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post #1 of 23 Old 03-21-2012 Thread Starter
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Sailing up Coast of California

My buddy and I are thinking about Sailing up the coast of California, we were wondering how long it would take to sail up the coast from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay?
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post #2 of 23 Old 03-21-2012
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

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My buddy and I are thinking about Sailing up the coast of California, we were wondering how long it would take to sail up the coast from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay?
It all depends. What model and size of boat do you have? Does it have good sails? A strong engine? How experienced are you? What time of year are you considering for this trip? Are you planning on sailing, motor-sailing, motoring, all of the above?

In general, you'll be sailing upwind and into the California current most of the way. North of Point Conception it will probably feel like you're sailing "uphill" most of the time. Also north of Point Conception safe harbors are few and far between, although there are several hidey-holes here and there.

Don't be fooled by the distance; it may be only 500 miles or so, but it could easily take a couple of weeks. Many years ago I helped a friend sail and old Ericson 35-2, with very tired sails and an Atomic 4 that was really an Atomic 2-and-a-half, from LA to SF. We got to Port San Luis in a week. But it then took three tries to get from PSL to SF.

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post #3 of 23 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

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My buddy and I are thinking about Sailing up the coast of California...
You and your buddy are gluttons for punishment, huh?
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post #4 of 23 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

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It all depends. What model and size of boat do you have? Does it have good sails? A strong engine? How experienced are you? What time of year are you considering for this trip? Are you planning on sailing, motor-sailing, motoring, all of the above?

In general, you'll be sailing upwind and into the California current most of the way. North of Point Conception it will probably feel like you're sailing "uphill" most of the time. Also north of Point Conception safe harbors are few and far between, although there are several hidey-holes here and there.

Don't be fooled by the distance; it may be only 500 miles or so, but it could easily take a couple of weeks. Many years ago I helped a friend sail and old Ericson 35-2, with very tired sails and an Atomic 4 that was really an Atomic 2-and-a-half, from LA to SF. We got to Port San Luis in a week. But it then took three tries to get from PSL to SF.
I'm interested in learning more about sailing north along the CA coast as well. I sail on SF Bay but am not from here originally and don't have experience on the CA coastline (east coaster, GA, SC, NC background) Seems sailing south is easy, but coming back up can be pretty tricky. If anyone knows of an information source to give me a good education on the subject I would appreciate it.
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post #5 of 23 Old 03-22-2012
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post #6 of 23 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

I,ve never made the trip myself, but you,ll be fighting the current,prevailing winds, and personally my prevailing principles. good luck...JHB
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post #7 of 23 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

Someone said in a similar thread- trailer it up, sail it down. Or in your case, vice versa.

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post #8 of 23 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

I have made this trip and it is not too bad. Realisticly it takes 6 days of sailing. However, you may not get six days of time you can sail and you will need rest between each leg if you are going solo. Plan on motoring. Each leg of the journey is:

San Diego to Los Angeles
Los Angeles to Santa Barbara or the Cojo Anchorage south of Point Concpetion.
Santa Barbara, around Point Conception to Avila Bay or Morro Bay (Avila is easier to get into in marginal weather and Morro Bay closes when surf is coming straight into the mouth of the harbor.
Avila Bay to Monterey Bay - a long trip that may take more than 24 horus depending upon current and wind. Do not go into strong winds for this leg our your ground speed may be less than 2 knots per hour.
Monterey Bay to Santa Cruise
Santa Cruise to Half Moon bay, or skip half moon Bay and add an additinal six hours and arrive in San Francisco.

No problem

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post #9 of 23 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

Not a good time of year. Seas generally start to lay down a little about the first of June or so but can be rough at any time. As mentioned earlier it is a long way between shelter.

Suggest you use these or equivelent:

Marine Forecast for Latitude 39.66N and Longitude 124.52W

Northern California NOAA/CDIP Buoy Data

On the forecast page just type in the area you want to know about.

Suggest a couple of short uphill trial runs before trying the whole thing. not a trip to be taken lightly. A dirty tank plus heavy weather can result in clogged filters.

Let us know how it goes.

Paul T
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post #10 of 23 Old 03-22-2012
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Re: Sailing up Coast of California

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Not a good time of year. Seas generally start to lay down a little about the first of June or so but can be rough at any time. As mentioned earlier it is a long way between shelter.

Suggest you use these or equivelent:

Marine Forecast for Latitude 39.66N and Longitude 124.52W

Northern California NOAA/CDIP Buoy Data

On the forecast page just type in the area you want to know about.

Suggest a couple of short uphill trial runs before trying the whole thing. not a trip to be taken lightly. A dirty tank plus heavy weather can result in clogged filters.

Let us know how it goes.

Paul T
Forgot some info. Not sure about your experience level so my apologies if this is "old stuff". Suggest you have a full set of paper charts:

Pacific Coast NOAA Nautical Charts

My experience if from SF, Monterey area north, however I have read that getting around Point Conception can be very difficult. Have also seen videos of Morro Bay entrance breaking big time. Half Moon Bay has reefs to the south and west. When coming into SF suggest you stay off shore in at LEAST 60 feet and come down the ship channel, keeping to the edge as close as possible. Keep a very close watch BEHIND you. The ships will close on you very fast and you WILL be run down if you are in their way. Don't even think about cutting the corner and going around Seal Rocks, many boats have been lost doing that. Also, don't pass between the south tower of the GG Bridge and shore. Just my opinion, offered at no cost, and FWIW.

Paul T
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