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  #11  
Old 04-08-2009
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Brave Heart

Rounding Pt. Conception is not for a novice sailor and not for the faint of heart. The weather is very unpredictable and can go from a near flat calm to 30+ knots in the time it has taken me to type the foregoing sentence. If you are not comfortable anchoring your boat you might want to rethink your plans. Cojo is a good anchorage. The kelp beds moderate the seas and make it a good place to shelter and rest.

There are two philosophies to rounding Pt. Conception. One holds that one should tuck up into Cojo and wait 'till one has a flat calm and then go like heck--taking advantage of the counter current near the shore. Even if calm tho' one has sizable seas. The other approach is to go off-shore, a long way, and avoid the compression zone around the point at the foot of the mountains. To do this you do need to be a long way off--30 to 40 miles as previously mentioned--and the stretch of Channel between San Miguel and Pt. Conception can be a miserable piece of water in the wrong conditions. If your boat cannot make good headway in big seas and winds, rethink you plans.

Conditions at Pt. Conception can be studied at SailFlow.com - CA- los angeles Wind Data .
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  #12  
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Thanks For The Feedback.

Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate the emails and reply posts. I'm beginning to think it's doable, based on members input.

Thanks again & Happy Sailing!

Sun27
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  #13  
Old 04-09-2009
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Point Conception is NO JOKE, that is where the real ocean begins,most sailors in Southern California are way unprepared for Point Conception/Point Honda etc...the following article is is an excellent reminder that even "professionals" have a bad day:

Introduction
This Point Honda Research subsite documents the research effort dealing with the naval shipwrecks, which occurred on September 8, 1923 at Point Honda, California—also known as Pedernales Point and La Honda, now Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Additional information on the Point Honda accident is available on the Point Honda Memorial web site Point Honda Memorial.

When our labor at research for more than a year fails to produce new discoveries, it's time to close shop and face reality. There may not be any more new stuff out there. The web page entitled "Dead-End" is devoted to this end. If you are interested solely in those areas where questions still remain unanswered concerning the circumstances surrounding the Point Honda accident, click on this Dead-End link. Once there, you'll find background information based on research and a list of unanswered questions. If you know of or have found an answer to a question, please send an email and we'll spread the word on this site.

The following major topics appear in this section: Chronology of the Last Hours and Main Cause of the Accident.

The day after the accident, an aerial view of the scene was captured on a U. S. Navy Air photo—wing tips of a bi-plane shown—which is currently stored at the National Archives. Seven naval destroyers were wrecked at Point Honda within an area of about 500 yards.



Beginning in the foreground at the bottom edge, the photo shows the Fuller. From there and toward the center, the Woodbury's bow is shown touching Woodbury Rock. On a straight line path from these two ships, and heading toward shore, is the overturned hull of the Young—with only about two feet of her port side exposed. Still in a straight line path from these three ships, and closest to shore, lies the barely visible wreck of the Delphy. To the right of the Young, and closer to shore, stands the Chauncey in an upright position. Finally, in the upper left corner, the bow of the Nicholas appears to be heading seaward, while the dark mass to the right of the Nicholas is the S.P. Lee.

Between 2105 and 2115, on that day, seven destroyers out of a total of fourteen, steaming in column formation with the Eleventh Destroyer Squadron, Pacific Battle Fleet, on a 20-knot, high-speed, endurance test of their cruising turbines, were trapped in a web of sharp, volcanic spires along the rocky California coast and were stranded.

The attached line drawing of the California coast, near the western entry into the Santa Barbara Channel, shows the Delphy's actual position at 2100, where she executed the fatal turn to 95° true and led seven destroyers to the bluff of Point Honda.





Captain Edward H. Watson trusted LCdr. Donald T. Hunter to do the navigating for the entire squadron and to lead them home safely to San Diego. And probably because of this unquestionable trust, LCdr. Hunter was able to convince Capt. Watson that the Delphy was at or near the D. R. (dead reckoning) position at 2100 and able to turn safely into the Santa Barbara Channel. He believed navigating by dead reckoning—the "old-fashioned" way—was more reliable than by following radio compass bearings sent by "new-fangled gadgets" from a naval shore station .

