Channel Islands in January? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-10-2011 Thread Starter
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Channel Islands in January?

Has anyone ever visited Santa Cruz Island in the winter? We are considering visiting there this January or February. Anyone else's thoughts or experiences related to this would be welcomed.
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-10-2011
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Haven't heard of anyone heading over that time of the year. The weather can be iffy, so everyone I know puts it off until later in the spring. We will head over to Catalina during the winter, but always head for Cat Harbor as it is very protected.
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-19-2012
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Re: Channel Islands in January?

This posting may be too late, but I did a trip to San Miguel and Santa Rosa Islands in December 2011. I just started sailing a few years ago so I don't have a whole lot of experience, but I plan on doing some extensive cruising in a few years so I try to sail when ever I can.

I chartered a Catalina 36 from the Santa Barbara Sailing Center last December with two friends and headed out for 5 days. We left at the tail end of a early winter storm with unusual SW winds about 15-20 knts, so we made a beeline directly to Cuyler Harbor on a beam reach. It was rainy and windy as hell all night and the next day, but we were the only souls their. Went hiking on the Island and were the only ones there. It was fantastic. The wind shifted to the typical NW and we sailed around to Tyler Bight and stayed a night. 25-30 knt winds all night long and not a soul around. Hundreds of sea lions barking and causing a ruckus. It was beautiful. Then we sailed the south side of San Miguel and Santa Rosa toward Bechers Bay. We were running in 25 - 30 knts almost surfing down huge swells. It was a blast. When we got to the Santa Cruz channel, the wind died. We took the reef out and turned north to Bechers. As we entered the channel the wind exploded directly head on atabout 40+ knts. We dropped the sails and cranked up the motor, but the wind was howling so hard head on, we could only make headway about 1 knt. At that rate, I knew we wouldn't make Bechers before night fall, but there wasn't much else and I had a chart plotter with GPS, so we kept going. I don't think I ever saw it so dark in my life. We ended up motoring for about 2 hours and then anchoring in pitch black. My buddies did not have much sailing experience and were crying for their mommies. The next day we headed back to Santa Barbara. My friends said they would never sail with me again. I had the time of my life. I figured they were just pussies and so wouldn't want to sail with them anyway.

P.S. They soon got over it and sailed with me just last May to Catalina and Santa Barbara Island. That was a much more mellow trip, but still fun.
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-21-2012
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Red face Re: Channel Islands in January?

Grosso, sounded like fun to me too. I haven't been up there in a sail boat but have done a lot of diving there on the dive boats out of Santa Barbara. I went up there one day and before we left the dock it was cloudy and drizzling. Not much wind. Was awakened around 6 AM and went up on deck to find we were in a gale. It was quit pleasant diving on the lee side of the islands however. The spray from the waves was going over the top of the 85' dive boat on the way back. I know even in the summer it can get rough out there, especially around San Miguel, very fast. What starts out as a warm sunny day can end in small craft or gale winds by afternoon with 12 - 18' seas. It pays to keep an eye on the weather reports if you are going. I am hoping to take a week next year and make a stop or at Catalina then Santa Cruz on the way to Ventura.
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: Channel Islands in January?

My experience was from Monterey north. January is right in the middle of "storm season". Even down south can be extremely rough during that time . If you go I suggest you study the Marine forcast and real time sea conditions VERY carefully:

Marine Point Forecast for Latitude 39.66N and Longitude 124.52W

Northern California NOAA/CDIP Buoy Data

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