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A Sailor Shares His Tips on Entering Clipper Cove

The annual holiday season is approaching like a boat motoring too fast into the dock, but unlike driving a boat, there’s nothing we can do about the march of time. So with this in mind, we want to share a video that could be useful to sailors planning to do some Bay sailing during their free time in the coming months.

Jeffrey Berman, of the Tartan 4000 Maverick, had sent us a letter and a video with some tips about entering Clipper Cove. We shared Jeffrey’s letter, republished below, in July’s Latitude 38:

“Many of you are probably thinking about going to Clipper Cove, but aren’t sure how to do it safely. There’s lots of lore about how to get in and out.

“I took video using a Raymarine 3D RealVision sonar and current chart. It was taken at a +1.4 tide. The chart shows the survey depth vs. the sonar depth. [Clipper Cove] has silted up due to tug wash from the bridge construction. It’s soft bottom and can be pushed through; my boat lagged a bit as I hit the soft spot. The conclusion is about a plus-two-ft tide will get you in and out easily. Average draft of six feet is the number I am using for the +two-ft tide.

“Stick close to the pier; make the line from the point of the pier to the small-boat ramp and all will be fine. Avoid the space between there and the bridge. It gets thin there.

“Clipper Cove is named for the Pan Am Clipper seaplanes that used to fly in and out of the Bay. There is a museum in the building with the control tower. Some restaurants and hiking can be done for a nice afternoon. Beaching is easy: Take a long painter to tie off your dinghy. Zipping around in the dinghy and meeting neighbors is always fun. Grab a shot of the new Bay Bridge all lit up at night — quite pretty from the cove. Enjoy being looked at with envy by shorebirds (human type).”

But we couldn’t work out how to share the video in print. So here it is, online:

Thanks again to Jeffrey Berman for sharing.


  1. Makana 7 months ago

    This is great information, very much appreciated!

    Hitting a shallow spot of ~2.8 ft on a 1.4ft tide – that’s worse than I thought.

    A 4 foot high tide would be only 5.4′ deep in the shallow spot of the channel, and one could walk across the channel on a negative tide, if they were willing to get their shoes wet. It’s a lovely spot, and I wonder if there is a prospect of getting a little dredge action there?

  2. Lee 7 months ago

    I used to keep my keelboat at TISC, and one of my winter pasttimes was watching people ride out the tide while stuck in the mud south of the line Jeffrey describes. The TISC instructors (J/24 sailors) always advised cutting in northwest to parallel the pier a ways before heading back southwest – so, sail an inverted V shape – in order to maintain depth. This always worked for us (4′ draft) regardless of tide, but for deeper draft boats I’d suggest keeping an eye on the tide regardless.

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