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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #11  
Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

I'll second Brian Fagan's book as well. I'm planning the reverse trip this summer, SF to Newport, that book has been very helpful in planning the trip.
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  #12  
Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

FWIW, my wife's cousin and his wife sailed their Catalina 42 from Santa Barbara to S.F. - took them 8 days and she said she will never sail out past the Golden Gate again.

Not a trip to be taken lightly.
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Old 07-17-2013
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

We did this trip in July 2011, we took a small 1985 Catalina 27 from the SDYC in San Diego to the Oakland Yacht Club in Alameda, in the heart of the SF Bay.
We had a crew of three at all times, four for some specific legs of the trip.

My main recommendation, look for a time/weather window where the Pacific high has been active for a few days (and located somewhere between SF and Hawaii) and is forecast to be for a few more. This will bring fog to the CA coast and light winds as pressure between the inland valleys and the Pacific ocean is equalized. Under these conditions you may find days of very light winds along the coast.

Our trip took exactly 7 days and we overnighted in Ventura, Morro Bay, and Monterey. All the other nights were spent at sea. We crossed Pt Concepcion early in the morning under thick fog and glassy conditions. We then hit rough seas from Morro Bay all the way to Monterey, and then on from Monterey to Half Moon Bay. Prepared to beat up against the wind under engine power and to get very wet (at least on small boats like ours). We had a single-reefed mansail up almost the entire voyage, it really helps stabilize the boat against the wind.

Jaime
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Old 07-17-2013
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

I'd go to Hawaii first. Gentlemen do not sail to weather!
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Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

I did this trip last month with 2 experienced friends in my "new" 38' sailboat from San Diego to Pillar Point Harbor. It took 77 hours total so you probably would have to add another 8 to get to SF. We watched the weather very closely and lucked out. We got southerly winds for part of the trip, and sailed without motor for about 7 of those hours. It was glassy around Pt Conception, which everyone will tell you is a beast and can be dangerous if not rounded at the right time. I had to leave the boat in SB for 2 weeks before we got a good weather window. We then left Santa Barbara at 2 am to hit it at the right time, but had really confused seas before we got to the point about 6 hours later. Between San Diego and Santa Barbara (33 hours), the only stop we made was to refuel in Two Harbors on Catalina Island. The only reason we did this was because I didn't know how quickly we'd burn it. Turns out my engine (Yanmar 27 HP) is pretty efficient and my tank is large enough. We had also brought along 3 jerry cans, just in case. I had also cleaned my fuel tank, had extra fuel filters, did a lot of work on the boat before we set sail. You'll want to know how to stay away from the kelp beds leaving San Diego. Off Big Sur, I think we made sure there was at least 150' under the boat to avoid the kelp. I'm originally from the Gulf Coast...the Pacific along this area of California is nothing like anywhere on the East Coast. For example, I've heard there can be so many ships moving through the shipping channel around LA that it can be difficult to cross. I wouldn't think that would be good to do at night. There are oil rigs; service vessels that run back and forth between the rigs; there are long-liners and other fishing vessels; the water is cold; the harbors are few and they can be difficult to access. Be very careful of the reef around Pillar Point Harbor...

So now that it is over, I am so glad I did the trip, but happy to have it done. It was great to test my boat and she did great. We had a pod of humpbacks one night in which we barely caught glimpses of them but could hear them breathing and calling all around the boat. We saw pilot whales, porpoises, shearwaters and murres. The sunset leaving San Diego and passing Point Loma was one of the most memorable. I highly recommend that you time it for a good weather window and bring someone who's done the trip before. Others I have talked to who have done the same trip can tell you how miserable it was for them. Of all the people I talked to about making this trip, there were only two who said it was great for them, but it can be done with patience.

Here are some of the links we used:

Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers - PassageWeather (free service gives wind, pressure and wave height for a region)
Marine Point Forecast for Latitude 34.45°N and Longitude 120.47°W (NOAA forecast for Pt Conception)
GRIB.US > Home (free software download to read the NOAA GRIB files. We primarily relied on this for the wind.)
National Data Buoy Center (wave height at specific buoys)
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Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

This is one of the times you need to listen to this ;

" If you are asking this question you are most likely not to be ready for this passage."

Sure it is doable if you can wait for good weather windows. Doing it on a schedule in a smaller [ sub 40 ft ] boat may well result in at best a very uncomfortable trip and at worst a broken boat.

Watch this video,
it is from the USCG at Morro Bay which is one of the places you might enter if you planned to day sail up the coast.

Last edited by TQA; 07-18-2013 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

" If you are asking this question you are most likely not to be ready for this passage."
I wholeheartedly agree!
I spent my youth working on commercial fishing boats between SD and Alaska and we rarely, if ever had a pleasant trip between Point Conception and Seattle; one of roughest and most dangerous coasts with places to get out of the weather, safely, few and far between. I have also sailed it several times and would never, at any price (as a delivery captain) do it again, even on a 100 footer. As the man said; go via Hawaii.
Certainly not a voyage to be undertaken lightly.
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Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
This is one of the times you need to listen to this ;

" If you are asking this question you are most likely not to be ready for this passage."

Sure it is doable if you can wait for good weather windows. Doing it on a schedule in a smaller [ sub 40 ft ] boat may well result in at best a very uncomfortable trip and at worst a broken boat.

Watch this video, CLICKY it is from the USCG at Morro Bay which is one of the places you might enter if you planned to day sail up the coast.
I learned early on to not sail where birds are walking or surfers are waiting.
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Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

Since point Conception is so nasty and so is the Big Sur coast, what is the flaw in sailing south towards L.A. first, skirting around the Channel Islands and then heading out on a north west tack - staying on that until you can tack over and fetch S.F.?

Must be something wrong with the idea since no-one seems to do it but I don't know what.

Cali sailors?
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Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

Quote:
Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
Since point Conception is so nasty and so is the Big Sur coast, what is the flaw in sailing south towards L.A. first, skirting around the Channel Islands and then heading out on a north west tack - staying on that until you can tack over and fetch S.F.?

Must be something wrong with the idea since no-one seems to do it but I don't know what.

Cali sailors?
Some folks do just that. One problem is the North Pacific High – if it sits too far southeast one could be bobbing around for quite a while. This is part of the reason racers going from California to Hawaii stay well south of the Great Circle route. But if the wind patterns cooperate the scheme you mentioned is very doable.
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