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Old 07-03-2016, 19:35   #1
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Sailing the Channel Islands

We just did a road trip down the coast of California and saw the Channel Islands from the shore. They look like a beautiful place to sail!



with some nice structure to snorkel along the way:


Does anyone have experience sailing these? Suggestions of stop-ins and anchorages?
Thanks ya'll!
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Old 07-03-2016, 19:44   #2
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Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

Yes, they're a nice sailing destination and I know there's a good book or two out there that explains all the anchorages. Worth getting, if you're going to do some sailing around there.
I like Two Harbors on Catalina, but Avalon makes a nice visit too.
Santa Cruz Island Island is typically a much more rustic experience, as there ain't much happening, being part of the Nature Conservancy, for the most part.
I've always wanted to go to San Miguel. Maybe sometime in the near future.
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Old 07-03-2016, 19:49   #3
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Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

The parks service has a bunch of info on sailing to them and the various things you need to know, they are definately on our list as well as Catalina, my wife used to cruise there as kid.
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Old 07-03-2016, 20:00   #4
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Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

The Santa Barbara Channel can be fun, sometimes you motor all the way, sometimes hang onto your hat. Point Conception is just up the road. If Dr. Cary Stanton hadn't thrown a snit fit, the park service would have probably had all of Santa Cruz open for camping like Catalina with the Catalina Island Conservancy.
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Old 07-03-2016, 20:09   #5
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Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

One of the recent cruising magazines had an article on sailing there. I'll try and remember to dig it out and let you know when I get home tonight.
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Old 07-03-2016, 20:23   #6
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Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

http://www.amazon.com/Cruising-Guide...ds=brian+fagan

A search on Channel Islands here would get you a LOT.

Good luck, safe journey.
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Old 07-03-2016, 20:32   #7
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Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

Quote:
Originally Posted by tp12 View Post
One of the recent cruising magazines had an article on sailing there. I'll try and remember to dig it out and let you know when I get home tonight.
Both Sail and Crusing World had articles on the Channel Islands. Same month too.
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Old 07-03-2016, 20:38   #8
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pirate Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

Ahhh... the Channel Islands..
Slice's of heaven in a stormy sea.. Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey, Sark..


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Old 07-03-2016, 20:47   #9
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Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

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Originally Posted by jeepbluetj View Post
Both Sail and Crusing World had articles on the Channel Islands. Same month too.
Ah, thank you. It was Cruising World I was referring to.
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:12   #10
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Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

Cannot recommend Santa Cruz Island enough. About 8 great anchorages (depending on the wind direction) on the N side. Relatively protected bights from the prevailing winds, and gorgeous, rugged shorelines.

Two anchorages that I particularly like are Cueva Valdez and Lady's. Cueva Valdez is the closest anchorage to Painted Cave, which is not to be missed. On a calm day you can take a 40' sailboat into a sea cave that eventually extends 600' into the side of the island. Lady's is simply lovely and relatively small and protected.

I also love Santa Rosa (fewer anchorages) and San Miguel (lots of foul areas N of the Island.

If you get bored, it's about 3.5 hours to Santa Barbara. No facilities to speak of on these three islands.

Chuck
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:14   #11
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Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

Sailed them a lot years ago and they have been kept undeveloped up to today. Catalina is the only inhabited one. Santa Cruz island has a cave ( Painted Cave ) that we used to sail a 45' sloop into and launch a dinghy while inside. Taking the dinghy further back in the cave , sitting on ledges, sea lions would bark out of the darkness and would give the crew a real shock. Had to wait one time as the 70' Merlin transpac sled was inside.

They were inhabited once by the Cachuma Indians who would paddle from the mainland to collect shell fish in the summer with dugout canoes. The town of Santa Barbara has a great museum on the islands and their native inhabitants.
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:27   #12
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Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

There is rustic: Anacapa (day anchorages only), Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel and then there is populated: Catalina.

