Year-Round Whale Watching on Yacht America!

 Yacht America- Whale Watching in San Diego

 

Although we are near the end of the winter whale watching season, the whales and the weather here in San Diego have continued to cooperate with us. We are still seeing some of the last grey whales of the season make their way north, and there is always a chance to see finback, humpback, minke, and even some early season blue whales this time of year!

Next Level Sailing will be taking advantage of the abundance of whales and excellent weather conditions  by extending the whale watching season throughout the year! Call  800-644-3454 for more information and details on availability. 

Finback whale - San Diego

Finback whale

 

Dolphin - San Diego

Common dolphin

 

Sea Lions - San Diego

Sea Lions

 

 

 

 

Corporate Team Building Sailing in San Diego

'Oracle Team USA' won the America's Cup for the 2nd time in 2013 and our guests purchased their branded clothing for their own sailing team building event

Dressed like famous ‘Oracle Team USA’ sailors our guests look the part for their corporate team building event in San Diego

What better way to bring your company employees together than to do some thing very special in a ‘captive audience’ situation. I simply mean that guests are all together for the duration of the activity, and that’s where the bonding begins. In this case a visiting corporate group chartered all 3 of the yachts of Next Level Sailing with a plan to give everybody ahands-on semi-authentic America’s Cup match race on San Diego Bay. This event is very unique, only available in San Diego.

This group of 60 guests were split into 4 separate teams and over the course of 3 hours participated in 3 separate yacht races, swapping teams after each race right in the middle of the bay. The race yachts dock beside the larger 139 Ft yacht America and guests transfer for their separate turns.   

America's Cup yachts "America", "Stars & Stripes" and "Abracadabra" offer very unique team racing on San Diego Bay

Corporate team building sailing on San Diego Bay is very popular with Next Level Sailing

Reality Television on yacht ‘America’

As if sailing on the famous yacht ‘America’ and seeing some playful Gray Whales isn’t enough excitement in one day, guests on yacht ‘America’ on March 8 had the opportunity to witness and even participate in the filming of a segment of a reality TV show. For the producers and TV crew the weather could not have been better. For the guests on board it added another unique element to their special day.

Yacht 'America' polished and ready for guests to join a public, ticketed whale watching tour out of the Maritime Museum of San Diego docks.

Yacht ‘America’ shining all over in readiness to board guests for a whale watching sail in San Diego

The ‘America’ is a very beautiful and historical vessel on which to shoot television, whether it be tv advertising or live television. The yacht ‘America’ has appeared in a number of television shoots over the years.

Excited guests on famous yacht America are ready to sail, to see the marine life and to maybe participate in some small way in a reality television show being filmed today.

We are all going to have a fantastic day sailing to see the Gray whales as they migrate past San Diego

 

A fantastic day ahead as the television crew board the yacht and get under way.

 

The yacht America is a very stable and beautiful platform for all styles of television and media activity.

TV crew get aboard yacht America in San Diego

 

Yacht America is a great television vessel

Yacht ‘America’ with television crew on board heading out to see some whales and to film a segment for a reality show

 

Corporate Yacht Charter in San Diego

Corporate employees from a San Diego media company had a fantastic late afternoon sail on yacht ‘America’ in San Diego last Tuesday, March 4th. A lot of the guests were visiting from their Toronto, Canada office where the temperature that day was 34 dgrees BELOW. San Diego weather was a perfect 70 degrees when they boarded at the “Maritime Museum of San Diego” at 4:00 pm for sailing and dining on San Diego Bay and the ocean’s edge.

  

Yacht America conducts a corporate yacht charter in San Diego for a visiting corporate group

A corporate yacht charter in san diego on yacht America’ for visiting corporate guests

These folks conducted meetings in their San Diego office for employees visitng from Toronto, where temperature in that city on March 4th was 34 degrees BELOW. We can only imagine how pleasant it must have been for them to head out sailing in 70 degree sunshine.

Corporate groups sail on yacht America in San Diego

Yacht America leaves the dock for a lovely corporate yacht charter in San Diego

   

This group sailed from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, catching the sunset on the edge of the ocean at 6:00 pm. After a short while continueing to sail under city lights, the yacht ‘America’ disembarked these guests at the dock of the ‘Bali Hai Restaurant” on Shelter Island in San Diego….where they had dinner.

Whale watching on yacht America

Although every day out on the yacht ‘America’ in San Diego is a great day, some days are just better than others. If you were on a San Diego yacht charter and saw these whales playing beside the yacht America a few days ago, you’d never forget this sailing experience. I won’t waste any more breath on the story….just have a look at these very cool photos taken by the crew of the yacht America on March 5th.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=605818602840519&set=a.605815379507508.1073741841.122963181126066&type=1&comment_id=1755819&offset=0&total_comments=1#!/media/set/?set=a.605815379507508.1073741841.122963181126066&type=1

whale watching san diego

whale watching san diego on yacht America

 

 

 

The Greatest Comeback – Wall Street Journal

On the 25th of September, 2013 the American team represented by “Oracle Team USA”, completed one of the greatest race comebacks in sporting history. It is by far the biggest turn about in sailing history and will go down as legend among future generations of sailors and sailing fans.

