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“Nice sailing boat, but no dolphins or whales.”

Sunset Kidd Sailing Cruises & Whale Watching
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Since 1987, Sunset Kidd's offers Sailing Cruises along the Beautiful Santa Barbara Coastline. Based upon a love of sailing, this is not a typical tourist ride! We turn the engine off and showcase our love for the sport. Yes, it's wind in the sails and water lapping up against the boat... that's what we offer. This is NOT a narrated "tourist" type of ride, where the engine stays on! If you're a sailor, then we invite you to participate in the handling of our beautiful 41 foot sailing ketch. Our thoughts: People come to Santa Barbara to get away from the crowds... so we are thinking about heading out onto the Pacific Ocean... packing 49 passengers or more on a sailboat is like.... STAYING IN LOS ANGELES! Sunset Kidd's maximum passenger load is only 15 passengers.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Lockers / storage, Stroller parking, Activities for young children, Food available for purchase
Reviewed August 9, 2013

I thought we had signed up for a whale and dolphin tour. But there was no discussion or sighting I asked when we see some and was told we probably would't, nice sail ride but totally not what I paid for. And we Arrived back before the 2 hr tour, we simply went up the coast a few miles then back again. Very disappointing. I would suggest if it's sea life your looking to view go with concord they are more expensive. But so what they say they do.

Thank MissMoriarty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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41 - 45 of 62 reviews

Reviewed July 19, 2013

We took a mid-afternoon cruise on the Sunset Kidd, hoping to see some whales. The captain is extremely gracious and made us feel as though we were his personal guests. There was also a first mate and another young man that was "learning the ropes." We sailed out on a rather chilly, but sunny day. As we traveled farther out to sea, the captain began to look for whales. He radioed other sailors to ask where they had seen whales that day and then took us to those locations. When we had reached about the half-way point of the cruise, the captain finally spotted some whales, but they were even farther out to sea. He asked all the passengers if they would mind getting back later than scheduled so he could sail us out to see the whales. Of course we all said "no problem." He sailed the boat out toward the whales he spotted. All of sudden, our boat was surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of dolphins; they were swimming and jumping all around the boat. It was spectacular! We were also able to see a few whales, but not up close. We had binoculars with us so we were able to see them quite well. We spent about a half hour out there watching for whale spouts and then seeing the big tail come out of the water and disappear again. If you're thinking about taking a cruise on the Pacific, this is the way to do it.

Thank Terri T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2013

We sailed with these guys last week on the sunset sail... It was a great experience.

We were on honeymoon and looking for something a little different to the usual tourist-trash boat tours...

Firstly, I am used to sailing boats as I have spent a lot of time on them, so was pleased with the down-to-earth safety briefing and chat about how we would be travelling only by wind power as soon as we left the harbour. This is a *real* sailing boat... NOT a tourist craft built to cram as many people as possible on!

We sailed for 45 minutes out and then around the same back, right at the time of sunset... We saw seals up close and one of the best sunsets over the peninsula. Really nice...

There was NO pressure to buy their booze and we could have even taken our own on board (for a reasonable corkage fee)... We bought some beers and wine and it was good stuff and OK priced considering we were a couple of miles offshore!

As an experienced sailor I had the option to get involved, but I declined to leave it to them and enjoy my wine.

A genuinely friendly captain and first mate and I would recommend these guys to anyone - apart from people who think they are going to be guaranteed to see wales on any trip! Hahaha...

1  Thank alr14uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2013

My husband and I took the sunset cruise yesterday evening. He has been cajoling me to do an ocean activity for many months so we finally went and really enjoyed ourselves. This is a private saiilng yacht that accommodates 15 and you actually do go sailing vs. under motor the whole trip vs. a commercial tour with an announcer pointing out everything along the way.

We saw sea lions on the channel marker at entrance to harbor -loads of them piled on top of each other actually. Then turned south and came around to see the perfect sunset over the Santa Barbara Mountains. Glasses clinked as the sun went down behind the mountains. We sailed back into the harbour at twilight, with the twinkling lights of city and Stearns Wharf giving us a very different view yet again.

It was great to go sailing vs. under motor - motor was only on for a few minutes going in and out of the harbour.

Tip: you can bring a bottle of wine and pay $15 corkage, or buy wine and drinks on board. nice selection and prices are comparable to bar rates at Endless Summer and bars at the dock.
Other: I usually take seasick/motion sickness medication on cruises/motor boats but had no trouble/did not need it as we sailed around the Santa Barbara coastline. I think this one of the reasons I kept pushing it off, but it turned out to be a non-issue.

It was a very special treat and I would recommend a sunset cruise on the Sunset Kidd any time of day, but the sunset is very special!




Captain was great, Baron/Mate and First Bartender took great care of us. Mostly couples like us on board but all were friendly.

1  Thank highlandbride
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2013

We chose a hour and a half sunset cruise on the Sunset Kidd and we were not disappointed. It was very relaxed and leisurely, the captain was very nice and played great music (everything from classical to Pink Floyd) watching the Sunset behind Santa Barbara on the water just doesn't get any better. They do serve wine and you can bring snacks if you like on the boat. It is a smaller boat, so it is very low-key, perfect if you are looking for a romantic night. I do suggest getting white wine, the boat hit a wave while I took my first sip of RED wine and did get it all over my white scarf and pale yellow jacket. Club Soda to the rescue!

Thank Merrigypsy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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