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Old 14-11-2013, 07:34   #1
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San Diego to San Francisco December 2013

Looking for any advice on sailing from San Diego to San Francisco this December 2013. I had ask earlier on the wrong thread, my apologies, got some great advice. Will be on a Jeaneau 509. I am initially looking at 3 maybe 4 legs. Thank you, Curt
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Old 14-11-2013, 11:54   #2
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Re: San Diego to San Francisco December 2013

Here is the previous posting: San Diego to San Francisco

There was some good advice given, but since that thread was originally about sailing north in July, it makes sense to start a new thread.

Sailing north in December can be brutally tough, or it can be a walk in the park.
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Old 14-11-2013, 15:36   #3
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Re: San Diego to San Francisco December 2013

Hi, there, C Hopkins,

Yes, you did just ask, and seems to me some of the advice would still pertain: a) the current sets southwards; b) predominant breeze is NW; c), except for winter storms, which do blow from the south, but then you get wind against the current, steep seas.

We have, in the past, sneaked into Cojo, through the kelp (letting the folding prop close as much as possible), to sleep prior to a 1 AM departure to get around Pt. Conception. Obviously, this would depend on your weather forecast to some extent, because if you have a winter calm, it can be a doable strategy to put the pedal to the metal, so to speak, and motor expeditiously along the rhumb line. Northbound in August (so different wx patterns), we stopped also at Morro Bay, Monterey Bay, and in San Francisco (at our marina). There are times when you would not be able to enter Morro Bay due to wind & swell. We have never stopped at Pfeiffer or at San Simeon, so I am not qualified to say if you would find northerly quadrant protection there. People also stop at Half Mooon Bay.

Plan on having to slow the boat down to gain more comfort, and you should be fine.

Ann
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Old 14-11-2013, 16:17   #4
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Re: San Diego to San Francisco December 2013

If you stop in Pillar Point (half moon bay) be sure to follow the buoy system correctly when heading north. In the winter be sure to enter the sfbay shipping channel at the first buoy even if the weather is good. This is due to the fact that
Distant winter storms can send large swells into the potato patch that can break on the shoaling of the 7 fathom bank. Every winter boats are rolled and people die in this area. It is very tempting to cut the corner. Don't do it.
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Old 14-11-2013, 18:16   #5
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Re: San Diego to San Francisco December 2013

Ride the Southerlies when and while you can, but get off the pond just before they turn around to the northwest, and plan on staying in port for about 36 hours.

The trip is really two parts--San Diego to Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara north. You should watch the weather in the first part, and really watch it in the second.
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Old 14-11-2013, 18:43   #6
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Re: San Diego to San Francisco December 2013

I delivered a 43 footer north in Feb. one year. Coldest trip of my life. Stopped in Cojo, San Simeon, and Pfieffer, mostly to thaw out. Had light winds(or none) and not much seas, just cold, cold, cold. If you anchor in San Simeon ,bouy your anchor. There is junk on the bottom. Take some wide mouth thermoses, so that the watch can have something hot and hearty half way through the watch. It helps. Just my 2 cents worth. _____Grant.
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Old 15-11-2013, 10:50   #7
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Thank you all for your thoughts and advice. Curt
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Old 21-11-2013, 15:54   #8
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So, as a very new sailor, I have to ask is the journey from SD to SF always this daunting, or is it being compounded by the time of year about which the OP is inquiring? I went thru the ASA classes in Monterey and received my basic certification earlier this year. So thrilling to take out a boat in my own. Thrilling and kind of scary at the same time. But I am fully aware all I know is coastal sailing. VERY coastal.
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Old 21-11-2013, 16:12   #9
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Don't discount coastal sailing; that's where most of the things that'll get you in trouble are: rocks, docks, traffic. And in shallow water seas pile up.
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Old 28-11-2013, 10:22   #10
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Re: San Diego to San Francisco December 2013

Good discussion. Thanks all.

Actually, I'm interested in the reverse of this trip, SF to San Diego, in December 2013. Assuming there's not a winter storm on, this seems like a much easier trip. Wrong?
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Old 28-11-2013, 10:49   #11
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Re: San Diego to San Francisco December 2013

Sailor88, generally going south is a hell of a lot easier, but about 10 days ago we had 40 knot gusts on the bay and coast. Last Sunday I was out at the coast and it was calm and beautiful. Pay close attention to the weather, and carry a good fuel supply since in the winter there is just as often no wind. If you are not in a hurry, you can day sail it other than the Big Sur coast. What size boat, and what size crew??? ______Grant.
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Old 28-11-2013, 10:54   #12
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Re: San Diego to San Francisco December 2013

Anticipate crew of 3 in a Westsail 32. Personally, I'd rather sail the whole stretch rather than deal with harbor entrances every day, but that may be my inexperience talking.
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Old 28-11-2013, 11:00   #13
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Re: San Diego to San Francisco December 2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaspass3 View Post
So, as a very new sailor, I have to ask is the journey from SD to SF always this daunting, or is it being compounded by the time of year about which the OP is inquiring? I went thru the ASA classes in Monterey and received my basic certification earlier this year. So thrilling to take out a boat in my own. Thrilling and kind of scary at the same time. But I am fully aware all I know is coastal sailing. VERY coastal.
Summer generally as a rule better time.... BUT... Legs on that trip can get nasty any time of year.... Simply be prudent to the forecasts...
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Old 28-11-2013, 11:10   #14
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Re: San Diego to San Francisco December 2013

If conditions are not too nasty, you can anchor out in most harbors, without going through an entrance. Half Moon Bay, and Morro Bay are the exception. If you dont want to go into Morro Bay, you can stop sooner at San Simion, or later at Port San Louis. I am just making suggestions so that if fatigue or cold set in, you can get some rest without having to hear a diesel all night. If sailing conditions are good GO FOR IT. Have a great trip.______Grant.
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Old 28-11-2013, 13:41   #15
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Re: San Diego to San Francisco December 2013

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Originally Posted by gaspass3 View Post
So, as a very new sailor, I have to ask is the journey from SD to SF always this daunting, or is it being compounded by the time of year about which the OP is inquiring? I went thru the ASA classes in Monterey and received my basic certification earlier this year. So thrilling to take out a boat in my own. Thrilling and kind of scary at the same time. But I am fully aware all I know is coastal sailing. VERY coastal.
Yes, coastal sailing is often tougher than ocean-crossing.

The conditions off the northern California coast (and Oregon / Washington) do have some significant seasonal variations. I'm less familiar with the winter sailing conditions, but for example late spring can be a pretty good time to make the trip north. Come July and August, the north Pacific High gets well established, as does the low-pressure system over the inland valleys, and you have a real "crunch zone" offshore with strong NNW winds. This can become a "perma-gale", with persistent high winds and big seas, usually north of San Francisco, but sometimes further south. You might see some relief closer to shore, but that doesn't always work.

In the fall and winter we see a lot of low-pressure storm systems come down from the Gulf of Alaska. These can generate hurricane-force winds, but they usually dissipate a bit before swinging as far south as San Francisco. Still, these storms can be killers.

So, the conditions are variable, with some seasonal patterns.
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