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first sailed january 2008
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about two weeks away from starting a cruise of California. First off I have the choice to either start in San Francisco and see the central California coast or I could start in SoCal and go back and forth between the Channel Islands, Catalina, Newport Beach and San Diego. In November I hope to head south to Baja like a lot of other people, although not part of the Baja ha ha.

Which would you choose? I like to surf, so fall so a great time for weather and surf along the central coast. But of course it's still good south of point conception, so either way I should score there.

There seems to be pros and cons to both. The pros for starting in San Francisco are:
It's the best time of year
Get a lot of windy sailing practice in the bay
Sail under the golden gate
Potential cruise up the delta(I like my weather hot and dry!)
Santa Cruz, Monterey, Morro bay, point conception, holister ranch, Ventura, Santa Barbara (maybe not in that order). Those don't seem like places I want to miss

Cons:
The weather could be foggy and cool, although the weather now shows unseasonably warm water temperatures and low wind
Further distances between places to go
Less boats to choose from seemingly

The pros of starting in SoCal:
It's where I want to be most
Can get ocean experience going to the islands
More anchorages
Newport Beach and San Diego are second only to Hawaii for top place in the USA.

Cons:
The central coast is beautiful and it's upwind.
 

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Did you buy your new boat already? What did you get???
 

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x2

the middle coast can be nasty even in summer...

now having said that it all depends on what and where you get your boat and how and with who or if solo you are doing it

my last trip was from san fran to halfmoon to santa cruz to monterrey...nice trip but you can get the crap kicked out of you if you dont pay attention...

after pt conception the weather really does change a lot, getting to st. barbara if hopping can be a hog, but st.barbara down its nice so cal warmer slower sailing and much easier...

still you can get whipped by a santa ana wind or whatever

the same applies to the baja coast...it actually gets colder once out of san diego...foggy as hell then will clear up after abpout midway and into cabo

so cal sailing has the reputation of being sunny, light winds and good decent surf
middle coast can be rough not much to do but gunkhole in a couple of places, it really is desolate in some ways

northern cal after say morro bay and up its typycal colder, foggy yet sometimes beatiful sailing...

at any time you can get some big weather and waves and a bit of a slap! jajaja

good luck

oh btw sailing the delta is awesome...but you just missed the doo dahd and other cruising trips that are way fun...its hot and you can be out in the middle of nowhere in weeds in your own little spot...really really beatiful stuff

this is all old sailing turf...miss it a lot...but hey tropics rock for other reasons so come on down!
 
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I think you should start in SoCal, if that's what you want, and it's going to be more comfortable, and less risk.

I've thought of a similar adventure, but when you realize that fun surf = swells & storms & wind = bad anchoring, bad weather windows to travel to swell, challenging sailing conditions = money spent nightly in harbors, I was deterred... A bicycle/camp/surf trip seems a lot cheaper and about the same quality of living.

I vote that you start a little blog or instagram dedicated to it or something so all of us who are interested could see how it goes on a day-to-day or week-to-week. Remember to hash-tag the sh!t out of every name brand thing you use, you might get it replaced for free ;)

If you stop in Redondo, they just installed mooring balls that nobody uses, then let me know.

What boat did you get? What's the setup?
 

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Both good plans, but for a surfer going from San Francisco down allows you some of the best surf on the coast.
San Francisco has Ocean Beach and surrounding surf areas. Totally world class.
Half Moon Bay - Mavericks?? Way above my pay grade.
Santa Cruz. To many great breaks to name. If you do come here, let me know. I've surfed here all my life. I'm old now, but I still know where the waves are!!
SLO (San Luis Obispo) is the forgotten child of the coast. Think Shawn Dollar.
The Ranch. Anchor at Cojo or Little Cojo and there are some of the best waves ever.
When you get to Santa Barbara it's So.Cal all the way. Breaks at every harbor and anchorage.

However, the trip down is very technical. Lots of open water, need for weather forecasting, good sailing skills and a sound boat. Going down the coast is a big deal, like PhilZ says. It's for the well prepared.
 

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first sailed january 2008
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have no doubt that I can make the trip.

I think I'm leaving next Wednesday, and I'm going to look at boats in either SoCal or the Bay. That's why I asked separate threads. This one will determine where I drive to buy a boat.

I love surfing ocean beach, that's why I made this screen name I did, when I lived in San Francisco and used to surf there, I didn't really give it much thought, but Surfline has a northoceanbeach web cam I used to check everyday, and it was the first thing that came to mind.

I need some crap kicking out of me. I will be solo, but isn't central California windy, but not gale winds, more like consistent small craft advisories, with fall being the mildest and calmest?

I have a cruising guide to California, and some people who have done the trip said there are lots of little secret anchorages.
 

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yeah there are many "secret anchorages" however at any time 10 miles 20 miles can seem a loooooooooooong way

even santa cruz to monterey ca seem long if it whips up

anywhoo

so cal sailing is much more relazed man and more fun for day sailing...in sunnier weather

as you know not san fran...

anywhoo
 

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actually winter(within weather windows) is the "secret" best time of year to go down...or up, often because of the light winds.

summer can be nice or a crap fest

fall is good to

when doing the baja haha for example cruisers from the bay area go down after august slowly down the coast to be ready for the baja in october...when the nice sailin starts down our ways

however there is another time to go down too and thats late "winter" spring

just depends
 

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North,
I’d love to buy you a drink at the club bar if you should find yourself here in the Bay Area. The problem with heading south from here (especially in the type and size of boat you are contemplating) is you will have several days at sea before suitable landfalls. As Christian said, you can harbor hop down to Monterrey. But then you have a multi-day run before Morro Bay, or even San Simion. You can harbor hop to Avila Beach/SLO, but then it is an overnighter around Conception. You could then anchor at Cojo, and harbor hop to Santa Barbara. After that it is all harbor hopping. Don’t consider a Catalina Island an ocean trip. I know three guys who did it on jet skis!
 

