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Old 03-12-2017, 10:19   #1
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California Harbors of Refuge

Moving a boat from SF to SD shortly and am looking for feedback, a list, of harbors of refuge along the way.
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Old 04-12-2017, 03:26   #2
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Watchoverya.

California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 70.5
70.5. (a) The following are harbors of safe refuge:
(1) Bodega Bay Harbor.
(2) Channel Islands Harbor.
(3) Crescent City Harbor.
(4) Dana Point Harbor.
(5) Fort Bragg Harbor.
(6) Humboldt Bay Harbor.
(7) Kings Harbor.
(8) Marina del Rey Harbor.
(9) Monterey Harbor.
(10) Morro Bay Harbor.
(11) Moss Landing.
(12) Newport Beach Harbor.
(13) Oceanside Harbor.
(14) Pillar Point Harbor.
(15) Port San Luis Harbor.
(16) Santa Barbara Harbor.
(17) Santa Cruz Harbor.
(18) Ventura Harbor.
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Old 04-12-2017, 03:34   #3
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

Don't forget San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Long Beach... which are easily overlooked. Long Beach "Shoreline Village" is awesome.
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Old 10-12-2017, 16:41   #4
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Watchoverya.

California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 70.5
70.5. (a) The following are harbors of safe refuge:
(1) Bodega Bay Harbor.
(2) Channel Islands Harbor.
(3) Crescent City Harbor.
(4) Dana Point Harbor.
(5) Fort Bragg Harbor.
(6) Humboldt Bay Harbor.
(7) Kings Harbor.
(8) Marina del Rey Harbor.
(9) Monterey Harbor.
(10) Morro Bay Harbor.
(11) Moss Landing.
(12) Newport Beach Harbor.
(13) Oceanside Harbor.
(14) Pillar Point Harbor.
(15) Port San Luis Harbor.
(16) Santa Barbara Harbor.
(17) Santa Cruz Harbor.
(18) Ventura Harbor.

These are good, also Coho Anchorage (very remote), San Luis Bay Anchorage (remote), Santa Barbara Anchorage, a few at Santa Cruz Island, and a couple at Catalina Island (the back side of the Isthmus). Long Beach had one off the beach close to the Queen Mary. Otherwise in the LA-LB port complex, it will be slips rented. The Dana Point Harbor has slips and a small anchorage by the brig Pilgrim from Two Years Before the Mast. Oceanside used to have anchorages, but now it appears to be slips. Marina Del Rey is interesting, as at John Chance State Park you can rent a slip and find a good place for dinner.
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Old 10-12-2017, 17:30   #5
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

I wonder why San Francisco bay didn't make the cut?

And Santa Cruz is often unusable due to shoaling, and Morro Bay is often closed out due to conditions at the entrance... etc!

The list must be used with some caution, and sea conditions considered.

Jim
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Old 10-12-2017, 17:41   #6
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

...and if it's a delivery, not a cruise, book on down on northerly quadrant winds till you run out of them, and are past Pt. Concepcion.

A.
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Old 10-12-2017, 18:26   #7
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

Hmmm, well I read it as from SF to San Diego. And are you talking about during the winter? Hmm not so good if there is a storm with big swells hitting the coast, better to stay offfshore imo. Just about every harbor will be dangerous to enter at those times. If you are going to go, the sooner the better, things are good right now and probably will be for a little while I think (and warm too!). Looks like the high isn't moving on very fast, this coming week looks calm and then it looks like a good northerly breeze will move in toward the end of the week.. but you probably see that already too.
1. Pillar point AKA Half Moon Bay good unless there is a southerly storm
2. Santa Cruz fine most of time.. shoaling as Jim says at times
3. Monterey
4. San Simeon good until there's southerly wind/swell
5. Morro Bay gets some shoaling and waves will break at entrance in a winter storm
6. Avila Beach aka Port San Luis good anchoring but exposed to southerly winter swell/wind
7. Cojo just below Point Conception with protection from north swell but exposed to wind, and of course southerly stuff. And to duck in there means you are cutting Pt Conception pretty close so there can be some big, steep, breaking, potato patchy waves around there.
8. Santa Barbara good unless there is a southerly storm, then waves will break in entrance and anchorage is exposed. Campus point at UCSB/Goleta has a good holding ground.
9. Ventura has a bad rep for shoaling and waves breaking across the entrance in storms but it is fine right now
10. Channel Islands has a larger entrance than Ventura, but can still get closed by waves breaking at the entrance
11. Paradise Cove is an anchorage off Malibu if needed, but as all: exposed to southerly wind/swell.
then there are the MarinaDelRey, Redondo, Huntington... on down which you can probably see are usually open in winter. But I think you are more concerned with the SF to Pt. Conception part, right?
Now all these are usually open throughout the year until we get a string of storms and/or big swells rolling down and then you probably won't be coming down anyway. There are some good anchorages out at the islands for either northerly or southerly conditions.
Brian Fagan does an excellent job of describing the the trip along the coast in his "Cruising Guide to Central and Southern California."
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Old 10-12-2017, 18:48   #8
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

It's kind of a complex question, and not easily answered here. Anyone can cut and past a list of harbor names from the internet. In the absence of local knowledge, that's kind of a non-answer to your question.

If you mean a place you can hide while weather passes there are many on the lists above.

