Local knowledge for Alameda Community Sailing Center

Al Sargent
4 min readSep 15, 2023

Alameda Community Sailing Center (ACSC) is one of the hubs of Laser (ILCA) sailing in the Bay Area. As someone who sails out of there regularly, here are some tips for out-of-town visitors.

Getting there

If flying in, Oakland International (OAK) is the closest airport. San Francisco International (SFO) is the next closest. San Jose airport is pretty far away.

If driving in, enter “Alameda Community Sailing Center” into Google Maps, Waze, or Apple Maps. Note that the last turn into our driveway can be easy for first-timers to miss; that turn off is at 161 Central Ave, Alameda, CA 94501. Here’s what that looks like.

Keep following your maps directions to the end of the parking lot. Eventually you’ll see a sign marking your destination:

Boat storage

To store your boat at ACSC before or after the regatta, contact contact them.

Lodging

For lodging, check out hotels in Alameda: Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham and Neptune Palace Hotel. Emeryville is about ten minutes away and has two Hyatts, a Sheraton, and a Hilton. Berkeley is 20 minutes away and has an Aiden by Best Western and Residence Inn. Avoid San Francisco since it will be more expensive and Bay Bridge traffic can be unpredictable.

As for restaurants, there are tons in Alameda, Berkeley, and the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland. Use Yelp to find them. An easy and inexpensive go-to if you’re hungry after a windy session is the Alameda In-N-Out Burger.

Local conditions

For detailed wind forecasts, you can use PredictWind and the Saildrone app has both wind and current forecasts. ACSC is open water with oscillating shifts, so bring a compass if you have one. Tidal currents are milder than on, say, the San Francisco cityfront. If you want to see what the current is doing, the large freighters to the west will tell you; they rotate on their anchors, with their sterns pointing in the direction of the current.

Alameda’s climate is generally pretty mild. For example, average air temperatures in October are a high of 71 degrees and a low of 55. While we can get rain, it’s unlikely. Average wind speeds in October start at 6 knots at noon and peak at 9 knots around 5 pm. Source. Water temps are typically around 60 degrees in October.

Here are a couple of shot of our typical conditions, both taken the same afternoon. Sometimes, it’s 9 knots and full hiking, and sometimes, the breeze drops to 5 knots.

Clothing

In terms of clothing, it’s good to be ready for a range of temperatures. For mild days, a 1mm wetsuit top and hiking pants are a good idea. For hot days, a lycra top plus hiking pants are the right call; even if the air temps are hot, the water temps are chilly. For cold days — which can be during our winter, as well as our Twain-esque summers, follow this guide to cold weather Laser sailing gear.

ACSC doesn’t have a locker room, so to change into and out of your clothes, you should bring a towel. Also, a bath mat set on the pavement is nice to keep your feet clean.

Whatever you do, don’t sail barefoot, since you’ll be launching off a ramp. Speaking of…

Ramp

It’s a couple-minute walk from ACSC to the public ramp, so a dolly is mandatory. We share the ramp with a bunch of other folks, including fishermen, paddle boarders, and kayakers, so it’s important that you’re ready to get in and out quickly. Here are tips on how to be a good ramp citizen.

Here’s what the ACSC ramp looks like.

Onsite food and drink

Bring your own food and drinking water from the hotel or wherever you’re staying. As a former Navy base, ACSC doesn’t yet have plumbing. This isn’t a yacht club; it’s a boat storage facility with covered picnic tables (see below). What makes ACSC awesome are its sailing conditions — not its dining service.

Safety

The one thing to keep in mind is car break-ins. It’s all too common in the Bay Area. One tip is to think like a thief: they probably won’t want a laundry basket of wet clothing and a rudder is unsellable. But a toolbox, sunglasses, or duffle bag will look enticing. So keep as much as possible in your hotel room or ACSC. Keep your enticing items hidden under the sail-specific/wet stuff. Don’t leave anything with Bluetooth or WiFi in your car, even if hidden. That said, I’ve never heard of anything being stolen out of the ACSC parking lot. More tips.

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Al Sargent

Occasional thoughts on tech, sailing, and San Francisco