A NOTE ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: I regard my first, foremost and most sacred duty as a captain, whether it was during my career as a fire captain or now as a USCG certified boat captain, to be to keep those under my charge safe.
While I have always kept my boat extremely clean - to firehouse standards, in fact; disinfecting all surfaces before and after every charter and even private trips with friends (I spent the majority of my fire service career at a hazmat station) - and will continue to do so; given what we know and more importantly what we DON’T know about this pandemic right now I don’t believe - even as roomy as Invictus is - that it would be possible to maintain the recommended 1 meter of social distance between people on a charter.
As such I can not in good conscience accept booking requests for the near future and have made Invictus unavailable for the rest of March, and all of April; and will modify / extend that as needed as circumstances dictate. When I do start taking bookings again it will likely be just for carefully screened couples or small families (2-3 passengers max).
Thank you for understanding. Let’s all work together to get a handle on this thing so we can get back to getting out on the water and enjoying each other’s company, and remember to WASH YOUR HANDS!
S/V INVICTUS HAS HER BRAND NEW MAINSAIL INSTALLED!
PLEASE NOTE - PRICES CAN VARY BETWEEN WEEKDAY AND WEEKEND, AND FROM SLOW TO BUSY SEASON.
High season prices effective March 14th (1st day of Spring Break) though the end of October:
Weekday (Monday-Thursday) pricing is $395- for a full day, $295- for 1/2 day.
Weekend (Friday-Sunday) / holiday pricing is $550- for a full day, $395- for 1/2 day.
15% DISCOUNT FOR FIREFIGHTERS, POLICE, EMTs, NURSES MILITARY AND TEACHERS! (read full description)
33' LOA, 11' beam
Head w/ shower, galley, hot & cold pressurized water
Roller furling jib
2 speed self-tailing winches
16 hp Yannmar diesel motor
Knot meter, depth sounder, auto pilot, radar, chartplotter
DSC VHF w/GPS
Stereo w/bluetooth and remote
Heater (elect. / propane)
Shore power (when on shore power: microwave, electric heater).
Answers to FAQ:
- Yes, You are more than welcome to bring your own food and beverages (including adult beverages provided everyone partaking in such is 21+), and I will have the cooler iced and stocked with water and soft drinks as well as providing light snacks. The galley and BBQ on Invictus are at your disposal as well.
- For those not familiar with sailboats, yes, Invictus also has a motor as well; a very reliable 16 hp Yannmar diesel that runs like a Swiss clock that can get us to / back from wherever we need to go if there is no wind (or too much of it).
- Yes, I do overnight / multiday charters, in fact I encourage them. You are responsible for any mooring / berth fees, but I will knock off $15- a day from the price of the charter to help cover that.
- The price you pay is for the boat and my services as Captain for the entire day, starting at 9 am (or later, if you'd like) until 5 pm or 1 pm until 1/2 hour after sunset (at which point my insurance requires that the charter either be over and my passengers ashore or in the case of an overnight booking be in a berth or at anchor). It is not per person, and includes up to 6 passengers total (not counting myself or any crew I have helping me). Yes, it really is that good of a deal. :-)
- The Coast Guard rules governing my license limit me to 6 passengers, not counting Captain (me) and crew. This is a hard and fast rule, and I can NOT take extra people for an additional fee. Besides, that limit makes sure that you have plenty of elbow room and an enjoyable cruise. :-)
- If time is tight, I can do pick up /drop off at Pier 39 or another location as well instead of Jack London Square (45 min from the Bay) or Pier 1 1/2, you will be responsible for any applicable docking fees ($25- in the case of Pier 39). I have found that Pier 1 1/2 (near where the Bay Bridge comes into SF, close to the Ferry Building) is probably the best free pick up / drop off spot. However I can not do far South Bay (Coyote Point, etc.) as it is 4 hours each way from my slip.
- I can take you out under the Golden Gate and about a mile past it (where you will often see critters such as porpoises, sea lions, and depending upon the time of year, even whales), but that is far as my current Captain's license will allow (even though I have done coastal cruising myself and anticipate having my license upgraded to do mulit-day coastal cruising soon).
