subscribe by hitting the SUBSCRIBE button at the top of this article.

Original America’s Cup San Francisco photos:

CBS SF website: Weirdest museums in the East Bay

CBS SF website: Best permanent exhibits in the North Bay

America’s Cup Red Bull Youth Challenge

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