Sailing South of the San Mateo Bridge

Sailing South of the San Mateo Bridge

by Robert Tekiela, February 2012

Have you been to the South Bay? I mean on a boat, not in a car. If you are looking for a change in scenery or are looking to “go were you have not gone before”, there are some interesting destination down there.

Feeling adventurous, a bunch of us took “Pink Slip” and “Monet” for a weekend cruise organized by Chris Owczarek. Our destination was the Peninsula Yacht Club ( located in Docktown, the last marina up the Redwood Creek channel.  It is a funky place. The marina has an eclectic collection of boats and house boats. The club house is in an old water tank which very likely was used to water steam ships in the days when Redwood City still had redwoods. It has a pirate mannequin with an obligatory parrot, a sign suggesting that this is a place “where sailors of yesteryear recount their adventures and tell tall tales”, and a mermaid mural in the head (a must to see for every visitor). I cannot say enough about hospitality of the Peninsula YC members. Judi, the Port Captain of the PYC cooked a delicious Kung Pao Chicken for the hungry visitors, we had great conversations, and learned a lot about sailing in the part of the Bay less familiar to us.  We heard, for example, about sailing trips to Alviso, the southern most marina on the Bay. The trips require careful planning around the tides.

Going to Redwood City requires a lot of planning as well. Docktown is only accessible at higher water levels. We ended up staying overnight in the Redwood City Municipal Marina, less than a mile from Docktown but with plenty of water under the kill. Low, low morning tide would have kept us stranded for hours up the creek. Thanks to the tide however, on the way back we got a very clear view of USS Thompson, a World War I destroyer which was used during WWII as a target practice and lies in the mudflats near eastern shore of the Bay (

It was the most enjoyable trip. If you are looking for a new destination, it may be worth considering. We are very tempted to join PYC in their next Alviso trip.

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2 Responses to Sailing South of the San Mateo Bridge

  1. TW-Matt says:

    Great article, and sounds like it was a fun trip! Thanks for writing it up and thanks for the great photos!

  2. David says:

    I was in Docktown a few months ago helping out a friend who lives on one of those houseboats. The place almost has the feel of the old Sausalito from times gone past. We had live music – the food that the locals cooked up was spot on – and the ambiance is very down to earth. Of course the residents are the magic, and one of the nicest groups of people I have ever met. They were very welcoming, and for the few weeks I was there – one of the best times I have had in awhile. I was surprised to see a place like this still existed in the Bay Area. The water tower bar and club house is as uniqe as you’ll ever find, and has a very warm feel to it. Great place to let your hair hang down…..

    Of course if you draw more then a few feet of water – the creek is a “no go”. It’s silted up very badly and at low, low tide – you might ask were the water went because all you see is mostly mud. I’m still wondering how the few sailboats ever got in there or how they may ever get out.

    Great story.

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