Holiday Spirit alive and well with annual Emeryville Marina Christmas Lights Competition

1 min read

The Bertollino family and their Kha Shing motor yacht “Meyer” took home the annual Emeryville Marina Christmas lights competition last week. Magdalena Bertollino and her husband decked their yacht from bow to stern in a festive assortment of lights including an illuminated deer, penguin and Eiffel Tower. Our already beautiful Marina becomes even more so with the presence of holiday lights reflecting off of the tranquil bay water.

The Bertollinos won the Xmas Lights contest at Emeryville Marina.
The Bertollino’s winning entry.

“That rivalry with your neighbor finally paid off!” noted Emeryville Marina Harbormaster Michelle Shadows. Shadows announced the win at the close of the Friday Marina Christmas party held at the newly remodeled Marina office. The event, judged by the Marina office staff, came with a complimentary holiday tri-tip dinner and bottle of champagne.

Sailboats generally utilize their mast as a centerpiece of decoration creating the shape of a tree, but The Bertollino’s capitalized on the deck space of their yacht to sway the committee (and perhaps offering them holiday treats and adult beverages may have helped added Magdalena). Magdalena noted that the presence of holiday lights in the Marina makes coming home even more welcoming after a long commute from the South Bay. The Bertollino’s vowed to defend their title by going bigger and “Frenchier” next year.


The competition was a bit softer this year perhaps because of recent turnover, absence of a cash incentive as in previous years and the lack of participation from The Bertollino’s closest rival and neighbor. The Bertollino’s have lived on their yacht in the Marina along with their spaniel “Tiger” for about two years.

This was the first Christmas event held under Dallas-based Safe Harbor Marinas who assumed management of the Emeryville Marina after the 2013 bankruptcy of former management company Marinas International. The adjacent Emery Cove Yacht Harbor is run independently and boat owners own their slips instead of renting.

Feature Image: Nick Sebastian, WorldWide Communications.

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Cindy Warner

lives in Emeryville after finding a Bentley 38 sailboat at Emery Cove in 2014. She learned to sail at Cal Sailing and covered the America's Cup in SF. She grew up in the East Bay and finds the shoreline home. She has written on San Francisco Arts & Culture since January 2009, using her bicycle and public transportation to cover stories all over the SF Bay Area.

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