The Destroyers page lists the fourteen squadron ships and the order in which they steamed in column formation, while the Photos page contains more detailed pictures of the accident. Two destroyers received minor damages, while five maneuvered away from danger. The estimated loss of Government property was $13 million. Twenty-three sailors perished in the worst, peacetime accident in U. S. Navy history.

Many years of research by this author produced numerous documents which would be wasted, if not shared. Future naval historians may choose to build upon the findings published on this web site, and hopefully, add new information about the accident, and the conduct of key personnel at the time.

The Associated Press (AP) was in the forefront reporting the accident in practically every major city in the country. The Newspaper Articles page of this site contains relevant extracts from articles which describe the accident in the early stages. It also contains extracts which reported the unusual currents in the Pacific before the accident, and the proceedings during the Court of Inquiry and the General Courts-martial. When warranted, the author's comments are included.

The Navy Department page shows an organizational chart at the highest level, dated July 1, 1923. At that time, Edwin Denby was the Secretary of the Navy under President Calvin Coolidge. This page also contains organizational charts of Destroyer Squadrons, Battle Fleet, Rear Admiral S.E.W. Kittelle, Commanding and Destroyer Squadron Eleven, Captain Edward H. Watson, Commanding.

Links to the Court of Inquiry and the Court Martial also appear on the Navy Department page. Copies of documents from these legal proceedings were obtained from the National Archives, with one exception, the record of trial case of Lieutenant (j.g.) Lawrence F. Blodgett, which failed to be delivered to the National Archives by the Navy Department. However, after over five years of diligent searching and thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, on October 18, 2004, a copy of Lt. Blodgett's record of trial was received by this author from the Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Review Activity, Office of the Judge Advocate of the Navy. Relevant extracts from these documents are included on these pages followed by this author's comments.

The Court of Inquiry, investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident, convened on September 17, 1923 in the Administration Building of the Naval Air Station on North Island, California, and questioned witnesses for 19 days. The Navy Department wanted the Inquiry to be a secret session—no press or public allowed. However, public opinion prevailed, and Secretary Denby was pressured to open the doors to the Inquiry. Newspapers all over the country carried articles covering the legal proceedings.

A seven-member General Courts-martial board began their proceedings—conducted at the Eleventh Naval District Headquarters in San Diego, California—against eleven defendants named by the Court of Inquiry, with the first trial, that of Capt. Watson, on November 5, 1923. The proceedings were also opened to the press and public.

One can only speculate why the Navy Department opened the Court of Inquiry and the General Courts-martial to the press and public when the records of these proceedings were classified for 50 years and not declassified until the 1970s. The Freedom of Information Act required the Navy Department to turn these records over to the National Archives and make them available to the public.

Once the newspapers published the results of the General Courts-martial, interest in Point Honda subsided. In early 1924, the final review by the Assistant Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Navy was completed, and the JAG of the Navy signed the endorsements of the record of trials by direction of the Secretary of the Navy. The Navy Department classified all legal documents and took custody for the next 50 years.

Years later, books and magazine articles began to appear as naval historians sought to find the missing links in the Point Honda accident. And practically every author made a contribution in the quest for the truth.

The first magazine article I was able to locate was published in U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings in January 1957. It was written by Lieutenant Commander Richard B. Hadaway, U. S. Naval Reserve. The Magazine Articles page contains a list of articles and extracts which prompt comments from this author.

