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Old 05-02-2012, 22:46   #16
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Re: How Do I Judge My Own Experience Level ?

If you make it to the lightship (now a big buoy), halfway to the Farallons, you've done the hard part.

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Old 05-02-2012, 22:54   #17
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Re: How Do I Judge My Own Experience Level ?

For you guys who have experience up in SF and SD, how would you compare tooling around in the Channel Islands to the SF stuff you're always talking about?

Northern Channel Islands (San Miguel, Santa Cruz) can have plenty of weather and San Miguel in particular falls in the prevailing NW without a lot of the protection of the continental land mass.

Just trying to get an idea of how much "worse" you guys think it is up there? I've bay sailed around in SF and it seemed like SD on a windy day with more current and lots of little offshoots everywhere.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:29   #18
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Re: How Do I Judge My Own Experience Level ?

IMHO if you are not a bit nervous at the start of any trip, then you have forgotten some of the issues that you should be checking.

I believe a period of "What ifs" is an essential aspect of preparation.
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:02   #19
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Re: How Do I Judge My Own Experience Level ?

just speaking as an East coast sailor who has never been sailing in California - but I have driven up and down the coast looking at it from the land side. That coast looks like one huge lee shore to me. I am very glad I got to take my baby steps in Chesapeake Bay and then cruising on the east coast. Going out the Golden Gate looks like you are right in the thick of it as soon as you are out there. How much harder can it get? I first encountered high winds and big waves out in the open ocean where we could heave to if we wanted and just wait. Looks like you really couldn't do that in California with ugly looking rocks just to leeward. (actually they are quite beautiful when you look at them from the top of the cliff - but they would be ugly as hell from a boat drifting down on them)
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Old 06-02-2012, 17:46   #20
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Re: How Do I Judge My Own Experience Level ?

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just speaking as an East coast sailor who has never been sailing in California - but I have driven up and down the coast looking at it from the land side. That coast looks like one huge lee shore to me. I am very glad I got to take my baby steps in Chesapeake Bay and then cruising on the east coast. Going out the Golden Gate looks like you are right in the thick of it as soon as you are out there. How much harder can it get? I first encountered high winds and big waves out in the open ocean where we could heave to if we wanted and just wait. Looks like you really couldn't do that in California with ugly looking rocks just to leeward. (actually they are quite beautiful when you look at them from the top of the cliff - but they would be ugly as hell from a boat drifting down on them)
A lot of the time, especially in Southern California (and honestly San Francisco is really more "central" than "north", speaking geographically) the wind is really moderate. South of Point Conception you end up with 5-15knot days pretty standard. Gusts over 25 are rare unless there's a storm.

It's also really predictable and does basically the same thing every day. Compared to other places that don't have dominating weather patterns (like the Pacific High) it's pretty scripted, if that makes sense.
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Old 06-02-2012, 18:07   #21
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Re: How Do I Judge My Own Experience Level ?

Just remember its the basics that count and they need to be monitored constantly. The steering, rig and ability to keep water out of the boat. If you keep these all is well.
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Old 06-02-2012, 18:44   #22
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Re: How Do I Judge My Own Experience Level ?

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Hey guys. This is a pretty abstract question, and more of a sanity check... I sail a Catalina 34 out of San Francisco and my brother and I have been gradually getting bolder as we venture a bit farther from the bay. Rationally, I think I'm ready for these trips: I'm very vigilant with the weather forecasts, we have good equipment and safety items, I've had training at a maritime academy for a couple years, and I have countless sea days of crewing and skippering experience. I'm lacking a bit in offshore passagemaking experience in small boats, especially in heavy weather. Anyway, I'm still often (secretly) nervous before trips to the Farallones, etc, but I want to push myself a little to gain more confidence. Am I going about this the right way?
I would assume your academy training was from CMA? Sailing under the Golden Gate is THE memorable gateway to ocean sailing, you will remember that 1st forever, a bit like learning to fly and your 1st solo. Good luck, relax, and enjoy it. And if you can, get some friends in another boat to take pictures as you sail under the GG, nice documentation.
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Old 06-02-2012, 18:59   #23
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Re: How Do I Judge My Own Experience Level ?

It sounds like you are doing it just right to me. From what I know of SF you are lucky in that you are in an area with plenty of wind, tides and currents, fog, and the chance to sail offshore right there--all good things to be able to get the feel for. I feel lucky that my first ocean sailing was in New England where we had to deal with all that from the get go. In fact, I rarely have encountered in 30 years of sailing anything rougher than some of the weather I've hit in Buzzards Bay, with the exception of a few offshore gales, and those you can usually run off before instead of trying to beat into. I think you will find the same for San Francisco sailing.
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Old 06-02-2012, 19:03   #24
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Re: How Do I Judge My Own Experience Level ?

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I would assume your academy training was from CMA? Sailing under the Golden Gate is THE memorable gateway to ocean sailing, you will remember that 1st forever ...
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Old 06-02-2012, 19:10   #25
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If you have to ask...
Your not ready...
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Old 06-02-2012, 23:58   #26
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Re: How Do I Judge My Own Experience Level ?

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If you have to ask...
Your not ready...
You sound like my old flight instructor when he asked me "You think your ready for your solo?" and I responded "Do you think I'm ready?" Wrong answer and he let me know it, so I quickly said "Yes". My first take off with his fat ass (300 lb instructor) out of that little 150 was really sweet.
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