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first sailed january 2008
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ill take you up on that drink, I'll wear a nice shirt!

I'm not considering catalina offshore, I've just been told that while most of the time the weather is light and people motor, to catalina, and especially the Channel Islands, when the weather pipes up, you are in the actual ocean, as compared to puget sound.
 

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Sailing south along the Central California coast is easy, relative to sailing north. However, there are some pretty long stretches w/o any really safe anchorages. If you have a sound boat and some experience I would opt to start in SF. The scenery along Big Sur alone is worth the trip.
 

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north this simply depends on where you end up buying the boat man...if its san fran then you go down, if it san diego or longbeach you go west! jajaja if san diego up or down to baja...

but focus on getting the boat first...

I slightly disagree with the posts about san fran being an easier start, it will be better for you and your boat from an experience standpoint as you will have more miles under you as you harbor hop, for example

san fran to halfmoon bay, to santa cruz to moss landing to monterrey then its a bigger more substantial hop down to morro bay per se but thats where the real beauty starts...hop down that part(I forget the names of the nooks you can stop by, but there are a few interesting and safe ones) and then hit channel islands before turning for st. barbrara or simply keep going down...

your choice

whereas if you start in on of those so cal areas you have much calmer and sunnier weather and well less chances of getting in harms way per se since you are in a more populated area...

just my cents...either way this is part of the season to be sailing so you are fine

fall can get some interesting weather up north...also a lot of windless days however it depends really.

San fran in winter can be warmer and easier to sail and motor in than the summer...most bay sailors can say so.
 

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Ill take you up on that drink, I'll wear a nice shirt!

I'm not considering catalina offshore, I've just been told that while most of the time the weather is light and people motor, to catalina, and especially the Channel Islands, when the weather pipes up, you are in the actual ocean, as compared to puget sound.
When we lived in SoCal, we kept our boat, then a Cal 2-29, in the basin at Alamitos Bay YC and made the trip to Catalina via Angles Gate nearly every other weekend, at least during the Summer, from Thursday evening (to score a mooring) to Sunday, mid-day. (We took the fast ferry back to Long Beach on Friday AM for work and returned in the evening.) I can't recall a single trip where we had to motor, over or back, other than to get north, past down town Long Beach. From Angles Gate to Bird Rock at Two Harbors usually took us about 5 hours. On the return, from Bird Rock to the end of the breakwater off the Alamitos Bay Channel, often took less than 3 hours. Representations to the contrary not withstanding, that passage was/is Ocean sailing.

Having made the trip, in both directions, between San Francisco and Long Beach, the coast from San Simeon to Carmel/Pacifica/Monteray can be very demanding. And, cold. And, frankly, the coldest winters we ever endured, were late summers in San Francisco.

FWIW,,,
 

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EXACTLY! that coast can and does have a reputation and well the summer thing is a classic, since mark twain.

anywhoooooooo

we got a little whipped going into st.barbara....it was at night though early october on our way down to the baja haha fwiw.

conception was mild accordiing to others thoughts in it...we got hit above and below it.

be safe ocean

but get a boat first! jajaja
 

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first sailed january 2008
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok, thanks. I'll try for San Francisco. I can do cold, shoot, I'm bringing a huge box of foul weather gear, it's going to be warm compared to Washington.

The Central Coast does seem not to be missed. Luckily there are more boats turning up in SF. Especially the rocket one. I can hang out in Alameda for maybe a month and learn things, maybe make a deal with the owner that I'll buy the boat and pay him for septembers slip fees and he can cancel it after that. Head up to the delta for so warmth and sun and outer around fixing things.

Anything I may want to do like haul out and bottom paint is cheaper and still good quality south of the border right?

Can anyone recommend a good cruising guide? I love those things. They are ver popular in Washington and canada. I have something called Charlie's charts, but it's pretty dated. I would like one that shows all the anchorages.
 

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yeah charlies are dated but still very useful and very widely used, I think there is one by the rhimes or something, linda or patsy cant remember

south of the border being cheap not really...some places in mexico are getting expensive however that is off my old 10 recollection now

gravelles boatyard in moss landing between santa cruz and monterey is still regarded as a very good budget place to haul out and do work on, HOWEVER I was told they stopped lettng people do their own bottoms

I did so in 2012 on my old boat, did a cutless bearing too...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
2012? So you've been cruising California pretty recently. Where are your top three favorite spots to anchor in the entire state?

That's true that in calofornia....oh, see that? It's auto correcting it for me wrong, I'm not that stupid after all. I wonder why it's doing that....well, they don't let you work on your boat. Where do you live when it's being worked on, I'll bet they don't let you live on it either.

How do you find he cost of living in Baja, mainland Mexico, and El Salvador? Say you tried to live a life with some of the things you were used to from home, but also adopted a lot of the local food. What percentage is it of California? I'm guessing Baja costs 50%, mainland 40% and ES 25%.
 
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