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Sailing the SF bay with Captain Kirk

By Kelly Church

With more than 30 years of sailing experience, 20 of which have been spent sailing the San Francisco bay, Kirk Miller opened Captain Kirk's San Francisco Sailing to take residents and tourists on water adventures. Guests can choose from a variety of charter options and even sailing lessons for those who want to learn a new skill. Miller has a great appreciation for the bay and everything it has to offer, and Sue Bobette, who works at Captain Kirk's San Francisco Sailing, said that Miller wanted to share his passion with the community.

"The bay area is a beautiful place, and the best place to see it is from the bay," Bobette said. "It is a beautiful amazing experience sailing out on the bay and under the Golden Gate Bridge. With the huge population of the bay area, there are few people getting out there and experiencing this. Captain Kirk wanted to share this."

Miller, who's sailed across an ocean, retired from his longtime engineering career to focus on his love of sailing the bay. He and his team offer four-hour cruises that cross underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and sail past the San Francisco waterfront, Alcatraz Island and Angel Island. A similar but shorter charter is the three-hour cruise. There is also a sunset cruise that leaves Sausalito two hours before sunset to get the best view from the water.

Captain Kirk also offers special trips, including the harbor porpoise trip that gives guests a glimpse of the harbor porpoises playing in the bay. The Angel Island barbecue is another, taking guests to pre-arranged barbecues that feed six to 100 people. Lastly, the company offers special ash scattering charters for up to 24 people, allowing friends and family to spread their loved one's ashes underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.

"We want people to come away from the trip feeling like they spent the day with friends, our crew in addition to their friends, and had the best day ever out on the bay," Bobette said.

For the thrill seekers, Miller takes a hands-on approach to teaching sailing lessons. As a certified instructor through the American Sailing Association, Miller teaches students on highly responsive charter yachts that are also ex-racing boats. He says that because of how quickly the boats react to the sailor, students are able to learn quicker. Captain Kirk's offers sailing lessons at no cost to those who charter a boat.

Bobette says the San Francisco bay is the perfect area for sailing, not only because of the great wind conditions on the water, but also because of the large amount of history that can be seen from the bay. She says every captain at Captain Kirk's is "well versed in the history of the area" and more than happy to answer any questions about Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, the Sausalito hills, wildlife and more.

To find out about pricing and schedule a trip on the bay waters with Captain Kirk's, visit or call. Gift certificates are available for those who want to give the gift of sailing for a special occasion. Corporate teambuilding is also offered.

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