Sail on a Historic Schooner at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

The schooner Alma under sail.

The scow schooner ALMA with sails set, running with the wind on San Francisco Bay, with the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands in the background. NPS photo.

If you've got a hankering to feel the wind and salt spray from the deck of a historic sailing ship, the staff at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park has a deal for you.

For a third season, the park offers visitors a three-hour San Francisco Bay sailing adventure on nearly three dozen days between now and November.

Haul line to raise the sails with National Park Service Rangers as you explore the Bay aboard the historic 60-foot Alma! Take in dazzling views and San Francisco’s riveting history: Native Americans, Spanish explorers, the Gold Rush, lighthouses, the Barbary Coast, Fisherman’s Wharf, earthquakes, shipbuilding and more!

Before highways and bridges, hundreds of scow schooners like Alma plied San Francisco Bay, hauling goods as the “flatbed trucks” of their day. The last of her kind, Alma will transport you to a long ago era on this unique, hands-on, educational sailing program with the National Park Service.

Boarding is at 12:30 for this three-hour sail which departs at 1:00 p.m. from Hyde Street Pier, at Hyde and Jefferson Streets. Programs are scheduled for the following dates in 2009:

May 9, 30,
June 6, 13, 27,
July 2, 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, 30,
August 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 27,
Sept. 3, 5, 19, 26,
Oct. 17, 24, 31,
Nov. 7, 14, 21,

The cost of the program is $35 for adults, $30 for seniors, $20 for children (under six free with adult.) For reservations call 415-447-5000. If spots are available, tickets can also be purchased on the day of sailing at the Hyde Street Pier ticket booth, which opens at 9:30 a.m. The historic Alma is U.S. Coast Guard certified, can carry 40 passengers maximum, and is wheelchair accessible with assistance.

Rough conditions are possible. Be prepared for cold, wind, spray and bright sun. Life jackets and flotation devices are provided. Bring water (no alcohol permitted), snacks, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, layers of clothing, closed toe “active” footwear (no high heels), camera, binoculars, and a sense of adventure! Trip may be cancelled due to weather, or other safety concerns, at discretion of the captain.

The park includes a "magnificent fleet of historic ships, Visitor Center, maritime museum, and library, and offers both regular programs and special events."

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located on the edge of San Francisco Bay, in the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood. The park website includes directions and information on parking, public transportation and other details to help you plan a visit. If you need additional information, you can call 415-447-5000.