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Old 28-07-2011, 10:07   #1
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Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) - Some Practical Questions

I've only seen my first question in a thread from last year, forgive me if it's been asked for 2011 already - I'm just curious who's headed south from the general area of Victoria/Vancouver, Puget Sound to San Francisco and beyond?

What are your main references for route planning? (Coast Pilot 7, etc)
How far offshore do you plan on going?

Have you had recommendations for good moorage - we tend to mostly anchor (a personal preference), any tips for the San Francisco Area and San Diego Area primarily,(we want to explore SF and have family in San Diego) - Info for cheap marinas as well as anchorages would be great.

Have you gone or do you plan to go through the process of getting the I68 Cruising Permit (for those of you that are Canadian).Canadian Border Boat Landing (I-68) Program - CBP.gov

Perhaps that's enough questions for this round! I'm interested in other people's approaches or bits of knowledge I could be missing, so thank you for any input!
Kyra
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Old 28-07-2011, 14:27   #2
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) Some Practical Questions

I rather liked Neah Bay; there is a good museum, grocery store, and laundromat, and it is a good place to spring from when the weather is OK. The other places I know about are Coos Bay and Brookings in Oregon - Coos Bay good, Brookings marginal for anchoring, Crescent City and Eureka for anchoring, marinas in Ft, Bragg and Bolinas, anchoring at Pt. Reyes, anchoring at Treasure Island and China Cove in SF Bay... After that there are several places further south on the way to San Diego, inquire as you get closer...

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Old 28-07-2011, 14:35   #3
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) Some Practical Questions

I can fill in the spots S of San Francisco...

Half Moon Bay is safe and easy to enter.
In mild summer and fall weather anchoring off the Santa Cruz Beach & Boardwalk is good, or a few miles east at Capitola there are moorings rented.
Anchoring off Monterey's Del Monte Beach is good. Just east of the pier.
Stillwater Cove at Pebble Beach is good in the summer and early fall. Get advice on the easy but not obvious entrance.
San Simeon is a good anchorage in NW weather.
Coho Anchorage is good shelter from NW weather.

And then it all gets much easier, and the wind dies, thru the Channel Islands to San Diego. Unless you prefer crowded smoggy cities, then go along the SoCal coast....
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Old 28-07-2011, 14:56   #4
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) Some Practical Questions

san diego call san diego mooring company and talk with vanessa. there could well be temporary moorings available. otherwise, go to the police docks and get a permit to anchor or try the marinas in sd which a way overpriced. gooodluck and smooth sailing.
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Old 28-07-2011, 16:28   #5
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) - Some Practical Questions

We had some friends heading down the coast this fall and they asked us about our time in SF. Here's the email I sent them on SF anchorages:

* Richardson Bay/Sausalito - you can walk across most of Richardson
Bay at low tide but you can anchor at the mouth. Sausalito is cool but
expensive. You can take the ferry into downtown SF. Any southerlies
will blow you out of there.

* Ayala Cove on Angel Island - you can grab fore/aft moorings but I
remember them being expensive so we didn't do it. Supposed to be nice
hikes on the island, though. We should have gone there.

* Aquatic Park - if you call the ranger in advance you can stay here
for a week. It's *awesome* (no powerboats!), right next to Ghiradelli
Square. In fact, we picked up the Ghiradelli Square wifi when we were
there. It's a super tight anchorage, expect to put out two anchors. We
stern-tied to a pier but that pissed off all the swimmers. And it's
rolly as hell. But it's an awesome free way to see SF. Mind your
dinghy when you bring it in. We rowed over to eastern part of the bay
and hauled it up next to the National Park offices.

* Clipper Cove - *much* better protected anchorage than Aquatic Park.
Blocks all the afternoon westerlies. And you can hop on the bus for a
5 minute ride downtown. Beware the entrance though - your charts are
wrong. Go in on a rising tide, hug the pier on the north entrance.
Lots of room to anchor. You might need a permit these days, not sure.
We didn't.

* Napa Valley - you can motor all the way up the Napa River to a
marina outside of town. Cool spot. Mind the local knowledge - there's
daymarks all the way up the river but some are more important than
others.
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Old 28-07-2011, 16:33   #6
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) - Some Practical Questions

Here's an email we sent them about our experiences with the rest of the CA coast:

* Crescent City - it's a bit of a dump. However, it's the only port in a couple hundred miles either direction without a bar to cross so you might have to come in here if the seas are up. You can anchor in the harbor. The marina got clobbered in the tsunami so I doubt you can tie up there anymore. On the off chance that you can, mind the entrance. Lots of people run aground on the breakwater side.

We went from Crescent City straight to SF, skipping Eureka (sounds interesting, bar at the entrance) and Ft. Bragg/Noyo River (tight entrance). Really wanted to get past Cape Mendocino in a decent weather window. And then we ran straight from SF to Newport Beach. We skipped a few anchorages that I'd like to hit next time. Half Moon Bay and Monterrey would have been cool to see but probably would have required marina stays. I don't remember those spots offering much protection. Morro Bay looks like a solid anchorage. Supposedly, there's an anchorage right behind Point Conception. We thought about stopping but we were doing fine so we kept going. We were told that early early morning is the best time to round Pt. Conception to avoid getting your butt kicked. We had an easy trip and a nice sunrise. Santa Barbara Channel is famous for some big wind. I was happy to leave it behind us.

* Santa Barbara - the "anchorage" sucks and the marina is brimming with assholes.

* Channel Islands - I wish we would have gone here. The problem is that there's no solid anchorages so you're hopping anchorages based on where the wind is. But, it's much more cool and deserted than Catalina Island. Next time we'll try to go here if we can.

