Catalina Island - best launch spot - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-27-2011 Thread Starter
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Catalina Island - best launch spot

We are trailering our boat from Utah back "home" to California for a week long trip to Catalina island. We are excited but having second thoughts on a launch location. Originally, we were going to leave from Dana Point. After checking the prevailing wind direction, it seems like it would be better to leave from points North of Dana Point. We are headed to Avalon so I thought Long Beach would be a good launch location. I thought we were set to leave from Davies launch in Alamitos Bay but it looks like the 2nd street bridge is too low (google earth). So, I thought it would be best to ask those who sail in the area. Where is the best place to launch for a smooth passage to Avalon? If Long beach, what ramp is best? We plan to launch the Beneteau F235 on Sunday August 14th. I am also interested to hear any "must do's" for the passage and/or over in Catalina. Thanks for any help you can offer.
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-27-2011
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Long Beach and San Pedro will be your shortest distance... not familiar with the public launches there. There is however a public launch in Marina del Rey. It's a longer distance (about 48 miles) to Avalon than the approximate 25 miles from Long Beach. If you do use Marina del Rey you could consider starting your trip at Two Harbors (38 miles) and circumnavigating the island clockwise. The trip back to MdR makes for a nice reach. Last trip we were able to fly the spinnaker on a port tack the entire trip home (wind was blowing at 15-20 and made for a quick and exciting return!).

Note that Avalon fills up fast on the weekends so I would plan to arrive on a Monday through Wednesday (once you are there and have a mooring you should be in good shape). Will you have a dinghy or some other means to get to shore? If not, you will be relegated to Two Harbors and Avalon as they have shore boat service. If you do, then definitely plan to spend a night or two in Little Harbor. There is only anchorage there for about 3 boats (bow and stern anchoring is recommended and is how both boats were set up in the pic below) but absent a few campers, you'll have some amazing trails, beaches, and views all to yourself. The pic below is from Little Harbor, 4 weeks ago.

One thing that I'd recommend in Avalon - make a reservation for a couple of lounges at the Descanso beach club (go to Visit Catalina Island - Hotels, Packages, Tours, and more.). It's great for some pure r&r resort style. No crowds, nice chaise lounges, and drink and food service. Truly feels like you're at an exclusive little Mexican resort which makes for a nice retreat from some of the foot traffice you'll experience in Avalon.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-27-2011
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Definitely San Pedro. From Angel's Gate to Bird Rock at Two-Harbors is a close reach and a screaming reach on the return. We commonly made the outbound trip in less than 4 hours and once made the return trip in 2:45 in our Cal 2-29 (although she surfed very easily).

"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-27-2011 Thread Starter
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Thank you both for the good info. I just called the Long Beach marina and they said that all LB launch ramps are bridge constrained. Guess there is not a big trailersailer group there....

I will check out MDR and San Pedro. If San Pedro, what is this "hurricane gulch"? My wife would not want to get on the boat if she knew we were going through a spot with this name.

Drgamble, very cool picture of Little Harbor. We are going to plan on a night or two there for sure.
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-27-2011
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Hurricane Gulch is a good option. There are no bridges in the way. It is a small launch ramp but it should be ok for your boat.

This link will help.
San Pedro and LA Harbor Area Windsurfing

s/v Odyssey
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-28-2011
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I used to launch my Montgomery 17 at Cabrillo Beach launch ramp to go to Catalina. It's called Hurricane Gulch because the wind funnels through there, though not as strong as SF Bay... I didn't much like Avalon, usually went to Two Harbors or other spots. My last trip from there was more than 20yrs ago, so I expect some changes.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-28-2011
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4th of July cove is empty today. Come on over!
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-28-2011
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Or better yet . . . .

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