- Yes, kids are welcome! They must be old enough to follow directions, and, in the case of smaller children, have at least one adult within arms reach and watching them at all times. With that being said, our kids grew up being on sailboats most of the summer, in the case of our 12 year old son (Aidan, Invictus's First Mate who sometimes helps me crew on charters) since he was 18 months old. Sailing is a wonderful way for kids to experience the Bay, and we would love to welcome the whole family aboard. :-)
- While I am a huge dog person and many people do sail with dogs; they are their dogs on their boats, they are familiar with the behavior of both and have trained their dogs appropriately. Unfortunately this really isn’t possible in a rental environment, and since I can not guarantee their safety and comfort I’m afraid that the four legged kids will need to stay at home.
- Finally, while gratuities are not expected, they are gratefully accepted if you are in a position to do so and are so compelled (and if you are not in a position to do so PLEASE do not worry about it, really). And if my 13 year old son / First Mate Aidan is aboard helping me to crew the boat, all tips are evenly split with the pup (it's his summer job).
First off - why am I renting such a nice boat for so little money? I'm a retired fire captain, and while I have been taking friends and family out for the 30 years I have been sailing, I am a recently (2017) certified Coast Guard licensed boat captain, and want to get people going out on my boat so I can hone my skills as a host (we are a package deal... though if you are an experienced sailor I can be very much in the background). I also like to get people out on the water sailing who have not experienced the sport and may not normally have the opportunity. So even though my reviews are all 5 star, my rates are still competitive. :-)
Secondly, why charter with me? There are many choices of very nice boats and fine captains on Boatsetter and other sources, this is a good question. These are some of the reasons why you should come sailing with me:
- While I am a very seasoned and experienced sailor (30 years), I only recently became a USCG certified Captain for boats after my retirement from the fire service (my last 10 years as a Captain) and started doing charters (and I love it! I have done over 60 charters so far!). I am keenly aware that my competition is very stiff. So the first reason is that bearing this in mind I try to make sure that my boat is one of the least expensive (if not THE least expensive) compared to similar boats, while being just as nice, capable and comfortable. I believe that I am one of the best, and maybe even THE best value for sailing on the Bay.
- I do not charge extra for my services as Captain, and you can be as involved or not involved with the running of the boat as your ability and desire dictate (and I am happy to give informal sailing lessons for those wishing to learn). I also do not charge for fuel (it's a sailboat.... it really doesn't use that much even when the motor is running).
- While I do have a tour that I recommend (because it is hard to beat), we can go wherever you would like, time and circumstances permitting (McCovey Cove to anchor next to a Giants game, Clipper Cove at Treasure Island for some beach time, it's all your call). My usual / recommended tour is pick up at Pier 1 1/2, sail past and do a close flyby of Alcatraz, then out to Angel Island for lunch / beach time / hiking / whatever.
After lunch we sail up along Sausalito / Marin and then out under the Golden Gate Bridge to hopefully spot some porpoises (which I see about 75% of the time) and if we are real lucky maybe even a whale or two (if it's the right time of year, and I have seen them by the Golden Gate a few of times now)!
Then we turn around, and do a nice relaxing downwind sail back in under the Golden Gate, past the San Francisco city waterfront, going by sights such as the Palace of Fine Arts, Fisherman's Wharf (with a WWII liberty ship and submarine), Pier 39 (& the sea lions) and the Embarcadero, finishing up right around 5pm back at Pier 1 1/2.
Sound like an awesome day? That's because it is!
- Personal attention and planning. My services begin long before the day of the charter, as I will work with you prior to the day of your sail to custom tailor your sailing experience to any kind of event.
My charters to date have included six surprise marriage proposals (they all said "YES!"), an overnight 2 day getaway for a couple, and several birthday celebrations. Once you are aboard I am not just your Captain but your host, you will be treated like friends, and I (along with any crew, if present) will do everything I can to provide for your comfort, fun and safety; from having a bluetooth linked stereo ready for your playlist (or you can use my Spotify) to making sure you get the perfect picture while out on our adventure. I LOVE helping people to have a good time!
- As a dad myself who has raised kids going out sailing all the time, children are MORE than welcome aboard Invictus, in fact there is a good chance that my 13 year old son (who has been on sailboats since he was 18 months old) / First Mate will be crewing for me (especially during the summer).
- Also, I don't care who you are, where you're from, the color of your skin, what you look like, who you love, who you voted for or what you do or don't believe. All are welcome aboard S/V Invictus, and our day will be about sailing, adventure, the sea, discovery and, most of all, FUN! Every time you look out on the Bay I want you to remember our day as a happy place you can go to when all the silly nonsense we all have to deal with back on shore in the real world becomes a bit much. :-) (it's what I do when things start getting to me...).
