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bob_walden 11-18-2003 07:27 AM

California Channel Islands Bareboat Charter

We''re considering a bareboat charter for 5 days or so (mon-fri) in the Channel Islands next spring. Can anyone clue me in on:

- Good companies to charter from
- Best times to go (I''m hoping late Feb through early April?)
- Best itineraries/anchorages

I''ll be getting Brian Fagan''s book on the channel islands and coastal CA, but I''m interested in whatever I can learn here too.



pma_foyl 11-21-2003 10:30 AM

California Channel Islands Bareboat Charter
Hi Bob,

I sail the Channel Islands all the time and I think you''ll dig ''em. I''ve sailed in a lot of places, but the northern Channel Islands are my favorite. Catalina is okay, as is San Clemente. But the great islands are Anacapa, Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa and, my favorite, Santa Cruz. San Miguel and San Nic are great islands too, but a little too rough and too distant for most sailing applications. The north islands are uninhabited and there are NO moorings, so you must be confident in anchoring. These are great places where you will meet great sailors.

As for chartering, there are a few possibilities, but remember, this isn''t "Moorings." The boats I charter out of Ventura Harbor and Marina Del Rey are either "affordable" and sparce or "expensive" and nice. A typical day rate for a newer production boat can be well over $350 a day (Marina del Rey). Cheaper boats can be had, if you''re not worried about "new" or "extensively equipped." Of course, Marina del Rey is a LONG sail from the north islands.

Ventura or Santa Barbara are better ports for heading to the north islands. Check out Pacific Sailing (Ventura) or Santa Barbara Sailing Center for options. there are NOT a lot of choices. As I said, there are more in MdR, but further from great locales. In MdR, check out Bluewater Sailing, Seamist Skippers and Marina Sailing.

If you''d like more info regarding the islands, activities, good times or weather, feel free to email me directly. Enjoy your trip. I''m headed to Santa Cruz Island next weekend (it''s lobster season you know).


bob_walden 11-22-2003 03:15 PM

California Channel Islands Bareboat Charter
Thanks for the info Paul!


MJJ 02-26-2006 01:35 PM

This thread is a bit old, but maybe Paul is still lurking... Or anyone else who can help...

We have a 3 day sail planned in April from SB to the islands. I wonder why Paul said Santa Cruz is his favorite? I am leaning towards San Miguel as I like the remoteness but I think we should have a backup plan in case the weather is less than perfect. SM also seems to have the most bomber anchorage.

I welcome all advice for our trip!

KellyM 04-11-2006 04:04 PM

MJJ - I don't know if you have already taken your trip, but I thought I would reply in case you have yet to go. I have sailed the northern channel islands many times, and believe them to be the best of the "local" islands. Santa Cruz is the most diverse in terms of anchorages, and has well protected spots in most conditions. Strong NE winds (Santa Anas) are tough anywhere out there. Santa Cruz also has great sea caves for kayaking, good hiking and the West end can feel as remote as San Miguel.

That said, my favortie is also San Miguel. Cuyler Harbor is an awesome anchorage with a two mile sandy beach. However, in April it can really blow out there. Even though Cuyler is surrounded by 500 foot bluffs, the prevailing winds whip over Lester Point and right down into the best spot in Cuyler. You need to prepared for cold, foggy and windy conditions. That to me is part of the charm.

With three days from Santa Barbara, you won't get a lot of time out there, but if you like hiking, you should call the Park Ranger in Ventura and ask for a guided hike. (Without the guide you are limited to the beach at Cuyler and up to the ranger station/campground.) When we go out we often make a night crossing to Fornies (Sp?) on the West End of Santa Cruz, take a nap and then try for Cuyler the next morning. If we can't make Cuyler we spend the night at Johnson' Lee on Santa Rosa, which leaves a short morning motor over to Cuyler. The other way we go if the weather is cooperating is to head up to Goleta Point the night before and anchor there, which leaves a managable sail directly to San Miguel the next morning.

No matter where you end up out there I'm sure you will have a great time. I am headed out there the first week in May.

Fair Winds,

Kelly M.

mjordanq 05-18-2006 11:02 PM

Channel Islands Cruising
Kelly I am also planning a trip to the Channel Islands over the fourth of July. We are coming down from San Francisco and need some other options as far as a charter company. Also if you have any sample itineraries that would be extremely helpful. You seem to know more than anyone else about the islands. Your feedback would be most appreciated.


KellyM 06-05-2006 02:16 PM

Channel Islands Trip
Hi MJ:

Sorry for the delay in responding. I tried a couple of times last week, but the site kept crashing. Anyway, the islands you want to visit will have an impact on the charter companies you can use. If you want to go to San Miguel, Santa Rosa or even the west end of Santa Cruz Island, I suggest you leave from Santa Barbara. The only real option there is the Santa Barbara Sailing Center. They have Catalinas in the 28-50 foot range. The 4th of July will be busy, so you should check with Sherry at the Sailing Center (800-350-9090) to see what boats they have left. If you want to visit Anacapa or the rest of Santa Cruz, Ventura or Channel Islands (Oxnard) harbors are good jumping off points. Marina Sailing has a Catalinas and Hunters in Channel Islands harbor, and I think Pacific Sailing is still operating in Ventura, but I am not familiar with their fleet. I would not sail out of Marina del Rey unless you want to go to Catalina, in which case there are better/closer chartering options in Long Beach and Kings Harbor.

If you give me an idea of what kind of trip you are looking for, along with the number of days you have and the crew's relative experience level, I would be happy to suggest itineraries, hikes, good sea caves for exploring and like. (I am not above living/sailing vicariously through others when I am stuck on land). Although the closest and most popular anchorages will be crowded over the 4th, there are plenty of other great anchorages to explore, particularly if you don't mind a little longer sail.

Feel free to email me directly if you prefer.

Fair winds,

Kelly M.

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