Bay Area yacht racers (and hopefully boaters of all kinds) know that a restricted zone exists off the northwestern corner of Alcatraz Island. A red and green buoy, marked “AZ” and nicknamed “Little Alcatraz,” indicates the rocks there. Vessels are forbidden from crossing between the buoy and the island.
But did you know that the south shore of Alcatraz is sometimes restricted too? Racers often sail very close to the south shore of Alcatraz for current relief and/or to sail the shortest, most efficient course.
Richmond YC received this message following their recent Intraclub Race: “I’m a Park Ranger with the GGNRA [Golden Gate National Recreation Area] based on Alcatraz Island,” wrote biologist Lidia D’Amico. “I’m contacting the Richmond City Yacht Club [sic] in regards to a July 9 sailing event that took place within 100 yards of Alcatraz Island. NPS [National Park Service] advises all watercraft to maintain a distance of at least 100 yards from the north, south and west shoreline of the island during the seabird breeding season (February-September).
“This past Saturday, we documented this race passing well within 100 yards of the southern end of the island, where we have a nesting bird colony. As a friendly reminder, if this information can be passed on to your club members we would greatly appreciate your cooperation.”
RYC did forward this message to their membership, and passed it along to us to share with our readers.