This magazine article may have stimulated the publication of the first book in 1960 entitled "Tragedy at Honda" by Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, USN (Ret.) and Colonel Hans Christian Adamson, USAF (Ret.). The Preface and Acknowledgements page in this book shows evidence of extensive cooperation with the Navy Department, while the authors gathered "long-forgotten incidents, charts, photographs, and records". Furthermore, the authors claim that the "entire story of that nightmare voyage" has never before been told.
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Old 04-12-2009
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When I was a teenager, I made money by taking boats up and down the California coast between Monterey and Southern California. --- Once on a pretty day in early Summer, we motored a very seaworthy 25 footer out of Moro Bay in flat calm, as we approached Pt Conception, a light wind picked up, so, we hoised the sails and began sailing. Within half-an-hour the wind grew to 90 knots gusting 110. The seas were blown as flat as a tabletop. But by the time we reached Coho anchorage, the evening was cooling and it was calm again. --- That was all a thermal.

There is the moral: It tends to blow hardest in the afternoon on hot days. On a foggy morning, it will usually be quiet.

I have motored past the point in calm weather about half of the times but, otherwise, there was most often a stiff breeze in the 18-45 knot range. That is something a good sea-worthy boat should be able to handle.

Whites Pt and Pt Sur should also be taken seriously. At these points you may encounter huge breaking seas as well as wind. The Monterey Bay Yacht Racing Association lost several boats off Point Sur until they banned the less sea worthy designs. One crew who were rescued, said that they had pitch-polled. That is, they had buried their bow and the wave had flipped them over, stern--over--bow.

Coho anchorage is a good fair-weather anchorage, and there is a marina at Moro Bay. The long hop is from there to Monterey. Nevertheless, there is another fair-weather anchorage at Phyffer Lee (that is behind Phyffer Pt, just south of Big Sur).

"Fair-weather harbor" means that it is unprotected to the South. So if a storm kicks up, you may have to pull up anchor and head to sea.

And, "seaworthy" means that the boat will withstand at least the kind of wind conditions you are likely to encounter, eight feet of solid water over its deck, and will right itself from any position. Check your rigging and possibly replace the older swaged end-fittings on the cables, before you make that trip. --- But, don't be afraid of taking a smaller boat: They can be very seaworthy. Boats larger than about 36 feet tend to plow into the big ocean swellls, wereas, smaller boats just bob over them, like a cork. But, what is more important is that the forces involved on smaller boats are smaller too, so, things can be man-handled if the necessity arises.

There are many places along that coast that one could anchor in fair weather. --- The old square-riggers used to warp in against the rocks, at various places, on calm days, to load cargos of steer hides. But the coast line is the edge of the continental shelf, so you are just clinging to the edge of a sheer cliff that goes down, in places, thousands of fathoms.

There is an anchorage on the North side of Carmel Bay ("Pebble Beach", that is Pescadero Cove) but Carmel Bay is best avoided, as it has rocks, currents, rogue waves, generally little wind, and its shoreline is clogged with kelp. In particular, stand well clear of Cypress Pt, there is a current that has a nasty habit of trying to drag you across table rock.

All these warnings having been said, that coastline is one of the places I love the best. It is pure raw Nature. It will be a trip to remember for a lifetime.
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When I was a teenager, I made money by taking boats up and down the California coast between Monterey and Southern California. --- Once on a pretty day in early Summer, we motored a very seaworthy 25 footer out of Moro Bay in flat calm, as we approached Pt Conception, a light wind picked up, so, we hoised the sails and began sailing. Within half-an-hour the wind grew to 90 knots gusting 110. The seas were blown as flat as a tabletop. But by the time we reached Coho anchorage, the evening was cooling and it was calm again. --- That was all a thermal.

There is the moral: It tends to blow hardest in the afternoon on hot days. On a foggy morning, it will usually be quiet.

I have motored past the point in calm weather about half of the times but, otherwise, there was most often a stiff breeze in the 18-45 knot range. That is something a good sea-worthy boat should be able to handle.

Whites Pt and Pt Sur should also be taken seriously. At these points you may encounter huge breaking seas as well as wind. The Monterey Bay Yacht Racing Association lost several boats off Point Sur until they banned the less sea worthy designs. One crew who were rescued, said that they had pitch-polled. That is, they had buried their bow and the wave had flipped them over, stern--over--bow.

