SailNet Community banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

Not done much ocean sailing. BVI and San Juans.

How difficult is the trip from Marina Del Rey to Catalina and back? Thinking of doing this trip this September.

Tx
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
141 Posts
Not difficult at all . I've never done it from Del Rey. I'm down in Long Beach . It can get quite windy late after noon . If you are looking for a rough ride start around lunch time . It will take 5+ hrs. Here is how we do it, we start around 9 AM If we go to Avalon we can almost every time sail . If we go to the Isthmus It's always a motor sail witch ain't all that bad . For the first time I would suggest the latter as it is easier to pic up the mooring . Good luck , have fun ! Mount Ada cam is Avalon, Two harbors cam is the Isthmus
Mount Ada Cam | Visit Catalina Island Also there is a lot of info in the destinations area of this great website .
Here is destinations http://www.sailnet.com/forums/us-west-coast/
PS I'd say lets buddy boat over but the MS. threw her back out , so if we do make it over this yr. it will probably be in October . Actually Oct. is a nice time of year For the Island .
 

·
I can't re Member
Joined
·
216 Posts
Definitely stay overnight. I've only sailed from Redondo. September? Might see you there. If you stay at the Isthmus make sure you try the buffalo milk at the pub.

goat
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
141 Posts
Yes, there are anchorages every where at the Island front side and back . I said that the Island Is nice in Oct . and it is , however one should keep in mind of heavy winds that will blow in Oct. (usually)late Oct. They are called the Santa Ana's they create a nasty lee shore on the front side of the Island . If they start up and there is snow on the mainland mountains, take care, get out to sea, or run for the back side ( Cat Harbor) ASAP.
 

·
Don't call me a "senior"!
Joined
·
968 Posts
Yes, there are anchorages every where at the Island front side and back . I said that the Island Is nice in Oct . and it is , however one should keep in mind of heavy winds that will blow in Oct. (usually)late Oct. They are called the Santa Ana's they create a nasty lee shore on the front side of the Island . If they start up and there is snow on the mainland mountains, take care, get out to sea, or run for the back side ( Cat Harbor) ASAP.
Depending on exactly where the Santa Ana winds are come from Catalina (Cat) Harbor can be exactly where you DON'T want to go. The Santa Anas often get funneled by the hills around the isthmus and blow like $%!*&!! snot through Cat Harbor. When that happens some of the smaller anchorages on the SW side of the island are much safer. But it's all very specific to the conditions at that particular time. Best thing is to avoid sailing out to the islands if strong Santa Ana conditions are predicted, and make sure you have a working VHF to call around for advice if you do get caught in nasty conditions.

(Ooops!! Make that "the SW side" -- corrected above; Dyslexics of the World, Untie!!)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Westsailforever

·
Banned
Joined
·
141 Posts
Depending on exactly where the Santa Ana winds are come from Catalina (Cat) Harbor can be exactly where you DON'T want to go. The Santa Anas often get funneled by the hills around the isthmus and blow like $%!*&!! snot through Cat Harbor. When that happens some of the smaller anchorages on the SE side of the island are much safer. But it's all very specific to the conditions at that particular time. Best thing is to avoid sailing out to the islands if strong Santa Ana conditions are predicted, and make sure you have a working VHF to call around for advice if you do get caught in nasty conditions.
True enough I'm sure . Little harbor would be good and that is just east of Cat. but then you would be anchored . At least if you ran to Cat. you could double up on moorings to ride it out, and I'm not sure but I think you would not get as big a swell . Mr. Tain , you sound like you have done it before (gone to the Island) I, and I think the others would like to hear about it . Either here or here http://www.sailnet.com/forums/us-west-coast/ Please .
 

·
Old as Dirt!
Joined
·
3,487 Posts
Hello all,

Not done much ocean sailing. BVI and San Juans.

How difficult is the trip from Marina Del Rey to Catalina and back? Thinking of doing this trip this September.

