San Francisco Fleet Christened

Sunsail First 40s, built by Beneteau and designed by Farr Yachts, debut at the home of America’s Cup defender Oracle Team USA.

Sunsail SF fleet

The First 40s on the docks at the yacht club.Elaine Lembo

Champagne flowed, and a healthy crowd of well wishers turned out at the Golden Gate Yacht Club on a chilly evening in San Francisco Thursday, July 26, to celebrate the launch of a fleet of eight Sunsail First 40s available for charter in San Francisco Bay.

For Sunsail Sailing Vacations, a charter company with worldwide bases that’s also well known for its corporate team building events in the United Kingdom, the foray into the United States is a significant move. “We intend to be here for the longest time,” said Jonathan Grisdale, president and CEO of TUI Marine, Sunsail parent owner. “The timing couldn’t be better.”

Sunsail celebrated the debut of its fleet at the Golden Gate Yacht Club, home of the America’s Cup defender.

Highlights of the evening celebration included the champagne christening of the fleet, remarks by Sunsail and TUI executives, as well as by the commodore of the Yacht Club, Norbert Bajurin, whose campaign to save the Club led him on a rags-to-riches odyssey to become the home base for billionaire Larry Ellison’s Oracle team. Before the end of the festivities, the fleet sailed past the party goers in fading light en route to the official base farther up the bay at Sausalito.

Sunsail orchestrated the base opening to coincide with the upcoming 2012 World Series exhibition regattas of the AC 45 catamarans in the bay and the 34th America’s Cup races in 2013.

Rear Admiral Francis X. Johnston christened the Sunsail fleet and poured the bubbly.

The 2012-2013 America's Cup World Series kicks off here August 21, 2012. The Louis Vuitton AC Challenger Series runs July 4-September 1, 2013; the 34th America's Cup is September 7-22, 2013.

Harry Mountain, regional operations director, bids farewell to the crew before they take a Sunsail First 40 up the bay to Sausalito.

The San Francisco performance fleet offers First 40s that are identical sisterships to the larger matched fleet of 42 Sunsail First 40s out of Port Solent, United Kingdom. The cruiser/racer accommodates 6 to 12 people with a three-cabin, one head layout, full electronics, racing rig, and asymmetric spinnaker.
Racing, corporate hospitality & events, team building and incentive programs, bareboat and skippered charters, as well as a sailing school with courses based on the American Sailing Association curriculum are available at the base. For more details contact Sunsail.

The boat’s readied for sail.