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Old 06-05-2015, 16:43   #1
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Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

Hello,

I am planning a voyage out of SF sometime in July. Being a native of the Bay Area and based on what I have heard, it seems that I have probably chosen the worst time to sail out. That is if I want to sail south... Does anyone know of what the best course would be in terms of safety and what destinations would be desirable and well within range?

Thanks!
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Old 06-05-2015, 17:08   #2
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

July is fine if you are heading south -- up to a point. The Northern Pacific hurricane season is ramping up then, but for example, the San Francisco to Hawaii races start in early July. It depends on where you want to go. Mexico often gets hammered by hurricanes July - October, so that could be an issue. The "Baja Ha-Ha" race from Southern California to Cabo San Lucas starts near the end of October, and they very occasionally see hurricane effects.

Where do you want to go?
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Old 06-05-2015, 17:23   #3
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

Half Moon Bay?
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Old 06-05-2015, 18:27   #4
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

While on the boat yesterday, heard the USCG warn that waves over Potato Patch shoal were breaking.
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Old 06-05-2015, 18:40   #5
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

Where are you going?

I've put off going up to Bodega Bay for a month and it looks like strong NW winds will be with us for some time. At least the next week.

If you're familiar with the weather here, you've answered your own question.

If you're going south, nice sleigh-ride.
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Old 06-05-2015, 19:29   #6
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

Think we'll be leaving on Monday, headed for Half Moon Bay for clam chowder.. and then its south in a couple weeks..
When leaving the bay, best it be on a slack tide off a flood.. we uasally go out to bouy 2 or 3 befor we turn south..
If heading north, take the inside channel, its marked and almost a mile wide and hug the coast up to drakes bay. makes for a nice weekend. the patato patch is a shole on the north side of the shipping channel. and gets rough in changing seas..
If leaving the Bay this time of year, pick a slack tide in the early morning as the winds pick up pretty strong through the slot in the afternoon.
Half moon Bay is only a couple hours down the coast and easilly done befor tyhe winds pick up if you leave early. Great anchorage in Half Moon Bay , thick sticky mud and the Yacht club there is a welcoming place.
If heading down soon, give us a wave as you pass as we'll be there for a couple weeks..
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Old 06-05-2015, 21:08   #7
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

The San Francisco Bar | CoastsideFishingClub.com

"The purpose of this article is to familiarize the average boater/fisherman with the often- treacherous bar outside the Golden Gate – the second most dangerous major port entrance on the west coast behind the Columbia River bar. It is not intended to be all-inclusive and is not able to replace experience and caution. I’ve seen many posts asking what the bar is. It is not wise to venture out without a good working knowledge of it."
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Old 06-05-2015, 21:11   #8
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

Navigating Pillar Point Harbor | CoastsideFishingClub.com

"Pillar Point’s navigational suitability is quite good in a variety of seas when compared to many coastal harbors but it does have its challenges. These challenges increase as fall and winter swells arrive from the Gulf of Alaska and other far away storm centers.
We will first discuss the history of the harbor and its improvement, how reefs and shallow water effect wave dynamics and then discuss strategies to navigating to and from this harbor and some of its hazards. But first……"
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Old 06-05-2015, 21:27   #9
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

Quote:
Originally Posted by queendido88 View Post
Hello,

I am planning a voyage out of SF sometime in July. Being a native of the Bay Area and based on what I have heard, it seems that I have probably chosen the worst time to sail out. That is if I want to sail south... Does anyone know of what the best course would be in terms of safety and what destinations would be desirable and well within range?

Thanks!
I just re-read this and now believe you're just looking for "what to do outside the Gate.", right?

Buy Kimball Livingston's Sailing The Bay book. All the answers, with great detail, are right there.
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:35   #10
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

I've sailed a bit around Monterey Bay. It's very nice and you can stop at Santa Cruz or Monterey. Both are great towns to visit. Very nice restaurants in Monterey of course. Watch the whales, see the seals. The Bay can kick up some weather, so pay attention.

Sailing south is easy and fun. North is a slow slog.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:39   #11
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

Don't head East.
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:15   #12
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

Just pick your days based on weather and swell. Keep asking questions and Google as much as you can before you go until you have a good understanding of the trip you want to take. Perhaps plan your trip in small hops to build confidence and knowledge. You don't need to fret about it, but be cautious and don't just follow some stranger ahead of you. Some of them will take risks that I would not, either because they have more local knowledge or they have none -- you won't know. This time of year it's also good to have radar because of the marine layer, which can completely descend to less than a 1/4 mile, generally later in the afternoon.

If you're a native of SF Bay and have never been out of the Gate, then you've been missing out! Go. Have fun Just make sure to stop in at HMBYC and say hello. That's my club and I'm proud of it
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:26   #13
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

Here are a couple other things....don't cut inside the south tower of the gate (or anywhere you see surfers hanging out!) and time your departure so you're not leaving on a strong ebb tide.
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:27   #14
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

What type of vessel will you be taking out, Queendido? If it is a small day sailor, use a lot of caution unless you have a death wish! Early am departure is certainly better than the pm when winds hammer through the slot.
Make certain you have sufficient time to stay where you are going, north or south.
Really need more info to give you decent advice. If you do head for Halfmoon Bay, be certain to go far enough south before turning up into the entrance. I witnessed a 40-50 footer cut the corner north of the red bouy and hit something hard enough to take off her keel in the 90's. Further south good hiding and holding ground behind the spit at AnaNuevo and great shelter from NW swells.
Great restaurants in Moss Landing south of Santa Cruz as well. Phil
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:30   #15
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Re: Sailing Out of San Francisco... Best Course

Having sailed almost 14 years on San Francisco Bay, my impression is that accepting 25 - 30 knot summer winds with gusts beyond that is simply acknowledging the basics of the Bay in it main sailing season. The Bay winds are created often by the compression of sea wind squeezing through the valleys of the Sausalito hills onto the Bay. Outside the Golden Gate, the winds are frequently steadier. The Potato Patch requires common sense attention to it or just avoid it. Usually you experience NW winds, although on my sails up to Bodega Bay and Tomales Bay, they always played a trick on me and reversed requiring I monitor north and motor south when I expected to beat north and ski downhill south. These issues are what make SF Bay and environs one of the great sailing experiences of the world. I report this while holding over in San Diego for upgrades and planning further sailing down to Mexico, Panama, Caribbean, Atlantic, and Mediterranean. Cheers, Sailors Anyone want to cross the Atlantic about June or July next year, email howell@howellhurst.com.
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