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Old 25-10-2008, 10:31   #1
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Location: Los Osos, CA
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Dealing with Santa Ana's in the Channel Islands

We are new to California. We now have a cal 34 in Ventura Isle marina and have done a good bit of summer cruising to Santa Cruz Island. We are considering Cruising out to Santa Cruz Island in late fall but I am concerned about the threat of Santa Ana winds. I have one of those "placemat" charts of Santa Cruise dedicated to Santa Ana instructions that states that Dec Jan and Feb are the most frequent months for big Santa Ana blows but I can see that by November some NEasters have started. Any thoughts about this situation will be appreciated. Do folks cut back on their cruising in the winter and late fall because of Santa Ana danger?
In addition, I am interested in good sources of weather info that would provide advance warning of significant Santa Ana conditions. We do of course have weather channels on our VHF. Any particular channels preferred? Any good websites?
Also any advice about tactics and safe harbours would be welcome. I would have thought that Coches Prietas would be protected from an Easterly blow but I have heard that it is not. I assume Chinese Harbour and Forneys would be ok. Any other spots. Thanks. Bob Baron, East of Reason II.

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Old 25-10-2008, 12:15   #2
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Location: Channel Islands Harbor,Oxnard,California,34 10N;119 14W
Boat: Bruce Roberts,Offshore 38 plan B ketch, S/V NIGHTCAP
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Get a copy of CRUISING GUIDE TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA'S OFFSHORE ISLANDS by Brian M. Fagan. Pages 41,42,43 deal with Santa Ana winds. On the internet surf to find useful marine forcasts. Also check out dial a bouy (888)701-8992.

Picking a weather window for cruising the islands will help keep you from getting caught in a Santa Ana.

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Old 25-10-2008, 13:24   #3
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Hey Greg - Welcome to the forum - Give me a shout - we still have a few beers to hoist!
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Old 25-10-2008, 17:15   #4
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Welcome! NOAA Weather is pretty good at predicting NE winds at the islands. If the report is for N or Ne winds below passes and canyons I stay home. Even if the wind does not make it out to the islands it will be uncomfortable. If you are caught out there when the Santa Ana's blow then Chinese and Forney's are both good. Potato is even better but watch the west swell and be ready to get out when the wind switches. There are other hidey-holes but they are tricky with submerged rocks and such.

Fall and Winter are some of the best cruising out there. The crowds are gone, the weather is fairly settled between fronts, the fog is gone, the air is crisp, the islands are green, the coreopsis is in bloom, the list goes on and on. I used to go out no matter what the forecast and had a great time. Also got my butt kicked quite a bit. I got older, got tired of bailing out of anchorages at 0200 and started listening to the weather reports. Haven't been surprised since.

Anyhow, you're in for a real treat! Give a shout when you are heading out.

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Old 27-10-2008, 09:59   #5
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Learn to read the isobaric charts. When the pressure over the inland side of the coast range is greater than the seaward side and the isobars cross the mountains, expect Santa Ana's. If there's any question in your mind about the matter, go around the Island to Catalina Harbor and anchor on the south side. We have watched yachts beaten to death (literally) by the waves in Avalon and Two Harbors while we were comfortably and safely anchored in Cat Harbor. If you are in one of these harbors and even think there might be Santa Ana's, get out ASAP and make for the back (west) side of the Island.


s/v HyLyte
"It is not so much for its beauty that the Sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
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santa ana, santa cruz, wind

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