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post #1 of 4 Old 02-10-2003 Thread Starter
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San Fran Liveaboard

Currently I live on my Catalina 30 in the Southern California area. In the spring, however, I plan to move to the San Francisco area.

My basic questions are these: 1) How available is dockage? 2) What can I expect to pay (in a good marina vs. one that''s not so decent?) 3) What''s it like in the winter? Is condensation / heat a problem? That is will I need two space heaters?

Lastly, I''m curious about the delivery up North. My Catalina has a rebuilt 11hp diesel... Is that enough to safely make the journey? Thanks in advance for the advice. -- Dave
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-10-2003
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Hi, Dave...

Latitude 38 has published all kinds of info relevant to your questions; if you''re not already an avid reader, try to dig up some back issues and begin refreshing yourself on their coverage of marinas, etc. I''d suggest you also search their back issue content at

Essentially, you''ll find it cold to live aboard and would find it most desireable to have a vented heat source, either an Espar-type forced air type or a radiating heater like Force 10 or Dickinson makes. I''m sure many make do with electric heat (and no doubt pay for an installed heater in a year or two...). Hypervent may be something you want to consider placing under your berth(s), at least during cold stretches, to avoid condensation and mold.

There are marinas of every stripe on the Bay, including some who willingly accept liveaboards and some who outlaw them. Space is at a premium (hard to find, hard to pay for!) and especially so when you think about where you''d like to have the boat located re: weather and weekend sailing. There are many ''sneakaboards'' there, simply due to liveaboard restrictions. I would recommend you consider this a major research project, the efforts of which will pay off well. Were I you, I''d bomb up there on I-5 for a stay and buzz around all I could, talking with the obvious liveaboards in marinas of interest to see what their experience has been.

Getting around Conception can be a big task, as well as dealing with the fog when you get a break from the wind. Cojo is a common fisherman ''sheltering spot'' and your basic strategy will be to wait weather, copy every f''cast you can get your hands on, and then boogie when the going looks good. Since your boat is smaller and not optimum for the heavy windward work you could face - and your engine is small for an all-out ''engine assault'' on the coast - you''ll need to be crafty about where and when you hop. You''ve got some great stops along the way, too - don''t forget to enjoy the ride!

Good luck on the passage. Sounds like a big change is a''coming - hope it works out well for you.

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post #3 of 4 Old 02-10-2003
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San Fran Liveaboard

11 hp is under powered for that long of a motor/sail passage. Yes it can be done if time is not an object. I trucked an Islander Bahama 30 from Stockton to MDR for $1000 plus the haul/launch/assembly and disassembly ($1600 total). The boat was out and loaded on Thursday arrived Thursday night and was rigged and launched on Friday.
Basically 48 hours and done.

The slog up th coast could take three days to seven days depending on weather. It sounds like you are in an older C30, the passage could take a toll on rigging and engine.

Alameda or Berkley would be worth checking out for pricing. The further in to the Delta you go, the better the pricing. Live aboard is more costly in most marinas that will accept live aboards. Check Latitude 38 for marina listings and other possibilities.
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post #4 of 4 Old 02-13-2003
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San Fran Liveaboard

I may be asking for the gods to do me dirty, next time I sail up the coast, by saying this but I have been up the California (LA to San Francisco) 4 times on my former NorSea 27. It was painless (but boring) every time!. Those same trips up were preceded by a great sail down. I sure would not have wanted to go up the coast in the weather I had coming down. I think this was a combination of luck and the time of year I did it. I spent one night at Coho anchorage and slipped around conception in the early morning calm. You can sit in the anchorage and listen to the weather radio to know when things are calm out around the cape. It is not easy to tell from the conditions in the anchorage.

Every time I took the boat up I did it over labor day weekend and had three days of dead calm to motor in.

There are several places you can duck into on your way up (depending on conditions). You can stop at avila beach, moro bay, san Simeon, still water cove, santa Cruz, and halfmoon bay. Some of these anchorages are exposed to the south but if its blowing from the south you thank the powers that be and keep sailing.

I dont see the problem with an 11 hp engine...If it will push the boat in calm conditions it should do the job. If conditions conspire against you, turn around and head for shelter.

The longest jump on the trip is from San Simeon to Stillwater cove...That is about 97 nautical miles.

You can leave your boat at avila beach, moro bay and monterey or santa cruz. BTW, santa cruz harbor closes in strong southerly conditions but monetrey would be a choic in that case...

So as to the trip up, I''d try for the bubble of calm that seems to persist for a few weeks at the end of the summer, get a few good books, and have your autopilot steer while you just putt putt your way to SF.

SF bay, as one of the two natural harbors on the coast, has lots of marina space and prices are cheaper than in southern california. There are very few livaboard marinas on the penninsula more are on the east bay side.

One of the free sailing rags (Latitude 38 or the log) puts out a "slips" directory every year that should help. I think one of the cheapest marinas around in Marina bay in Richmond. Dont know what their livaboard policy is. Another one I would try is the San Leandro marina. Last time I was there they had a lot of empty slips.

Alameda is a great place to live and is frequently sunny when the city is fogged in.
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