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Hit 11 Knots and Take 300 Pictures Sailing Aboard Stars & Stripes USA-11

San Diego Skyline From San Diego BaySan Diego Bay, one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbors, is San Diego’s defining feature, a marine paradise of massive economic and recreational importance that’s helped make the city what it is for hundreds of years.

At the Sofia Hotel, you’re an easy stroll from the bayfront, a wonderful place to contemplate San Diego’s sublime setting and the richness of Southern California’s Pacific waters. Shoreline-gazing’s one thing, but nothing compares with actually getting out onto the bay—and there’s no more unique way than on the Stars & Stripes USA-11, an unbelievable fleet racing-turned-sightseeing yacht.

The USA-11

Constructed in 1992 as part of the International America’s Cup Class (IACC) generation of yachts, the USA-11 enjoyed a long stint as a standout mono-hull racing craft, including in the 2000 America’s Cup event. The striking sailboat—designed by David Pedrick and Bruce Nelson, built by Eric Goetz—is a tough customer: She’s endured a few hurricanes in her life, one of which actually sunk her.

Totally restored in the early 2000s, in Miami, USA-11 reinvented herself as a West Coast racer in the San Francisco Challenge Series fleet. That was before she was purchased by Steve Pattison and Mark Niblack in 2006 and transferred to our sunny port.

Riding the Waters

These days, USA-11 speeds visitors around San Diego Bay: at 11 knots in unforgettable style. Public sailing charters cost $100 per adult and $50 per child (18 years old and younger); private charters are also available. During your three-hour excursion, you won’t just be a passenger: You’ll have plenty of opportunities to help out as a de facto crew member, raising and trimming the sails and even taking a turn steering.

On board you’ll enjoy complimentary refreshments—soft drinks, snacks, water—but you’ll want to bring your own camera to capture the magic. That said, a member of the USA-11 crew will be collecting stills and videos during the voyage that you’ll have access to afterward, so you can relive the experience whenever you’d like.

The Sofia Hotel is an easy drive to your embarking site on the bay. We’d love to host you for an adventure out on our local waters, which we’re so lucky to have just blocks away!