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arthursteingart 10-21-2011 12:51 PM

Help! Need advise to sail to Catalina Island!!
I am wondering how hard it is to sail to Catalina island on a montgomery 17. I've been lake sailing for 6 years with no real training other than books and experience. I would have a working radio and auto tiller with a huge compass on deck as well. I am well equipped with sails and am comfortable with my little boat overall. I would leave from long beach and head to Catalina island the city if Avalon, than down to Laguna beach around the 4th of July.

Should I do this trip or is Ocean sailing something not to fool with even in good weather?

craigtoo 10-21-2011 12:59 PM

Well.... Since you have the "huge" compass... You should be all right. :D. :D

scotthenry 10-22-2011 12:39 AM

I used to sail my Monty-17 to Catalina lots, and I was less well equipped than you sound to be. I circumnavigated Catalina once, and Santa Cruz Island once (both single-handed). Lots of single- and double-handed trips to Catalina. I sailed out of Marina Del Rey (where I dry-sailed it), or trailered it to Cabrillo Beach. I trailered to Oxnard for the trips to Santa Cruz Isl. I liked the Isthmus and other coves a lot better than Avalon.
I mostly anchored over there -- the boat is small enough to sneak inshore of the moorings in some areas. It really helps to have bow and stern anchors, and a dinghy of some kind (I had a little inflatable row boat), and a boom tent for the hot summer days.

arthursteingart 10-22-2011 01:44 PM

Do you recommend going from long beach or somewhere else? Also, I plan in anchoring outside Laguna for alittle around July 4th.

Oldsoul 11-19-2011 02:23 AM

You wouldn't have a problem sailing over there with decent weather. My friend just recently rode a Seadoo from Avalon to Marina Del Rey so a 17' boat is completely doable.

The problem you may find is getting a mooring in Avalon. Especially around 4th of July. Avalon is a madhouse around that time of year and if you don't know someone who owns a mooring, there's a good chance you may get bumped off a mooring and have to leave. Also, the smallest moorings are 30' so you'd have to extend lines from your cleats (bow & stern) to the hawsers or use the bow hawser and tie off the stern cleat on the spreader line. Sounds confusing but you can look up Catalina moorings online for a diagram.

The anchorage at Avalon is another problem. You have to anchor in 80-100' of water. I know I don't have enough rode to anchor there.

My advice is if you want to go to Avalon (which is a beautiful place), go mid-week either early or late in their busy season so you can practice catching a mooring and learning the lay of the land. People constantly, I mean constantly screw up in that harbor but if you are careful and do a little research, it's not that bad. One perk of going to Avalon (or Isthmus Cove) is that if you don't have a dinghy, you can call for a shore boat to pick you up at your mooring.

Oldsoul 11-20-2011 12:38 AM

Just a possible correction to my last post. On the other side of the main green pier in Avalon, there are other moorings (by Joe's Boats). Those may be smaller than 30' but I'm not familiar with those moorings or how they are set up.

rgscpat 11-20-2011 02:34 AM

The area north of the Casino may not be too bad for small boats with some sort of dinghy (even a kayak might do and be suited to the small Montgomery); I've seen smaller boats anchor there in water that's not terribly deep.

Oldsoul 11-20-2011 03:47 AM

That area is a little deceiving. Just north of the Casino building is a dive area that is roped off. The designated anchorage area is just further out from that dive park. The depth in that area starts around 70'/80' and gets deeper rather quickly. It's surprising how quickly the island drops off. I've seen at least 3 or 4 boats drag anchor this summer and end up fouled in the dive park's ropes.

Some charts can throw you off too because the area directly adjacent to Descanso Beach (NW of the Casino Building) sometimes is listed as an anchorage area but is really filled with moorings. Also, the Avalon moorings outside of the harbor (Descanso Beach and Hamilton Cove) can get a bit bumpy and uncomfortable from all the boat wake and when the swells line up just right.

seabrookedan 11-15-2012 10:59 PM

City of avalon rquires that you anchor out far enuff out that you are 300' from dive park and descsanso moorings when u swing towards shore. That puts your anchor in 140'+. In smmr it gets crowded with ppl who have no idea what there doing. Because of the amount of rode required, ppl dnt understand how much room is needed between boats. At slack tide the boats collide with the owners at the bar. Also ppl set there gear over urs. I almost lost my bt twice this last summer because of that. Frnds as well. Ive spent two summers there and only anchor there because i work where i can watch my bt. Thats y i still have her. Its a very risky place to anchor when its crowded if u cant keep your eye on your boat. Its also very uncomfortable much of the time. Many wakes and current puts you in the trough most can be very calm but changes quickly. Also theres alot of boats, old moorings, anchors and chain on the bottom to foul your gear on.

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