AC34….the first time that the America’s Cup had been held in US waters since 1995, saw the US team down by 8 races to 1 in a ‘first to 9 wins’ event. How do you get out of that hole?Who in any sport wins 8 events in a row….particularly when your head is so firmly on the chopping block. Enough said…….here in a layman’s version of the San Francisco Summer of sailing is the story from the Wall Street Journal – “Against The Wind”

 http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303393804579312803907849782

Our ‘America’ was there to see every race. As VIP spectator vessel she served her clients well, with a fantastic sail through the Golden gate Bridge prior to a stationary position beside the race course where guests enjoyed perfect views, cold drinks, lovely food and an atmosphere most will never forget.

America and winning yacht USA17

America and winning yacht USA17

 

Come join us on the ‘America’ for a yacht charter in San Diego.

 

Enjoy!

A lovely day for a private whale watching sail on ‘America’

The whales continue to cooperate and the weather in San Diego continues to be fantastic. Snow, ice, blizzards are foreign terms to lucky San Diego residents and visitors at this time of year.

Today’s high is 72 degrees and these folks heading out on the famous yacht ‘America’ are off in search of whales….and Dolphins….and Seals…..and whatever else may come along….a Submarine maybe!

The 'America' heading out to see whales on a beautiful winter morning in San Diego

The ‘America’ heading out to see whales on a beautiful winter morning in San Diego

This is a corporate group who had so many folks sign up for this lovely whale watching sail that they had to split the group in half and conduct two trips.

You never get tired of seeing the Whales from yacht ‘America’

As the winter Grey Whale watching season approaches on our yacht ‘America’, it’s hard not to forget the wonderful season of 2012/13 and particularly that fantastic January day when we saw what we can only describe as a “megapod’ of Grey Whales. Typically you would refrain from using that word ‘megapod’ for anything other than the huge schools of Dolphins that we see all the time. Well, on that particular day we not only saw a megapod of Dolphins but I think we could be excused for calling 12 Grey Whales a megapod. That’s right. Twelve (12) Grey Whales riding along casually beside our America for all 76 guests to see. Don’t you just love it when you get a fantastic thing like this happen, and you just happen to have a ‘sold out’ boat load…..that’s awesome! SO….as you get ready to choose a day to sail with us, have a look at the attached video and how about this photo…..10 whales captured in the one shot taken by one of the yacht America crew who climbed (was hoisted) half-way up one of our huge masts. the photo is no doubt worth the effort.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tB3fu2qGmE

Grey Whale pod from yacht America

10 Grey Whales in the one photo…of a group of 12 travelling together

Unique Corporate Sailing in San Diego

 
 
It is rare in San Diego for the wind to be so light for sure, but regardless both of our 80 Ft America’s Cup yachts conducted several races last week in conjunction with the Catamaran Aolani acting as ‘mothership’ and transfer vessel. While Aolani filled the need this occasion we usually use the 139 ft yacht ‘America’ for this mothership and transfer role, one of the most unique sailing events in the world. On this occasion the ‘America’ was still in the boat yard for Coast Guard annual inspections. For corporate team building this is as unique as it gets. What a treat for folks that have not sailed before, and even those who are more seasoned at sailing. These big America’s Cup yachts still take your breath away.
 
America's Cup yachts prepare for a race with corporate guests on San Diego Bay.

America’s Cup yachts prepare for a race with corporate guests on San Diego Bay.

 

This would normally be the case…..the ‘America’ as mother-ship transferring guests to “Stars & Stripes”.

 

Stars & Stripes rafted beside 'America' middle of San Diego bay

Swapping teams in the middle of San Diego bay

 

Behind The Scenes at Next Level Sailing, an America’s Cup Experience in San Diego

People say to me all the time, “that’s got to be a fun job, out sailing all the time on those fancy America’s Cup yachts.” I try not to be too disappointed as I tell them that I spend most of my time behind a computer, behind the wheel of the car or at the other end of a busy phone.

Of course, there are highlights that do involve sailing, such as the times we’re short of crew or I’m going along to schmooze with a client on the yachts. It’s actually the rare time that I do get out on the water these days, and whether it’s considered work or not, I do enjoy those opportunities and rarely knock back the call to pitch in when we’re in a bind.

Megan Reeves Photography_028 (1)There was a time just over 7 years ago that I was on the water at least 4 days a week. Before taking on the sales and marketing with Next Level Sailing and Dennis Conner’s America’s Cup Experience, I worked for a sailing rental company promoting, selling and delivering team building sailing regatta events. These were not always team building I guess, but ultimately whether they were for fun, a reward for performance or a more serious nature, ultimately any captive audience on a sail boat produces a ‘team’ thing, whether you know it or not.

