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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 04-24-2012
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Morro Bay ?

I was on the California coast this past weekend (road trip, not by boat), Monterey Bay, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara, a stunningly beautiful coastline, but,..

Heavy sea mist with limited visibility. Morro Bay was the thickest and Santa Barbara would clear for a few hours then thicken up again.

How common is the dense sea mist, and how do folks adapt their sailing for these conditions?

I am not planning on moving there, just curious.

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Last edited by Ulladh; 04-24-2012 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 04-24-2012
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Re: Morro Bay ?

Those conditions are fairly typical. South of Point Conception (Santa Barbara and to the south) it tends to be clearer. But everything to the north can be pretty foggy for days at a time. The prevailing NW winds produce fairly strong coastal upwelling, which in turn produces much of the coastal fog we see. This is particularly true during the summer months. But it can, and does, happen quite a bit year-around.
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Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Morro Bay ?

That is light fog for Northern California. It can get so dense that you cant see the bow of your boat from the helm. I have not sailed in it but have heard stories about fog like that. The fog forms more during the summer; usually burns back from the coast during the day and stays high (about 300' above the sea), but there are days when it is very low and dense.
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Re: Morro Bay ?

The photograph is from the coastal highway south of Monterey.

By Morro Bay visibility was down to about 100ft, the fishing boats were still going out, local knowledge and radar I would assume.

It was variable by Santa Barbara, oilrigs appearing and disappearing within a few minutes, then the boats moored of the beach dissolving into the mist.

So without radar does one stay offshore until the fog clears, could be days?
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Re: Morro Bay ?

I came into Morro Bay a couple years ago pre-dawn and couldn't hardly see past the bow, I just sat a little outside the furthest entrance bouy until it lifted enough to see my way in. My biggest concern was that they seem to ALWAYS be dredging and you never know where the dredger and pipes are.
I started seeing some little white lights ahead and didn't know if they were kayak fishermen, net floats or crab traps or what. So I sent a crewman to the bow for a look-out, he thought I wanted him to watch for sea otters. (? what would I do that for?)
By the time I realised the lights were houses on the hill I didn't want to explain why I was worried about hitting a kayak.
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Re: Morro Bay ?

Folks on the Central and Northern California coast just learn to live with it. In fact, some revel in it. The town of Pacifica (just south of San Francisco) has an annual "Fogfest". Ironically, it's held in the Fall each year; usually on a nice sunny Indian Summer weekend (at least it always seemed to wind up that way when I lived there).
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Re: Morro Bay ?

How far offshore does that fog typically extend?
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Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Morro Bay ?

In the spring it will extent for miles... like over 100. We do like it because it keeps it cool apx. 60-65. Where inland it will be 90 or so. Any way as far a visibility goes we just say out of the shipping lanes and listen for other boats. It really is nice to take the boat out in those conditions.
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Old 04-26-2012
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Re: Morro Bay ?

Most of the time the fog develops just along the shoreline and inland a very short distance. Caused by hot valley air (100+) interacting with cool marine air. There are several Points and bays that extend far enough out to be clear.

We do get some heavy fog that extends a fair distance offshore but that's seasonal and not that different from anywhere else (Except the Tropics maybe?).
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