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Napa Valley Wine Cruise

  • 05/20/2022
  • 10:00 AM
  • 05/22/2022
  • 5:00 PM
  • Napa Valley Yacht Club


Wine! Napa Valley! What a combo! And we can get there by boat!

Come join in on the fun by cruising with us to the top of the Bay, then up the beautiful Napa River to the Napa Valley Yacht Club. The NVYC sits at a large bend in the river, about a mile walk down a lovely river road to downtown Napa. Home will be NVYC's 160' long dock, where we'll spend time relaxing on our boats, exploring beautiful downtown Napa, playing Bocci on the front lawn, and joining the camaraderie of the NVYC members. Of course, if you are really ambitious, you can Uber your way to many of the nearby wineries for a taste of classic Napa Chard, Cab, or maybe some sparking vino. If there is interest we might arrange such a trip for all of us.

Registration: For space at the NVYC dock you must register here. 

Agenda for the weekend:

Friday Afternoon  Stroll across the bridge for an afternoon beer or glass of wine at the Pub

Friday Night  No dinner at the NVYC, so we'll head into town for a bite at a nearby restaurant

Saturday AM Breakfast on your own

Saturday Afternoon  Explore Napa's antique shops and a bit of wine tasting!

Saturday Night Dinner at Tarla Mediterranean Bar!

Sunday AM  Potluck Breakfast on the dock

Sunday Mid-morning Head back down the bay to Paradise!

Important notices to cruisers:

  • We have space at the NVYC dock for about 6-8 boats, depending on beam of course, so we probably all fit. The 180' Guest Dock has Max LOA: 125', Max Beam: 16', max Draft: 8'. The sooner you register the better!
  • There is plenty of water at the dock as they have been regularly dredging, but please note the shallows toward the west end of the dock near the shore.
  • The Napa river itself is plenty deep for our trip up river  -- at last 9 feet of water for the entire length -- as long as you stay in the channel! Looking at the tides, there is a high tide at 4PM at the NVYC dock, so timing looks good for riding the flood along our 30 nm, 4-5 hour trip. 
  • Generally speaking, the best way to stay in the deepest part of the river is to make slow, wide, gradual turns and avoid going "point-to-point" (directly from one marker to the next) unless specifically called for. This can happen if you follow too closely such a course that you've plotted on your GPS-connected nav screen (or iPad). So, spend a few minutes with an up-to-date chart for this section of the river, and think carefully about how you'll navigate up. Also, watch your depth closely to avoid drifting out of the channel. When the depth begins to shallow significantly, slow down and find the channel again by moving slowly to port or starboard. 
  • Here are a few tricky places to keep aware of:
    • Marker 7: Past the Mare Island Bridge and about 1 - 1/2 miles from the high-voltage power towers you need to starting paying close attention to where you are. The channel can be deceiving, with this huge body of water to port and a narrow channel. Approach this marker no closer than 50 yards to your port side.  Once you round Marker 7 do not head directly to Marker 9, but instead make a nice wide turn, staying to the starboard side of the channel if necessary to complete your turn. Heading past Marker 9, stay to port as you head to Marker 11. Once past Marker 11 you're good for awhile. 

    • Marker 13: About 1 - 3/4 miles from Marker 7, you'll need to follow the natural bend around to starboard. As before, make a slow, wide to to starboard. Don't cut the turn! And be aware that this is the start of a longish no-wake zone.
    • Up-river past Cuttings Wharf : Once you’re past the Cuttings Wharf ramp, you’re entering the more interesting upper reaches of the river. As long as you’re in the channel, there’s plenty of water, even at low tide, and it is certainly possible to navigate the river safely. However, there be shoals, rocks, and debris as well, and it is often unmarked. Although you might think high tide is the best time to go, the opposite is true: the river is safest at low tide, when the hazards are more visible.
    • Be aware that if you veer out of the channel, the Napa River bites back. The flood terraces to the side are not soft mud, as one would expect at the edge of a river, but include lots of rock. Stay focused. Stay in the channel!
    • Bottom-line: Stay with the group. Keep a radio tuned to the TYC cruise channel which will be announced prior to departure. Your leaders have been up this way many times and know the safe route up the river. 
  • A great resource for first-timers is this step-by-step guide to navigating the Napa River almost all the way up to Napa Valley Yacht Club. Remember that we are headed to Napa Valley Yacht Club, not the similar-sounding Napa Yacht Club which is a nice waterfront neighborhood, or the Napa Valley Marina, which has supplied the terrific guide linked here. 

Cruise leader: Drew Clark     

Note:  If your boat name, beam and LOA are in your profile, it will be entered automatically on your cruise registrations.

Click here for list of registrants

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