Where do you go? You’re on a 32 foot boat or similar, 5 or 6 other people –  friends, colleagues or strangers, you’ve never met before today and you’re forced to get to know each other because you have nowhere to run or nowhere to hide. Now that may be a little harsh. It’s not like you’re on Lake Michigan in the middle of winter, or Cape Horn in a raging sea. You’re in San Diego Bay! Almost every day of the year the sun is shining, there’s a 13 knot breeze right down the middle of the bay, you’re getting a sunburn because you didn’t think it would be so nice, and you’ve likely got a cold beer in your hand, to ward off dehydration of course. SO, who wants to run or hide in an atmosphere like this?! Pretty basic to the makings of a great day and although you may not have boarded the boat as friends, there’s every chance you will be by the time you depart.

That was my life for nearly 11 years up to 2006. Corporate groups would come and go. Their planners having checked the box for sailing this time instead of golf, or sometimes both. In that period of near 10 years I entertained over 60,000 visitors, during the course of over 900 events on that bay, and they loved it. Very few were sailors, just people out for a good time. I didn’t mind it either. There aren’t many jobs that you can head out on the water on a pretty day, wave a few flags, take a bunch of photos, watch a bunch of strangers laughing, have a cold beer on the way back to the dock and get a pat on the back for all that hard work.

SternS&S

Pretty fun job….Huh! Well, it was, it is, and it will be, but don’t forget the time behind the computer, the wheel of the car and the busy phone leading up to each of those pretty days. Yep, to me it was like taking a break to be able to go out on the bay and conduct the events, leave the phones and paperwork behind for a few hours. Now I’m dealing with much bigger yachts, much smaller groups, but much more work than I ever did for those 60,000 guests. That’s right. Every job has a “behind the scenes” aspect and it seems as we get more technically proficient in our marketing and supposedly smarter as you age, things just seem to get harder and busier than ever before. Just when you think you have a little direction going for you, something will change. 

I thought to title this story “it’s been a long day”, but in reality it’s been 2 very long weeks and I’ve got ‘technology’ that we all rely on, to blame for it. Well, I better blame myself a little, for had I owned a decent back-up system for my computer, I might have only had one really long week. Yeah, you’ve heard it before, but this is a doozy. Not only does my hard drive crash and hold me to ransom in data recovery hell, but the new computer breaks down constantly for the entire week that I had it before also crashing the hard drive and corrupting every bit of work I did for the previous week. I should have just taken 2 weeks off work… I’d be much further in front.  

Spectators

Anyway, do you know what has come out of this debacle? A fresh start, a clean slate and a positive outlook that I didn’t need all that stuff that was on the computer anyway. Think about it. The world is moving so fast right now, things are changing so much in every direction, people that I may have nurtured in a database for years, in the hope that they might need me one day have likely moved on to other jobs, have had to change industry’s, or just don’t have budgets or perceived ability to use my services anyway. So, I update the web site a little to adjust to the environment, and those that do have a need are likely going to look there first before going back through old files.The web is for the impatient, and there are lots of us. SO, here’s to crashing computers as a way to brighten up ones outlook on the future. Maybe my job just got a fraction easier. One way or another it’s a job that is pretty cool.

CupSternHere I am Mr. ‘America’….with an ‘Aussie’ accent. Let me explain: I do the sales and marketing for “Next Level Sailing” in San Diego, CA. That’s right, most folks know Dennis Conner is the world’s most famous sailor. I on the other hand actually learned to sail properly in San Diego, and despite my novice sailing credentials, am today making Dennis’s famous yachts available for the general public to live out their sailing fantasies. Expert sailor I am not. Expert ‘wannabe’ sailor’…maybe! Expert at helping introduce and deliver these amazing sailing experiences, I try to be!

Here’s the kicker, it was Australia who were the first team to ever beat America to win the “America’s Cup.” Alas only to lose it back to Dennis Conner the very next race. So, you can assume there was some very strong rivalry there in those days of 1983 & 1987. Until a few weeks ago Australia didn’t even field a team since 2000 and America had but one team with a budget healthy enough to do battle. But, while Australia didn’t have a ‘team’ as such, there are fantastic Aussie sailors in the thick of the battle including the 4 who just helped win the America’s Cup. “Oracle Team USA” skippered by Jimmy Spithill from Sydney, pulled off one of the greatest ‘comebacks’ in sporting history, and certainly the biggest comeback in sailing history. From being down 8 races to 1 in a ‘first to 9’ event, they won 8 races in succession to beat ‘Emirates Team New Zealand’ 9 races to 8. What a fantastic week of racing that was. Now it is Australia who has put their hand up as the official ‘challenger of record’, to build a team to take on America at AC35, the next America’s Cup. That’s a story for another day, a long story that I’ll shorten when told but all of which makes up the on-going history of the “America’s Cup”, the pinnacle of the sailing world.

I’m lucky to live in San Diego, this beautiful city that beyond New York/Newport RI & now San Francisco is the only other city in America to host this amazing series of yacht racing, the Holy Grail of sailing. For now I’ll leave you with this, the job is a lot of fun as we sell ‘fun’ – not widgets or software or engines, just great sailing, on huge yachts, for fun and team building, reward & incentive. The ‘reward’ is for me as well as the guests. The clients write great testimonials and that makes the office work worth all the effort.