Santa Cruz is the main hunting ground for the central coast boats. Smugglers on the east end is almost always protected with good anchoring but can be a bit rolly. Pelican's is a favorite on the north side and can get crowded in the summer and almost always requires a stern anchor. Prisoner's is very close by and easy to get ashore. There is a little museum there and always a park ranger. Alberts and Coaches on the south side are great as long as there is no south swell. Forney's on the east end is idyllic, but the channel between Forney's and Santa Rosa can get gnarly. The east half the island is national park and you can hike anywhere. The west end is Nature Conservancy and you need a permit to go ashore. Hiking is wonderful and the history of the island is rich.

Santa Rosa and especial San Miguel are really intriguing islands, but the weather has to be stellar as they are the most exposed with the normal NW weather and there isn't much in the way of protected anchorages.

Catalina is great fun. Over 1200 mooring balls around the island. Plenty to do ashore. Warm water and great snorkeling/diving. Emerald Bay is by far my favorite. You can easily spend a week or two there. Very crowded July and August, but if you get away from Avalon and 2 Harbors, you can always find a ball or anchorage.

Brian Fagan's book is still the bible for the area.

This web site is very helpful: Channel Islands Sailing Weather | Sail Channel Islands

A new movie was just made called West of the West: The Channel Islands Film. Haven't seen it yet, but it is on order.
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:32   #13
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Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are fabulous! Beautiful scenery, kayaking through sea caves, fishing (some MPA closed areas, be careful), and hiking. The closest anchorage on Santa Cruz (Scorpion) is about 17 nm from Ventura Harbor. You'll be crossing a major shipping lane, and pass close by offshore drilling rigs.

As Cruisingscotts mentioned, the National Park Service is a good central source for info you MUST have if visiting the islands:
Channel Islands National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

While the term Channel Islands includes eight islands (in alpha order: Anacapa, San Clemente, San Miguel, San Nicholas, Santa Barbara, Santa Catalina, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa), the Channel Islands National Park consists of Anacapa, Santa Crus, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara (by distance from Ventura or Channel Islands harbors). Some of the islands have landings with piers, subject to closure at any time, so always check the NPS site for alerts. For example, both San Miguel and Santa Barbara Island are currently closed. In addition to temporary closures, you should be aware of the restrictions, for example NO PETS and bicycles or any other vehicles can be brought onto any of the islands.

The NPS has a lot of great info, and special features such as a live underwater cam from Anacapa (with sound):
Channel Islands Live Ocean Webcam - Channel Islands National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

I usually wind up anchoring at Prisoners, Smugglers or Yellowbanks, all at Santa Cruz. All of these get pretty crowded in the warmer months, especially on the holiday weekends. There's also permanent camping areas on all of the islands, but you need to get a reservation, see the camping page on the NPS site.


Edit: The NPS Visitors Center at Ventura Harbor is a good place to visit, especially if you have kids in tow.
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:09   #14
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Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

In addition to NPS as mentioned above, Brian Fagan is a local authority and his books, while older, may still be of value: Cruising Guide to Southern California's Offshore Islands: With Sailing Directions for the Santa Barbara Channel's Mainland Coast: Brian M. Fagan: 9780963463500: Amazon.com: Books and http://www.amazon.com/Cruising-Guide.../dp/093003032X
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:27   #15
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Re: Sailing the Channel Islands

Well since that is my stomping ground I have to say yes, they are great, but don't tell anyone! And by the way I am one who happens to be very happy that Dr. Stanton had a snit fit, and helped ensure the islands remain somewhat pristine. It actually was the NPS also who asked for public comment on what kind of development should be pursued and I am happy to say I gave them my two cents worth: "leave them as they are!" We already have a Catalina, but we can never get land back to wild once it is turned into a Catalina. I am also one of those who is very happy the pigs and sheep are finally gone. The next big step is to help ensure the otters are free to return. The island ecosystem needs them back desperately, but local urchin divers have been vehemently opposed to their return. There are a lot of beautiful coves to anchor in and enjoy a peace and solitude fairly rare these days.
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