Coho anchorage is a good fair-weather anchorage, and there is a marina at Moro Bay. The long hop is from there to Monterey. Nevertheless, there is another fair-weather anchorage at Phyffer Lee (that is behind Phyffer Pt, just south of Big Sur).

"Fair-weather harbor" means that it is unprotected to the South. So if a storm kicks up, you may have to pull up anchor and head to sea.

And, "seaworthy" means that the boat will withstand at least the kind of wind conditions you are likely to encounter, eight feet of solid water over its deck, and will right itself from any position. Check your rigging and replace the older swaged end-fittings on the cables, before you make that trip. --- The rigging on Southern California boats may have deteriorated with age and never have encountered the kind of conditions that occur along the Central Coast. SF Bay boats, on the other hand, will routinely encounter, at least, those wind leves, and, thus, will have been tested.

But, don't be afraid of taking a smaller boat: They can be very seaworthy. Boats larger than about 36 feet tend to plow into the big ocean swellls, wereas, smaller boats just bob over them, like a cork. But, what is more important is that the forces involved on smaller boats are smaller too, so, things can be man-handled if the necessity arises.

There are many places along that coast that one could anchor in fair weather. --- The old square-riggers used to warp in against the rocks, at various places, on calm days, to load cargos of steer hides. But the coast line is the edge of the continental shelf, so you are just clinging to the edge of a sheer cliff that goes down, in places, thousands of fathoms.

There is an anchorage on the North side of Carmel Bay ("Pebble Beach", that is Pescadero Cove) but Carmel Bay is best avoided, as it has rocks, currents, rogue waves, generally little wind, and its shoreline is clogged with kelp. In particular, stand well clear of Cypress Pt, there is a current there that has a nasty habit of trying to drag you across table rock.

All these warnings having been said, that coastline is one of the places I love the best. It is pure raw Nature. It will be a trip to remember for a lifetime.
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  #16  
Old 04-18-2009
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Thanks svHyLyte

Thanks svHyLyte, I checked out the sailing conditons site you linked. It's fantastic! The price is good as well -Free! I've been doing some pattern analysis, trying to identify
- window of opportunity - patterns.

Thanks for your reference! As the date for my departure nears, I am getting more and more excited. This will be the longest single handed voyage I've made to date. If I survive, I'm considering S.F. Bay to Hawaii or S.F. Bay to The San Juan Islands, possibly Belize.

At any rate, I appreciate your tip!

Take care,

Sun 27
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Thanks Rncrittendon...

Thank you, as well rnCrittendon!

Your comprehensive feedback provides fantastic info.
to use in my planning. You have definitely shared the esoteric with me and I thank you for offering your comments and your time in posting them.

Take care,

Sun 27
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Old 04-18-2009
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Coho is an excellent anchorage where the wind Goddess of Conception will often pinned you down there for days. And that brings up my main point. North bound sailors who are on a limited time schedule are asking to get beat up.

On my solo voyage around the world, on passages that could take as little as 4 days, I allowed weeks of extra time, if needed, to get to windward.

With time, a prudent sailor can anchor at Coho in the midst of winter, get up one morning and motor around Conception in a dead calm.
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Old 04-19-2009
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Howdy crusingdreampress

Thanks CDPress,

Funny you should mention anchors. I was just considering my anchor situation. Do you suggest I use a stern anchor also, at Cojo anchorage? How tight is the anchorage on space?

Thanks again for you feedback CDPress!

Take care,

Sun 27
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Old 04-19-2009
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Silly Me...Cojo Has Plenty of Room...

Sorry CDPress,

I should have checked the net first about space at Cojo.

I just saw a sat. shot of Cojo Anchorage
. I can't imagine there's ever an available space problem at Cojo.

Thanks Again!
Sun 27
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