- Finally, for my brothers and sisters who are still putting themselves in harms way for the benefit of others - all firefighters who are members of the IAFF, active duty law enforcement officers, active duty military, EMTs / Paramedics as well as any currently working nurses or teachers will receive 15% off any booking! My (21 year) watch is over. Thank you for still standing yours. I would love to give you a well-deserved break.
So those are the reasons I think that I stand apart from the other very fine captains and boats available to you, and I would be honored and delighted if you would join me for a great day on the Bay. :-)
Now, about the boat:
Pearson yachts are known for build quality, performance and comfort thanks to their efficient layout and use of space (the larger sister ships to Invictus, the 36 Mark II with the exact same layout and build, were recently featured as one of the best affordable bluewater cruisers in a book dedicated to such - ”Bluewater Sailing on a Budget” by Capt. Jim Elfers).
Invictus is a great example of this, as one of the 33 Mark II models she feels bigger than 33', her 11' beam providing ample elbow room below, her 3 cabin layout providing privacy when desired (with actual doors) and her head, located port and aft, makes for a much less, um, "exciting" experience if you have to use the facilities while underway than more traditional sailboats with the head forward just before the V-berth (where you experience much more of the boat's pitching), and even has a shower (with hot and cold pressurized water).
Invictus also features a VERY large cooler and plenty of storage space for provisions and gear. She has a galley with a sink and hot and cold pressurized water, a propane stove, and a Magma marine BBQ mounted on her stern pulpit.
Thanks to the inventive cabin design, her main salon can comfortably seat 6 for a meal. She also sports new mainsail (February 2020), new standing rigging (as of September 2017) , a 16 hp Yannmar diesel with less than 1200 hours on it that runs like a swiss clock, depth sounder, knot meter, new (December 2017) Raymarine wheel autopilot, chart plotter, radar, 2-speed self-tailing winches, GPS enabled DSC VHF radio, stereo with bluetooth and remote, newer Pineapple 95% roller furling jib, and a flat screen TV, DVD player and (while on shore power) microwave.
We had such an amazing day with Jon! He was such a great host from beginning to end. Only two people in our group of six had been on a sailboat before and he did such great job of making us feel comfortable, teaching us about the boat, sailing etiquette, and many interesting histories through stories and jokes. We had some rougher conditions, but Jon led us through them with ease and utilized our help at times, making the hands on experience so awesome! We will definitely be sailing again with Jon in the future!
Jon was awesome! He is extremely knowledgeable about sailing and taught us amateur sailors a lot.
In addition to this Jon is really friendly and helped me plan my wife's surprise birthday celebration on his boat. He was in constant communication with me from the time we started planing till the surprise was revealed to my wife on the pier. The flawless execution could not have been possible without Jon.
I would definitely recommend Jon to anyone looking for a charter!
Thank you Jon!
Jon was helpful in getting all person on and off the sailboat. Explain attraction as we toured the area. The crew did everything to make us comfortable. Thank you for a good time.
Jon was great, he was very nice and was an excellent tour guide. His instructions were very clear and he clearly was an expert at being a captain. Even though my wife had some major sea sickness he was still very accommodating. Thanks again Jon!
The absolutely best way to watch the Blue Angels airshow is on the Bay aboard your privately chartered sail boat captained by Capt. Jon!! Our group of 4 had a great time! Capt. Jon worked hard to keep maneuvering the boat so we always had best views of the air show. His son, Aidan, is quite the seaman too and a real charmer! Would not hesitate to recommend Capt. Jon Johnson.
Jon made this a day to remember!
Prior to arrival, Jon was great about communicating and suggesting ideas for our special day!
We flew in from Denver that morning and Jon met us at the pier and had a great itinerary for us. From up close views of the Blue Angels flying over the Golden Gate to 'after hours' time on Angel Island, this was the perfect day for a proposal...and she said, "YES!"
Thanks again Jon and hopefully can sail with you again next time we are in town!
Jon is a dedicated, charming and skilled sailing enthusiast. He has a deep love for sailing and shared it with us throughout the day, making our experience memorable and, really, one of the best fall days I have spent on the San Francisco Bay. Picture perfect day. I highly recommend sailing with Jon. Huge thanks to you Jon and Aiden----what a blast.
