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  #11  
Old 02-16-2012
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meuritt brings up an excellent point. Print out some tide tables. I'm in the South Bay - with the tide, on a good day I can get to SF in 3.5-4 hours. Against the tide - never tried it - but in theory it would take around 8. They are also essential for anchoring in the Delta, to ensure you are not left grounded!

As Faster said, you need good charts, and (especially in the Delta), at a minimum a handheld GPS. The aforementioned NOAA downloadable charts are very handy.

Note also that a Cal 27 may have a hull speed to 7 knots - actually a typical 27' calculates out around 6 knots - you are very unlikely to be going at that speed. Realistically under sail, you'll probably be averaging more like 4 (depending on a bazillion variables, like is there any wind!).

If I were you, I'd stay near Sacramento. More space for sailing around, less risk of grounding, and if you are worried about the wind, avoid the slot and stay close to land - many quiet places to duck in to!

(PS theoretical hullspeed is calculated as sqrt(length at waterline) * 1.34)
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  #12  
Old 02-16-2012
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Don’t fall into the “theoretical hull speed” trap. Under power, and for the long haul, boats hardly ever achieve that. For example, my boat is 34 feet (29 foot waterline) with a 35 HP engine and under wide open throttle, my max speed is 7 Kts vs. the 7.3 Kt THS. I use 5 ½ kts for planning purposes when doing a long trip such as the one you’re contemplating. An older boat, unknown bottom condition and an older outboard and a water line somewhere around 20 feet – you should be using 4.5 – 5 kts max as a planning number. You will also want to bring along a couple of extra jerry cans as you will be running WOT for about 18 hours.

Go to West Marine and buy their Northern California Chart Book. It has the multiple charts for the Delta which you will be using for your future adventures anyways. There are also a lot of free guides for Delta cruising that will help you on the bridges. If you are going to the Isleton/Brannan Island area – can’t you do that from the Sacramento River? There are no bridges requiring an opening AFAIK on that route. (except for Hwy 160 and Rio Vista?) Do any of these boats that you are considering have a working depth sounder? The good news is they are all relatively shallow draft (no more than 4.5 ft?) But you will still have to avoid the shoal areas. Here is a little “local knowledge” (my boat draws 6 feet). Oyster Point – stay in the channel until the junction with the main ship channel, then head north. San Bruno shoal will be on your right but shouldn’t be a problem unless the tide is low. You can go on either side of Treasure Island – let the currents be your guide. Favorable current – take the City side and sail to Red #2, then South Hampton Shoal. If tide is against you, take the Oakland side and follow either the 15 or 20 foot contour to South Hampton. Call ahead for a temporary berth at Marina Bay in Richmond.

Next Day: Leave early! Try to make the flood! If you have a Flood, pass to the Right of Red Rock and the Brothers. Past the Brothers there is a day shape channel marker – Pass well to left of it as it is badly silted in and even your boat will run aground there. If you are fighting an ebb, it’s best to pass to the left of Red Rock and stay in shallow water up to Quarry Point then proceed into San Pablo Bay. Transiting San Pablo Bay – Once you safely get past the shallow area near the day shape at Pt. San Pablo, you can follow the 20 foot contour up past Pt. Pinole and then onto Vallejo. There really isn’t a good way to get past the Napa River and the narrows area without some previous experience (you will need to hug the northern shore very closely). Halfway up the straits, the Benica Marina is a good stopping off point for your second night.

Last Day: You will want to pass the Martinez Bridge on the right hand side (refinery side) to stay in the river channel. If you blunder up into Suisun Bay and the Mothball Fleet, you will have to back track as the center part of Suisun Bay is a mudflat at low tide. You really need to stay in the marked channel from this point on. You may deviate to the right while passing Port Chicago unless there is a ship docked (the nice guys with guns will be there to remind you to keep clear.) The northern edge of this channel (Middle Ground) is ground at low tide. As you get towards Pittsburgh, stay in the main Sacramento River Channel and do not go down New York Slough. Eventually, there will be a split in the river where the Deep Water Channel junctions off of the northern side. Do not take it. Stay in the old river channel and stay between the marker buoys until you get to Isleton or where ever you’re going. Up to this point you do not have any draw bridges to worry about (except Rio Vista and Hwy 160?)

Are you going to Seven Mile Slough? If so, you will want to take New York Slough past Pittsburgh and Antioch. You will then be in the San Joaquin River system. Stay between the channel markers until you get to confluence of Seven Mile Slough.

