The Port of Redwood City has been a busy place since 1851, when the first redwood trees started tumbling into the creek on their way to building the growing city of San Francisco and other Peninsula communities. The first locally built sailing ship, the Redwood, was also built in 1851, in one of 12 shipyards on Redwood Creek. Much has changed since Larry Sturhan wrote about Pete’s Harbor and Al’s Marine in our August 1985 issue, but thankfully there are folks like Mark Sanders and neighboring organizations working to keep the culture and tradition of sailing, and access to the South Bay, alive.
We stopped in to see Mark Sanders, owner of Westpoint Harbor, during one of the recent bright, sunny January days to see a harbor full of masts — a joyous sight for 170 years since Redwood’s masts were first raised, though most are aluminum these days.
One pair of wooden masts stood out. They belong to the beautiful Hurrica V, which is a triple-headed gaff auxiliary ketch, designed by Charles E. Nicholson of Camper and Nicholsons fame, and built in Sydney, Australia, by the W M Ford boatyard in 1924. This is just about the time the deepwater port of Redwood City was getting organized as a business entity. Sanders bought Hurrica V a couple of years ago and now has her docked at the harbor. This classic beauty is 60-ft on deck and 72-ft overall, and was completely refitted in Australia in 2001.
The harbor is continuing to grow and is adding both services and facilities to access the Bay. Peninsula Youth Sailing is on the premises, along with the recently added Westpoint Watersports with rowing shells, SUPs and kayaks. A new yacht club is coming soon, The Club at Westpoint, and additional restaurant space, will be added to the property. Of course, just down the creek is the very active Sequoia Yacht Club, founded back in 1939.
Driving down 101 through the thicket of now thinly staffed glass and steel high-tech Silicon Valley office buildings, it would be easy to forget there’s a Bay next door. The tall ships and lumber mills are long gone, but as you drive to the east of 101, you pass Sequoia Yacht Club and then come to Westpoint Harbor, with salt flats on one side and Google offices on the other. In between is a boating oasis with continually improving access to the water. As we wrote in 1985, Redwood Creek is a good place to keep a boat close to home, a good stop for Bay cruisers, and now also a destination for the July 17 Westpoint Regatta.