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Old 01-03-2009, 12:27   #1
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San Diego to Catalina Island

HI Everyone
first post . Would like some help with this question. We have a newer Catalina 350 and would like some helpful tips in going to Catalina Island From Harbor Island in San Diego. I have looked over several threads and some seem to like the straight hop to Catalina -motor sailing leaving at night and some like hopping up the coast and going to Catalina via long beach or newport. Here are our considerations :
-I have three small children 5,8 and 10
-somewhat limited offshore experiance in sailboat(have bareboated and taken all us sailing courses years ago) but have motor boat experiance offshore-mainly east coast(nj)where its generally rougher anyway.
-Not the type to over prepare and worry for a short voyage- more like enough food and water and and just go.
- boat is loaded with inverter, radar(installing this month) and everything and has zero issues.
- looking for a trial run before Catalina boats rendevous in July to Catalina island

thanks for all your help!

Andre
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Old 01-03-2009, 13:31   #2
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Andre,
Nice boat, but might be a bit tight with all the kids.

You might try a search on "San Diego" and "Catalina" on this site. It has been discussed before. http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/search.php (the little 'search' drop down menu on the blue menu bar -- NOT the big SEARCH at the top).

The trip is UPHILL. Wind is usually on the nose, seas and currents are on the nose or damn close. MY opinion would be to slog it out and get their. If you want to stop places, do it on the way back where it will be a nice sail to each stop - give you time to enjoy each location and not 'look forward' to your next slog (if doing it from SD).
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Old 01-03-2009, 18:58   #3
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I have done the trip every Aug for 8 years. I leave San Diego around sunset, so I have a bit of light getting out the harbor. Make sure I keep south and west of the kelp beds off Pt Loma and then head for Catalina. Never once had the wind to sail so always motored. Any swell is usually out of the NW so almost on the nose, but never seen more than 1 foot or two. The only thing to watch for is that about 1/2 way to Catalina, there is almost always a couple super tankers tied togather transferring oil. They light the sky for 10+ miles, so you can's miss them but it is difficult to tell how far away they are and what direction they are moving. They ARE moving, as I found out when I crossed ahead of them one night. They are doing about 4 knots. They are so big they look like multiple targets on the radar.

I usually get to off Avalon just after breakfast, so most of the folks get a good nights sleep and they are there before they know it. I only go to Two Harbors as Avalon is a zoo in the summer, impossible to get my boat into the harbor as I can't manuever that tight. My family and I love Two Harbors, Cherry Cove is the best mooring spot.

Enjoy !!
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Old 01-03-2009, 21:50   #4
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Originally Posted by rcmpegasus View Post
I have done the trip every Aug for 8 years. I leave San Diego around sunset, so I have a bit of light getting out the harbor. Make sure I keep south and west of the kelp beds off Pt Loma and then head for Catalina. Never once had the wind to sail so always motored. Any swell is usually out of the NW so almost on the nose, but never seen more than 1 foot or two. The only thing to watch for is that about 1/2 way to Catalina, there is almost always a couple super tankers tied togather transferring oil. They light the sky for 10+ miles, so you can's miss them but it is difficult to tell how far away they are and what direction they are moving. They ARE moving, as I found out when I crossed ahead of them one night. They are doing about 4 knots. They are so big they look like multiple targets on the radar.

I usually get to off Avalon just after breakfast, so most of the folks get a good nights sleep and they are there before they know it. I only go to Two Harbors as Avalon is a zoo in the summer, impossible to get my boat into the harbor as I can't manuever that tight. My family and I love Two Harbors, Cherry Cove is the best mooring spot.

Enjoy !!

Before I retired, I was the guy that maneuvered those tankers together and got them tied up. There is also a support boat with them to be aware of. If they are maneuvering to get tied up, they're going about 4 knots but once that is done, they keep just enough way on to keep them headed into the swell to minimize rolling. (two ships rolling while tied up tend to break lines so that they don't stay tied up anymore). Like Bob says, they're well lit so just stay a couple miles or more away and they won't be any trouble. 99% of the time they are inshore of the N/S traffic lanes coming from LA/LB. Find the VTS lanes on the chart and extend them south and then stay out of them on the way to Catalina and you should be just fine.
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Old 01-03-2009, 21:55   #5
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thanks for the quick responses. I looked up the threads . seems to be a varying amount of people who just say to go straight there or go up to Dana pt and then go to Catalina. the biggie for me is I that my wife may not be ready for night watches . Quite dont know what she would do with the big tankers ,the shipping lanes etc . I kind of would be up all night on a nighter there. So may be the hopping thing would be best for now .
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Old 01-03-2009, 21:58   #6
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Andre,
Nice boat, but might be a bit tight with all the kids.

You might try a search on "San Diego" and "Catalina" on this site. It has been discussed before. http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/search.php (the little 'search' drop down menu on the blue menu bar -- NOT the big SEARCH at the top).

The trip is UPHILL. Wind is usually on the nose, seas and currents are on the nose or damn close. MY opinion would be to slog it out and get their. If you want to stop places, do it on the way back where it will be a nice sail to each stop - give you time to enjoy each location and not 'look forward' to your next slog (if doing it from SD).

thanks- the boat is actually very spacious for a 36 ft boat (13 foot fat butt beam and 6' 8" headroom) we have stayed the 3 nights on the boat many times - with no issues. Despite the beam it sails quite well too.
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Old 01-03-2009, 22:43   #7
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I've done that sail quite a few times in some different conditions; we're over here in Point Loma ourselves. To be honest it's a fairly straight forward shot. The problem (as others have noted) is that the wind and current is on your nose on the way there, and San Diego (as beautiful as this place is) has negligible wind on average.

When I go, this is my normal way of doing things:

- Leave in the evening, or after sundown. You'll need the whole day to load the family anyway, and that way you've got a full day to run back and forth to marine exchange if you need something. Clear the point, and make a rhumb line for Avalon.

- If you're lucky around 10am the wind will start to kick up and you can sail.

- Get to Avalon. You'll hail them on 9 (not 16). They meet you at the entrance in a little skif, escort you to a ball pickup (have a boat hook handy), and charge you a couple of bucks per night. It's pretty cheap.

Try to get to Avalon during the daytime. There are some decent rocks on the northern approach, and people have a tendency to get too close to the southern approach (where you'll be coming from) after dealing with crummy winds and wanting to get into the harbor fast. I'd stay at least 1/2 mile offshore, more like 1 nm, and then head in perpendicular.

On the way back (I don't know why), but we usually sail over to Dana Point or Oceanside and spend the night there, and then daysail back to San Diego.

There's a rental showers / cell charging / everything-else-you-forgot store that's pretty cool there. I actually just got married there in November, so if you need any other info let me know here or send me a private message.
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