Tx
From the breakwater at Del Rey to the mooring field at Two Harbors is only 31 miles. Generally, winds through Catalina Chanel are northwesterly, paralleling the shoreline, but curve inward, toward the beach, nearer shore save at Palos Verdes where a "bubble" of dead air commonly forms. Getting off-shore early on will generally give you an easy reach on Starboard over with winds building through the day. Kind of a "no brainer" getting there. Getting back, however, can be something of a trial as it is usually a beat into the prevailing wind/current. Some find it easier to reach over to the coast at Palos Verdes and then motor-sail north along the shoreline.

The Santa Ana's can definitely ruin one's day unless one can get around to the southwest side of the Island but there one must be very aware of the sea state as big seas generated by storms in the mid-Pacific can and do thunder ashore there. In my view, anchoring in the more protected coves is preferable to relying on a mooring (and don't even think about rafting with another boat on a mooring in such conditions). In re anchoring, note that the bottom is steep too with cobbles and lots of kelp to complicate matters save in indentations such as Cat Harbor. Consequently, even "near shore" one can find oneself anchored in very deep water. When we lived in the area we carried 100' of chain backed up by 250' of 5/8" 3-strand (on a Cal 2-29) and not infrequently when anchored, found ourselves in 80-90 feet of water needing all but 50' of that. A good flopper-stopper rigged on an outrigger can make the difference between relative comfort and abject misery is such conditions.

FWIW...
 

·
Don't call me a "senior"!
Joined
·
968 Posts
Westsailforever,

I don't have any magic insights. I tend to be pretty cautious when sailing out to the islands, check the forecasts before I go, listen to the NOAA channels, and basically just stay home if it looks like there is a chance of anything more than a mild Santa Ana setting up.

I have had to sail close hauled back to the mainland several times in mild Santa Ana conditions, and once experienced that "Isthmus Funnel" at Cat harbor for several hours (some people in the harbor were saying that their anemometers were hitting 40 kts) before I pulled up the anchor and headed back to King Harbor. Once we left Cat harbor the conditions were pretty pleasant, with about 15 or 20 kts from the NE all the way back. Other than the somewhat confused seas it was just a spirited night sail.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Westsailforever

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
I've lived aboard in Avalon for the last 10 years and work as vessel assist captain, and lived and worked as harbor patrolman in the isthmus three years before that. Getting from Del Ray to the island is fairly easy, in the summer I probably tow back MDR twice a week, mostly power boats with engine troubles, and Sept thru early Oct is a great time to come over. You will most likely have to motor part of the way so maintenance your engine. Every ones right about the Santa Ana's, winds from the NE to E, but they usually only affect the island if there's snow on the mountains i.e. Big Bear. The mainland ports are another matter. Always check the long range forecast, NOAA not the local TV station, before coming over.
If you are all ready over here check with the harbor patrol.

Unless you're experienced at anchoring I would pick up a mooring the first time over. You don't want to worry about setting an anchor after sailing all day on your first trip over.Their are moorings at Isthmus, Cat and Avalon with harbor patrol to assist you. The prices aren't that bad approximately a buck a foot per day, the peace of mind about the anchor not dragging in the middle of the night is worth it.

I would, with respect, disagree with Puddin'_Tain about Cat harbor. The moorings there are the safest place to be in any weather condition except a tsunami, not really a weather condition, I have endured gust of 60 knots with out any problems except the noise.

Anyway come on over and enjoy, just make sure you got your BoatUS unlimited towing card -sorry for the plug but that's how I make my mooring fees and just so you know the Lobster Trap in Avalon has the best food on the island -another plug.
 

·
Old as Dirt!
Joined
·
3,487 Posts
...

Anyway come on over and enjoy, just make sure you got your BoatUS unlimited towing card -sorry for the plug but that's how I make my mooring fees and just so you know the Lobster Trap in Avalon has the best food on the island -another plug.
Regardless the perception of a "Commercial Plug", I second the BoatUS Gold Plan (unlimited towing) suggestion. I/We have but, thankfully, have never needed it but several of our friends over the years have and were very glad to have had the coverage.

FWIW....
 

