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Rowboat 05-08-2013 05:44 PM

Channel Islands sailing
Hi, I am sailing to the Channel Islands at the end of may for a few days
What are the must-do things and what are the best places to anchor
I would appreciate any advice or experiences from this area

Rowboat 05-08-2013 05:47 PM

Re: Channel Islands sailing
That's the Channel Islands in California, just to be clear

SlowButSteady 05-08-2013 06:38 PM

Re: Channel Islands sailing
Which islands? How experienced are you? From where are you starting?

GMFL 05-08-2013 08:30 PM

Re: Channel Islands sailing
Don't know much (yet) about any of the islands except Catalina. Check out Brian Fagan's Cruising guide. He has some good tips.

jephotog 05-08-2013 09:57 PM

Re: Channel Islands sailing
Without answering the questions asked about your experience or departure point I will tell you what I know.

Catalina is the only developed Island, with two harbors with some places to see and things to do and tons of moorings. "Ain't never been there but tell me it's nice" The easiest way to get there is to leave from Long Beach. But any harbor from Dana Point to Marina del Rey will get you there in a days sailing.

I have more experience with the Northern Islands. You could sail to Catalina then Santa Barbara Island then the Northern Islands. If you want a more rustic cruise start in either Santa Barbara or Ventura or Oxnard and sail out to Santa Cruz Island in a day. You can pass Anacapa Island on the way there, which is interesting to look at but without great anchorages. Lots of different anchorages on Santa Cruz, with Santa Rosa and San Miguel further out to the East. Most of the islands are private with no facilities. I believe part of Santa Cruz has a National park on it, but access to most of the islands is limited. I have only been out a few times to Santa Cruz and never on holidays but have never seen more than 3 boats in an anchorage. Its just lonely remote and beautiful.

With 10 days I would leave Long Beach, go to Catalina for 2-3 days, 1 day sail to Santa Barbara, then 1 long day sail to Santa Cruz Island explore the Northern Islands a few days, Sail to Santa Barbara for a day then back to Long Beach.

capttb 05-08-2013 10:10 PM

Re: Channel Islands sailing
Second on Brian Fagan's book, don't leave home without it.
You can land on any of the 5 islands in the park.
Boating - Channel Islands National Park

Bradhamlet 05-08-2013 10:10 PM

Re: Channel Islands sailing
The Northern islands are beautiful and you should be ok as far as weather goes. Keep your weather radio/vhf on it does get rough up there. The back side is mostly open depending on if we are getting a South swell running, but this is more at the end of Summer. Whales are still passing through and in the "gap" between Annacapa and Santa Cruz the blues have been known to stay all summer feeding on krill from the upwelling offshore. May gray is what we usually see this time of year, low coastal clouds burning off as the day progresses. Enjoy.

Lancer 36

rgscpat 05-08-2013 11:38 PM

Re: Channel Islands sailing
If you want to land on Santa Cruz, here's a link for applying for landing permits:

Some of the anchorages are deep and tricky and pretty much all will have quite a bit of open exposure, so high confidence in ground tackle is a good thing.

A dinghy with a reliable motor would be useful.

San Clemente and San Nicholas are distant and restricted (military). If anchoring out, be sure you are fully legal, including all safety equipment, and aware of restrictions.
In case of emergency (medical, inclement weather, etc.)
contact the following at SCI: "Control Bravo" on Channel 16 or San Clemente Island Security at (619)524-9214
also, Naval Base Ventura County - San Nicolas Island

Rowboat 05-09-2013 12:08 AM

Re: Channel Islands sailing
Thanks for all the replies. I will be sailing from Santa Barbara
I plan on sailing to Santa Cruz island and anchoring at smugglers cove. That looks the most protected and seems to have a reliable sandy bottom. I don't have as much experience as a lot of you, I'm sure. But I am comfortable with this charter. I have certainly sailed in tougher waters.
Glad to know about the whales. I'm hoping to see a few.
Has anyone anchored at smugglers? Looks like there is an offshore wind most nights until 2:00 AM. Any trouble here?
Also very interested in any surfing info in the area.

jephotog 05-09-2013 12:28 AM

Re: Channel Islands sailing

Originally Posted by Rowboat (Post 1027552)
I plan on sailing to Santa Cruz island and anchoring at smugglers cove. That looks the most protected and seems to have a reliable sandy bottom. I don't have as much experience as a lot of you, I'm sure.

I doubt it. When I went there I was 23 and had only taken a 3 day sailing course and been sailing less than a year. We left Channel Island Marina and sailed to Smugglers in heavy wind. It was very peaceful and easy in the lee of the island and had no trouble anchoring there, good holding.

I have also been in Coches Prietos and while not the skipper then I remember it being fairly deep and sheltered.

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