Compass Divider

About Sail Riviera

Sail Riviera was my childhood dream that was born out of necessity. By late spring of 2020, my wedding and portrait photography business of 29 years collapsed due to the COVID-19 virus and consequent lockdown. After three decades and over 1000 weddings, I was without a job for the first time. I reacted by doubling down on life. As a licensed sailing captain, I had always wanted to start a yacht charter business. Now was my chance.

We, quite literally, threw caution to the wind. The pandemic was the boost we needed. Everyone seemed to want to experience the fresh air with their "family pod," and Riviera was the perfect vehicle. Victoria and I had a clear and precise vision of the sailing experience we wanted to deliver. In a word, luxurious. We knew we were only a small 6-passenger operation, but we saw an opportunity to create the most well-appointed, comfortable, and private sailing experience in San Diego.

Riviera sailboat with red and blue sails on the Pacific Ocean
Captain Paul behind the wheel of his boat, Riviera

Meet Captain Paul

People are often surprised to hear I am a professional photographer. But photography was not my first love. Sailing was.

Before I could spell sailboat, I held the tiller on dad's Lido 14. At 16, I was teaching sailing in San Diego Bay. Although I was enticed and intrigued by the shady and sometimes nefarious sailing lifestyle, photography, and the desire to satisfy my artistic hunger, won out, and I focused on building Barnett Photographics.

2011 was the turning point. My dad, the man that taught me how to sail, said to me, "Paul, all you do is work. You've built a great business, but you need balance. You need a boat, and you need to sail."

Sail Riviera combines my love of sailing and my love for people. It's probably not the "hobby" my father was thinking of, but the satisfaction I get from giving the sailing experience to our guests is priceless.

Explore the yacht

SV Riviera is a 45-foot Hunter Deck Salon Sailing Yacht. The layout is perfect for six passengers to spread out and relax. Below deck are two staterooms, two bathrooms, a large salon, and a full galley. Above deck, guests are well protected in the cockpit. A removable sunshade helps maintain the right balance of sun and shade, and a custom JBL sound system will create the perfect mood. The cockpit seats feel comfortable yet snug, though it is the foredeck sun pad that is likely to be the most popular spot on the boat. We strive to create an atmosphere of ownership. We want our guests to feel at home like Riviera is their yacht.

click to enlarge

Click on photos to enlarge

Riviera crew member pours sparkling wine into a glass while the boat sails along the San Diego Harbor.

Our crew

Oh sure, our crew are Forbes-trained servers, and yes, the yacht is immaculate, but that's not what makes Sail Riviera unique.

5-star service is not rocket science. It's all about the little things. What's the Champagne's temperature? Is the playlist qued up? Are the blanket warmers turned on? Are the bathrooms spotless? The primary guest asked for Romeo & Julieta Robustos. Are they humidified and ready? The 82-year matriarch wanted Chicken McNuggets; ok, which one of us is driving to McDonald's?

This is what sets us apart. It's not just service; it's luxury.

Ready to sail?

Contact us today for booking and availability

A family smiling for the camera on the deck of a sailboat.

What our guests say

“Sail Riviera is a must-do when visiting San Diego! From the moment we set sail to stepping off the boat after a beautiful sunset cruise, there was no detail overlooked and our family of 5 (including kids ages 12, 9 and 3) loved every minute! Wonderful food and drink topped only by seeing the city by sea and awesome animal sightings, we cannot recommend Paul and his crew enough. Five stars indeed!"

Catie Salyer - Fairmont, Grand Del Mar

Scroll to Top