I would like to thank Jon for his assistance and allowing me practice/preparation time behind the helm of this sailboat. Just to be clear, Jon is not an instructor…but is an extremely knowledgeable captain. I am a neophyte sailor with approximately 45 hours of sailing time. I am currently studying for the ASA 104 course and wanted practice time behind the helm. After discussing my wants with Jon, Jon graciously agreed to take me out and tutor me on ‘Invictus’ (his sailboat). We spent the day sailing in San Francisco Bay practicing all points for sail, man overboard drills, docking, sail reefing, etc. Jon is a very capable captain and a great teacher. Thank you Jon!! I hope to sail again with Jon again in the future. And with the valuable assistance he has provided me, I know I will pass the practical portion of the ASA 104 exam!!
We had a great day with Cap'n Jon cruising around the bay. Would highly recommend.
Had a great time! Thanks Jon.
Had a great time with Captain Jon. My son and I are experienced sailors, so Captain Jon put the hammer down and the rail in the water on a breezy day. It was a welcome thrill. Also, got much appreciated information on local sailing conditions in the bay.
We had a blast! There were moments of relaxation mixed with excitement (get ready for an adventure).
This was my first time ever booking a boat and I chose Jon due to the reviews online; they were spot on.
I appreciate that Jon stayed in communication from start to finish and gave me good advise about which sailing experience to take. We were actually celebrating my friends 30th birthday and Jon thought it'd be a nice touch to put up a happy birthday banner on the boat. He also provided a fun environment that helped contribute to the birthday atmosphere.
Jon is very knowledgeable and you can tell that he really loves sailing. Thank you so much.
Jon was AWESOME. We had an incredible time. Highly recommend joining him on an excursion on the Bay!
Top nice skipper. Excellent welcome on board. You feel secure and you can take the wheel. A dream was accomplished : to sail in the San Francisco Bay and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Thank you again Jon for this wonderful afternoon. Merci beaucoup capitaine Jon. From Laurent & Loriant
Great captain, thrilling trip with lots of spray, Everyone loved it and we gave him a super big tip!
What a great time. We did everything we wanted with an experience captain on a great boat with all the amenities that mono haul sailing has to offer. I will recommend Jon. As a semi experienced sailer he got me involved. My wife, a complete novice, felt safe and at ease with all aspects of the day. Go sail with Jon in the SF bay. You will want your own boat after.
My family, including 2 boys (11yrs) has an amazing time. We had a great tour around the Bay and under the Golden Gate.
Jon has a great personality and is very hospitable - with a number of great stories to share.
Sailing is beautiful and we had a amazing day.
Cap'n Jon was very experienced, professional and knowledgeable. He was very responsive and communicative through the booking process. We had an eight-hour charter with two hours hiking on Angel Island. It was a VERY windy Saturday but Invictus was very sturdy to handle the condition and with Jon's excellent sailing skills we had some once-in-a-lifetime fun. 5/5 would recommend it to people who want to have a good sailing trip!
Jon is an excellent Captain with a Great personality. His knowledge of the local waters was greatly appreciated. We will be booking him again. The boat was very sound and comfortable in adverse wind conditions. Well recommend.
We chartered Jon and his yacht, the Pearson 33 (a.k.a Invictus) for a surprise proposal that occurred in December 2018. From the get-go, Jon was responsive and active in the planning, helping make insightful and much needed recommendations about sailing. Jon is not your average captain. He went above and beyond on my charter to make sure everyone involved had a good time. He monitored the weather for us closely, secured docking permission at a private yacht club, and handled the yacht expertly in the open water near the Golden Gate Bridge. Onboard his yacht, there was complimentary snacks and soft beverages, and a bluetooth compatible stereo system. Everything was tidy and clean when we boarded. Safe to say, the proposal would not have been a success without Jon's effort and help. We will call Jon again for our next charter, regardless of the occasion. I highly recommend Jon and his yacht for anyone in the San Francisco Bay Area who are looking for a fun and affordable way to sail and enjoy the sea.
Jon is an awesome captain. I would 100% use him again. Very friendly, keeps in touch with you through the process and has good local knowledge of the Bay area. Jon is passionate about sailing and happens to take charters as a reason to get on the water, which is the kind of captain and experience I was looking for!
Where do I even begin, Jon was great from the get-go. My party had a mix-up at the start of the charter that caused a delay, Jon was very patient and made it right. We chartered him for a half day during Fleetweek's air show, and he was able to get us an amazing show despite the late start. He was very knowledgeable and had amazing stories like a captain ought to have! His skill on the water was stupendous, he kept us safe with all the chaos going on around us. His first mate/son was a blast to be around as well. Don't hesitate to charter, you won't regret it!
