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Old 28-06-2010, 10:59   #1
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Drakes Bay

From San Fran Bay, is Drakes Bay a good spot to put in? Now that part of the water is closed, still good? Can you go inside the Potato Patch or better outside? Thanks
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Old 28-06-2010, 11:18   #2
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It's a huge anchorage, protected from the prevailing NW winds. I've anchored there a half-dozen times, usually for a long weekend, and we always seem to have a marine layer overhead. Let's put it this way, at Drakes, the wind generator does more charging than the solar panels. I've seen bunches of boats drag there. The wind seems to come up in the middle of the night, and people with inadequate ground tackle pay the price.

Some good hiking ashore, especially during the spring wildflower season. My wife likes the trek up to the lighthouse, but it's a fairly vertical hike if all you're used to are flat walks.

Bottom line: there are few anchorages within a day's sail of SF once you head out the gate. You can turn south and do Half Moon Bay, or turn north and do Drakes Bay. Given the lack of better options, it's a good option.

Regarding the best route, we usually take the Bonita channel. You'll find it on the Gulf of the Farallones chart. (18645) The Bonita Channel will take you inside of Fourfathom Bank. A lot less shipping traffic that way than if you take the Main Ship Channel all the way out.

If there's no fog and there's good wind for a spinnaker run, some folks like to return by looping around the Farralones. Makes for a long sail, but it's gorgeous when the conditions are favorable.

For me, Drakes Bay has always been more of a late spring or early fall sail. It can be rough in the winter, and foggy in the summer.
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Old 28-06-2010, 11:31   #3
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Bash is exactly right. Drakes Bay is a good destination from S.F. We also use the Bonita channel to access it. If lucky you should see alot of sea life. We have always had good anchoring there at the N.W. end of the bay. The last time up there on a seawind cat we woke up to find a sea lion sleeping on the transom. There is also an estuary up there that if the swell is light you can access with kayaks. Check the tides if you decide to do that.
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Old 28-06-2010, 11:45   #4
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We've always used Drakes bay for a layover on the way north or a stop comming south when waiting for the tide to change at the gate..
We've always liked to snuggle up as close to the old coast guard station as we can..
Planned it a year or so ago that we also took the photography classes that were offered by the park.. The classes were held at the CG station and our home floated only 50 yard away.. Loved it..
Another note, if by chance you decide to go around the corner up to Bodega Bay, give the lighthouse and the cliffs a fair amount of room..
We were rounding the corner a few years ago and got in a little to close, had a freek wave break over the top of the boat from the side.. spent the next couple hours making circles picking up stuff that had washed off the deck, including the dink.. It also tore the brackets lose on the dodger..
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Old 28-06-2010, 12:13   #5
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There is also an estuary up there that if the swell is light you can access with kayaks. Check the tides if you decide to do that.
Good advice! The bar between Drakes Estero and the Bay can be calm one day and treacherous the next. A few year's back we picked up four dozen oysters at Johnson's Oyster Farm and shuttled them by sea kayak over to a friend's boat anchored by the old Coast Guard station. Had a nice oyster bake on the beach and then spent the night on our friend's boat. The next morning, when we paddled back to the entrance to Drakes Estero we were shocked by the size of the breakers. Quite a ride getting back inside.

It can get pretty shallow back in there. At one point we had to walk our boats for a stretch because of how thin the water had gotten. I had a handheld GPS that told me I was in the deep spot, but somebody forgot to tell the deep spot where it was supposed to be.
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Old 29-06-2010, 21:21   #6
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Thanks

Thanks for your input. I will give the inside route a go if looks good. We have already tested the ground tackle to 50 knots (sand) and had no dragging. CQR, with 200' chain and 150' rode and a Bruce with 100' chain and 150' rode on the bow.
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Old 13-07-2010, 18:23   #7
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The trip went good. I was surprised that we were the only sailboat in the Bay on the fourth of July weekend. Only four other fishing boats there and they were down about four miles from us. We used the Bonita Channel and it worked well. Lots of wind. Thanks for your input for our first trip North of SF.
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Old 13-07-2010, 18:34   #8
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The trip went good. I was surprised that we were the only sailboat in the Bay on the fourth of July weekend. Only four other fishing boats there and they were down about four miles from us. We used the Bonita Channel and it worked well. Lots of wind. Thanks for your input for our first trip North of SF.
I'm glad it worked out for you. Nothing like being in an anchorage where the next boat over is four miles away!
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Old 14-07-2010, 08:20   #9
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