This is a long trip, split it into several days and enjoy the ride!
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Old 02-16-2012
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WRT electronic charts, it also helps to have PC-based plotter program to use. There are LOTS of paid-for (and very good) Electronic Navigation programs out there, but if you don't want to drop a couple hundred bucks on a program right off the bat, there is a nice program called OpenCPN, available for free. Download the program, download the appropriate charts from the US government, and get to looking.
Of course, all the usual caveats of Never go out without paper charts still apply, a laptop running a plotter program is great so long as the computer works, the batteries hold out, etc, but for just looking, the program can't be beat.
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The Delta can be a very deceptive place to navigate - talk to as many locals as you can. As most have mentioned, carry paper charts. The Northern CA Chart Book is a great resource. Learn buoy markings too. I also strongly encourage people to monitor San Francisco VTS on channel 14 in addition to 16 and 10. Monitoring 14 will save you the surprise of meeting a grain carrier in the Stockton or Sacramento deep water channels!
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First, let me try to impress upon those who have replied to my posts that I AM VERY SERIOUS ABOUT RESPONSIBLE SAILING At risk of sounding confident above my capabilities is a real concern for me here. This is why I came to you all in this forum. Next let me add that although I have very little sailing experience I have spent much time armchair sailing in the last 3 years Reading books describing everything from Dead reckoning and celestial navigating, to Dead Sailors because of poor decisions or just dumb luck. I mention this only to help calm the nerves of those of you who might be considering you're possibly enabling a fool to his doom. I honestly don't consider the books a substitute for real experience, only tools for understanding terms and aids to real education. Let me ATTEMPT to assure you, I have a great respect for unforeseen conditions and problems. I am of the belief that when you first approach a new skill, you tackle the hardest problems first, because everything after that is .. easier. Therefore.. I do foresee using technology (GPS,Electronic Charts,etc) to its full potential in my sailing endeavors,, however I am really interested in old school navigation, plotter, charts, Dead reckoning and any skills that get me where I am going, or away from trouble when the batteries die. And to "Faster".. thanks for lookin out for me. I honestly am not trying to take shortcuts and am trusting in anyone who replies to this post to DO what you just did, ,point out the potential hazards or what sounds like a shortcut. Don't get me wrong though, I do think this is gonna be exciting and fun.. just askin to for a lil oversight in the common sense department, case I am missin somethin. Last but not least.. I can't wait till its over.. so I can tell you all how it went. Awesome reply George B. REALLY,, thanks for your time. looks like I will be doin some more studyin,, real soon.. Paper charts and guide book.. cool.. thanks all!!!

Last edited by Jody M; 02-16-2012 at 11:15 PM.
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  #16  
Old 02-17-2012
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Jody M,
You have gotten some great advice from the posters above. However, may I suggest becoming a member at the Vallejo Yacht Club and berthing there? Only a few hours sailing to the main bay or the delta, and only an hour's drive from Sac. We have several members who live in Sac and beyond. Stop by and check us out.
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  #17  
Old 02-17-2012
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Jody, I recommend going online and looking at the area using Active Captain's interactive cruising guidebook to look at the area you'll be sailing. You can see the NOAA charts for the area and there's helpful information embedded in the chart. There's enough other good info already added here about paper charts, but if you're looking for something that you can use on your cellphone as a chartplotter try Nuticharts Lite or EarthENC Lite. They're free chartplotters available on Android and Iphone. Just don't get wrapped up in the digital charts, trust your depthsounder and sailing skills. Have fun, get out there and just do it.
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Really have to thank you all, WOW! The active captain site helps a lot. I think getting a rough idea of what the trip will LOOK like and then fine tuning before and during with the paper charts is gonna increase my preparation factor IMMENSELY! Is it just me, or do the Narrows/Carquinez straits look a little unfriendly to average Joe? Man I am really enjoying just looking at all this stuff, lol. Called some marinas on the way, very friendly. Jeez. I hope I am not gonna find out this isn't for me.. I've been hoping to do this (sailing) for a lot of years. gotta love that icon! don't drink the water?!
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  #19  
Old 02-17-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jody M View Post
Really have to thank you all, WOW! The active captain site helps a lot. I think getting a rough idea of what the trip will LOOK like and then fine tuning before and during with the paper charts is gonna increase my preparation factor IMMENSELY! Is it just me, or do the Narrows/Carquinez straits look a little unfriendly to average Joe? Man I am really enjoying just looking at all this stuff, lol. Called some marinas on the way, very friendly. Jeez. I hope I am not gonna find out this isn't for me.. I've been hoping to do this (sailing) for a lot of years. gotta love that icon! don't drink the water?!
A strong ebb and big opposing wind can create some serious waves, more than a "chop". Hopefully you could transit that area on a flood.

Dabnis
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"Jeez. I hope I am not gonna find out this isn't for me.. I've been hoping to do this (sailing) for a lot of years."

Just noticed this. You might consider taking some lessons or going out as crew to see if you like it before spending money and then discovering it isn't what you thought it would be. Just a thought.

Dabnis
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