We had such a great day! A casual, friendly, comfortable ride. Jon is a very experienced sailor--informative and knowledgable about the boat and the bay. We will definitely be back!
Excellent! We had so much fun. Cap’n Jon was fun and friendly and very knowledgeable. Invictus is a beautiful and comfortable boat and handled the water and weather with ease. We are already talking about sailing with Jon next year when we are back in the area. Sailing the Bay with Jon and Invictus was the highlight of our trip to SF!
Jon was the best, start to finish! Jon has a great way about him that instantly built a level of trust and also put us at ease. It was clear he knew his boat inside and out - which was a very nice and clean vessel. We wanted to help sail and he gave clear, concise, and encouraging instruction. He was very knowledgeable about sailing and the area which made our experience even better. With all that he's incredibly funny with great stories to tell. He was very engaging and friendly, but if we wanted to just lay on the deck to soak in the wind, the sun and the waves he let us do that too. He was all about making sure we had a great experience and it was just that....Great!!
Jon was extremely professional, communicative and knowledgebale throughout our entire trip from booking to finish. He made sure everyone was comfortable and was extremely flexible to our requests. Would recommend Jon to anyone!
Thanks Captain Jon, we had a great time!
Sailing under the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge in one four hour tour is too too cool !. It's above and beyond to soak the lawyer... Mahalo!
Probably the best day on our trip through the US! Cap’n Jon is passionate, professional and interesting. You won’t be able to find a better day on the water
We had a great day on the Bay with Jon. He was right on time, introduced us to the boat and the rules and off we went into some strong winds blowing through the Golden Gate.
We worked the boat hard, got wet by choice and had loads of fun.
Jon knows his boat and the Bay and is a great guy to be on the water with.
Go with him if you want to safely experience the Bay on a sailboat.
We had an amazing experience sailing with Jon for my boyfriend's birthday. He was very knowledgeable and accommodating to our group of four. We were able to sail along the Embarcadero and catch lunch followed by sailing along the bay. I am a Bay Area native and it truly was an experience to be able to sail beneath the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge! We also were able to sail by and sightsee Alcatraz and Treasure Island. The day had a perfect end as we sailed back to the Berkeley Marina and were able to have a sunset dinner at Skates by the Bay. Thank you again for an incredible experience! We will be sure to recommend you and sail again in the future!
Wow! Just wow. A few friends and I decided to sail around the bay, take a hike to Angel Island, and see the Golden Gate Bridge for my birthday. After a bit of searching, we found Captain Jon and his boat, Invictus, and we just returned from one of the most memorable weekends we’ve ever had. The experience was outstanding: from the time we made a reservation (communication was excellent via email and texting, we got a 15% discount for having a teacher on board), from the directions to the boat docked on the pier, to the entire experience the water.
Captain Jon is a retired firefighter and coast guard boat captain, and his experience shines through. He is personable and was able to remember each one of our names after introducing everyone to him only once. Captain Jon taught us about the fundamentals of sailing and how to navigate the waters – I had an amazing time manning the helm at one point, steering the ship for an extensive amount of time.
His boat, Invictus, is a beautiful 33 foot boat with a cabin underneath, a stereo system with Bluetooth connection, bathroom and kitchenette on board, and a bow that you can hang out on.
We started sailing from San Francisco near the Ferry Market Building to Angel Island, went for a beautiful hike up Mt. Livermore, and then sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge to look for porpoises – unfortunately, they were not out that day. Oh whale. Haha. One advise I would give is to bring anti-nausea medication. Everyone took it before we left but made the mistake of not taking it again after our hike. But be weary if you're prone to sea sickness and come prepared.
I give Captain Jon and Invictus my recommendation with much enthusiasm. Great experience and looking forward to our next trip.
I booked a trip with Jon for my 30th birthday. Our group of 6 ventured from San Francisco to Angel Island for lunch and a short hike, and then back to Treasure Island for wine tasting in the afternoon. It was an INCREDIBLE trip and I could not have asked for a better Captain. So knowledgeable and friendly, Jon Johnson was very easy to work with and made my 30th birthday extra special. Invictus was a beautiful, clean and comfortable vessel that was perfect for our group. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
What an amazing adventure. We couldn't have asked for a more pleasant and professional captain and the boat was spacious and beautifully maintained. We would highly recommend this option to anyone seeking a truly memorable experience.