* Catalina Island - Avalon is kinda cool but it's *completely* opposite of the experience you're having now. There's a huge field of mooring balls that you tie to fore and aft. Boats are packed in like sardines and expect to pay $40/night for the privilege. But the town is a pretty cool spot. We went up to Two Harbors expecting to anchor but unless you want to anchor in 100ft, you're stuck on mooring balls there too. This place was the first time we ever jumped off our boat into the water. Cold as hell but we were pretty drunk so that helped. There's supposed to be some good hiking and if we spent more time here we probably would have hit the trails a little more.

* Newport Beach - I really liked Newport. It's like Disneyland for the stupid wealthy. The harbor is a bizarre playground of yachts and waterfront homes. You can anchor for free for 5 days in their very small anchorage. Just know that your boat will be used as a rounding mark for all the dinghy races. You can also grab fore and aft mooring balls for really cheap. I think off season they run $5/night. There's a nice library on the beach side next to a laundromat. Remind me to look in our log to tell you where the secret dinghy landing ladder to get to the grocery store is. If you need any stuff from a chandlery, try to hold off until you get to Newport. Minney's is like Second Wave only organized and useful. Tons of used marine hardware. Super bonus: actual Disneyland is a short bus ride away.

* San Diego - They aren't kidding about kelp around the entrance to the harbor. Best to run well south of Cabrillo Pt. (I think that's what its called) before heading inside the entrance buoys. Find out what the anchorage regulations are for all the different anchorages because the harbor police will enforce them, holy crap. If you can anchor in Glorietta Bay, it's a nice spot with a less traffic. There's a good dinghy dock and Coronado Island is cool and really walkable. The hotel is awesome and there's a great beach. There's a good library with all the wifi you can stand. Anchorage #9 is off the east end of Harbor Island and is where they stick all the out of town cruisers. It's not the quietest place in the world but fairly central. If you can, try to score a slip on the police docks - super cheap. If you're there after the HaHa leaves, you shouldn't have a problem. If you need a chandlery here, go to Downwind Marine. These guys are awesome. They are all about cruisers going to Mexico. They are also a good source if you need something while in Mexico. They know how to ship stuff down there without it getting stolen.
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Old 28-07-2011, 19:34   #7
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) - Some Practical Questions

The Channel Islands anchorages aren't all-weather hurricane holes, but in my experience there are at least a few good spots:

Becher's Bay, Santa Rosa Island: Good sandy bottom and areas of kelp. This island is virtually deserted and has some great hiking. We spent a few days on the hook here and really enjoyed it.

Prisoner's Harbor, Santa Cruz Island: a bit crowded on weekends, but good holding and good hiking. Pelican Bay nearby is a bit more sheltered, but was quite crowded.

Painted Cave, Santa Cruz Island: There's no anchoring here, so we had to take turns rowing the dinghy into the cave while somebody stood offshore on the boat.

Smuggler's Cove, Santa Cruz Island: Nice spot to spend the night, but the waves were pounding the beach so we didn't land here.

There are other spots to anchor, and the islands are spectacular. Don't let the guidebooks scare you (but do watch the weather). I've got some photos from my visit on the website:VALIS
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Old 28-07-2011, 19:53   #8
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) - Some Practical Questions

hurrycame holes are not needed north of mag bay, as hurrycames do not go into cold water places. they weaken and die. no one is crazy enough to sail in a winter west coast storm-is just too damn cold. not to mention the wind!
the channel islands and those areas are great for those wanting to cruise kali.
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Old 28-07-2011, 19:53   #9
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) - Some Practical Questions

This stuff needs to find it's way into the CruiserWiki...anybody?
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Old 30-07-2011, 12:38   #10
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) - Some Practical Questions

Hey folks
We hope to see you out there, plan to leave this sept also from Victoria, we are up by Campbell River and in the project a day mode to get boat and ourselves ready. Learn to do by doing! Plan to clear in SF and do paperwork there. We have takn our boat to the states previously and haven't found clearing too onerous. Exciting times! We'll be watching for you. We are planning to do the offshore route somewhere between 125-130 and turn at Cape Mendicino. There are a couple of well defined options in the literature, closer in or farther out, for good reasons both. Each sailor will have their own reasons for choosing one or the other. Choose and go for it.
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Old 02-08-2011, 17:15   #11
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) - Some Practical Questions

Thank you all for your feedback - am taking notes!


@Seabear:

I'm sure we'll meet at some anchorage!

I just read Livia's post on the Estrellita blog on clearing in SF. Sounds like it's more challenging than from up here. Just thought I'd give you a heads-up. You may want to check it out. (And still decide to do it. At least you'll know ahead of time that it's a bit of a run-around. They're used to large ships.)

It does all come down to reading lots, chatting and then making up our minds... That is true!

Cheers
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:48   #12
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) - Some Practical Questions

@Janders - just wanted to say that we checked out your blog through a link that went to another link - most entertaining and informative! And thanks again for all that info. We can't wait to untie the lines and head south! Cheers, Kyra
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Old 04-08-2011, 13:02   #13
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) - Some Practical Questions

Aw, thanks Kyra! Have a great sail down! There's some awesome coast between here and Mexico. You guys will have a blast sailing it. I'll have to keep track of your blog and suppress my envy.
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Old 11-08-2011, 17:01   #14
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) - Some Practical Questions

Reccommend checking in to the USA in Friday Harbor they are Friendly and close enough if you need more papers from home.
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Old 11-08-2011, 17:59   #15
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Re: Victoria to San Francisco (and Beyond) - Some Practical Questions

Good suggestion, dandins... I've made the trip many times both ways and if I've delivered a Canadian vessel, always checked in at Friday Harbor headed south. Capt Phil
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