·
Don't call me a "senior"!
Joined
·
968 Posts
Well, I may have over-stated the problems with Cat Harbor during Santa Ana conditions. It's probably safe enough on a mooring there. The time I got caught there we were anchored near the mouth of the harbor (rather than moored well inside the harbor), and even then it wasn't so much unsafe as it was uncomfortable. The other problem is that heading for Cat Harbor as a refuge from an already strong Santa Ana means heading directly into a 40, 50, 60(?) kt wind. The harbor patrol is great at helping folks pick up a mooring and such. So it's not impossible to duck into Cat Harbor in strong Santa Ana, but probably not fun either.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
It's an easy trip. Check the weather and go.
Picking up the mooring is the toughest part.

I just got back from a 5 day trip. Dana Point -> Avalon -> Two Harbors -> Dana point. Missed the massive swell by a day, but it was still a bit rolly in two harbors. From MDR it's an easier trip than from Dana Point - shorter and typically better wind direction.

Buffalo milk is a must, and the Lobster Trap is indeed good.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
141 Posts
It's an easy trip. Check the weather and go.
Picking up the mooring is the toughest part.

I just got back from a 5 day trip. Dana Point -> Avalon -> Two Harbors -> Dana point. Missed the massive swell by a day, but it was still a bit rolly in two harbors. From MDR it's an easier trip than from Dana Point - shorter and typically better wind direction.

Buffalo milk is a must, and the Lobster Trap is indeed good.
How long did it take you from Dana ? And what was the cruise like ?
 

·
69' Coronado 25
Joined
·
323 Posts
Not difficult at all . I've never done it from Del Rey. I'm down in Long Beach . It can get quite windy late after noon . If you are looking for a rough ride start around lunch time . It will take 5+ hrs. Here is how we do it, we start around 9 AM If we go to Avalon we can almost every time sail . If we go to the Isthmus It's always a motor sail witch ain't all that bad . For the first time I would suggest the latter as it is easier to pic up the mooring . Good luck , have fun ! Mount Ada cam is Avalon, Two harbors cam is the Isthmus
Mount Ada Cam | Visit Catalina Island Also there is a lot of info in the destinations area of this great website .
Here is destinations US West Coast - SailNet Community
PS I'd say lets buddy boat over but the MS. threw her back out , so if we do make it over this yr. it will probably be in October . Actually Oct. is a nice time of year For the Island .
Mid to late Oct. is the best as the weather is starting to get cold and that weeds out a lot of boaters. I might be in for a trip over in Oct. Let Me Know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
240 Posts
First weekend of October is Buccaneer Days at the Isthmus, it will be packed with pirates. Don't expect to show up Saturday morning and get a mooring.

Expect some overflow to Avalon.

Under typical conditions it's a beam reach both ways from MDR, an easy sail so don't let people worry you.
 

·
Registered
2008 Jeanneau 39i S/V Grace
Joined
·
806 Posts
I've sailed from MDR to Ithsmus in October. I had favorable winds that enabled me to go bearing 180 for six hours. Got a mooring in Two Harbors cove (radio ch. 9 when you arrive). I'm going again in a couple weeks. If the trend continues, I'll be facing southerlies which means I'll have to sail to about 235 degrees for 20 miles before bearing S the rest of the way. Unless you want to motor, then you just go south.
It's a nice, easy sail.
 

·
Newport 30 sailor
Joined
·
38 Posts
If this is your first time crossing over from Marina del Rey to Catalina, I would recommend planning on picking up a mooring ball at Two Harbors. You can call ahead and ask for a ball near to the Northwest side of the harbor. That is the most calm portion of the harbor. It is well worth the money, to get the peace of mind. You don't want to be mucking about looking for an anchorage after your first crossing.

Just grab a ball in Two Harbors, dingy into town and get yourself a cocktail at the Harbor Reef bar. Then the next day, you can scout out some nearby anchorages to the South. Charlie's Charts is a great guidebook for figuring out good anchorages on Catalina.

Of course, I'm biased, I prefer Two Harbors over Avalon. It's very peaceful.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top