Launch Ramp Mystery Solved

On Monday, we posted a few pictures of Bay Area launch ramps, omitting the location of one of them. We asked our readers if they could identify the location. It comes as no surprise to us that several of our clever readers quickly replied with the correct answer. The mystery ramp? It’s the Encinal ramp behind Encinal High School and adjacent to the Alameda Community Sailing Center. We drew a name from the correct submissions. The winner of a Latitude 38 T-shirt is Alex Hanford, owner of the Alameda-based Catalina 30 Destiny.

Encinal Boat Ramp
Down a narrow lane behind Encinal High School is a ramp, a parking area, a community sailing program and access to the wide-open Bay.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

We also asked readers to suggest some other ramp locations. Mike wrote in suggesting, “Horseshoe Bay right in front of USCG Station Golden Gate. It’s a steep, slippery ramp. I recommend high-tide launching. The Bay Discovery Museum for small children is right next door. Sail over to the Presidio Yacht Club guest dock for lunch and a full bar.”

Horseshoe Cove Launch Ramp
Slippery when wet. This ramp is right under the Golden Gate Bridge, with quick access to the Bay or the Presidio Yacht Club.
© 2019 James Dilworth

Steve Orosz, harbormaster at Marina Bay in Richmond, noted they have a huge ramp with nearby storage, docks, protected waters and plenty of parking. More on that in the June issue.

Ramps like this are scattered all about the Bay. But, given local population growth, they continue to be under threat from development — and sometimes from lack of use! They’re also sometimes forgotten because the Bay is so well known as a windy, rough big-boat venue. However, numerous sailors continue to launch, laugh, and love sailing the Bay on small boats.

Small boat Golden Gate Bridge
The Potter Yachters group frequently demonstrates you can have big adventures on small boats. The launch ramp at Horseshoe Cove made this sail possible.
© 2019 Goose Gosman

Thanks to everyone who sent in an answer and for the suggestions of other Bay Area launch ramps. These launch ramps are the on-ramps for many new and current small-boat sailors. If you have a photo of yourself launching at a favorite sailing site, send it our way.

1 Comment

  1. Richard Bradley Smith 4 months ago

    I launched my Hobie 18 off the Encinal ramp one of the two times I did the Great Vallejo race on my boat some years ago. If fact, older readers may recall seeing it on the rocks out side of the club that night as it is very Orange. If you do the Season Opener on a cat definitely do it from the Richmond ramp. It is a long, long day back to the Encinal ramp and you end up crossing the Slot and behind TI (over powering gusts) late in the afternoon which is not good.

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