If you are looking for a place to pull into after the weather turns bad, there are NO reliable places along this stretch of coast. Every harbor between SF and SD north of Long Beach is subject to closure in bad weather.

Just for example: Santa Cruz is actually subject to closure most of the winter after they stop dredging. Morro Bay closes when the waves start breaking in the harbor entrance. I have seen that happen on a day with no wind, but big swells from a North Pacific storm.

For details on each harbor, you NEED to read its entry in the current edition of the Coast Pilot. You do have one, don't you? Your questions would all be answered in there.
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Old 10-12-2017, 19:04   #9
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

Most of the harbors can be unavailable due to wave and wind conditions, particularly north of the greater LA area. All-weather harbors are scarce there.
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Old 10-12-2017, 19:41   #10
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

This is a great post and question.. I'll most likely be doing the same journey as well withing the next 6 months. thanks everyone for their input and advice!!
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Old 10-12-2017, 19:51   #11
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Watchoverya.

California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 70.5
70.5. (a) The following are harbors of safe refuge:
(1) Bodega Bay Harbor.
(2) Channel Islands Harbor.
(3) Crescent City Harbor.
(4) Dana Point Harbor.
(5) Fort Bragg Harbor.
(6) Humboldt Bay Harbor.
(7) Kings Harbor.
(8) Marina del Rey Harbor.
(9) Monterey Harbor.
(10) Morro Bay Harbor.
(11) Moss Landing.
(12) Newport Beach Harbor.
(13) Oceanside Harbor.
(14) Pillar Point Harbor.
(15) Port San Luis Harbor.
(16) Santa Barbara Harbor.
(17) Santa Cruz Harbor.
(18) Ventura Harbor.
This is a list pulled from the CA State Legal definition of a "Harbor", not at all helpful for a sailor navigating the coast.

Many of them are not between SF and SD, and some of them are basically CLOSED during the winter and hence useless to the OP. Depending on the PRACTICAL definition of a "harbor of refuge" many useful ones are missing.

Just as an example, here is the Coast Pilot description of the Santa Cruz small boat harbor:

Quote:
The Santa Cruz harbormaster advises that extensive shoaling occurs at the harbor entrance from November through May. Persons unfamiliar with the area should contact the harbormaster’s office prior to entering the harbor; a radio guard on VHF-FM channel 16 is maintained 24 hours a day or telephone 831–475–6161 between 0830 and 1700 daily. The Santa Cruz harbormaster further recommends that mariners without local knowledge should not attempt to enter the harbor during periods of high ground swells.
If you were counting on entering Santa Cruz during a typical southerly winter storm, to "take refuge" you would find yourself in a world of hurt.
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Old 10-12-2017, 21:17   #12
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

We'll see how it shakes out this year... so far I bet December will be nice and I wouldn't be surprised if January remains calm too. February, March and April make me feel cold and wet just thinking about it. Good time to do some boat work or hang out with friends talking about sailing and bragging about how we could handle it out there, if we really WANTED to, no problem!

BTW welcome aboard here watchoverya2!
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Old 10-12-2017, 22:18   #13
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

If you anchor off of the boardwalk at Santa Cruz, you wont get stuck inside if the swells kick up. Anchor as clear as you can from other boats and use a stern hook so you dont roll all night. If a southerly wind kicks up (remember, you are away from other boats), pull up the hook and go across to Monterey. Dont anchor too close to shore!!!!. Monterey is good in almost any weather, inside if you want a slip and somebody elses cooking or outside of the boardwalk/pier to save money. It is much safer anchoring in 30 or 40 foot of water than going into shallower water. I like Pfeiffer Cove that is a few miles past Point Sur. Time your arrival for reasonably high sun to avoid putting your hook into kelp, but it is very good holding and safe in any northerly winds. I learned about Pfeiffer Cove from commercial fisherman, and they know a hell of a lot more about this coast than any pleasure boater. San Simeon is a great anchorage if the wind stays out of the NW, but bail out if the wind shifts. Morro Bay is a wonderful place to visit, but if there is much of a swell the entrance can be dangerous, or if you get inside and the swell kicks up, you can be stuck until it gets calm enough to safely leave. I only anchored in Port San Louis a few times , so cant comment much other than anchoring away from other boats is always safer than getting in too close. Cojo is good holding, but a little difficult to identify exactly where it is. Read your coast pilot. Point Conception can be rough or calm but in a more than a dozen trips up and down the coast I have gotten my butt kicked more times at Point Sur than I have at Conception. Cojo is a great place to be thankful you around the hard parts of the trip and can get a good nights sleep. The rest of the trip is easy. Read up on your Coast Pilot and get real charts, not Charlies Charts. Just my 2 cents worth. ____Grant.
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Old 10-12-2017, 23:57   #14
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

You should write a guide book Grant!

Quote:
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Cojo is good holding, but a little difficult to identify exactly where it is. Read your coast pilot.
There is a low train crossing with a culvert on shore, pretty visible, that mark the best spot. Brian Fagan's book has a photo of it I believe. Just FYI here is a photo and Cojo Anchorage is marked. Useful to know that Government Point is not Point Conception (though I know most folks know that.) You can kinda see where the culvert is in the crossing directly above the d in "Wood Canyon" and that is a recognizable landmark when you get around the point.
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Old 11-12-2017, 00:50   #15
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Re: California Harbors of Refuge

Cojo, and other kelpy anchorages make me glad to have the folding prop!

Ann
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